RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT 70 percent of Americans recall digital video displays they've seen for a full month and 55 per¬cent can recall the specific messages they encountered on those displays.
This is true not only in advertising but also in houses of worship. An ever-growing num¬ber of churches, synagogues and mosques are adopting digital signage for a wide va¬riety of uses. For proof of the power of these digital displays, look no further than their congregations, which are more likely to en¬gage with messages and remember them when those messages are reinforced through multiple media channels.
Here are three of the rising digital signage trends for houses of worship.
Today's audiences engage with animated video and exciting sound on every device and screen in their lives, so it's only natural that religious leaders are ramping up the engagement factor of their sermons in the same way.
In many modern sanctuaries, static slide shows have been replaced by vibrant screens showcasing videos, animated presentations, and even song lyrics and sermon subtitles for hearing-impaired members of the community.
For example, Legacy Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, recently installed 60 individual digital screens in locations throughout its facilities. These include a multi-screen video display in the foyer, which livestreams sermons to guests as soon as they walk in the door.
When a guest speaker joins the program, digital signs can display short biographies and photos. And when missionaries come home to present their work, large digital dis¬plays serve as the perfect tool for displaying photos of their achievements and congregations overseas.
Digital displays can do much more than just engage a congregation. They can also inform visitors about events going on around the facility. This saves the trouble and waste of printing up hundreds of paper leaflets, and distributing them to each visitor a bene¬fit that, in itself, makes digital displays well worth the investment.
For example, First Baptist Church of Greenville, North Carolina, implement¬ed digital signage throughout their entire campus, including screens in the main foyer displaying announcements and news, large displays in the sanctuary featuring times of services and other church events.
Smaller boards in other areas offer in¬formation on community gatherings and animated displays showcasing member birthdays, anniversaries, births, and other celebration-worthy milestones. And screens outside each of the campus's classrooms and event spaces can even provide up-to-date details about what's happening inside. In all these ways, First Baptist of Greenville uses digital signage to bring its congregation closer together.
The technique of projection mapping, which turns all the surfaces of a space into an immersive multimedia show, has come a long way in the past few years. Once reserved for sports events and other big-budget spectacles, projection-mapped light shows are now easier and more affordable than ever, and houses of worship around the world are tapping into their power.
In 2012, Spanish artists used projection mapping to display beautiful visuals across the exterior surfaces of Barcelona's Sagrada Familia cathedral. More recently, a Norwegian team transformed the interior of Svelvik Church into a spectacular digital canvas. And in at Elevation Church in North Carolina, animators use a single projector to deliver high-impact multimedia sermons.
And these stunning animations don't require elaborate equipment or huge digital screens, either. With some plain white walls and a few projectors, your projection map¬ping contractor can turn your sanctuary into a canvas for transformative worship services, theater events and special performances.
A FEW TIPS FOR USING DIGITAL DISPLAYS
When you're ready to turn your sanctuary into a projection mapping space, it'll help to follow these basic guidelines to make the process as smoothly and simply as possible:
Understand your audience, space and goals. Start with a clear sense of what kinds of messages you want to convey and who'll be receiving them.
Choose a platform that's simple to in¬stall and versatile enough to expand and adapt as your space and congregation grow.
Make sure to use consistent branding and messaging throughout your entire site, to create a consistent experience for your visitors.
If displays in different areas show their own messaging, make sure to leave space on those screens for site-wide messages (this is known as "zoning" the screens).
Follow these tips, and you'll be well on your way to delivering fully immersive multimedia experiences for your congregation. In fact, once you've made the initial investment, the costs of creating further presentations are typically minimal and week after week, you'll draw larger crowds of fascinated worshipers who can't wait to see your new presentations.
Richard Ventura is vice president of strategy for NEC Display Solutions (www.necdisplay.com). He can be reached at rventura@ necdisplay.com.