You are probably all familiar with environmental projection by now; the ability to create a palette of color and light to turn the walls in your sanctuary into a completely different space, through the use of projectors and limitless creativity. As a matter of fact, your HoW might already be employing environmental projection to augment worship series, or for special occasions. However, if you aren’t using environmental projection but want to, here’s the basic list of things you need to know.
First rule of thumb: whatever projectors you use for environmental projection, they need to be bright enough to overcome the ambient light in your room. Remember, the projector is like the paint brush of an artist; transferring your vision to the canvas of your sanctuary. However, that canvas won’t always be the ideal medium for your creation. In other words, you aren’t just projecting on screens that are specifically designed for projected light, but also onto the walls, the ceiling, the architectural nuances of the room, or a combination thereof. The colors and type of material you are projecting to will play a role in the way your finalized image looks, and brighter projection will often help soften (or eliminate) problem spots on your creative canvas.
You’ve got the projectors you need, but how are you going to create the picture you want to paint your room with? This is where presentation software comes into play – and there are a lot to choose from. In fact, you might already have access to some of these at your church already. Images can be created with something as simple as PowerPoint. However, like most things in life, you get what you pay for. If you really want to make an impact, spend some money and purchase a presentation software with more options than PowerPoint offers, that will allow you to manipulate and control your creative images in ways that the relatively basic ‘slide’ feature of PowerPoint doesn’t. Some software to consider: ProPresenter, Easy Worship, Media Shout, ProVideoPlayer and Arkaos.
Keep in mind, you will also need to be able to designate the display surfaces for your image. This is called mapping. Mapping allows you to create a virtual room/area that will mimic your display environment, including any architectural features you will be projecting on, and blocking out areas where you don’t want the projected image to be displayed. Some worship software has this ability built in, but you might need to purchase additional software or a multi-screen processor that will allow you to do this. Once you’ve mapped out your content it will transfer via your projector to display in the designated environment.
Before you go out and spend your money, research the features of the software you are considering, and look for examples of environmental projection displays they have created. Talk to other churches doing environmental projection and see what software they use. By knowing your options, you’ll be able to make the best decision for what your church will need.
Creative People and Content
All environmental projection starts with a vision. What is the environment you want to create and the emotions you want to convey with your environmental projection? How will you create or get the content you need to see your vision come to light? There are several companies that provide creative content for environmental projection, including ShareFaith.com, Shift Worship, Worship House Media and TripleWide Media, to name just a few.
If you are serious about environmental projection, the best thing you can do is research it. Contact an environmental projection specialist or check out their blogs – Camron Ware (VisualWorshiper.com/blog) and Luke McElroy (www.lukemcelroy.com) are great sources of information. Keep in mind, there will be a learning curve as the various elements come into play, so factor in training your technical team. And, once you’ve done your research, talk to an installer that will help you translate your environmental projection vision into reality.
Environmental projection, when done properly, adds a visual element that augments your message, and elevates worship.