Across America, Sunday mornings are seeing community centers and high school gymnasiums repurposed into houses of worship, bringing live or pre-recorded worship services into the hearts of local communities. These temporary satellite church locations often need some design planning to be most effective.
As with any meaningful worship experience, the Message and music must be clearly received, with each worshipper fully engaged. In an ordinary multi-purpose community space or gymnasium however, this represents acoustic and visual challenges as well as physical set-up and storage considerations. But, as the trend for satellite locations grows, so have the available solutions.
EVALUATION & PLANNING
The first step in planning a temporary satellite location is evaluation. First, determine the location's available resources. What equipment will be available and accessible? What performance level does it offer? Can you rely on its availability or would you prefer to have a self-contained, support system?
At this stage, engaging an AVL consultant or firm is advisable to guide you through the equipment and staffing requirements and to ensure that your equipment provides the best possible worship experience. The consultant can also help determine budget and project timelines.
Extensive planning up front is key to the project's success, saving time and money both now and in the years ahead. Working closely with the ministry's leadership, a needs assessment can be conducted that will outline the audio, video, lighting, recording and transmission requirements of the location.
SPACE & SYSTEM DESIGN
The next step is design. Once a system is established, it can be designed to meet the venue's requirements, with consideration of the system's capabilities and set-up time restraints and storage and staffing needs.
Your system should be completely contained, easily accessible, and fully deployable within a short period of time. Systems integration firms within the broadcast and staging sectors are recognizing this community outreach trend and developing solutions to help houses of worship grow beyond their walls.
Creating a truly engaging experience requires a "professional" level of lighting, audio, and HD video gear with sophisticated production capabilities. Control of these integrated systems will depend on the scale and performance level of your congregation's musical worship program and capabilities of your operations staff and volunteers. The controls should be ergonomically engineered with surfaces at the operator's fingertips, purposefully placed at the proper height once the cover of the portable wheeled case is lifted or securely housed within.
If the satellite location plans to host additional talent, your AVL partner can recommend any additional gear to satisfy their requirements. In the event your church wishes to further its outreach, you should consider that the rolling cases be durable, shippable containment units.
On site, the unit(s) should be easily wheeled into place and set-up. For the comfort and safety of the congregation, thought and care should be given to the power and cabling needs to avoid potential tripping hazards and distracting, untidy wiring.
BASIC AUDIO, VIDEO & LIGHTING COMPONENTS
Your basic system requirements will include an audio mixer, microphones (wired or wireless), and loudspeakers/subwoofers. The video system should include an HD projector, screen, server, laptop(s) with presentation software, video switching capabilities, and confidence monitoring.
Theatrical lighting adds an immeasurable layer of excitement, focus and, emotion. Lighting elements will include lighting fixtures, control, and housing with all necessary truss, lifts, cabling, clamps, and power. All systems should fit compactly into the cases.
With the proper planning and a trusted partner, virtually any ordinary space can seamlessly replicate the immersive worship experience of a permanent campus. The possibilities and your congregation's reach are limitless.
MICHAEL WRIGHT is president of Technical Innovation's Blue Hat Design and Broadcast Solutions Group (bluehat-design.com).