Much of the credit for the video revolution can be traced back to the mega churches that grew en masse in the 1990’s. You’ll be hard pressed to walk into a house of worship today and not find some type of video application in some form.
Nowadays, going to church encompasses a lot more than what’s going on up on the altar. Houses of worship understand that the futures of their congregations hinge upon engaging and keeping the youth of the parish engaged in what the church is offering them. What better way to keep the youth involved than through the power of video?
Video systems will manifest themselves in various ways. In some larger worship areas it may be necessary to use a projector and screen combination to be able to provide a large and crisp enough display to properly suit the entire congregation. In some cases, one or two large flat panel displays may suffice. In some of the mega church settings it may require multiple projector and screen combinations to accommodate a very large group of parishioners.
The fact is that services run the risk of losing some of their effectiveness if the visibility of the message is difficult to follow. It is becoming commonplace for parishioners to follow along with the prayers and readings on front-positioned monitors and screens instead of fumbling with handouts or prayer books. As a result, what was once perceived as high-tech video implementation has now become somewhat of a necessity, especially for many of the larger facilities.
Now let’s take a moment and step back to the low-tech side of video displays. How are we going to mount or hang this equipment? Several considerations come in to play here. Where will the equipment give me the highest and most effective visibility? Does the structure give me ample support to hold these devices? Is a wall mount or ceiling mount more appropriate? Do I want to provide video coverage to multiple areas or to a single viewing area?
Fortunately, there are solutions to each of these scenarios, and they have become much more aesthetically pleasing over the past few years. Projectors have become smaller and more efficient and, as a result, have become much less complicated to mount.
Most video mounting system suppliers offer the popular “yokeless” or open style of mounting format instead of a wrap around style. These mounts are more streamlined and mount easily to the bottom of almost all of today’s most popular projectors. The mounting holes for these projectors are on the bottom of the projector, so the projector is mounted upside down. The technology built into the unit allows for the image to be inverted.
We also need to take into consideration that many sanctuaries incorporate a free-form architecture with vaulted or cathedral ceilings. To accommodate an angled roof, the installer would probably need to use a cathedral ceiling adaptor which will neutralize the pitch of the roof and create the desired 90 degree angle to the floor.
In situations where a drop or tiled ceiling is in place, several manufacturers offer a suspended ceiling mount that fits cleanly within a 2ft. x 2ft. or 2ft. x 4ft. ceiling tile and is secured using guy-wires and safety cables. The projector is attached directly to this mount.
Depending on the manufacturer, these adaptor mounts also provide knockouts for up to four junction boxes to help supply A/V and power feeds locally rather than having to run the cables visibly to the projector. The other part of the projector/screen combo is of course the screen, which will vary in size to fit the desired display area. These are available in fixed or motorized formats. Many facilities will opt for a motorized device that can be out of sight when not in use.
In most smaller worship facilities, a projector and screen combination may not be feasible and thus the use of flat panel monitors (either plasma or LCD) might be a wiser choice. If the installation lends itself to a wall mount solution, you have several choices, including static flush, flush with tilt, and articulating arm mounts. In an application where the monitor is to be mounted at eye level, a basic static flush mount will more than likely do the job. These units have become easier than ever to install and most include a set of mounting rails that attach to the back of the monitor, and a wall mount plate to hang the mounting rails and monitor on. The distance from the back of the monitor to the wall is usually less than 1.5 inches, which gives the installation a very low profile appearance.
In some situations, the monitor will have to be installed somewhat higher than eye level. In these applications, it is popular to use a flush wall mount with tilt to angle the view slightly downward toward the viewing audience.
Lastly, there will be still other applications where you will want the monitor to be pulled away from the wall and then closed against the wall again when not in use. To accomplish this, you will need a mount with articulation. In addition to the ability to pull the mount away from the wall and collapse it again, these mounts offer the ability to adjust the monitor angle left or right (usually up to 45 degrees) and also offer tilt (up to 15 degrees). As a result of this flexibility, these mounting systems often allow facilities to reduce their overall costs because they can address more than one area of video interest with a single monitor. You can expect these mounts, when collapsed, to extend less than 4.5 inches from the wall. Some manufacturers have even begun offering an in-wall configuration for small or mid-sized monitors that allow for all or most of the wall arms to collapse into a wall box recessed into the wall.
In other cases, wall mounting is either not an option, or not preferred. Ceiling mounts are another option that allow for high visibility. The biggest downside to this option is that the installers often do not have the convenience of outlets for A/V and power connections close by, so there may be some creative cable management or concealment issues involved.
When all is said and done, mounting systems may be the low-tech side of a high-tech world, but they remain one of the most important components of any successful visual program. While installers have several choices when integrating, most have chosen to partner with companies that are in the mounting systems business as opposed to companies that are just selling mounts.
It is important to have a program that continues to infuse a congregation with energy and brings them back week after week. They want to able to see, hear, and experience the programs from anywhere they sit. In the end, it all comes back to one thing…a good A/V support program. The combinations are many as it pertains to the audio and video technology available, and there are various configurations you can use to accommodate everyone involved. If you use the “P” principle (Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance) you will most certainly deliver a program that drives home the message through the effective use of high-end technology. At the same time, you will maintain the facility’s architectural aesthetics and design.