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Hope Lutheran Church Gets New Sound, Video & Lighting – Pt 2

Show 125, Part 2

SVC Podcast – Show Notes – Show 125-2:

In this edition of the SVC Podcast, SVC Contributing Editor Bennett Liles continues his talk with Kevin Crow of Excel AV Group in Maple Grove, Minnesota about the complete sound, video and lighting renovation done by them at Hope Lutheran Church in Fargo, North Dakota. Kevin provides details on the video and lighting upgrade he and his group did including installation of a new video wall and Chauvet lighting instruments and control.

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From Sound & Video Contractor Magazine, this is the SVC Podcast with Kevin Crow of Excel AV. Show notes for the podcast are available on the web site of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at

It happens more and more now. A church is dealing with a move toward a more contemporary worship style and that means beefing up sound. But that was just the beginning for Hope Lutheran Church in Fargo, North Dakota. They brought in Excel AV Group to revamp their video and lighting as well. Kevin Crow is here to tell us about it. That’s coming right up on the SVC Podcast.

Kevin, thanks for getting back with us for part two on the SVC Podcast, from the Excel AV Group in Maple Grove, Minnesota. You did a complete technical revamp for the Hope Lutheran Church in Fargo. We talked about audio last time with Powersoft amps and Danley speakers but there was a big video job in this as well.

Yeah, video and lighting actually.

Okay, now what did they have in the sanctuary for lighting before this?

You know, there was a fair amount of okay incandescent fixtures, but it just was not really cutting it for the kind of control that they wanted and scene creative ability. So we specified a Jands Vista system with a host of different Chauvet moving and color wash LED lights. It was very, very impressive how that worked out and looked at the end. [Timestamp: 1:38]

Was the decision to have the lighting and video upgrade the result of the church taking a more contemporary direction with its worship style?

Yeah, definitely. I mean probably the biggest feature of the entire install that we did there was the Chauvet LED wall. There’s a lot of ambient light in this room and it’s very, very difficult to use projection – even rear projection – in spaces like this and not get a fair amount of washout on the screen. So we were able to take and leverage the technology of LED walls and the ever-lowering of pricing on them, and we specified the Chauvet. It’s a five mil LED wall and it looks absolutely fantastic. Probably what I was most impressed at, because I’ve looked at the technology for a long time, is the off axis on the Chauvet is incredible. You can walk as far off axis as you want and you can still see the image. You can’t even do that with projection. It’s pretty amazing. [Timestamp: 2:39]

Yeah that normally falls off pretty fast for the people on the end seats on the sides.

Right. So LED walls are great for that, and in particular I think the Chauvet does it better than anyone else when it comes to the off axis.

And that was more cabling to run up in the exposed beam ceiling?

No. There was a conduit system to an existing rear projection room that we took out some old wire and ran new wire in. We used HDBaseT baluns to send digital signal to it. Chauvet has a – it’s called a driver, which is their controller for the LED wall. We ran new cabling through existing conduit for that so that worked out, but there was quite a bit of power changes that needed to happen for the LED wall, so we changed that over. We also worked with an architectural firm for the integration of the LED wall into the space. There was a fair amount of construction and trim work that needed to be done in and around the LED wall in order to both support it and trim around it to make it blend in with the room. It turned out really nice, how well it blends in with the room. The pastor was just – went out of his way when I went up and visited after it was installed, and he went out of his way to find me and tell me how much he was impressed at the LED wall; how clear it was and how everybody was able to see everything, so they really like it. [Timestamp: 4:10]

Yeah, I’ll bet that’s a big conversation piece for those who haven’t seen anything like this in a church. Suddenly, they’ve got this big video display that really takes them to the next level on that.

Right. There isn’t a lot of churches that have LED walls, period, anywhere in the – there’s several in the country that I’m aware of, but they’re not everywhere, so it’s pretty amazing that they were able to raise the funds and make the investment. It’s a great long-term investment. One thing that we do as an integrator is we’re very, very much into support and Chauvet offers training at their corporate facility in Florida. So we sent one of our people and we sent Justin Morken, the tech director with the church, to training so that if anything ever happens with the LED wall they’ve got spare tiles and they can replace it in the field if needed. [Timestamp: 5:02]

Well, that’s great that along with the new hardware they can feel like they’ve still got a handle on things if something doesn’t quite go as planned.


What happens when they actually get going on the Sunday service? Do they have any kind of production intercom to coordinate everybody?

Yeah. I believe that they’ve got some intercom and most of what they do, though, happens in the booth. They don’t really have – like some of the real mega churches that have stage crews and show control-type people. They don’t really have that, but they’re definitely a very well-run ministry. The tech director has – when I was up there taking pictures and video, he had some interns with the local bible college that were working the sound booth with him for the video, audio and lighting. And so it’s neat how they do things and they don’t just have one campus. The facility that we did this install at was the south campus. We also did some small upgrades at the north campus. But they’ve got multiple rooms all over the place that they use for different things, so it’s a big job. Justin’s got a lot on his plate. [Timestamp: 6:05]

Oh, I’m sure he’s got even more now. But with the new video wall they have now, what are the various video sources they can put up on that?

We put in a video switching system and then we’ve got several cameras that went in, so they’ve got cameras, they’ve got a ProPresenter on a computer as inputs and camera inputs. I think they have a Blu-ray input for video playback from a Blu-ray, but the main sources are the ProPresenter – I think they’re running a Mac – and they’ve got the cameras through the camera switcher. The camera switcher is a Roland that we put in. Roland video products are pretty incredible for the money, so we’ve got one of those in there. [Timestamp: 6:51]

And I would think that one of the most frequently used sources might be the hymn lyrics; graphical things like that?

Yeah, so the ProPresenter does most of the lyrical content and then if they want to show the cameras or video playback and type stuff they’ll use the other. So it’s pretty impressive. [Timestamp: 7:08]

And we touched on this before but how long did it take to get all the old stuff out? I guess your guys had to do all that, and getting the whole new system in and tested and ready to go?

Right. It was a big job. It took about three to four weeks until it was totally done and everything was working well and training was complete. I mean it was a lot of work. So it was definitely not a small project for us. [Timestamp: 7:35]

A very intense few weeks. So what’s coming up next for Excel AV Group? I’m sure you’ve got new stuff coming up.

Yeah, it’s pretty neat. We just completed a sound system upgrade for a church in Virginia that we really, really had the pleasure of working with. And getting out on the East Coast was something that we hadn’t done yet. We just completed that and we’ve got some other projects for them that we’re looking at this year. I’ve got a couple of opportunities in different parts of the country, and then we have a lot of just local business that we do within our five-state area out of the Twin Cities, Minnesota. [Timestamp: 8:15]

Alright. Staying busy.

Yes we are.

It’s been great hearing about this one. It’s Kevin Crow from Excel AV Group in Maple Grove, Minnesota and the Hope Lutheran Church complete sound, video and lighting upgrade up there in Fargo. And I know they’re having a good time with it.

They certainly are. There’s a YouTube video that can be found at our web site,, that profiles the project as well. [Timestamp: 8:39]

Alright. We’ll take a look.


Thanks for being with us.

Thanks so much, Bennett.

Thank you for being here with us for the SVC Podcast with Kevin Crow. Show notes are available on the website of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at Be right back here with us next time on the SVC Podcast.

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