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Savannah Christian Church Installs For-A Digital Switcher

Systems integrator Stage Front Presentation Systems (SFPS) installed FOR-A’s VPS-700 GINGA at Savannah Christian Church in February.

Savannah Christian Church Installs For-A Digital Switcher

May 15, 2006 10:09 AM

FOR-A’s VPS-700 Ginga one-M/E digital switcher has quickly proven itself as a staple among Savannah Christian Church’s new range of video production equipment. Systems integrator Stage Front Presentation Systems (SFPS) installed the VPS-700 GINGA at Savannah Christian Church in February and is currently integrating the entire system. The church’s volunteer staff is now using the switcher to route broadcasts of sermons onto display screens throughout the church.

Two separate sermons on Saturday evenings are recorded “live-to-tape” in the main sanctuary of the church, which seats up to 1,000 people at a time. There is another service held on Saturday nights within the main church in its fellowship hall that seats an additional 500 people. To accommodate additional congregants where space does not allow within the main church on Saturday nights, Savannah Christian Church opened a satellite location at a local elementary school gymnasium where the recorded Saturday night sermons are played back on Sunday morning. The main goal for this system was to provide the highest quality videotape for the church’s satellite location. As an added plus, the feed from the VPS-700 GINGA is included within the main church’s presentation system.

“The VPS-700 GINGA outweighs everything that’s on the market right now by leaps and bounds,” said Marty Huntoon, Systems Consultant, Stagefront Presentation Systems. “I was pleasantly surprised at how powerful this switcher is. It enables operators to call up several different presets. That certainly was a selling point to Savannah Christian Church. For houses of worship, this is on a very short list of switchers.”

Churches typically only have one seasoned professional and a few congregants with little or no experience who volunteer to operate the equipment during the sermons. The intuitive nature of the VPS-700 GINGA allows Savannah Christian Church’s weekend volunteers to easily learn the system.

“I really enjoyed working with FOR-A on this set up because of the company’s remarkable service,” Huntoon said. “Our FOR-A representative was always available when we had a question. Plus, many times when you’ve got a new system, you have to train the church’s engineering staff from scratch. Because of this switcher’s simple operation, we started at 75% competency instead of 0%.”

Inexperienced operators will often start pushing preset buttons until they find a desirable preset. This can disable the switcher, but that’s not the case with the VPS-700 GINGA, minimizing the need for service calls. By pressing a simple ‘scene select’ on the switcher, volunteers can restore the console back to its original settings. They can configure the switcher to do simple tasks or a more complex line up from a previous program. They can call up multiple scenes with the VPS-700 GINGA, beyond the standard three or four.

In addition to the VPS-700 GINGA, Savannah Christian Church now has a sophisticated presentation system in the sanctuary that includes two Hitachi Z-3500 digital cameras and an Apple G5 computer for graphics. During the sermon, there is a main screen behind the pastor, which contains data created with software such as EasyWorship. There are plasma screens throughout the church that utilize image magnification (I-MAG) technology. A typical shot would be a close-up of the pastor with bullet statements from the day’s sermon or a verse from the Bible keyed into the lower third of the screen. The broadcast is distributed to areas outside of the conventional theatrical sightline. I-MAG brings the pastor closer to the congregation who are further away from the pulpit during the sermon.

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