Founded by Bishop Patrick M. Schatzline and Lady Deborah Schatzline, with a congregation of just 50 people, today Daystar Family Church in Tuscaloosa, AL, has a congregation of over 1300. Now pastored by Patrick and Deborah’s son Scott and his wife Kristi, it is multi-cultural, multi-generational, non-denominational church with praise and worship that is energetic and passionate. However, this had begun to be hindered by a lighting system that was outdated and costly. For this reason, Nick Campfield of Narrow Road Pro was brought in to advise on a possible solution.
Nick was originally brought in a year ago because of a faulty dimmer. When he spoke to the pastors of the church he found out they were spending a significant amount of money on electricity, which is hardly surprising as they had 80 conventional pars and ellipsoidal fixtures in their roof at 750 watts a piece. Because of the problem with the dimmer, all of these were turned on full, for the whole duration of each service! As Nick continued the dialog with the church’s team he found out about a whole catalogue of other problems, which eventually led to them commissioning Narrow Road Pro to design, supply and install a complete new audio, video and lighting system.
Nick has been in the industry for his entire professional life. Following in the footsteps of his father – who was in television production and broadcasting, he hit the road as a touring video technician right out of high school. In 2004 he began to work for an audio, video and lighting integrator, gaining considerable installation experience and progressing to the point that, in 2017, he felt ready to setup his own company. Nick founded Narrow Road Pro, while also taking on a staff role as a church Video Director. This provided the perfect transition, but around a year ago he felt the time was right to focus all of his energy and efforts on his own business.
“Coming from both the professional world and the church world puts me in a unique position to take professional practices and bring them into the church,” states Nick. “I started the company primarily to help churches be good stewards of God’s money, to help them work out what they need and then put in the right tools for the job. That’s my passion and our company definitely values serving the church over making money. Of course, we do need to run the business profitably. Fortunately, when I decided to focus fulltime on the business, my wife also came on board and she now takes care of the business side of things. We’re small, but we’re growing, and focus specifically on the church market. I think we offer a unique service that is based on building relationships and helping clients to define their vision and then advising them on the best gear to realize that vision.”
This sense of relationship-building isn’t just for the duration of the installation, Nick also provides a full training and commissioning service to his clients often staying on-site for a prolonged period of time to ensure that a church’s volunteer team is able to make full use of their new system. In the case of the Daystar project, Nick was onsite for the three-week install and a subsequent two month period of programming, commissioning and volunteer training. Not only does he feel that giving church tech teams quality education on their new equipment is extremely important, to make sure they can get the most out of it in the long term, he also tries to involve them in the installation itself. Wherever possible, he will use church volunteers to assist his own team in carrying out the install, which not only saves the church money but gives the in-house team a valuable insight into how the system is put together.
“If the church’s volunteer tech team has been part of the installation,” explains Nick, “they will have a much better understanding of the rig they are using from week to week. It means that if they call me and say a light isn’t working, I can walk them through troubleshooting much more effectively. Having as many people from the church as possible with our team during the install helps them long term and makes them more confident using the equipment they have. Because it’s a big thing to go from no color, no moving lights, no haze, no video wall to a setup like this church has now.”
At the heart of Daystar’s new video system is a 19’ wide video wall that provides the centerpiece of the church’s current stage set. It is constructed from ADJ’s popular AV6X LED video panels that offer a 6.0mm (0.25”) pixel pitch and a brightness of 1200NITS. The full screen gives the church over 360,000 LED pixels which they use to display song words, video content and ambient graphics.
“I had used the AV6X in the past on a couple of other installs and really like the way it looks as well as its price point and performance,” enthuses Nick. “I also like the design of the panel – the way it is rigid all the way around – so I knew it would be a good fit for this project. The installation went very well, everything worked great right out of the box with no issues. The volunteer team also picked up on it very quickly, it was easy to teach them how to assemble the wall.”
The flexibility and ease of use of the panels is particularly important, as this won’t be a static installation. The church plans to have a major set change twice each year, which will involve moving around the LED panels. As the team was new to LED video, Nick chose to start them off with a simple rectangular screen, but expects them to get more creative with the deployment of the panels in the future.
In addition to supplying and installing the LED video wall, Nick and his team also put in a full new lighting package that relies fully on LED sources. The motivation behind this was not only to reduce the church’s sizable electric bills, but also to give them a system that would keep the stage cool and require minimum maintenance. The signature moving head of the new rig is ADJ’s Vizi BSW 300 hybrid fixture, which is powered by a 300W LED engine and offers an extensive collection of beam-shaping features. For Daystar’s current set, four of the fixtures are mounted on the truss above the LED wall, while two additional units hang lower down at the sides and a final pair sit directly on the stage. This means that the fixtures surround the screen and frame the central area of the stage.
“We looked at a few other options,” comments Nick, “but the church really liked the hybrid functionality of the Vizi BSW 300, being able to work interchangeably as a beam, spot or wash fixture fit really well with what they were looking for. It gives them the flexibility of using the same light to create aerial effects, project GOBOs down onto the stage or provide color washes at different times within one service. It’s also very punchy, very bright and fit into the budget they had available.”
The hybrid moving heads are complemented by a variety of different LED wash fixtures. Six Elation Professional SIXPAR 300 units alternate with the Vizi BSW 300s on the rear truss above the LED wall and a further nine of these fixtures wash the stage from a front truss, while eight of ADJ’s 12PX HEX fixtures are mounted to a second truss in the middle of the stage. In addition, six of ADJ’s Ultra Hex Bar 6 LED battens are positioned on the floor at the back of the stage, projecting upwards at a 45-degree angle to create a ‘wall of light’ behind the pastor when he preaches. Three of the larger Ultra Hex Bar 12 LED battens are then used to light up set design pieces positioned under the video wall. Finally, the church has also invested in eight of ADJ’s 280W Vizi Q Wash7 RGBW LED moving head wash fixtures.
“I like the Vizi Q Wash7s because they are small, but extremely powerful and extremely bright,” says Nick. “They are also quick-moving and very flexible, with that motorized zoom going from a narrow 5-degree beam right up to a wide 55-degree wash, they are really versatile. At the moment the church has four hanging from the back truss at a mid-level height providing back wash, two more on the stage shooting up and the last two on the front truss serving as spotlights.”
As every Lighting Designer knows, to get the most from moving head beam fixtures, a hazy atmosphere is important. To achieve this at Daystar, Nick opted for ADJ’s Entour Haze Pro, positioned at the back of the stage behind the set pieces. This professional grade oil-based machine requires no warm-up time and, with an air pressure of 101psi, is able to generate an impressive output of 3,000 cubic ft. per minute.
“This was actually my first time using the Entour Haze Pro,” states Nick, “and I have to say that I was really impressed. We had to actually tone it back a little bit, as it soon filled the room! The volunteers picked up the operation very easily as well, in fact, the volunteers picked up on how to use all of the ADJ equipment really quickly. The maintenance on them, cleaning them, learning how to put the rigging on, hanging them… all that stuff was very easy for them to get the hang of.”
Combining Nick’s desire to truly understand what his clients want to achieve with ADJ’s range of high quality lighting and LED video fixtures has proved a winning combination for Daystar Family Church. They have very quickly moved from an outdated setup that offered minimal creativity, to a state-of-the-art system that enhances the worship experience with color, movement and video graphics. Not only does the church now have the tools necessary to deliver this, but also the in-house skills, thanks to Nick’s comprehensive training of the local volunteers as well as including them during the installation process. All of these things are definitely appreciated by the church’s senior leadership, who are extremely pleased with their new setup.
“The church were blown away!” confirms Nick. “The Lead Pastor had no idea it would look as good as it did. Although the sad thing was that we did this upgrade and then the coronavirus hit, so they only had two weeks of people there for services with the new setup before having to go online. But that was actually a blessing, because we had also just upgraded their video system to a nice broadcast setup, with a big fully-equipped control room. So that meant they were able to do online really really well and I have to say that all of this lighting looks amazing on video – I was very impressed by how good it comes out on camera.”
With a flexible contemporary lighting and video system that looks great for the congregation attending in person as well as those watching online, Nick has achieved his goal of delivering Daystar Family Church with a technical setup that fulfils their creative vision. Thanks to the good value represented by the ADJ range, he was able to deliver this within the church’s budget and, thanks to his engagement with volunteers, the local team have the necessary knowledge and skills to get the most out of the investment. Nick is a integrator with a passion for technology and also serving the church, which is what has led to the success of this project and will no doubt mean Narrow Road Pro continues to thrive.