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Technology

Technology has been integrating itself very slowly into the Church environment, those who resist it or are afraid of its introduction need these pages, ignore technology at your peril! it’s over use can almost be as painful as its non or miss-use. I pray that this page as a introduction will help demystify technology introduction into the church setting.

LED WALL.jpg
Monitors/Projector/Screens/LED Walls

A digital video projector can be one of the most essential and versatile pieces of equipment a church can install and use. It gives you the opportunity to remove the old dirty, mouldy, dusty and musty hymn books and allows a congregation the ability to worship in the old-fashioned way rather than the forced Victorian experience. While a church may have a projector many fail to realise it's full potential because the lack of a decent projector screen, computer and mounts.  Projectors are being slowly replaced with large monitors and or LED walls. Careful planning is required if this technology is to be implemented effectively. A word of caution do not mount your LED monitors on a trolley this is dangerous practice as it can lead to accidents! If you update or replace a projector, make sure you replace your projector screen. 

In an attempt to help you in the decision for your shopping list you need to consider the following :-

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​1. A digital video projector (see specification below) if required  please if at all possible do not purchase a domestic device as you will be disappointed and you will be frustrated by the results. The cost can range from four hundred and fifty to several thousand pounds or even more depending upon the size of your building and how far away the projector has to be from the screen. If the projector is not static then make sure you buy a case and do not forget a decent stand or mount.

2. A screen is essential and a Nobo bright reflecting surface is a good choice, please take note that they don't last forever, replace them when you replace your projector, the minimum should be every four years.

3. A computer, this depends upon what expertise you have within your organisation, it may be a Windows laptop, Apple MAC and you can even use an iPad or other tablet device. Please note depending upon the device that you use you may also have to purchase an adaptor to connect it to the projector as well as a cable.

4. Cables, you will need power, digital video link, either VGA or HDMI or both and sound. Always buy longer connecting cables than you need as it is easy to make cables shorter but it is very difficult to make them longer. Beware of cheaper cables, also Apple devices are not exactly standard so purchase them from the Apple or dedicated supplier.

5. If your budget permits purchase a UPS for power management for your sound and visual desk and projector (APC Back-UPS 650, 230V cost £120 or less).

Summary

 

What you purchase will depend your budget, size of audience, building and required facilities. These notes are just to get you started for larger venues get the professionals in. Smaller venues keep away from suppliers with one year warranties and if they want to charge you thousands of Pounds/Euros/Dollars. If you are stuck and want to do it DIY then Epson provide a large range of good projectors with excellent warranty and their products are well built (other suppliers are available). You will need a devices that has a minimum of 3,700 Lumens for white and colour.

Once it has all been assembled you then have to purchase software to project hymns, Bible passages, videos and make sure you have a CCL license (see our links page for details).

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Example specification for a church with a maximum of 100 people attending -

XGA (1024x768) native resolution
3700 or more ANSI Lumens (Max.) brightness for colour and white
Long lamp life of up to 3,000 hours (Normal Mode) or up to 5,000 hours (Eco-Mode)
I/O ports include dual VGA-In, dual Video-In, RS232, HDMI would be good to.
3D-capable
Supports closed captioning
Quick shutdown

The minimum specification should be XGA which will provide superior quality to VGA. If you have a larger congregation or audience, you will have to purchase a more powerful projector and you may even have to get more than one or use large LED TVs or the option of a video wall (seek advice regarding the installation of video walls). 

Large Video Screens

A growing alternative to a projector is the installation of large LED or OLED screens, 55" plus are now available and they do not break the bank. Their overuse, however, can be a distraction carefully consider their position and do not buy the cheapest makes available, a 4K ready screen is a sensible purchase. A Samsung or LG 55" would serve well in most small to medium size churches as the main display screen rather than a projector, but you will sacrifice portability.

LED Walls and Displays

Contact a reputable supplier for purchase, installation and or rental.

Video/Camera

Video Recording

To capture a service on video/audio is a great way to inform and maintain a library of church services and conferences. Various options are available to achieve this, and many formats exist. Carefully consider the purpose of capturing video and then decide on the format that you want. 4k is the growing standard to implement but if you are planning to stream you will need require an effective network bandwidth from your ISP and large memory cards to maintain an archive.

An example of a cost-effective set-up would be a Fuji DMC-FZ1000EB bridge camera and a DMW-MS2E microphone with plenty of memory cards and don't forget a good and sturdy tripod. 

You can use iPhone's or iPad's, but they have limited quality and do not provide a zoom capability but are great to get you going and easy to use.

Also create a Vimeo or YouTube account so you can make your video available take note of any copyrighted material that is captured. To help getting your media online see our Getting On-Line page.

Home Theater Installation
Sound Systems

Sound and its quality are very important, if you cannot hear clearly what is said then what is the point of being there, the information below we pray will assist you in providing a platform which will help you. We go to church to hear God's word and experience fellowship with Him and each other (for those who have hearing and have sight impairments see our page on Accessibility) which means we need to be able hear that Word.

 

Many believe that they do not need to amplify, their voice its loud enough. This belief is false because they have not been taught how to use microphones. A microphone helps as it provides a landscape so the high and the lows are clearly heard, and they are of course vital for those who have impaired hearing.

A sound system for a church can consist of the following: -

1. Microphones (static and radio)

2. Amplifier (including an induction loop)

3. Mixer

4. Speakers

5. Audio Player

6. Recording device

Do not be drawn in by those who purchase items with an old look and feel because the worked with equipment 20 or 30 years ago, technology is moving forward. Equipment which is 10 years old is unlikely to work with the technology demands of today.  We would recommend that you do not purchase equipment which is over complicated and unfamiliar. Avoid the purchase of combined mixer and amplifier as this will be a single point of failure and be more expensive to replace and repair (unless you require a portable solution). The sections below we pray will at least provide you with some guidance on what you could purchase.

​Microphones

Static cabled microphones at first seem to be the cheaper option and easier to implement, however, with long cable runs between the mixing desk and the microphone's location the complexity and cost can quickly escalate. The minimum purchase is at least one static cabled microphone, please note you will need a stand, a stand top and a pop shield (which must be replaced or washed regularly). Never leave the microphones in place and ensure that when they are not in use, they are stored in a foam protected case, microphones do not like the damp and extremes of temperature.


Radio microphones come in three basic types a stick, a clip tie (falling out of use) and headset (more popular today). All have their advantages and weaknesses but please be aware of people's prejudices especially regarding hygiene. It is a misconception that a static microphone with a pop shield is a safe option when in fact it is a heaven for microbes and if not maintained regularly a very unhygienic device which means the pop shield needs regular replacement and cleaning. 


If you purchase a microphone do not expect it to last forever. We would recommend Behringer Dynamic Cardioid Vocal, and Instrument Microphones normally sold as a set of three in a case with microphone tops (at £35 a bargain but you get what you pay for, they will not last forever). You will also need to buy pop shields separately and XLR cables to connect them as well and microphone stands.

Radio microphones of the stick variety a SENNHEISER freePORT Vocal Set FP35 (about £150) or AKG WMS 40 Mini2 (about £130). Clip ties cost about the same and a headset will set you back £60 but you will need the initial radio set-up first. You will also require 1/4" or XLR (Full size or mini) connector cables. Try to avoid the purchase of cheap sets of microphones, i.e. radio microphones which are supplied with a base station which provides more than two microphones, the quality will disappoint and its likely to be subject to interference, use of illegal of radio frequencies and if this base station fails then you no longer have any sound.

Amplifier

There are various makes and models available which provide different levels of power. Do not purchase a PA system amplifier, rather an audio amplifier. You may start to see a theme developing here, we would recommend a Behringer EURO POWER EPQ304 for most small environments (about £200). You can also purchase a feedback destroyer to stop the howl of microphone feedback. For larger venues then more power will be required and Behringer does provide various models to suit your requirements.

Mixer

This will depend upon the number of inputs you require, always select a mixer with three more inputs than you need and do not be fooled when inputs have been combined together. They will not give you the flexibility that you are looking for. We would suggest a Behringer XENYX 1204FX (about £150) to get you started but you are limited to only 4 XLR microphone inputs. The mixer also needs to be housed somewhere and do not be ashamed of it.

Speakers

The size and number will depend upon the size of building and power required for a good allrounder we would suggest a Behringer EUROLIVE B212XL-WH (about £130 each you will need a minimum of two, you may also need brackets approximately £30 each to mount them on the wall). Do not forget the cables, which have to run from the amplifier to the speakers, always get cables which are longer as it is easier to make cables shorter, it is always difficult and expensive to make cables longer.

Audio

DVD/Blue Ray player is essential, a CD player as well (try Richer Sounds if you are on a budget) and if you want to record services a good CD recorder (about £400), however, these are getting more difficult to find Tascam CDRW900 MK2 (Black). Instead, it may be more cost effective to use a laptop as it can provide the required functionality, but you will need software. Windows 11 for instance does not have the capability to play Blue Rays/DVDs. Recording of the service via a laptop can then be uploaded to the internet and made available as a download. This may seem complicated, but it is not as difficult as it sounds. Please note the music and video is subject to copyright make sure you have the correct licenses. If in doubt just record and upload the preach.

There are many other manufacturers and suppliers and we have only suggested a few makes and model please ensure you obtain comparisons. If you don't feel confident then look carefully at getting someone to help you, but if they ask for thousands of pounds look elsewhere (depending upon the size of your venue).

Power Protection

Purchase a UPS device for 200W lasting approximately 15 minutes the cost will be approximately £220 (APC Back-UPS 650, 230V). If you have a brown out this will save you projector and PC startup times and keep the microphones working, if you use a laptop this will survive most church power issues, make sure the battery is always fully charged.

** Please note the actual models and suggested prices go out of date almost as soon as they are published. Please look at the respective web sites for the up-to-date details. PM has no affiliation, and we are not sponsored by the suggested manufactures mentioned. These notes are for guidance only and are designed to help you to get you started, we offer no warranty regarding these suggestions. If in doubt seek professional advice **

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