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Celebrating Renewal

Jim Kumorek • Church VisualsJune 2019 • June 16, 2019

Celebration church overhauled their light system

Celebration Church Revamps its AVL Systems for Greater Alignment with their Ministry Efforts…

Shaun Barbour, associate pastor at Celebration Church in Raleigh, NC, notes a “pretty big missional shift” in the church’s vision in the past year or so that “forced us to articulate what we do, why we do it, and how we do it. We shifted to emphasize of the evangelism part of the church, including outreach to community and getting more exposure. One of the things we evaluated was our online broadcast — we were not capable of doing it with the quality we felt was appropriate.”

Part of the problem was failing components of their audio, video, and lighting systems. “We had to keep a fan blowing on our switcher to keep it from overheating,” Barbour says.

The Chauvet Ovations control the light spill on the screens

To deal with the AVL needs, the church reached out to Provision Audio Video Solutions in Wake Forest, NC. “We value working with a local company,” Barbour states. “When we have a problem that we can’t resolve, Provision is right there for us. John Linden, the owner, has a real heart for Christian ministry.

“We asked Provision for help with improving our streaming quality; increasing our camera angles; and to match who we are as a church with technology that helps us get to where we’d like to be,” adds Barbour. “We’re not a large church, and we don’t want our in-person presence nor our online presence to feel out of place with who we are. We relied on the Provision team to guide us in finding the right balance.”

Colors create a peaceful mood on stage

‡‡         A Productive Partnership

Provision AVS’ Linden was happy to lend a hand. “We know what we’re looking for in a client, and Celebration is a good fit for us. They wanted a relationship, not merely a contractor,” Linden says. “We couldn’t have designed what we did without being a part of the staff conversations leading up to the actual work. We had lots of discussions to understand what makes them who they are, so priorities could be established to guide the investments on those things most important for their goals.”

In addition to a new P.A. system featuring a DiGiCo SD9 console, the project had a full lighting renovation as well as new video capture systems. Justin Linville, lead design engineer for Provision AVS, was the primary designer for the system. “We start with a value assessment of what the church already has,” says Linville. “What do they have that could be repurposed? Of the technology pieces that are non-operational, is it worth repairing for reuse, or is it better to just replace it? In most of the cases at Celebration Church, it generally made more sense to replace rather than repair.”

Linville was able to reuse Celebration Church’s existing arsenal of Elation Opti-Tri White PAR LED lighting as accent and house lighting. But other than that, they started fresh. “One issue we needed to deal with was their front lighting truss,” says Linville. “It was placed so close to the platform that it produced heavy facial feature shadowing due to the extreme angle.” To combat this, the church had placed several PAR fixtures on the balcony face, which then also washed out their video screens. Provision relocated the truss further back in the room to decrease the angle of the key lighting and eliminated the fixtures on the balcony face, and then considered what fixtures would get them the illumination they needed for both the live and broadcast experience.

“When we spec gear for an install, there are numerous reasons why we work with the vendors we do. It’s not just about product; it’s about company quality as well,” says Linville. “We look for a good support system within the manufacturer—this is crucial for sustainability. And then there’s the value assessment: cost, performance, durability, flexibility in how the product gets installed and can be used. All these matter to us. It’s far more than just the pricing.”

Cameo Pixbar DTW Pro linear lights

‡‡         Lighting for the Cameras

Linville notes that fixtures were chosen with the cameras in mind. “We installed Chauvet Ovation LED warm white profile fixtures for the key lights on the truss, as well as variable white fill lights around the stage,” he says. “This gives us flexibility in choosing a color temperature that looks good on camera with the video screens in the background, and good control over the beam to keep the light off the screens.

“We added Cameo Pixbar DTW Pro linear lights with 12 elements each as footlights across the front edge of the platform to augment the key lighting and improve the look on video without adding additional light on the screens,” Linville continues. “Cameo Flat Pro 7 LED wash fixtures were used for the stage color wash. The Cameo gear provides professional level quality at more of a DJ lighting price point. Great value, excellent color saturation, solid construction.”

For occasional lighting effects, several Chauvet Pro Rogue R1 FX-B 5-LED RGBW moving-head fixtures were placed at the back of the platform floor. “These fixtures have five independent tilting heads on a single yoke that pans all at once. It’s almost like having five moving lights for the price of one,” says Linville. They also installed two Antari Fazers (hazers that use fog fluid for efficient density and dispersion) to add just enough haze into the air to make the lighting beams visible.

Provision AVS also provided an Obsidian Onyx lighting control system, which gives the church access to four universes of sACN/Art-Net at no cost. “For the price of a touchscreen PC and some sACN to DMX nodes, you get a lot of power for very little money,” says Linville. “I have programmed and demoed numerous controllers over the years. Each has its own unique perks and drawbacks. For the sake of training, programming support,
flexibility, number of features, and cost, Onyx jumps ahead of the pack. Here at Celebration Church, one of the staff typically programs the lighting for the service during the week and a volunteer plays the cues for the services.”

The church also wanted some level of architectural control for getting lights on without having to be knowledgeable about the Onyx control system. A basic architectural controller from Springtree LED with a master control panel in the booth and additional panels at key ingress points provide access to the house and basic stage lighting. “Springtree is fairly new to the control market, is very cost effective, and really wants to reach out to companies with a heart to serve the church,” says Linville. “They sent us some demo units which we carefully evaluated and were impressed for the value.”

Video world backstage

‡‡         Video Enhancements

On the video side of the installation, the focus was on improving their internet broadcasting capabilities with some spill-over into their projection capabilities. Four Marshall HD PTZ SDI cameras were installed to increase the number of camera angles. “With Celebration being a smaller church, PTZ cameras help reduce the number of people required to staff a service,” comments Linden.

Two AJA KUMO 1616 Compact 3G-SDI routers are used for assigning inputs to the switchers and inputs to the projectors and streaming encoder. A Ross Carbonite Black Solo switcher is used for switching both the feeds to the auditorium screens as well as to the streaming encoder. Two touch-screen computers are used as the primary interfaces to the switcher through the Ross DashBoard application, enabling one person to switch the primary M/E for streaming and another to switch Mini M/Es for the projection screens. “Ross arguably makes the best switchers on the market,” comments Linville. “They have great scalability, and they integrate well to almost everything. We’ve installed Ross since the beginning of our company, because of their excellent reliability.”

Renewed Vision’s ProPresenter 6 and ProVideoPlayer 3 are used for lyrics and backgrounds, all being triggered by MIDI and SMPTE timecodes from Ableton Live which is used for loops and click-tracks for the band. (The church has a growing goal to implement timecode triggering with the lighting system over time.)

“We had considered upgrading our screens as well,” comments Barbour, “but this building is rather limiting for us, and we don’t know just how long we’re going to stay in this facility. We didn’t want to invest in anything that would not likely be useful in a different facility, so we chose to remain with our current Panasonic projectors and Draper screens at this time.”

Summing up, Barbour credits Provision AVS as “key to achieving our goals for this project. We have a system that is flexible enough to handle funerals on one end of the spectrum to high-energy worship on the other end. It adds value to our ministry no matter what the event style is.”

Jim Kumorek is the owner of Spreading Flames Media, providing video production, photography and writing services. He can be contacted at spreadingflamesmedia.com.

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