COASTLIFE CHURCH, VENICE, FLORIDA
Coastlife Church in Venice, Florida recently added a new 500-seat auditorium and they had it completely outfitted with projection, sound and lighting by Crown Design Group to support lots of live music. Partners Ben Graham and Garrett Walker are here to give us the story.
SVC: First, let’s hear about Crown Design Group. What’s been going on there?
Ben Graham: Crown Design is the company that my partner and I started just about four years ago. We’re in Bradenton, Florida, just north of Sarasota. There are a lot of retired people here, but it’s kind of starting to blow up and boom around this area. So we stay busy. About 70-80 percent of our business is churches. Most of us were actually on staff at a very large church and we oversaw the productions for it before we were doing this full time. We’re a one-stop shop, we like to call it, for our clients when it comes to anything AVL-related. We love to get in early with them and dream with them from the very, very beginning. A lot of times they just have a budget. They don’t really know how to use the money or what to buy or how to make it all work. We like to sit down with them and have a dream session and then walk them through maybe a concept. Then we get into a full design phase with them where we can do full drawings and renderings. And then we manage the whole project with them. We work with the GC or subcontractors if it’s a new build. We manage the money and their budgets and everything. They purchase everything through us. We do the install as well and all the way into the programming, and even all the way into training volunteers or staff. We even offer support after the fact if they want to do that.
The Coastlife Church is fairly contemporary with live music and all that goes with it?
Yep. They’re a younger church, younger congregation, and very high energy, modern worship service so it’s not your typical pews and carpet kind of room. It looks more like a club, really – blacked out ceilings and concrete floors, like stained concrete floors. Just a totally different look. They have a full band, probably 12 people on stage. And full AVL production setup for every service. It was great coming in early with them. We were able to set them up very well for day one and also for the future. They want to do IMAG in there eventually, so all of that infrastructure is in place to do that. Had they not worked with an integrator, they probably would not have thought through that, which obviously causes problems in the future when you want to start adding things.
Describe the lighting job that you spec’d and installed for them.
It’s like a stage lighting setup. We put in lighting bars for their front white light. They do need it for the message time. They want a great white wash across the stage, but again they need individual spots that they can illuminate at certain times for their worship service. So we used Source Four’s ellipsoidals. Actually we used the Source Four juniors – the zooms. You don’t have to worry about lenses that way. It’s a lot easier and they can move them around and rehang them simply if they need to. And then just some Source Four washes as well. Then we supplement with some more LEDs just for color to wash the front of the stage. There was a runoff of Leviton dimmers that we had installed in a dimming room. And then we gave them eight different moving fixtures, some profile movers and then some wash movers. And then they actually had some LED tape, which gave them kind of a backdrop.
But I would say the biggest wow for the lighting was actually the house lighting, which is becoming really popular for us. We do a lot of it. It’s becoming a lot more affordable and churches are sick of having to get out scaffolding or ladders or whatever to go up and change all the lamps and their old lights that they have in their room. They’re super-hot and they make the AC run harder. So people are wanting some options.
We have been using these Elation Color Pendants quite often. They’re a great fixture, very affordable, individual DMX control on every one of them. RGBW so you can mimic a normal-looking white light. You can get that cold, modern look in white light if you want, but you can mimic a normal discharge light that looks just like a nice, warm white wash in your room. I think Elation did great on it. They wash very, very soft. You never see a hotspot. Obviously that has to do with the layout and the grid and your ceiling height and everything else, but we have no complaints on them. They do have a wireless DMX built in, but we don’t use it in a permanent installation. We hardwire everything DMX just so it’s 100 percent go, especially if it’s a house light. But especially for the more modern, contemporary churches, it adds such an element to their worship service because most of them use the big video screens and they have moving backgrounds on these screens. They usually have a color for each song, and so now instead of just dimming the lights, if the color of the song is purple on the screens then they can change their whole room to purple and then the next song comes and it’s blue, they can change their whole room to blue. It’s a huge environmental change as well as just overall getting rid of conventional lighting that costs a lot of money to run and creates tons of heat.
That’s a lot of stuff to get working together. I was going to ask you why you went with the Elation fixtures – price, reputation, features? It sounds like all three.
Yeah. We really don’t have any complaints other than the wireless DMX, which is probably okay, but in a permanent situation I’d rather have the hard wire. It actually works on a 2.4 system, which is what Wi-Fi works on. So if you were to pack a church out with a thousand people and everybody’s on their phone on the Wi-Fi, then the channels could get pretty heavy and then you might drop a light or something like that every once in a while. Other than that, we love the fixtures. Like I said, we do them a ton and honestly we have not had a single issue with any of them.
Where is the lighting control point located?
The control is back in the front-of-house booth and we used Jands Vista for control. It’s a pretty simple setup. We’ve found that it works great with volunteers. It’s very visual so you can see all your fixtures very easily and if you lay it out and you set it up properly it’s very easy for a volunteer to sit down and click through a song and hit all the cues. It’s a two-universe setup, so we’re going out one universe and actually running through a bunch of Doug Fleenor wall panels and then going to a splitter before we go out to all the house lights. And then the other universe is going out to the stage to control the bars and the other LEDs and stuff that are one stage.
I was going to ask you about the Doug Fleenor wall panels, too. How was it putting those up and getting them placed right?
They’re pretty solid for what they do. It’s not a software, it’s a hardware piece. Once you get them in place and you get them set up and you know how to set up the jumpers in the air and make sure all the settings are correct, they work great. Again, they’re affordable and they are pretty rock-solid when it comes to reliability, but the way we used it in this scenario is pretty cool. They have a front lobby in this building and they wanted, or needed, separate control in that room at the same time they were having control in the main room, so when they walk into the lobby they can turn the lights on without it affecting what’s going on in the room. You can do that with the Doug Fleenor panel if you set it up properly. They give you that versatility to be a little creative with it. And then obviously as soon as the Jands Vista lighting computer is turned on, the wall panels are deactivated so someone can’t walk up and bump a panel during service and turn all the lights on or off. They’re only active when the computer is off, which makes it easy for when cleaning people come in. They can just come in and push a button and they have lights. They don’t have to worry about trying to go up and turn on the lighting board or the computer.
Now we’re going to shift to Garrett Walker from Crown Design Group to talk about the sound and video installation. Let’s start with the speaker system and work our way back.
Garrett Walker: The church itself is a very young church, especially for Venice. And they do a very contemporary, upbeat, big, loud worship service. So we needed a system that was going to be loud enough and articulate enough to express their style of worship. We went with Renkus-Heinz. We did four CF-151s, which is their 15-inch. We did the powered version. We did four of those for the tops just above the stage, and then we did two Renkus-Heinz DR-18s, which are their dual 18 subs. They’re active as well. So between all of those speakers, we really got the output and the horsepower that they needed to get the party started.
That’s main house, so how do they do the stage monitoring for all of the live bands?
All of their monitors are in-ear monitors so they don’t have any stage monitors except for one for the pastor. The pastor likes to have a speaker just on stage so that he has a little bit of feedback, and he hears himself. He doesn’t have to feel like he’s yelling. But other than that, all the instrumentalists, all the vocalists are on in-ear monitors. We supplied them with Shure PSM series in-ear monitors, and they work great. They sound great. We haven’t had any issues with them frequency-wise. And it’s definitely a new thing for them because they went from four wedges to in-ear. It definitely came with a couple of learning curves, but overall it’s saving their ears. It’s a lot better sounding in the room, obviously, because you’re cutting down on all that extra noise, and each vocalist and musician gets a mix exactly like they’d like. So it turned out really great.
So what do they use for front of house and monitoring as far as the mixers?
For front of house, they have a Behringer X-32, and they run all their mixes off that board. So they run mono for their ears, which just means that we go into a single transmitter. We go into a left and right, but you set the packs up to be focused on left or right pan. So really they get kind of two different in-ear systems out of one transmitter. That’s the only way we could get all the mixes that they needed for the X-32 because obviously the X-32 has 16 out and that’s it. So there was a couple of fun workarounds that way. Obviously we would have loved to get them all stereo in-ear mixes, but it just wasn’t in the cards or the budget for this project.
So you did everything wireless using Shure gear?
Yep. Shure in-ears and Shure microphones as well. Shure has a new line of digital microphones and these in-ear monitors. The microphones we used were the QLXDs and the cool thing about them is they come with these rechargeable batteries and battery docks. The in-ear monitor packs and the speaker packs that they use for their headset microphone use the same rechargeable dock. It’s a great thing for the church. They don’t have to buy any more batteries; they don’t have to worry about batteries dying on them. Everyone has a place to put their microphone or their in-ear monitor pack. At the end of service, all they do is walk up to their recharging dock and put it in and they know it’s going to be recharging the whole week and be ready for them for the next week. So it’s a convenient little system that Shure has come up with and I know the church is loving it. When I was a technical director it seemed like I couldn’t buy enough AA batteries. It kept coming and I never had enough of them. So it’s been a huge, huge plus.
Well, this was a big sound system to get installed and set up right, so how long did it take you to get all of that done? Was there a big time constraint with a tight deadline to have it all done?
There are always time constraints. Obviously, when you’re the AVL guy you’re there at the end of the project. Hopefully it’s dustfree. Hopefully you kind of have the place to yourself. I’ve never seen this to be the case. So in this case it was a bit tight, but we ended up coming and doing all that we could at certain points in the project and then we were waiting around for other tradesmen to do their part. So it was a long process. We’d do a week here and then we’d have to wait on electrical and we’d come back a week later or two weeks later and we’d finish up. Obviously once we got all the speakers and projectors and lighting bar mounted and rigged up and we had power, it doesn’t take long after that. Tuning the system was probably a day of ringing the room out and analyzing it and just playing reference tunes through it to make it sound good.
I was going to ask you about the Symetrix DSP as well. You’ve got zones set up for it? How did you do that?
We did their Jupiter 8; it’s a pretty cool little 8 x 8 DSP processor. We’ve gone through their training and used it for years, so I kind of know my way around it very well. We use it for distributing the audio between all four speakers, the main speakers and the subs, and also a couple of different ins and outs that go to their foyer. So they have a foyer environment with separate distributed audio feed, a 70-volt system. With that Symetrix unit, we give them like a little controller board where we preprogram it to be able to pick sources and do volume changes and all these different things. And it’s kind of an easy place for them to go and turn the whole system on or off or change the audio feed that’s going to the foyer. It’s a very powerful little unit that we use quite often.
And I believe you also installed a Hitachi unit for the projection.
Yeah, they got a big Hitachi projector on a 16’ x 9’ Da-lite screen. I think it was an 8,500 lumen projector we put in there. They have a lot of videos that they play and even during their worship they have moving backgrounds with lyrics so we want it to be a very striking part of their stage design. We went with Hitachi, which are great units to use. They have one of the lowest return rates for projectors, which is huge because these churches don’t want to have to worry about a projector Sunday morning not turning on. It’s just not worth it.
Yeah, when that single big projector goes down during an actual service that’s going to really change things. Sounds like you did it just right with a lot to get just right but this one is done, so what have you got coming up for Crown Design Group?
We’ve always got a lot going on. We’ve been very blessed to have a lot of different people, different projects calling us up all the time. So we’ve got a lot going on. We’re working on some very large audio systems that we’re really excited about. We’re working on a couple of new building projects that have been in the works for a while. So right now we’re in some early construction phases on some of them. A couple design builds that are going to be buildings in a couple of years where we got in on the ground floor and we’re working with them from day one.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, MANCHESTER, TENNESSEE
In an effort to modernize their services with live music, the First Baptist Church of Manchester, Tennessee had to have a complete sound system revamp and they called in Scott Oliver with Centerline Audio Visual Company, based in Hendersonville, just outside of Nashville.
SVC: Lots of audio stuff going on there I’m sure, being that close to Nashville.
For First Baptist in Manchester, Tennessee, Centerline Audio Visual Company is a firm believer in the smallest footprint possible for stage monitors.
Scott Oliver: Oh yes. It’s an audio-rich, home studio-rich environment. The lion’s share of our business is with churches, but we do everything from commercial facilities to schools. We recently did the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. We’re about to do the racetrack across the street from the museum. And we’ve done a few recording studio installations here and there, but primarily it would be churches
How big is this place? What’s the seating capacity of the sanctuary?
You could pack them in there. You could probably do about 800, something like that. Not a huge, huge place.
It looks like a hard ceiling, hard walls so how are the acoustics in the church? Is it carpeted?
Well we’ve got of course carpeting on the floor and then there are fabric-covered padded pews, but yes there’s a lot of hard surfaces. Especially the walls, it’s all red brick, and then the ceiling it’s just the stained hardwood and then there’s actually some stained glass in there as well. So yes, there’s a lot of reflective surfaces. There is a little bit of drywall on the back wall, but it’s a very reflective, very reflective room. The only saving grace with the room as far as acoustics go would be the fact that it is a slight trapezoid and it’s a trapezoid both in the vertical and the horizontal so it gets taller as it goes from the stage to the back of the room and then it gets wider as it goes from the stage to the back of the room. So that does help some.
So what was the main challenge on the First Baptist Church of Manchester?
When we do a design, we go through a full prediction process, you know, trial and error with the speaker systems that we’re thinking about using and would like to use, but through the prediction process there’s always a lot more failures than there are successes. So that takes a fair amount of time, but I would say we really try and keep it simple. We don’t want a whole lot of unnecessary speaker elements in the room creating a whole bunch of destructive interference, so we use as few speakers as possible. But the biggest challenge, believe it or not, was hanging the subwoofer because we had to move a lot of pews out of the way and unbolt them and that sort of thing, and bring in a lift and get the sub up there.
I noticed you went with Ashly Audio amplifiers, the nXp Series amps.
There were several reasons that we picked Ashly. One of the biggest reasons is their support. There’s a lot of amplifier companies out there that they make great products but the thing we like about Ashly is they have a huge product line and they’re very supportive of us dealers. So we’re sort of hanging our hat on Ashlys for the most part. In some of the bigger churches where we’re doing Danley Jerichos we’re using the Danley amplifier, but in the smaller ones like this, we’re pretty much defaulting to Ashly. I just can’t find enough good things to say about those guys. It’s just a great company, a great product. If there’s ever a problem, it’s within 24 hours that we have an advance replacement in our hands. And it’s great just to be able to dial a phone number and talk to one of the guys that designed the amps when we have questions.
One of the trickier things to deal with on the live performances is probably how they do the stage monitoring.
Oh absolutely. We’re a firm believer in the smallest footprint for stage monitors, the smallest driver possible. And if you’re going to use in-ears, then that’s great too. Even at First Baptist Manchester they will actually use their Allen & Heath ME hub, the actual box itself – the control station – they’ll plug that into a powered wedge. In-ear monitoring is becoming very, very common. But if it’s stage monitors, buy small ones, as small as you can get.
And then it’s balancing single voice intelligibility with live music without a big reconfiguration in between. Did you have to set up the Protea DSP for single voice and balancing music?
Well believe it or not we’re handling that way before we get to the DSP. It’s really funny. Today I just met with an architect on another church we’re doing. One of the things we discussed were the ALCONS of a room, which is the articulation loss of consonants. That is the root of intelligibility in a room—if you get the ALCONS correct, and we like to be way below 10 percent. Then when you go to the DSP, you’re just calibrating the speaker system overall to try to make it as flat as possible. I’ve got a lot of years in recording studios and I actually design with the idea that it is a critical listening environment and what do you do in church? You boil it down to the lowest common denominator, you talk and you sing. Those are the two most important things. So we first design to make sure that articulation is the voice. That’s paramount. That comes before everything else. And then we treat the room acoustically depending on whether or not it’s a high-energy church. We may not treat a typical Southern Baptist church the same way we would a rock and roll church. But as far as the DSP goes I want the room sonically to behave like a big control room in a recording studio and so we like to get it as flat as possible.
The main attraction of this was the Danley speakers. I think you used the Danley SM-100B for the main house. What was the selling point on these? You’ve probably used them before.
Yeah, we have and I’ve spent a fair amount of time working in recording studios so I’m very attuned to what a reference monitor sounds like and the accuracy and detail and things like that. Those are the things that I look for. One of the things about all of the Danley line, but especially the SM-100B, is it sounds like a really beautiful reference monitor. It’s just a gorgeous-sounding speaker. There’s nothing about it that’s harsh. It’s very full-range. I think it goes down to maybe 50 Hz or something like that, but it’s just a very pretty, very beautiful-sounding cabinet without lying to you. It’s very accurate. If you’ve got a great console in front of it with great amplifiers and a great room, the next thing is there’s just nothing to it. It just will almost run itself.
And I think they have some plans at some point to do some acoustical treatment.
There is a plan to do that and yes we are going to have to do that. As with any type of room that has these materials we of course have a pretty large buildup of energy in the 400-500 Hz range. So we’re going into some two-inch and three-inch thick absorbers placed on offsets, about three-inch offsets off the walls. And based on the calculations and some of the Ease data that we obtained when we built the model to put the speakers in, we think that’s going to be adequate. I don’t think we’re going to have to do anything to the ceiling at all.
So probably another feature of the Danley speakers, since you don’t have the acoustic treatment in yet, is their ability to have a very tight pattern in keeping sound off the ceiling and walls.
You’re always going to have time alignment issues somewhere in the room. There’s just no way around it. But the great thing about this energy horn design is it’s perfectly time-aligned from the time it leaves the front of the box. So your clarity in poor acoustics is great. It’s huge. Sometimes you’ll even hear people say we don’t even need acoustic treatments and that can be the case, but generally it’s because they have been listening to their old system for so long and this is such a drastic improvement that they think, ‘well hey, this is good enough.’ But once we actually do the acoustic treatments and they begin to sound like a big control room, they’re completely convinced. I mean it works really well in a bad acoustic environment, but in a great acoustic environment, it’s off the charts.
You used the Soundcraft SI desk. Is it pretty simple for volunteers to be able to operate it for the services without being intimidated?
Absolutely. I’ve been installing digital mixers since they were first introduced. The one disconnect that we had for years is the designers of digital consoles were in other countries. A lot of them were in England. We had some in France, Austria, Japan. A lot of these designers didn’t understand the worship culture in American churches. They didn’t understand that these were going to need to be operated by volunteers, but they did see the fact that there was a huge market for it. And they did finally start opening their ears and listening to suggestions, complaints, whatever. This newest generation of mixers, has gotten tremendously better. And the Soundcraft we used is – I don’t know how they could make it any easier than what it is now. If I’m in a situation where I need to train someone how to use it I can now actually spend some time training them how to mix as opposed to just running the console--they can also focus on the actual craft and art of mixing.
In this church you’ve got brick walls, you’ve got a lot of beautiful exposed wood beams on the ceiling and you don’t want to spoil that with the rigging. Who did all of the rigging on this one for you?
We used Barlow Harlin of Harlin Technical Services out of Bowling Green, Kentucky. He’s a certified rigger. Unlike a lot of other riggers Barlow actually comes out to the job site weeks before and he has a full fabrication shop and he goes back and fabricates all the rigging – the mounting plates and the cabling and everything. When he shows up he’s already aware of what kind of challenges he may have and he’s already thought of them. I hand him the Ease coordinates and we step back and wait for him to ask questions, which generally he doesn’t really ask many. He’s a true professional and he really knows what he’s doing. [Timestamp: 8:54]
When you got all of that rigged up, how did you test the system?
We put pink noise through it and we used Smart Live and Earthworks mics and we basically do the alignments just like you would any other system. And then of course a lot of listening. We’re like anybody else. We have our certain playlist. And then we will show up for the first, maybe through the second, service while they’re getting acclimated to it and if something needs to be changed or if we felt like we missed something or should have done something different, we come back in later in the week after the service and apply a few tweaks. If you design it properly you don’t have a lot of speakers in the room. I mean ultimately my goal is to have sort of like a recording studio control room. You’ve got a left monitor and a right monitor. And for the biggest part of the room I want it covered by those two mains. Now if we need downfills we may add those or if we need wings or something we may add those. But I want at least 90 percent of that room covered by just two speakers. And when you do it like that what you have is almost no disruptive interference and when you go to calibrate, it’s a piece of cake because you’re not fighting so many different sources and you’re not fighting phase cancellation and things that.
And then you have the big test on the first live service. How did all of that go?
It went great. They were finally understanding what was being said and sang. Before this they didn’t even have subwoofers and we got that big Danley DBH218 up there so now they’re enjoying a bottom end that they never had. And then there are some churches that actually believe the Holy Spirit lives in the subwoofers and so when you get it kicking, that’s when people start clapping their hands and raising their hands. When we see that too we know we did our job right. When the overall worship experience is such that the entire congregation is engaged regardless of their age then we feel safe with turning the keys over to the owner and leaving it with them to use week after week when we’re not there.
For Columbia Community Church in Richland, Washington, they’ve been doing a lot of upgrades as they’ve grown and they’ve gone to some LED fixtures, a combination of Elation and Chauvet Pro using a Hog software based controller.
COLUMBIA COMMUNITY CHURCH, RICHLAND, WASHINGTON
Columbia Community Church in Richland, Washington upgraded to LED lighting for the sanctuary but they needed better control on them so they called in Bill Burke with Ted Brown Music to work with church Tech Director Grant Howard on a solution. They installed Furman AC control modules and now it’s literally a turnkey operation.
SVC: What sort of place is Columbia Community Church? From what I’ve seen about it, the growth of this church has been absolutely phenomenal and they do have live music.
Bill Burke: Yes, they have live music. They actually have four venues in the building. We’ve done work in all the venues, but the primary focus of this work was in the main sanctuary where they do contemporary Christian worship; loud volume levels contemporary worship, lots of lights, lots of audio. Pretty rock and roll so to speak.
And they had a problem to solve with lighting control? What was the lighting control problem they called your guys in to fix?
They’ve been doing a lot of upgrades as they’ve grown and they’ve gone to some LED fixtures, a combination of Elation and Chauvet Pro using a Hog software based controller. But they had no way to conveniently turn them off. Of course they could black them out, but the fixture is still powered on. And the only way they could actually turn the electricity off to them was going to the breaker panel and flipping the breakers. So they wanted to come up with a more convenient way to solve that problem as we were doing other upgrades in the room. The conversation started and we were able to come up with a pretty elegant, yet at the same time affordable and more importantly a rock solid option for them.
And the central job this time was to install better LED lighting power control so you used I believe, the Furman MP-20Qs?
Yeah. We used the mini ports, the MP-20Qs, and the CN-20MPs in a combination with some of their existing Furman products so that they can basically remote on/off all of the fixtures from a centralized location.
Okay and that works by either dry contact or low voltage line run down to where the lighting control is, I think.
Yeah. They have the key, if you will, the RS-1 from Furman key that controls the whole system at front of house and then control cable is extended to the various Furman units. So they turn the key and within 5-10 seconds all of the fixtures that are controlled are actually powered up. And then of course they take control with their Hog software and controller.
So you mapped out a time for access to keep out of the way and what did you do when you got in? You had to get the Furman power units close to where the lighting instruments are hung.
Yeah. Basically with the Furman units we replaced existing power receptacles and so I got a snorkel lift in above the stage and changed out all the receptacles above the space and then also ran the control wire to each outlet. The first thing we did, obviously, was scheduling and then we had to clear workspace, clear parts of the sanctuary to bring the lift in and then of course ensure that the power was down and change everything out, wire the contact control cables in and then test. And then we were able to hang the new fixtures and of course aim them with help from church staff to kind of get them roughed in where they wanted them.
And these are multi Furman units operating in parallel on low voltage lines?
The controls are, yes. The Furman units themselves actually are a receptacle basically replacing electrical outlets. But the control, the on/off of each receptacle, is controlled with control cable.
And they’re all just connected together; it’s all on and all off.
It looks as though there was some real work and consideration into how they light this stage. Is it very different working with the LED lighting? I know it’s far less power draw, but how about the lighting technique itself?
It’s considerably more efficient, obviously, with LED versus conventional but more importantly they have more options. They have a lot larger palette to deal with. It’s more efficient for them to have multiple scenes, obviously not dealing with conventionals and gels and that type of stuff. It gives them more of an opportunity to showcase different worship emotions, if you will. And obviously the color palette is such an increase in choices and the colors are so rich and so dynamic.
I know that some churches like to have one part of their service lit in one color theme and then change the theme for another part. Do they use the moving fixtures quite a lot? Why did they want those?
Primarily for worship right now. We have a couple of moving fixtures actually on the platform and then we have several moving fixtures basically located above the congregation. It’s really just for worship. During the actual sermon it’s pretty tame.
So give us the layout on the place. Where is the lighting control located? Is that and the front of house mixer located in the same place?
Yeah. They’ve got a control or front of house sound booth area towards the back of the sanctuary, towards the back right-hand side if you’re looking at the stage. Located right behind that they have a broadcast room because they do remotes – they broadcast the sermon remotely to other venues and of course do recording.
How do they distribute the video to the remote venues? Is it done on CAT6 twisted pair?
Yes, we ran CAT6 to the remote venues from the broadcast room, if you will. And then they of course hit the projectors or the displays in the remote rooms.
I saw some pictures of this stage on various online sources and it looked to me like they have one or more projectors mounted somewhere over the stage.
The space has three projectors. Typically the left and the right projector are the same content and the center projector is independent content, but they do at times actually run content on all three screens simultaneously – one large image.
Is that going to be IMAG or hymn lyrics, something like that?
Both. They have a camera in the sanctuary, but it’s typically lyrics or background photos, pictures. Anything from the typical pre-service announcements—I call them the commercials—to the actual content during service.
Did you have to do some things differently to keep from washing out the projection?
Yeah. We’ve got barn doors on all of the fixtures that are mounted on the ceiling and then they’re very careful on their uplighting, not to wash the screen out. We spent quite a bit of time actually aiming the fixtures and that was all with church direction. So it is a priority to ensure that the image quality is represented on the screen and at the same time to have a dynamic worship experience with the lighting.
And you previously upgraded the sound console to a DiGiCo mixer. What model did you put in there for front of house?
We put a DiGiCo SD9 in for front of house. They had a larger format Mackie analog desk in and through a wide variety of conversations we were able to work with them and they decided that the SD9 was the way they wanted to go.
That’s got to make a lot of difference in training the volunteers in the front of house sound.
Yeah. That’s been a conversation. It’s an ongoing conversation. The church does have some staff that’s very technical. They do a very good job. And of course, when installinga digital console, a lot of the work is in the setup and training the staff on using it, and then training the volunteers to use it has been an ongoing consideration. And overall they’ve done a very good job. A couple of notice-able things, the quality of audio was greatly improved and then just the speed and the convenience of using a digital console has made a big difference. Recalling presets of course, using the tools correctly.
So how do they connect the mixer to the stage sources? How do they get to those sources from the stage?
We took the existing stage boxes and ran them to a new rack that was installed actually underneath the stage to the digital IO for the DiGiCo. And then we ran CAT cable from that up to the front of house.
Once that’s installed I would think it would be a good bit simpler than it was with all the old analog stuff, chasing ground loops and all that.
It definitely cleaned up the system, made it a little bit more convenient for change over and that type of stuff when needed. And overall, it’s a very efficient system for them to use.
And with live music being so much a part of their services, how do they handle the stage monitoring?
For the most part they’re all in-ear and if they do require a wedge for some reason they do have a couple of wedges they kept. But in general the entire worship team is on in-ear.
With all of the sound and lighting changes that went into this, did you have to plan for any changes in the electrical system?
Actually no. They had a pretty good infrastructure to begin with and changing to the LED, we became just more efficient. We did actually install a couple of receptacles in different places but that was more of a convenience than a need. And so overall the system was there, it’s just being used more efficiently now.
I’ve read from several sources that the congregation at Columbia Community Church is rapidly growing. There are some churches now that really seem to be on the accelerator for new members and this looks like one of them. Are there more AV system upgrades planned?
The best way I can say it is the church is constantly upgrading. They are looking at some additional expansion that’s going to be in the near future. Trying to figure out the best way they can use the space they have is probably the forefront of the conversation. In general they’ve been blessed with double-digit growth but it’s been fairly consistent for quite some time, so they’re doing something right. As far as the next stage they’re going to have to add to the building. I’m not sure what that looks like yet, but when they get an idea of what they want to do, I hope to be involved in the project and I hope to work alongside them to continue to meet their needs and their congregational needs. And if we could just end on the note, that the important thing is always the message. So whether it’s the worship or it’s the spoken word, just remember to keep that as a priority.