Audio Analysts Upgrade AV at Parkway Christian Church, Part 1

In this edition, SVC contributing editor Bennett Liles talks with Preston Smits of Audio Analysts about the sound and lighting upgrade done by the company for the Parkway Christian Church in Surprise 2/02/2011 9:30 AM Eastern

Audio Analysts Upgrade AV at Parkway Christian Church, Part 1

Feb 2, 2011 2:30 PM, with Bennett Liles

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

The Parkway Christian Church in Surprise, Arizona in Surprise, Arizona recently added new buildings and needed top grade sound and lighting so they called in Audio Analysts of Colorado Springs. Preston Smits is going to give us the details of how they pulled off the complete performing systems upgrade with Vaddio cameras and a FOR-A switcher coming up next on the SVC podcast. Preston thanks for being here for the SVC podcast from Audio Analysts in Colorado Springs. Audio Analysts, a big name in AV integration and more. What all does the company do now?
Sure, well we’ve been around since 1968 doing sound reinforcement for tours. We started off in Montreal and L.A. and then moved to New York and eventually settled down here in Colorado Springs, Colorado. And in about the mid 90’s the company evolved a second branch of the business doing commercial installations for performance venues and churches and over time the commercial division has developed strong skills in performance video and lighting to supplement our original audio focus. We have a third division that is our fabrication shop and both the touring and install divisions benefit from the ability custom fabricate equipment and hardware for specific needs on the job. [Timestamp: 1:35]

OK and of interest here is the Parkway Christian Church in Surprise, Arizona where you put in a FOR-A switcher and some Vaddio cameras. How did Audio Analysts get into this project?
Well that’s actually one of the most interesting parts of the project. We came on board a little late in the game as the original contractor was apparently not performing adequately for the rest of the contractors. The general had some problems in the church and so the church ended up moving on, looking for someone else and they got in touch with us after the tech director had done a tour of our installation at Lakewood Church in Houston and liked what he saw there and ended up giving us a call. [Timestamp: 2:17]

OK so you did Lakewood Church, I’ve talked to the people down there a few times and that’s a really big outfit.
Yeah that was a really interesting job. [Timestamp: 2:24]

What kind of church is Parkway Christian? What kind of worship style do they have there and what was their goal for this upgrade project?
It’s a fairly contemporary church. The worship there is energetic. It’s got a

comfortable atmosphere. The building style is fairly modern, a little bit of an industrial look to it. It’s a neat place. The church was building a couple of new facilities on the campus and needed a audio and video as well as lighting systems for each of these as well as a video production room for providing Telepresence, services and distribution to the LCD monitors around the campus and such. [Timestamp: 3:02]

Now does that church broadcast or stream its video of services or any other kind of events they may be doing?
They don’t currently stream over the internet yet although that is something I have been talking to their tech director a little bit about but they do provide broadcast to other sanctuaries within the campus. [Timestamp: 3:2]

OK, I understand they have a 360 Systems video server there. Where do they have that?
Yes, it’s the Maxx 1200HD and it’s currently in the video production room and they use that for a variety of different items partly for playback of material during services for different venues. It’s linked to a couple of the different venues so they can control it despite its central location and then it also records the Telepresence sermons for either immediate playback, like a DVR system, or it can be used for playback later in the day. [Timestamp: 3:52]

And I would think they have lots of other things going on that keep them busy between Sunday services.
Absolutely, yes— it’s a fairly active church and at the time we were there we saw people there throughout the day every day. [Timestamp: 4:04]

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And how’s the audio picked up for that? Have they got separate mixing for video or do they just take a feed off of the FOH mixer for that?
To some extent they do, as of now the audio feed receives a direct line from FOH up to a mixer within the video production room where they can add in their own sources and then they send back down audio from video to FOH from there from that mixer. [Timestamp: 4:28]

Obviously there’s zillions of different ways churches can do that. So I understand they had a FOR-A HVS-300HS video switcher, those seem to be popular with churches especially small ones. Why did you decide to go with that one for the installation?
Well I can understand them being popular. I like them a fair amount as well. FOR-A makes, from what I see, high quality and reliable equipment and the HVS 300HS was the unit we used and was able to pack so much punch and at a very reasonable price point. The extra BUS’s and scaling in addition to the program preview and multi-viewer outputs made it possible for us to do all of our switching needs within the sanctuary plus feed the video server plus all the distribution devices throughout the campuses. [Timestamp: 5:13]

And they do a lot of projection in there. Is that primarily for IMAG and so forth?
Yeah, they do a lot of IMAG as well as content on…they also use projection to set room moods along with lighting. The main screen in there is a 22ft. wide 16x9 screen that serves as a backdrop for the stage and it can be used, again, for either a background image for the camera shots or for mood setting or you can also use it to show content as well using picture-in-picture or DSK and keys from the switcher. Then you have two large side screens providing IMAG at some points during the service sometimes it’s content and again, mood-based material can be on those screens as well and then they have a third screen on the rear side of the sanctuary that anyone on stage can use as a fall back and emergency information showing the clock—anything that the people on the stage might want to see. [Timestamp: 6:16]

Well it sounds like they’ve got a lot of projection things going on in there.
Yeah, absolutely.

Audio Analysts Upgrade AV at Parkway Christian Church, Part 1

Feb 2, 2011 2:30 PM, with Bennett Liles

And do they feed all those projectors out of that one FOR-A switcher?
Yes, that’s correct. The FOR-A has enough aux bus’s and between the main preview program and enough scaling capability that we’re able to feed everything directly off of that switcher. [Timestamp: 6:34]

Well that makes it nice. What kind of video signal format do they use to feed all of those projectors?
Everything is over RGBHV and in high definition 1080i. [Timestamp: 6:45]

What kind of projectors have they got up there? Were they part of the upgrade?
Yes, we’re using Christie projectors in that room as well as around the rest of the facility. I’ve been a fan of Christie projectors for a while and they seem to have the products that fit the needs. All of these projectors are also networked and so inside of the video production room you can get feedback from the projectors if there’s any errors going on, bulb life as well as being able to control any of them. [Timestamp: 7:12]

Yeah, I was going to say that the Christie projectors have a lot of features that can make them dependable for churches, especially front projection where you can’t just walk up to the projectors and make adjustments or change lamps.
Yes, in my opinion as well. [Timestamp: 7:24]

And you’ve also got The Vaddio ClearVIEW HD-18 PTZ cameras for the project. How many of those did you put in there?
We have four of them in the main facility and none in any of the other facilities at the moment. The HD18 was a cost effective solution for upgrading to HD and they’re also quite easy to operate and install. The church has been pretty happy with the product and their picture. [Timestamp: 7:47]

And they’ve got a control room where all of these things are operated from.
That’s right.

OK do they use PTZ cameras for IMAG at all?
The HD18’s are used both for IMAG and for shooting Telepresence sermons. We have four different shots in the room. There’s a main shot up front, at FOH as well as one on either side of the sanctuary for some angles and then we have an effects shot that is located above the stage that gives either a good crowd shot or a fun effect above the performers. [Timestamp: 8:2]

Wow, that’s really interesting using PTZ cameras for IMAG. I would think that would be a challenge to be able to keep up with a fairly animated pastor.
You know, the controller is fairly smooth and the guys up top were able to get the whole event pretty quickly and with a limited amount of stuff it’s an easy way to have one volunteer be able to control multiple cameras. And some of those cameras are staying static and so there’s not a lot of need for consistent control. [Timestamp: 8:51]

Yeah and if you don’t have a big staff of people, especially people with a lot of experience, the PTZ cameras save a huge chunk not only on the budget but on the staff as well. It would seem like the learning curve on these things would be pretty quick.
Yes, I think that both considering the staff there and the budget it really made the most sense. [Timestamp: 9:09]

All right, well Preston thanks for being with me for Part One to explain how the Parkway Christian Church upgrade has gone and in Part Two we’ll get more into the cameras and some other areas of the AV production but thanks for taking time out to talk to us and we’ll see you in Part Two.

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