We’re touching bases with two industry experts to see how the last few years of technology improvements have impacted the portable church.
Jim Kumorek · February 8, 2018
To control the wireless system, you would add a Wireless DMX transmitter at the lighting console end as well. Or, there’s another option that Church on Wheels is seeing their clients use.
“A number of our clients have moved beyond the traditional lighting control console,” continues Gardner. “We’ve set up a number of our customers with lighting control with an iPad via an app called Luminaire.”
A wireless tablet solution also reduces setup time, and removes the need for space at a “front of house” position for lighting. This can also be a huge help in venues—both for portable churches and those with permanent facilities—where there’s no space to set up a specific tech position in the room.
With fixtures themselves, LED lighting has shown steady improvements. “It’s getting to the point where LED lighting technology is very strong,” states Banter. “The weight of the fixtures has increased, but the electrical needs are still lower than conventional fixtures. LED used to have a really sad output level, but there is a lot of punch now at a decent price tag.”
On the video side of technology, both Banter and Gardner agree that laser-phosphor projectors (often just shortened to laser projectors) are a big deal.
“Laser projection has been around for a few years now,” comments Banter, “but in the last few years it’s gotten really affordable. We’ve put a lot of laser projectors into our church projects now. They are brighter, look great, and should have a good lifespan. They are lighter than traditional projectors, which is always great for a portable church. Conventional projectors with a lot of punch were big and heavy—Laser is smaller and more easily handled.”
Gardner adds, “Older projectors needed a cool-down period before they could be moved, or else you could ruin the lamp. Laser projectors don’t have that restriction, and can simply be turned off and packed up. You also get a great contrast ratio with them, and the ongoing maintenance cost is much lower as there is no lamp to replace.”
“The power requirement a laser projector is also quite less,” continues Banter. “It used to be that you needed to dedicate an entire circuit to your projector; that isn’t the case with laser technology.”
Digital audio consoles have been making an impact on portable churches for a while now. The use of an Ethernet cable which replaces a thick, heavy analog snake significantly reduces the weight of the audio system.