SVC Podcast – Show Notes – Show 150-1
In this edition of the SVC Podcast, SVC Contributing Editor Bennett Liles talks with Duke DeJong, Vice President of Systems Integration with CCI Solutions in Olympia, Washington about the sound, video and lighting system installed by the company for Saddleback Church in the new permanent facility for their 16th satellite location in Anaheim, California. CCI Solutions set up an L-Acoustics ARCS WiFo speakers system, lighting control and video projection for the new church location in what had been a health spa.
For Part 2
Links of interest:
- CCI Solutions: AV equipment, acoustical consulting and systems integration
- L-Acoustics loudspeakers and amplified controllers
- L-Acoustics LA4X Amplified Controller
- The Avid SC48 FOH mixing console used by the church
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From Sound & Video Contractor Magazine, this is the SVC Podcast with Duke DeJong of CCI Solutions. Show notes for the podcast are on the web site of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at svconline.com.
Saddleback, a growing church that’s bursting at the seams with new locations. They called in CCI Solutions from Olympia, Washington to outfit their 16th church location with sound, lighting and projection and get it done fast. Duke DeJong is here to give us the story, coming right up on the SVC Podcast.
Duke, thanks for taking the time to be with us on the SVC Podcast and you’re up there in Olympia, Washington.
I am today, yes. It seems like depending on the week I could be anywhere in the country. But yeah, our company is based here out of Olympia, Washington. We’ve actually got a couple of offices in different states as well, but the main HQ is up here. [Timestamp: 1:08]
Okay, and that is CCI Solutions.
CCI Solutions. Yes, sir.
Alright, well tell us a little about CCI Solutions. What’s been going on there?
You know, we’re having a good year. It’s actually our 40th year this year and so we’re very excited about that. We’ve begun a campaign earlier this year. It’s kind of a year-long party for us. You know, the long and the short we started 40 years ago with a gentleman by the name of Denny Bradley who really just had a passion to help churches do great audio. And of course 40 years ago that’s about all we had was audio and maybe some overhead projectors, I suppose. But it was pretty much audio and into cassette tapes and stuff like that. He would literally just go from church to church trying to help them out and cleaning tape machines and whatever we could do. Over the first 10 years of the company the staff grew and started including some engineering students and some audio design acoustical experts, and we quickly added systems integration to our company. So we’ve got a really, really rich heritage, a rich history, and it’s very, very cool to be a part of a company that both has a full sales channel, like any online retailer, but also has a systems integration company that works across the nation. We love it because we get to service our clients from a full audio/video/lighting/acoustics build to “I need four mic cables and a couple more mics to add to my locker.” We get to handle all of that, which is fairly unique and certainly can be challenging to do both well. But I think we’ve got some really good people on both sides of the company who get it and get the synergy. It’s very cool to get to serve our customers very holistically that way. [Timestamp: 2:56]
Well, obviously word has gotten out in all that time because Saddleback Church is not a small outfit. I believe it’s the eighth largest church in the United States based on weekly attendance.
In the U.S., yeah, and if you add all their overseas venues, they’re probably a little bit larger. They’ve actually got venues in Europe as well as Asia. Yeah, they’re a church down in, and based out of, Lake Forest, California just outside of Orange County. They’ve got a 3,500-seat auditorium on the main campus that runs something like seven or eight services, I think, a weekend. Plus then they’ve got all of these other venues across southern California and all of them are running various numbers of people, but it definitely adds up. They’re a really great church. We actually met them about 20 years ago when Acoustic Dimensions designed their PA and we were chosen to be the integrator for the implementation of that, and we’ve done projects with them really ever since. Their youth building, the Refinery, I think that was probably 10-15 years ago now. We’ve done a number of LED wall upgrades plus a number of their multisite campuses over the last decade, which is very cool to be with somebody that long and watch them grow and grow ourselves and be able to consistently serve with a group of people for decades. It’s just very cool. [Timestamp: 4:24]
Obviously, you’re doing something right if they keep calling you back because they can call anybody they want to. I know they were opening a new location in what I believe was formerly a health spa in Anaheim?
Yeah. It was – if I remember right is was an L.A. Fitness just across the street from the Angels stadium in Anaheim. I mean literally across the street from the parking lot. Yeah, it’s a great location. They were meeting portably in a venue across the street from this venue and it all of a sudden became available. So it got gutted, it got renovated, and it’s a pretty cool little venue right now. It’s really turned out pretty well and the area supports it well. There’s more parking than anybody will ever know what to do with unless the Angels are playing, so it worked out pretty well for the church and it gives them a nice prime location in the middle of Anaheim. [Timestamp: 5:18]
What did they have for a sound system in there before?
Well, it was all portable so it was kind of pieced-together stuff.
I’m sure that with a portable system it could be just about anything one week and maybe something else the next week.
You know, with most churches that would be true. Saddleback has been doing this a long time and they do portable church I think a lot better than most people do. So I know it was decent. It wasn’t just hodgepodge, mismatched stuff together. It was definitely something that covered the space that they were working in fairly well, but as often happens as soon as you change venues the needs completely change. And of course instead of going from racks and stacks that are floor supported, now everything’s got to get up in the air so that it’s out of the way and it’s a nice permanent venue. [Timestamp: 6:03]
Yeah, I think this is something like their 16th location. So when you walked in there and surveyed the site, how did it sound? How were the acoustics?
You know, I wasn’t in super early, but I know from our project manager on the project there was definitely some work to do. But at the same time the whole building was transformed so the building changed significantly inside to accommodate a healthy worship space and kids’ ministry and a good gathering space in the lobby. So really, what it used to be and what it is now is just night and day in every way, shape or form. So it certainly was a health facility beforehand, but you walk into that building and you’d be hard pressed to know. [Timestamp: 6:45]
Okay. So describe what you put in there. Did they specify exactly what they wanted or did they leave that entirely up to you?
We had just completed a few months beforehand a project up in Riverside, Magnolia Church, and we had actually specified and put in L-Acoustics ARCS WiFo speakers up in that venue. And the tech director at the time at that church used to be one of the former audio guys at Saddleback. So he invited the guys from Saddleback up one day and we just happened to coincide schedules so we were there too and they got a chance to listen. They were really impressed with us with the PA and just how warm and yet articulate it sounded. And so we didn’t do a demo in the space or anything like that just because obviously it was in the middle of building and as with most projects, of course, it had to be fast-tracked. So the next best thing is getting to listen to it in a similar-sized venue, which was the case here. Really there wasn’t a lot of discussion. Once they got a chance to hear it, once we looked at the numbers and how that worked out for their space and, of course, some coverage predictions that our project lead, Mark Pearson, worked up, they were pretty sold pretty quick. [Timestamp: 8:02]
I believe that either you or Mark described the system as a left-right-left design. I don’t think I’ve heard of that one before.
Yeah. The room was wide enough that there had to be three arrays to cover the room evenly and so instead of doing a distributed mono where all three were the exact same, essentially the outside clusters were getting left and the center one was getting right so that there was still some stereo imaging even though it’s not completely accurate to what you see. It does give a little bit of spacing in the mix. So any areas that are overlapping they can actually do a little bit of spatial mixing in those sections and just get a little more range out of it. [Timestamp: 8:44]
Speaking of the mixing, did your outfit install the mixer for this?
We did. Most of their campuses have been on Avid consoles, so that one went to an SC-48 to be consistent. One of the things for Saddleback is that not only do they use a lot of contract labor for the weekend tech, but guys will bounce from campus to campus just because all of a sudden somebody’s gone over here so you’ve got to go there. However that ends up working out, keeping that consistency is really critical for them. And if memory serves, they actually already owned the SC-48 so we ended up integrating that into the system because campus wide, all the campuses, that was the platform they were on. [Timestamp: 9:28]
Yeah, that would make a big difference if they had to travel around to different locations and work all different kinds of mixing consoles with the church people doing all of this. It’s a real advantage in having a nearly identical mixing interface everywhere.
Well, absolutely. At any given time they’ve got all these guys mixing weekend services and these guys have to be able to walk in and set their stuff down and mix without too much hassle. The same for their global tech team as well. They’ve got three or four guys whose job is to make sure all these campuses are cruising and everything is in good shape. So not only from a mixing standpoint, but even from a service standpoint having that consistency across the board as much as possible makes their lives a whole lot easier so if something goes down or somebody’s got to just jump in, it’s easy. [Timestamp: 10:12]
And how do they do the stage monitoring? Do they do that from the main house using auxes?
Yep. That’s pretty normal across most of the Saddleback campuses. Even the main campus, they actually have two consoles front of house. So while they have a separate console mixing monitor it’s still mixed from front of house. Saddleback isn’t like a lot of the churches that have these huge, oversized stages with huge, oversized backstages. A lot of Saddleback’s priority is having seats available. And Pastor Warren, as well as a lot of their campus pastors, being close to the people is a high value for them. So wings for monitor desks and whatnot aren’t normal for them other than for special productions. [Timestamp: 10:56]
That might be an advantage as far as communication between the main house operator and the monitor mixer with them located right next to each other.
Well, for the technicians it is. I think it can be a challenge at times from the monitor engineer to the musicians on stage, but when you’re doing seven or eight services a week, at least at the main campus, once you get that first service or two dialed in it usually goes pretty smooth from there. [Timestamp: 11:20]
Yeah, they’ve probably got a certain way they do it and that’s the way they do it.
So what was the time frame on this thing? You mentioned at the beginning it was sort of fast-tracked.
It was. If memory serves, because it opened up in I think it was July of last year, and if I remember right we didn’t actually get brought into the project until February or March. So we had kind of been hearing about what was happening and there was some early communication, but by the time they were ready to being us on it was – it was definitely later in the process. But it was also a remodel so we had to work within the confines of the space as much as humanly possible. We weren’t going to, obviously, be pouring a new floor, so cable pads and all that had to be sort of handled within context as much as humanly possible with what was already there. [Timestamp: 12:09]
Well, I know that to do sound, lighting and projection and get it done in a hurry up situation is going to be challenging but it’s great that they have such a uniformly applied plan to their production. I’ve had fun listening to how you did this one. It’s Saddleback Church and Duke DeJong with CCI Solutions. A complete sound, video and lighting project at the 16th location for the church. In Part 2, Duke, we’ll get into the lighting and projection you did for them. Good having you here.
Thank you. I appreciate it.
Thank you for being here with us for the SVC Podcast with Duke DeJong. Show notes are on the website of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at svconline.com. Join us next week for Part 2 when Duke will tell us about the lighting and projections systems installed for Saddleback Church. That’s on the next SVC Podcast.