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Adding the V to AV for Worship, Part 1

Jul 1, 2010 10:06 AM, By Bennett Liles

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OK, and you mentioned rear-projection. I believe you used Pro Display screens and you suspended those. How exactly did you do that and how did you set up the rear screen projection?
Benedetti: Well, on the main far left and right walls of the sanctuary, in the front there, I suspended two Pro Display Pro Diffusion screens. Those are rear-projection substrate screen. The size of those screens was 60x96 in a wide-screen format. What’s nice about the Pro Display screens in that particular model of the screen is that when it’s off and there is no image projected onto it, it basically hangs there in a very non-descript light gray sheet, which is a lot more appealing to our customers when we show them that, particularly for houses of worship to try and get away from that big white block of screen that either comes down electrically or is static. That big white block statically does not work very well in a lot of houses of worship. It’s OK when there’s something on it, but when there’s not, architecturally there are very few churches, particularly houses of worship, that that sort of scenario fits into. So the Pro Display Pro Diffusion screens fit that bill really well.

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Adding the V to AV for Worship, Part 2
With an existing audio system, the Calvary Lutheran Church decided to expand the video coverage of its services with a PTZ camera, DVD recording, rear-screen projection, and flatscreen monitors. ...

There’s another interesting fact about that particular model screen that helped drive this: It’s the fact that that screen’s reversible in a rear-projection application. It has a shiny side and a matte side. If you put the shiny side toward the audience, the picture quality is really phenomenal. It mimics looking at a large plasma display. It’s just brilliant. The only drawback to that in certain applications is like plasma displays, you have that glossy surface there which is prone to reflections. In this particular situation, one whole wall of this sanctuary was stained glass, so you can imagine the reflections that would come in from that onto the screens. We experimented with putting the shiny side out and reversing the screens and putting the matte side out. By putting the matte side out, it virtually eliminated all the reflections on the screen. The trade-off was a little bit softer image than you would have if you put the glossy side out but certainly not a compromise in any respect. It’s still a very nice sharp picture and it solved all their problems with reflections coming in through their stained glass, which they loved the ability for us to offer them those options. We actually, when we went in to do the installation, had one of the screens hanging shiny side out, one hanging matte side out and let them make the decision as to which direction they wanted to go, and that’s a nice option to be able to throw out there to them. [Timestamp: 10:01]

Well, that’s always a good thing. I figure clients like it when you can give them something of a choice they can actually see in front of them and then you can let them decide which way they want to go.
Gracyalny: Yeah, what was really neat about these screens too, Bennett, is that we were able to custom design the way that they were hung. We used a rear-bottom extrusion bar on the top and bottom of the screen and then we used clips and fixtures, metal hardware, along with aircraft cable to suspend the screens so they appeared as if they were floating in the sanctuary. [Timestamp: 10:31]

Now how do you control those projectors? Those were Sanyo projectors, right?
Gracyalny: They were the wide screen WXGA 5000 lumen.

Benedetti: They wanted to keep their system really simple and there were budgetary factors involved. We did not put a traditional touch-pad-type control system in there. It really didn’t warrant it number one, and they would rather put their available funds elsewhere. So for control of the projectors, we chose to simply extend the included handheld remote controls back to the video control center and rather than use those remote controls in the IR mode, they actually became hard-wired remotes to the projectors that were available at the video control center, and it gave them complete control of the projectors for a very, very minimal cost. [Timestamp: 11:34]

Kept the cost down, and it also gave them something, I would imagine, they were much more familiar with.
Benedetti: Correct, and it has all the benefits of your standard remote control that would come with the projector that everybody is comfortable with any ways, along with the reliability of a hard-wire running between it and the projector so you are not relying on infrared technology. [Timestamp: 11:57]

And you put some flatscreen monitors up there. Of course, you had to get signal to those. What format signal did you run on the video and were there any problems running cabling and stuff like that to them?
Benedetti: Running the cabling to all of those displays, we opted to go with more of a traditional RGBHV signal distribution set up, and part of that was in fact budgetary and part of it was that from a wiring stand point and distribution stand point, it was a very simple thing to accomplish. In any house of worship, there’s always a, in a retrofit situation, a challenge of getting those cables from point A to point B without really impacting the architecture of the actual structure there. What we do and we’ve had pretty good success with this in the houses of worship—and we’ve been fortunate, they’re not all like this—but we’ve been fortunate in that most of the houses of worship, particularly the older ones, that we seem to run across do have basements in them where they hold events, and having a basements below the sanctuary gives you an ideal cable path to get from the back of the sanctuary up to the front of the sanctuary or wherever you really need to go without actually having those cables run within the sanctuary. What’s involved in that is onsite technical visits and coordination with the electrical contractors in the area who are working on the project. It involves putting in the core drills between the sanctuary level down to the basement, but once you have those core drills between the two floors, it’s just simply a matter of dropping the cables down from the sanctuary level and dropping them down to the basement level, running them where they need to go and then coming back up into the sanctuary. It makes for really clean installs and really brings down the installation costs as well. [Timestamp: 14:11]

It’s great that you have a basement or some other area that you can get into rather than some modern and very economical church design where they’re on a slab or something.
Benedetti: Here in Minnesota, we get a lot of severe weather out here. Most of those churches, particularly the old ones, were built with that in mind to have those cellars to go to in the event of weather conditions. Most of them do have basements here. [Timestamp: 14:38]

You’ve got some control racks. Now where did you put the racks and what all is in those?
Benedetti: To be honest with you, there’s not really extensive rack mounted equipment on this job. We wanted to keep the control out of sight, so we opted to put that upstairs in the balcony where the choir is and the organ player and such. And what we did, rather than traditional equipment racks, we set them up with more of a video editing type furniture that you would typically find in an editing suite, which is more desk oriented with built-in racks and places to put your monitors and your control equipment and more of an ergonomic set up that is more conducive to being comfortable and using the equipment rather than have it just be staged in racks and have a industrial look to it. [Timestamp: 15:42]

OK, sort of like a multimonitor workstation type of thing?
Benedetti: Exactly. All the control is literally taken care of by one operator who sits at a desk. He has all of his monitors in front of him and everything that he needs to get to is within arms reach right in front of him on the base of this desk with all the outboard gear that does not necessarily need to be handled for the live presentation being in racks below that. [Timestamp: 16:16]

All right, so that sounds like you probably didn’t have a whole lot of problem running power to all that and having to have a lot of power to operate a lot of stuff.
Benedetti: No, having it set up like that actually really simplified the power distribution in there because everything, rather than having a control center and head-end racks, it’s all in one place. So in terms of powering up the actual system, it literally takes place, with the exception of the monitors and projectors, in one location. [Timestamp: 16:50]

Well, of course, it’s always a challenge to hold the costs down and still meet the clients’ expectations, keeping it simple so you don’t have to go back and make a lot of changes. It’s been great having you both here, John Gracyalny and Michael Benedetti of Graybow Communications on the Calvary Lutheran Church installation. In part two we’ll get more into the DVDs, the Xantech control distribution, and the Vaddio PTZ camera. Thanks for being here for part one.
Thanks Bennett. Thanks for having us.

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