ATLANTA Despite already having an LCD television wall in the worship space at their main campus, the signs for a needed change and upgrade were becoming increasingly evident at Victory World Church's Norcross location.
"We were losing color quality, clarity, and it was becoming a little unreliable," noted Stage and Lighting Director Charlie Pike. The television wall, comprised of "seamless" panels, "was becoming very dated."
The LED video wall install could have been targeted to be completed prior to Christmas, but Pike indicated that with the various aspects of the work, such a plan was untenable. Instead, the new equipment was planned to be "installed at the end of December, and be commissioned by the first week of January. It was a challenge to get it shipped, inventoried and assembled, so to get everything done by the first of January."
Installed on time, the install featured a Kinesys variable speed hoist system for the wall, along with seven Elevation+ units with Liftket motors, all using heavy duty truss. While the church opted to get the project completed without an integrator, Pike noted that a structural engineer was hired to ensure "that we were hanging (the LED wall) with the correct weight."
Overall, the project ran about three weeks, including the installation of the motor system. In all, the church purchased 180 panels from Coleder Display for the main campus, and another 90 for a satellite campus, for a ground-supported LED wall at that location.
The prospect of moving to a Coleder LED wall at Norcross, Pike said, first began to bear fruit a couple years ago, after having seen the company’s product on display at InfoComm. "You could see it across the hall. Some (manufacturers' LED walls) looked great, others did not, but the Coleder looked better than others in that price range. There were others that were more expensive, but it was a great compromise in features, price, serviceability and viewing experience."
After that initial introduction to Coleder, he noted continuing to be impressed with what the manufacturer offered at subsequent conferences. "We looked at a bunch of products at WFX, NAB and InfoComm, and we were drawn to the Coleder products each time," Pike explained. Among the features that particularly grabbed his attention, he noted, was cableless connection between individual LED panels. "Instead, all the connections are made in the bulkhead, where it comes up and down very quickly, as you just clip it and move on to the next (panel)."
The church, celebrating its 28th year earlier this month, has grown to include two satellite locations, and averages around 10,000 each week at its Norcross location, where the LED video wall was rolled out for a first time during services over the Jan. 6-7 weekend. The decision to do it then, explained Pike, was because "our pastor had just written a book, and the release of it was the first week of January." In addition, there was a release of a new sermon series, on the 10 qualities of a disciple, and the work associated installing new rigging, the LED wall, the Kinesys system, moving the old television wall into the lobby, as well as setting up a new campus, made the prospect of completing the install prior to Christmas impractical.
The most challenging aspects of the install, Pike explained, began with the rigging. "We have a Fly Loft above our stage, and the existing mother grid was in the way of the new LED wall. Eventually, we got it the way we needed to go."
Other updates as part of the work included installing a new video server, and upgrading to ProVideoPlayer 3 by Renewed Vision, used for the video wall moved to the church’s lobby. Despite those changes, the church did opt to stay with the same Avolites AI video server that it used with the prior television wall.
"And we had to do (the video wall install) in all of about a week," he added. That tight timeline was needed, so that the church could successfully complete the work with "zero down time," he said.
Despite the multifaceted elements that were part of this install, Pike indicated that the church opted to not seek the help of an integrator, despite having opted to hire Clark, a national integrator with a location in Atlanta, for prior audio and video projects. Such decisions in the past were "If something requires to be engineered," but for this project, he added, "I hired a bunch of extra contractors to" finish the install.
To get it done in such a small window, Pike indicated much of the credit had to be linked to the preplanning done for the installation.
"We didn't have people standing around wondering what the next step was. They knew what that next step was and when it needed to get done. The success was in the planning," said Pike. "If someone is looking to do an install like this, plan, plan, plan."
The final steps to get the LED wall ready for the first weekend in January also included some significant tweaking to the setup, noted Pike. "Our production IT engineer, Paul (Bhandari) spent a lot of time on the processors to get them dialed in, to get them right. Once that was done, everything was perfect."
The timing to move forward on the wall, Pike explained, also was helped along by purchasing at what he deemed was a reasonable cost.
We waited for the right opportunity. When it arrived, we took advantage of it," he said. "I would say (that our expectations) certainly have been met." The need to upgrade at the church was hastened when Victory found itself having to calibrate the prior wall, only to find that "we were losing more color."
By opting to upgrade to Coleder for the LED wall, Pike explained that it wasn't just an update from one wall to another, but that the church saved on expenses in other areas.
"We spent money on the video wall and the motorized system, instead of stage sets. We reduced our annual expenses to have the LED wall as the backdrop, instead of custom building our stage sets," noted Pike.
In the month-and-a-half since the Victory World Church congregation at Norcross first was introduced to the Coleder LED wall at a service, Pike said, the response "has been overwhelmingly positive. The visuals are more impactful and the words are easier to read." In general, he added, "our congregation appreciates a good production, something that looks good and sounds good."