First Baptist Church of Springdale, the home church of pastor Ronnie Floyd, is a 16,000 member congregation in northwest Arkansas. As one of the largest Baptist churches in the United States, the children’s program, Kidz, Inc., is unique to say the least.
The church began the construction of a new children’s facility that fit with their stated goal to use “fun praise and worship, hilarious skits, cutting-edge technology, and interactive Bible lessons… to effectively communicate with a visual generation.” The church contacted MediaMerge during the design phase of the project to address their need for effective sound and video systems for the 400 seat children’s facility.
Initially the requirements seemed straightforward: the facility needed a presentation system that was capable of delivering high-impact sound and video for concerts, drama, and video presentations. MediaMerge system designer, Tim Ogletree, quickly realized that a system capable of professional-level productions was necessary, but because the system would be runmostly by volunteers, simplicity of operation would be key to its success.
Ogletree worked closely with the church’s staff to develop a solution that would deliver maximum power and flexibility with scalable user interfaces. This scalability would allow operators with a wide range of skills and experience to effectively deliver top-notch presentations.
The church’s sound system includes six custom-made two-way loudspeakers configured in a Left-Center-Right (LCR) format. A pair of custom-made subwoofers provide ample low-frequency response for the room’s varied uses. All loudspeakers in the sound system areself-powered, which eliminates the need for amplifier racks.
“LCR systems offer the ability to create a sense of envelopment and clarity that is unique,” comments Ogletree. ” Though it’s fairly simple to make it work well in your living room, the difficulties of achieving the same experience in large rooms is often overlooked or completely not understood. Often times the only really good seats are right in the middle. We’ve identified these problems and over time have developed specific system design and implementation techniques to give everyone in the room a ‘center seat’. ”
In an effort to maximize seating in the audience area, the church decided to move the audio booth to the control area on the second floor. Three custom loudspeakers were installed to provide coverage for the mix position in the booth.
Stage monitoring is accomplished via a combination of floor monitors and an extensive personal monitor mix system. For movie nights and other special events the stage monitors can be placed on stands for an entirely different purpose.
“With the church’s plans to use this facility for drama, cinema, and music events, LCR offered the most flexibility and made perfect sense for this project,” remarks Ogletree, “and by incorporating powered stage monitors and a little extra wiring to the infrastructure for surrounds, we were able to deliver a 5.1 surround sound experience for a very minimal additional investment.”
As a result of the required use and location of the center channel, Ogletree located a low-frequency loudspeaker directly behind the center cluster to create a cardioid array. The result of this arrangement is improved pattern control and a decrease in low frequencies directly below the center cluster, reducing the potential for problems on lavalier or headworn microphones.
At the heart of the sound system is a 32-channel digital mixing console which was chosen due to its simple interface and broad set of features.
“The church planned to hold a wide range of events in the facility. The ability to have patching, routing, effects and everything else in one fully recallable package is very attractive in a situation like that,” notes Ogletree.
The video system boasts two 16’x9′ front projection screens. A pair of 6,000 ANSI Lumen DLP projectors provide adequate brightness and resolution for presentation of the wide range of video content used by the church.
The video system in the children’s facility is capable of presenting high-definition video content from a number of different input sources including a custom presentation PC, DVD player, and three HD cameras. Additional sources include a live feed from the sanctuary broadcast system and various auxiliary inputs located on stage and in the video booth on the second floor.
A motorized projection screen is located on the rear wall of the room for stage monitoring. Also, a distributed system located in a separate equipment room allows operators to route audio and video content from the worship area to the lobby and game room areas.
At the heart of the presenation system lies a custom-designed control system. The system provides a one-page touchscreen interface to facilitate switching on the primary video screens, routing to the prompter screen in the rear of the room, routing to the lobby and game room areas, audio-for- video volume controls, as well as playback transport control.
A video preview is built in to the touchscreen interface to allow users to easily cue playback devices behind the scenes.
Additionally, a utilities menu allows the user to easily raise and lower screens and monitor and control power to various system components from the comfort of the video control booth.