H.O.W. Wide Focus: EastPoint Christian Church

by Bobby Boyer
in Features
EastPoint Christian Church is now among the largest churches in Maine. They recently opened a church campus in a 92,000-square-foot former big box store in South Portland, Maine.
EastPoint Christian Church is now among the largest churches in Maine. They recently opened a church campus in a 92,000-square-foot former big box store in South Portland, Maine.

Events United Helps EastPoint Christian Church Turn a Big Box Retail Outlet Into a Mega Church Campus with Lighting and Video

First-time visitors driving to EastPoint Christian Church can be forgiven if they think their GPS suddenly went haywire. There on their right is the sprawling Maine Mall; and over there is The Home Depot, followed by a Best Buy. Driving along, they might wonder, “Can this land of big box retailers be home to a house of worship?” Indeed it can be, especially if that church is as forward looking and diversified in its mission as EastPoint Christian.

Founded in 2004, EastPoint Christian has already grown into one of the largest churches in Maine by focusing on being an accessible part of the community as well as a house of worship. In keeping with this commitment to serving worshippers in a variety of ways, the church moved into a 92,000 square foot former big box store in South Portland’s busiest shopping area on Mother’s Day, 2017.

Tying this large campus together is an audio, video, lighting, acoustics and systems control package from Events United. Understandably, the Londonderry NH production house kept flexibility in the forefront of its plans when working on the building, which includes a 1,600 seat auditorium as well as an indoor soccer field, gym, 100-seat café and children’s play area.

“This building serves a variety of purposes, so our design had to be flexible enough to play a lot of roles,” said Tim Messina, owner of Events United. “At the same time, however the lighting had to create looks that were suitable for a church. Ryan Lane, our lighting designer; Jon Martell, our lead video designer; and Donald Van Slyke, our project manager; all coordinated their efforts to create a flexible system that could work for services and other functions.”

The production setup is multi-purpose in design.

Lighting

Key to this multi-functional system is the 60-by-50-foot lighting grid installed over the front of the auditorium’s proscenium stage. From this vantage point, lighting fixtures can cover a wide area of the room and perform a range of functions, from front washing the entire stage to creating silhouettes and audience lighting.

“Ryan Lane laid out fixtures for the opening plot in a way that would give an array of layers for the church to work with,” said Messina. “We also designed the grid with plenty of power for lighting and other elements that can be added in the future. The idea was to maximize flexibility.”

Included in the light rig are 12 Rogue RH1 Hybrids, 16 Ovation E-160WW ellipsoidals and two Maverick MK2 Spot fixtures from Chauvet Professional. The 330W Rogues are used to create texture on stage with their two different effect prisms. Changing this texture, says Lane, creates different moods for the contemporary musical performances that the church has at the start of services and for the special events. The Ovation LED ellipsoidals provide key lighting, while the Maverick MK2 Spots are used for solos and room texture.

Also on the grid are 24 Rush MH2 moving RGBW washes from Martin. Located mid-stage on the grid, they are used for specials on the band and to create front line silhouettes. Rounding out the grid are 22 Martin Rush PAR 2 Zoom washes, which top-wash the entire stage.

A pair of 10-foot pipes with lights drop down six feet from the overhead grid to provide added texture and mid-air effects. Each pipe has two MH2 fixtures and one Rogue RH1. The lighting floor package is made up of four additional Rogue RH1 Hybrids, which are used for extra texture, back washing and aerial effects.

The lighting setup includes Rogue, Ovation and Maverick fixtures from Chauvet Professional.

Video and Audio

Beyond lighting, video was also crucial to the transformation of the big box into a house of worship. “The church wanted to begin using I-Mag for their services, with the ability to add additional cameras and outputs in the future,” said Martell. “We installed a Ross Carbonite Solo system for its flexibility, power, and affordability. With one full ME and two MiniMEs, this switcher is a perfect fit for the church now, and allows them to add on an additional switched feed using a MiniME in the future. The entire video system is routed through a Blackmagic Design 40x40 video hub located in the control room.”

Events United installed two iMacs in the control room. Each iMac has ProPresenter installed with the SDI module enabled and is used for lyrics, video playback, and slide presentation. An enabled alpha key on one of the iMacs allows simple keying of lyrics and lower thirds. Three Sony PXW-X200 cameras were included for I-Mag and recording. Two Blackmagic Design HyperDeck Studio Pros were installed in the control room to record each service for the church to archive and post online.

The building itself is full of other video elements. Because the church designed the building as a community center, there is digital signage throughout. A Mac Pro in the control room provides digital signage through Pro Video Player to three TVs in the main lobby, while a Mac Mini running ProPresenter provides additional content for the 30+ Sony TVs throughout the building. These TVs are fed through two Blackmagic Video hubs, which allow them to show a variety of content, from digital signage to a live program feed from the auditorium.

Events Unlimited provided the lighting, video, audio and acoustic treatments.

A pair of 16-foot Da-Lite screens provide visual support in the auditorium, with content ranging from I-Mag to pre-produced video content. Additionally, a pair of 65-inch Sony TVs are hung from the lighting grid upstage for worshippers in the first rows of auditorium.

EastPoint Christian’s audio system was designed for both weekend services and other events. “This is a very wide room, so we deployed a d&b audiotechnik xA-Series line arrays consisting of four hangs of 10AL and 10AL-D boxes,” said Messina. “We have 12 d&b 27S subwoofers under the stage for even coverage. The acoustics of the room were a challenge due to the big box store design, so we used 200 16-by-48-inch baffles in the ceiling as well as 60 two-inch wall panels for absorption and 24 diffusion panels on the walls to reduce the RT60 time.”

For the 1,400 worshippers who attend this mega church every Sunday, services never sound or look as if they’re taking place in a former big box store. Thanks to a comprehensive AVL plan, a building that was once a discount furniture center has taken on new life as a progressive and engaging church.