APi Sound & Visual Logo White Church Projection & Sound Installation

2023 CRE Midlands

The APi Sound & Visual team will be exhibiting on stands A11 and A15 at the CRE Midlands from 8 to 9 November 2023 at Cranmore Park in Solihull, Birmingham.

8-9 November 2023
CRE Midlands (Cranmore Park, Solihull, Birmingham)

Stands A11 & A15

Stephen Neath, Sound & Visual Technican APi Sound & Visual talking to client at CRE

The APi Sound & Visual team will be exhibiting on stands A11 and A15 at the CRE Midlands from 8 to 9 November 2023 at Cranmore Park in Solihull, Birmingham.

Join hundreds of local church leaders, officers and anyone involved in Christian work and ministry in this one-stop shop for church supplies, resources and ideas.

This will be a great opportunity to ask Andy and the team any questions you might have and gain free expert knowledge and advice.

We would love to see you there.

Get your FREE ticket

 The Location:

Ladywell Convent is the home of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood (FMDM), who are an International Religious Congregation of Catholic women who travel across the world helping others through their love and compassion.

Ladywell is one of their largest properties, based near Guildford in Surrey and is surrounded by a beautiful area of gardens and green space, which attracts visitors for retreats and conferences. At the heart of the building is a large chapel, with an incredible hand-built mosaic on the front wall which has been beautifully cleaned and restored in the last decade.

Ladywell's size has increased over the years, but the chapel has always been at the heart of the building, acting as the focal point for prayer and reflection.

A photograph of the incredible mosaic at the front of the chapel, which acts as a stunning centre piece to the space.

The Challenge:

APi Sound and Visual were contacted to provide a quotation for a new audio-visual system, with sound and live streaming on top of the agenda. With a domed ceiling and hard surfaces all around, the chapel is a very reverberant space, meaning the new sound system needed to be designed very carefully to be capable of providing clear and intelligible speech throughout. 

Any live streaming system had to be simple to operate but be of high quality, for it to be viewed by other Sisters across the globe. “An important factor of the design process is always finding out from the client how much they want to interact with the system on a day-to-day basis”, says APi’s managing director Andy Pidsley. “For this project, it was clear that minimal interaction was desired, but it would still be useful to have physical controls when required for things like microphone level adjustment.”

One unique factor which had to be considered when designing the live streaming system was that the client wanted the camera to always be streaming to their website, so it could be viewed at any time across the world. This meant APi had to be sure that the streaming equipment they installed would be reliable enough to cope with this demand.

Our Solution:

APi decided on Audac ultra-slim loudspeakers, distributed throughout the chapel and positioned close to the seating positions around the outside of the space. This ensured that sound did not have to travel far to reach the listeners, which in turn reduced the amount of reverberation the sound system would create.

The sound system could be controlled either by the wall-mounted control panel (pictured below) or through the iPad app which was customised by APi’s engineers to make user interaction as simple as possible.  This gave the users a choice of how they felt most comfortable operating the system.

A simple wall controller which can be used to operate the system.

The constant stream demand of the camera meant APi had to test and implement a unique setup for the camera, which reboots it at midnight every night to ensure there are no issues during the day. This PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) camera gives a variety of shots which can be used during services and a high-quality feed from the sound system is sent to the stream, so those watching online can hear clearly.

APi's custom control interface for moving the camera position was installed in the vestry area, which gives the ability to change the camera view when required during a service.

The Outcome:

Ladywell Convent’s main worship area is now a space where services can be heard and understood not only by those present in the room but also by the members who join in from all corners of the world. 

The camera feed is constantly streamed live to the centre's website, allowing anyone from across the world to watch and take in the peaceful setting of the chapel.

“It is a breathtaking space and I am very pleased we were able to deliver an audio-visual system that both produces the required performance, but also ticks all the boxes for being unobtrusive and not taking away from the architecture of the room”, says Andy. 

This was actually the last of a number of projects completed at the convent, with activity and conference rooms also having smaller audio-visual systems installed by the team at APi.

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St Johns in Burford, set right in the heart of the Cotswolds is a fine grade 1* listed building. The inside has many interesting features that have accumulated over the years since its construction began in 1175.

So unsurprisingly any works to update the sound system and add an installed camera, streaming and projection system were examined in fine detail by the DAC to ensure that the impact on the aesthetics was minimal.

Burford is a very attractive Cotswold town which brings in tourists throughout the year and because of the church's strong links to King Henry VIII, the church has a large number of visitors who stop in while exploring the town. This meant that any audio-visual equipment - especially the projection system - had to be as discreet as possible so that it would not impede on the grandeur of the space.

A loudspeaker cluster positioned on a church column, with a mosaic in the background.

Being a large evangelical Anglican congregation, the church decided that it was more inclusive to turn 90 degrees so that they could gather in a more relaxed theatre-style layout of chairs. However, for more traditional services such as funerals and remembrance Sunday they still need to be able to switch back to the original layout.

This was achieved by adding a 3rd loudspeaker so that with a simple switch the audio orientation can be changed.

The audio system is based on our favourite Allen and Heath digital desk, offering a handy touch screen plus full wireless control via iPad. This is a great step up from their existing digital desk with its microscopic screen and fairly daunting control app. A 4-channel digital amplifier gave us a good choice of equalisation options, limiting and crossover adjustment allowing their existing subwoofers to be included in the new arrangement.

Two remote HD pan tilt zoom (PTZ) cameras were installed in locations which suited both church orientations and were controlled by our own ultra-simple button control pad with backlit displays behind each button allowing the functions to change over various pages of options.

In addition to camera control, this unit also controls the video switching and streaming unit removing the need to understand a potentially baffling array of additional controls. So streaming to YouTube is just a matter of a single button push, with a monitor screen displaying both camera images, the outgoing image and the sound levels.

We set up the audio processing so that the sound was optimised for listening on a device with smaller speakers such as a tablet or laptop, compressing the music and speech to deliver a comfortable consistent level.

Two discreet winch-down projection screens in a large church.

The projection system was successfully installed using two winch-down projection screens, which were able to lift up into the aisle above the archway when not in use. This was important as this side of the church is what you see first when entering the church through the main door, so it was crucial that these screens could disappear from view.

Two laser projectors were installed in the arches on the opposing side of the nave to price a clear and bright image onto the large screens, allowing the congregation to see regardless of where they sit in the nave.

Two projectors hidden just below the arches in a church building.

The projectors were suspended just below the top of the arches, to remain as hidden as possible. The on/off control of the projectors was also programmed into the customised streaming control interface, giving the church a central control panel for both the streaming and visual systems in the church.

On the day the system was handed over we received this message from our customer, “Trial run this afternoon with band practice. All very good and epic sound. iPad App is very easy to use and so great to be able to wander around the church with it”.

To discuss how APi Sound and Visual could assist your church with a sound and projection system, please call us on 0845 5578350 or contact us online.
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