Everyone is asking about it. In our recent article “Laser is it worth it?” we addressed why it is such a hot button and the value-add it brings to most installations. What does a practical church projector system look like for an average sized facility?
Your church project needs to add video projection to the sanctuary. It needs to be unobtrusive for traditional services, yet impactful for contemporary worship. Ease of use for any volunteer staff to operate is critical, as is reliability, longevity, and the overall value. If you are looking for a straight forward solution that requires little maintenance and provides a LONG operational lifespan that provides value without cutting corners that sacrifice your long-term investment, this is the starting point. A system that can grow with you and that will not suddenly fail.
So, your church might already have a projector that has seen better days, or maybe this is your first jump into using multimedia during your services. It is about relevance. When done right, imagery and lyrics can help a congregation receive the message. Done poorly or with technical errors it can be a distraction. So you need to make sure you have a rock-solid solution from the start. Inputs and mixing will only be briefly covered here, this is about getting that video OUT in the best way possible.
Your church might have a layout like this
The first Concept, is to decide on the size and type or projection system you need. There are many rules and calculators out there to help decide, but even they can get complex. Sizes, throw ratios, aspect ratios, lumens, etc. (OH MY!)
We are about simplicity here, so let’s make so.
Nearly all production content and PC choices are wide screen now. So we won’t bother with the 4:3 aspects, nor discuss it further. That ship has sailed for all practical purposes. Wide aspect (16:9) is what we will look at exclusively. Now we look at size. Lots of rules “…Six times screen height for video viewing is furthest viewer, but two times screen height for fine details… “
Sorry, got ahead of myself. There are 3 sized screens that are typical and comprise just over 80% of what I see go out. That’s the 100 inch, the 120, and the 150 inch diagonals. In that mix, I would say your choice should be as big as your sanctuary will allow. An electric screen is a great choice, and we will make it automatic with the system, so that it comes down only when you are using the projector to keep your sanctuary looking clean. I recommend an Elite
Now, the last major hurdle, is where to hang the projector and which laser model to use for brightness.
Again – play the odds. I recommend a 6000-lumen laser as the best of both worlds for brightness and long life value. Prices have come down, and the Barco F80 Barco Laser D7Barco090Z is simply fantastic value. With laser, you don’t lose brightness like you do with traditional lamp projectors, so long term it is typically brighter than a 7500 lumen projector.
So where do you put it? Wherever you need to. This projector has lens options to cover a range of distances so you can put the projector as far back or as close as you need to. On our Elite 150 screen, you have the options to fill it with that projector from 9-98 feet away!
And now you have the hard part done!
You need to get it connected, be able to power it on while its WAY up there, and have the ability to get different video content onto it easily.
So let’s start with the front side, and work our way back.
Use a multi input Switcher, like the VP461, which has three inputs and a built-in scaler (trust me, this is important to stop headaches later) and a single output via HDMI. Plug in a PC, a Camera, a DVD player, whatever you need, and someone just “pushes the buttons” to change what is on the projector to the different sources. From there, let’s not worry about HDMI problems and HDCP. Take the output into an HDBaseT transmitter and from there, a single low cost Cat5 network cable goes right to your projector to send the HD video.
With the Video connected, use the NEETS Echo Plus wall controller, to set up complete control. System Power on, and Power off with an easy button. Controls the screen, projector, and potentially any of your other controllable devices in the system. You don’t have to worry about losing that remote ever again, or have someone forget to power on the projector or drop the screen.
(you could even use the NEETS to allow a phone or tablet to do the same, but let’s save that for another story!)
With all of this, you now have a system for your sanctuary that will last for MANY years. No lamps to go out, no down time surprise. It simply works and looks great. While the investment in laser might seem high at first, when you factor a ten-year operating life vs yearly lamp replacement at four hundred dollars each, the savings are real.
And beyond that, its peace of mind, and not something you have to worry about.
There you have it, at well under $13000.00 MSRP. That’s only $1300.00 a year for a system built to last a decade.
Tell us what you think, comment below!
The Gear List
1 x Barco F80 Barco Laser
1 x Barco Lens Option
1 x VMAX150WH2 Electric Screen Elite
1 x VP461 Switcher Kramer
1 x PT580T HDMI Transmitter Kramer
1 x ECHOPLUS Control System NEETS
1 x PRGUNV Ceiling projector mount Peerless
1 x Bulk Cat5 Cable (300-500 feet)
1 x assorted video patch cables (input devices)
Common Add on options
Automatic Cameras (PTZ) – PT20XSDIGYG2 from PTZ Optics
Camera remote control – PTJOY from PTZ Optics
Blu-Ray Burner/Recorder – SRHD2700US JVC Professional