Original article appeared here.
Video projection design in the church market has witnessed a rebirth in the past few years. While just a few years ago, there was a large debate about whether the use of technology, specifically video, detracted from worship, these conversations have largely ceased. One reason for the shift is the explosion in multisite churches that rely on good video production for the message to be delivered by an exceptional teaching pastor at the main campus or one of the main campuses.
One of the reasons that I see cited less frequently is that the technology has evolved to a point that it allows for much more creative expression. When we were stuck to displaying images inside a 4:3 square, everything was just an image inside a picture window. The only thing you could really do to stand apart was to make that window bigger or add more of them. At some point, you end up with a church that looks more like a sports bar.
Fortunately, today technology has advanced to the point that we can get the image OUT of that rectangle which was grown to a 16:9 aspect ratio. Sure, we have high definition everything, but to my mind, the most exciting part is the existence of tools that bring creative expression and experience. This is probably the reason I enjoy working with churches so much.
I have designed campuses for some of the largest churches in the country, but I get just as much enjoyment in exploring creative solutions for smaller campuses with limited budgets. It’s incredible where some inspiration and ingenuity can get you. With that in mind, let’s explore a few techniques that can help you build more creative environments for worship using projection:
Triple Wide Projection
This is one of the simplest methods out there to add more visual appeal to church production. The reason is that it has been so widely deployed at this point. With good reason. Like anything, overuse leads to becoming stale, but I think we’re still a pretty long way from that.
In a triple wide setup, you have three screens. This is typically two screens to the sides of the stage (for IMAG and lower thirds at medium and large churches), and another screen with a different video feed onstage. In some of the churches that I have designed, all three of the screens have been onstage, due to the width of the stage. You have to be careful in this case to make sure you have enough vertical height and you can manage masking onstage.
Using Pro Presenter, a Matrox TH2G and some stock content from Triple Wide Media, you can quickly enable content that will span across all three screens, creating an enveloping experience. Even with empty space between the screens, if the lighting is done properly, the eye will tend to fill in the gaps onstage, creating one fluid experience of imagery. That fact that you don’t have to cover the entire areas with pixels makes this a cost effective approach with a lot of flexibility.