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Expanding to Satellite Congregations, Part 1

Mar 6, 2010 10:57 AM, By Bennett Liles

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So you said they were doing IMAG. Are they doing IMAG with the PTZ cameras?
Mark Siegal: Yes they are.
[In] their sanctuary, all their cameras are PTZ. They have no manned cameras. And they made a decision to that because they needed a more consistent product, and they didn’t have, quite yet, the volunteer base with the knowledge to be able to operate a manned camera. [Timestamp: 7:54]

I would think that would be a challenge to get the volunteers trained on working those PTZ controls and keeping up with a rather maybe an animated pastor out there.
Yeah, they seem to do a pretty good job. That’s all through experience and training, and if one person can control three to five cameras during worship, that’s pretty easy. If you are doing something theatrical that has just passed, [such as] Easter Sunday, and they’re doing their large, large theatrical performance on-stage, you’re better off using manned cameras because you can follow action obviously much better. [Timestamp: 8:25]

So what all did you have to design this control room for them to be able to do up there? Were they doing things like disc duplication or postproduction or any kind of things like that?
Yeah, we basically started from ground zero. They started out like most churches do: They had a camcorder and a single projector and they weren’t really even doing IMAG. What they were doing is they were doing worship—whether it be song, show, or PowerPoint or something—they were just putting text messages [and] graphics up above the pastor to support the message. They weren’t really doing any IMAG, and they were recording it with a camcorder and maybe everyone once in a while they would plug that camcorder into their very cost-effective production switcher to kind of simulate IMAG, but they had so many problems with it because of lip sync—which is a huge issue in IMAG—that they abandoned it. And they just wanted the experience to be that much more in-sanctuary, so they put a significant investment into enhancing the offering in the sanctuary to the people. [Timestamp: 9:27]

And when you said PowerPoint it kind of reminded me of something else: How did you handle the issues, the AC power issues, up in the control room? Did you have to get more power up there?
Of course you did. Of course. It’s not only for that. It’s also for, like I said, we hung three projectors that they’re 220 projectors, and that’s always the case. What we are doing is you are going in and you’re doing a retro fit remodel, and a lot of these facilities that are older were not built to be able to handle the attention to detail with acoustics and lighting. We put lighting grid in here; we put movers and tracker lights in here; we put a lot of other things that they didn’t have before. We probably upped the power service by maybe 100 amps to be able to support the new sound, lighting, and video. The level of the church didn’t require that much power for the video alone. We operate all of the video systems probably sub-4/sub-30 amps. We were able to do all of it in this installation. But yeah, had to bring in the electrical contractor, and that’s a good chunk of the change. [Timestamp: 10:35]

So where do they do their lighting control?
They are doing all of their audio/video lighting and graphic playback all from the balcony. They were not willing to give up seats to be able to place the audio board where it should be, which is down FOH on the main level, not on a balcony, but they were not willing to give up the number of seats that were required to put that on the main level. [Timestamp: 11:01]

Yeah, that’s always a fight that goes on.
Well, that’s where it should be, and audio is important. You have to be able to hear the message—that’s number one. [Timestamp: 11:09]

And I noticed you had a For-A switcher in there. Any particular reason why you went with that one?
There are a number of switchers in the market that fit that bill. Panasonic makes a very nice one, Broadcast Pix makes one, Snell & Wilcox, [and] obviously Sony. One of the considerations was with the For-A is that you have to look at any switcher and you have to pick very carefully the amount of the delay that goes through the switcher because when you are doing IMAG, you can’t have that delay because then you will have a lip sync issue. So that was a consideration, but really no other strong considerations. There are a bunch of switchers out there that all do the same thing. [Timestamp: 11:46]

Mark, this has been great having you here for part one, and in part two we want to get into a little bit about the recording format, the Christie projectors, and a little bit more about how you did the power, but thanks for being here for part one for us.
Thank you.

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