Taking a Church from a Temporary Setup to a Permanent Install, Part 1

It’s happening more and more. The congregation has outgrown the church and needs more space. 3/07/2013 7:58 AM Eastern

Taking a Church from a Temporary Setup to a Permanent Install, Part 1

Mar 7, 2013 12:58 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.

It’s happening more and more. The congregation has outgrown the church and needs more space. At First Church of the Nazarene in Marion, Ohio, they moved into the gymnasium while their old church was torn down and rebuilt. Elite Multimedia of Memphis, Tenn., came in to help in both places, and Wade Russell is here to tell us how they made it happen, coming right up on the SVC Podcast.

SVCWade Russell with Elite Multimedia in Memphis, Tenn., it’s good to have you on the SVC Podcast again. We talked a little while back about another job you had going at the Living Hope Church in Piperton. So since the last time we talked, what’s been going on at Elite Multimedia?

Wade Russell: We’ve been staying busy. We launched a new office in Nashville, Tenn., back in November of last year, and just been truckin’ along, keeping busy with rental clients as well as new install and designs. [Timestamp: 1:19]

Well, as in any business, it’s always good to stay busy, but it seems that for a lot of AV companies it’s either a feast or a famine kind of thing. They’ve either got more stuff than they can handle or the, you know, the tumbleweeds are blowing down the hall. But being on the busy end is always a good thing.

Yeah, it’s definitely better than being hungry, I guess, huh?

And you had a big job here at the First Church of the Nazarene in Marion, Ohio. What kind of church is that? What sort of a worship style do they have going on there?

Marion First Church is up in Northern Ohio and they’re a pretty contemporary church. Just been experiencing a lot of growth lately and just, you know, with their growth needed some room for expansion and stuff. So they’ve just been a very dynamic worship experience. And I think because of their leadership of the church they’ve just been growing at a good rate. So they’ve been staying busy. [Timestamp: 2:13]

It seems like that’s the situation in a lot of churches now, that their congregation has outgrown the facility and they’re getting kind of pinched for space. Along with that expansion comes maybe upgrades in sound and video systems. So they called you guys in and what was the situation? What exactly did they need when they called in Elite Multimedia?

You know, we got contacted by First Church Marion early in the stage. They were in need of expanding their facility and decided to build a new worship center. However, in the meantime, because of their land limitations, they needed to tear down their preexisting building and move to a gym. And so they contacted us kind of in that time of planning that out. And we got to come in early and give our advice pertaining to the production aspects in moving into a kind of a gym-natorium for a temporary use while they were building their new facility. [Timestamp: 3:13]

I know that has the potential of being pretty disruptive, but they want to maintain the routine as much as possible through the transition to the new sanctuary. Keeping the congregation informed, you know, as to what’s going on and where they’re supposed to go. How long did they have to use the gym for the services? There must have been some kind of, you know, tech challenges there in trying to use a gym for the sanctuary.

Sure. There was a need for a temporary service about just over a year, to be able to properly, you know, suit them. And what they ended up doing is having two services in that gym. And with any type of audio/visual systems meeting in a gym-type facility, you can imagine the acoustics are not the greatest, so you have to be very intentional with speaker placement and just planning things out. And also keep mind that this is a temporary facility and we had to keep in mind their needs to be able to facilitate that to where they could use it later in their new facility. [Timestamp: 4:17]

That must have been sort of a tricky thing to do because even though it’s temporary, you have the whole congregation using that gym for a whole year. Now that must have required a very substantial setup to be temporary. Was the gym dedicated for services during that time or was it being shared with other activities for that whole time?

You know, during that year—just over a year that they were in there—they used it on the weekends for their service facility for worship services, but during the week they kept having their regular children’s groups and different recreational activities in there. And so we had to utilize a system that could be kind of put away, and a means to kind of keep away from the kids hittin’ balls against it and, you know, make it a multipurpose facility for technical production. [Timestamp: 5:08]

Taking a Church from a Temporary Setup to a Permanent Install, Part 1

Mar 7, 2013 12:58 PM, With Bennett Liles

That was probably like equipping a portable church where they set up in schools and bowling alleys and all kinds of places and set up and strike the whole sound and video system every Sunday.

All the audio/visual equipment was on portable racks that they stored in closets during the week and then for the weekend services and for their rehearsals they would roll it out and utilize that for their worship times. [Timestamp: 5:32]

And one of the central items that you would have to set up and then store out of the way was the main house mixer. What did you decide to use as the mixer to be able to set it up and take it down like that?

We chose the Avid SC48. And a couple of the key points, they wanted a digital console to be able to recall scenes and EQ’s and, you know, the functionalities that are beneficial with digital. But also the SC48 is a good footprint to have a lot of inputs and the capability was large enough but didn’t take up the real estate that we kind of needed for the means of the portable use. We didn’t want a large console, and so the SC48 was the perfect size and the perfect solution for what they were looking for. [Timestamp: 6:19]

What are they doing on their services? Have they got bands with live music and all that?

Yeah, during their worship service they have just a contemporary worship band. You know, anything from drums, electric, acoustic, keys, a couple of background vocals. Occasionally they’ll have a small to medium-sized choir and they utilize, I would say, 32 inputs on stage plus wireless microphones and CD and media playback. So they fill the console up pretty quick. [Timestamp: 6:48]

Where was the front-of-house set up there? What kind of cable runs are we talking about? Obviously, with the temporary setup, you can’t always have the cabling as far out of the way as you might like it to be.

Yeah, the front-of-house position was located in the back of the room, and what we chose to do was run all the cabling necessary, obviously, through the ceiling and conduit runs to the closet and then the tails that connected the console came out of the closet and connected to the console with that. So no cables were ran across the floor in the way of the audience. Everything was nice and clean, yet could be stowed away nice and easily. [Timestamp: 7:28]

And what were they doing with the lighting in there? Was there a specific lighting arrangement for services that was, you know, different from just blasting on all the normal gym lights?

Well, originally when we kind of looked at the gym, all they had was fluorescent lights and so a part of that, just being able to utilize incandescent, you know, more theatrical lighting control was definitely a process in that. We utilized that by selecting a Jands M1 for control. And they had some LED fixtures that they, you know, kind of changed the color wash stuff of the stage. It turned out to be a good solution to just create a good wash and good lighting scenes for the stage. [Timestamp: 8:09]

Okay, well, the Jands M1, real small and easy for lighting control. You can almost carry that around in your pocket. But I’ve seen some horror stories in gyms, you know, where they have the old mercury vapor lights that put out a real obnoxious buzz all the time. You had to do video coverage in there too. Why did you decide to go with the Blackmagic ATEM video switcher?

We went with the Blackmagic switcher simply because of, honestly, the size and the quality behind it. It’s kind of scalable from the means of – of resolution inputs. They had some preexisting equipment that they needed to use and we utilized some Panasonic cameras to go HD-SDI into the Blackmagic switcher. And then out of the Blackmagic switcher went to a Blackmagic DeckLink card into a Mac Pro for capturing and recording. And so this basically made it capable for them to be able to record at a high quality live and then they utilized that for distribution during the week. [Timestamp: 9:13]

Did they have to strike all that stuff, too, when the church service wasn’t going on and there were other events happening?

Yeah. The camera setup was pretty simple, those two cameras on tripods. You know, using HD-SDI, it’s basically one cable for a video signal going back to the ATEM switcher, and so very simple setup. All they had to do was kind of disconnect the SDI cables and com cables, basically, for their communication between each other and then roll that video rack into a closet. So it was, you know, lightweight and portable and the kind of console that we supplied for them was, you know, it had the computer, it had the switcher and monitors all ready to go into one solution. So it worked out nicely. [Timestamp: 9:59]

Over a year’s time I’m sure the church crew got pretty good at setting up and taking it all down, where everybody knew the drill and exactly what to do. Wade, it was great having you here for part one on the First Church of the Nazarene in Marion, Ohio, and on part two we’ll get more into the specific gear you used in the sound system and the speaker runs and some other things. Thanks for being here for this one.

No problem. Glad to be able to do this.

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