LAS VEGAS For church staff members who might be seeking the latest solutions available on the market, the NAB annual conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center is an excellent place to uncover a wide range of them.
Epson’s Professional Projection Tool is a free piece of software that would allow for a church to setup multiple projectors offsite, with no need to use projector remotes.
Among the hundreds of exhibitors just in the Central Hall on Tuesday, a wide array of such solutions was reviewed among nearly 20 manufacturers during the second day of the exhibit hall being open.
Whether it was learning about the latest audio offerings from microphone manufacturers Audio-Technica or DPA, or some of the video camera options available on the show floor, ranging from Canon to Hitachi to JVCKENWOOD, along with latest in lighting by Robe Lighting, the offerings for houses of worship were notable on day two of the conference's exhibit floor.
One of the more impressive products that seems to have an ideal fit for houses of worship, was an audio/video combination switcher released this fall by Vaddio, the MatrixMIX Multipurpose AV Switcher. Featuring eight camera inputs and two audio inputs, the switcher also features keyed graphics, motion graphics and a built-in audio matrix. In the few months that the unit has begun being sold, Beth Peterson, Vaddio's product marketing manager recalled a recent sale to a church in eastern Florida, which has been using the MatrixMIX running eight cameras, doing live streaming, while hosting their services on their website.
The unit can run HDMI as standard for video camera connections, but cameras can also run off HD-SDI, USB, or HDBaseT connections.
For the company's range of PTZ cameras, the most intriguing feature is the inclusion of free software that allows one to easily adjust camera settings through a web based interface, change color settings, the white balance, focus, auto focus, color shading, and even run through presets for particularly challenging lighting conditions, such as high lighting or for fluorescent lighting.
For DPA Microphones, one of the more noteworthy improvements to its product line released just prior to NAB might at first glance be seen as a product line that has barely changed. Upon a closer look, a series of the company's microphones has undergone a slight streamlined design modification, but really the beauty is in the numbers. In particular, the dynamic range and total harmonic distortion for the d:vote 4099, d:fine and d:screet line of mics.
For example, the d:screet 4063 went from having a solid 97 dB of dynamic range in the previous version of the microphone, to now tout a 109 dB dynamic range, a 12 dB improvement. In addition, that same mic also saw a 12 dB SPL peak improvement, from 123 dB to 135 dB. For each of the models incorporating this new CORE technology, the improvements run comparably for each of them.
Another microphone manufacturer of note at NAB was Audio-Technica, with its newest generation of its 3000 Series Frequency Agile True Diversity UHF Wireless System. Among the improvements over the previous version was the inclusion of interchangeable capsules and a significant improvement on the spec sheet, going from a 25 MHz tuning bandwidth (the range of frequencies a radio mic system can to) to 60 MHz.
For first-time booth visits, one that stood out Tuesday was with IMT-Vislink, which won a New Product Award last year in the Other Video Product subcategory, for their Microlite 2. Having the ability to see how the unit works up close, with the benefit of Ray Shane, Proven Solutions Engineer of IMT-Vislink, was compelling. The wireless transmitter can be controlled using WiFi, logging into the Microlite 2, through a smartphone app or iPad to control it.
Aside from the Microlite 2, Shane also demostrated the IMTDragonFly, a product only two inches wide and slightly more than one ounce in weight, and how it is designed to capture real-time, high-quality video.
Among the lighting companies at NAB this year, one that stood out was Robe Lighting. At the booth, it showcased a wide range of offerings, including their latest in the Spider family of fixtures, the Tarrantula. The 20,000-lumens LED wash beam fixture has begun shipping, with inventory currently in Florida, to the DL4S Profile, DL4F Wash and DL7S Profile. As noted by John McDowell of Robe, "the DL4F is really popular in the church environment," while adding that the DL7F as the "LED flagship" for the company, might for some larger churches in the country, be seen as an ideal lighting solution.
For projector companies at the conference, it was interesting to learn about the latest updates rolled out by Epson, including the Epson Pro L1755U, an extension of the Pro 1000 line, able to deliver bright, large images with 15,000 lumens of color/white brightness, off of just standard 120V power. Having begun shipping in December, the L1755U also can be paired with a short throw lens, the ELPLU03, which also became available in January. Aside from the new hardware offered by Epson, it showed off its Professional Projection Tool, a free piece of software that would allow for a church to setup multiple projectors offsite, with no need to use projector remotes. Able to handle tasks such as edge blending to point correction, as well as grouping projectors together to apply a single change to multiple projectors showed it to be a robust application, one that is currently shipping with new projectors from the company.
Having heard a number of times about how crucial Waves Audio's plugins are for Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana, for their workflow, from Granger production director Tony Staires, I sat down with Jeremiah Clever of Waves, who previously had worked at Elevation Church. He noted how the library of plugins offer an array of solutions for many churches, particularly on handling noise reduction, or from producing various mixes for live sound versus an independent mix for one's online production for streaming.
Lastly, another all-in-one video switcher option on the NAB floor that caught my eye was Panasonic's AV-HLC100. The unit comes with NDI, eight total inputs, but can run also from four HD-SDI or base band connections, as well as one HDMI input. The single box also features audio mixing, to go with streaming and recording, as well as basic graphics and titling. One can run the base system with just a keyboard, mouse, single display, and the AV-HLC100, with this option ideal for churches looking to do video production and stream in a single box, versus requiring an array of five or more, ideal for small to mid-sized churches.