This has been the case for APi’s Communication’s longest running project to date. Back in April 2012 we were approached by St Michaels Church, Alphington, Exeter to specify a sound and projection system as part of their forthcoming reordering project.
This included many other elements such as a new gallery area, offices, removal of the pews and new floor. The construction phase of the gallery and offices duly went ahead in 2015 and we installed the projector and much of the cabling.
However due to an ongoing issue over the removal of pews and replacement flooring, there was a period of two years where the church used a temporary version of the sound system and trolley mounted screens for the side aisles.
In September 2017, we proceeded with the final phase of installation which involved the creation of a bespoke loudspeaker mounting system using post mounted units which sit in front of the pillars and plug into the new floor, to avoid making fixing holes in the architecturally significant pillars.
The HK audio loudspeakers have the advantage of being slim and scalable in use, they can be stacked to create the necessary throw and power handling for most environments and are available to order in standard RAL colours as well as black and white. A separate hidden subwoofer creates a discrete full range system well capable of live music in addition to recorded content and excellent speech.
The sound system is completed by a well featured, but simple to operate digital mixer and iPad remote control app, with a stage box and a range of Audio Technica radio microphones.
Since its inception the visual system has changed, as the passage of time has lead to widescreen becoming affordable and the format of choice. The projector a 4:3 unit is almost 3 years old now so until that is retired the system will be a mix of 4:3 and 16:9 (for the side aisle trolley mounted flat screens, now retained as part of the final solution).
A remote pan tilt zoom camera was always in the mix from the beginning, but like the projector there has been a lot of movement in this area. At the start of the project the only cameras that fitted the budget were from the CCTV stable. Now for a similar price point full HD units with HDMI and SDI are available which created a potential problem as the original camera cabling was for a unit with a composite video output.
Fortunately we were able to repurpose the coax for the SDI camera output and some spare cores in the original CAT5 network camera control cable were used to send a composite signal to the video monitor on the joystick camera remote control. Vision switching is taken care of by a capable Blustream switcher scaler offering 4 HDMI inputs plus VGA, allowing the inclusion of sources from the front of the church and the AV desk including Apple Airplay for wireless presenting.
All in all the sound and projection systems provide a bespoke solution to meet the requirements of St Michaels Church as they are now a church suitable for 21st century worship as well as community events.