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Installation Trends: Expanding Worship

Jan 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Kent Morris

How recent AV upgrades to two churches meet the needs of growing communities.

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In the RNC Room, the image is viewed on a Draper Targa electric screen. As a youth facility, RNC has the innate technical look to complement a video-based sermon and naturally draws media-savvy worshipers. The result has been a seamless broadening of the worship services with few repercussions. Compared to the live version of the speaker in the sanctuary, viewers in the RNC Room have — in Madden's words — “a better visual image of the pastor, his motions, and expressions.” As an added bonus, the traditional core of the church is now able to rejoin the sanctuary they built and bought.

The new system, which has been online for only a short time, has many in the remote room virtually unaware they are watching a video. Part of the installation's success, according to Madden and Doran, is attributed to Jason Brown, the church's technical director. By their account, Brown combines the virtue of technical competence with the rarity of high interpersonal skills, along with a sincere passion for excellence. As a liaison between the church and the integrator, Brown represents a key element of vendor success when dealing with worship clients.

His role has been to take the church's desire to improve the worship experience and mate it to the realities of a hardware installation on a constrained budget. According to Madden, Brown was able to reduce the project to its core application of providing improved delivery of the remote signal while restoring traditional worshipers to the sanctuary room. As with many church projects, the scope of work changed several times as the influx of funds waxed and waned. Brown was able to keep the focus centered on these two goals while making pragmatic alterations to the equipment list. For instance, the fiber-transmission scheme was value-engineered, but the high-level switcher was retained.

Manufacturer representatives form another vital link in the chain of success on projects like this one. For the Open Door undertaking, NPi and Brown depended on Jason Jacquemain, a rep with the venerable firm of C.L. Pugh & Associates. From the heart of the audio upgrade with Electro-Voice line-array and amplifier components to the Hall Research VGA-over-fiber transmission scheme, Jacquemain provided timely logistics and technical support for the vendor and client.

“Jason is one of those reps you count on as part of your company structure,” Madden says. “You just know he will be there when an issues arises and will remain on the project as long as necessary.” Integrators with thriving businesses often point to their field and inhouse reps as critical members of the team. The rep's deep knowledge of the product — and more importantly, the company's inner workings — can smooth rough spots in the installation process when items are back-ordered or not performing as promised. Jacquemain was also vital in bringing a few church members on board with the project by pointing out the recurring savings the church would enjoy by not needing to rent a video overflow system at Christmas and Easter, since those items were integral to the multisite equipment list. He further added value to the project as a designer, taking Madden's information and providing suggestions and options the church could explore.

At an early site visit, Jacquemain asked Don Mitchell — a principal with DSM & Associates — to address the pressing acoustic challenges of the sanctuary, a gesture which paid off handsomely as the room was transformed from an acoustic abyss to a pleasant environment. Following several more site visits, Jacquemain and Brown sat down together and went over the final details.

“As a rep, it's not often I get to see the results of my effort or even interface with the end user to glean their viewpoint,” Jacquemain says. “This project, though, brought together several layers of our industry from manufacturer, rep firm, integrator, and client with a very solid result. I think everyone involved is proud to be a part of this successful endeavor. I know I am.”

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