Posted in education
on February 1, 2016 11:33 am EST
7 Design Tips for Church Video Walls
As a designer, imagine yourself in every seat. What experience would you want to have?
Churches have come a long way from the old days of using church hymnals to guide their worship. Instead of only having to consider organ acoustics when designing worship spaces, designers must adapt to rapidly expanding technology. In the area of worship facilities, video walls in particular are worth noting.
[With video walls], worries about where to place the projector and its potential to interfere with sightlines are removed.
More and more, churches are moving from projectors to video walls. The reasons are numerous. First, there is much more flexibility with lighting. While a bright room would drown out most projectors, video walls can nearly always be seen. Second, worries about where to place the projector and its potential to interfere with sightlines are removed. Third, maintenance is more affordable.
A video wall from the flip side, courtesy of Elation.
The costs of maintaining projectors quickly add up, with bulbs being very expensive and cleaning hard-to-reach projectors time-consuming. Lastly, video walls are largely failsafe since they are still usable even if parts of the screen go out—in contrast, a projector is rendered useless if the bulb dies.
For all these reasons, video walls are quickly becoming must-have technology. And given this trend, there are some important factors to consider when designing a building with a video wall.
Red Walter, product specialist at Elation Lighting in Los Angeles, provides these helpful tips:1. When first designing a facility with a video wall, it’s important to understand these two fundamentally different approaches—either a permanent installation or an adjustable wall.
The permanent wall presents less flexibility but costs less. An adjustable wall is put together like Lego pieces, providing more options such as breaking down the screen into separate smaller screens. However, this added flexibility comes at a price. Knowing which type of video wall will be installed is the first step. Typically, permanent walls are better for traditional churches, while adjustable walls are better for progressive, transitional churches that have creative ideas for their use.2. Given the significant cost of a video wall, it’s critical that churches don’t rush in making this decision, considering long-term needs. 3. Like with most things in design, it’s best to invest in everything upfront.
A video wall can fundamentally change how a room is designed, making it much more expensive to update at a later date. Also, the video wall itself is difficult to retrofit given color variations. Much like a carpet being dyed, colors can vary with different models. A video wall with pieces (i.e. “Lego” pieces) bought over time rather than upfront can look patchwork.4. There is room to be creative with improving sightlines for permanently installed video walls.
Some churches have installed motors to move the wall up and down, and even drop it down in the stage.5. In the planning process, Walter encourages designers: “Imagine yourself in every seat—what experience would you want to have?”
This can be very helpful especially when considering sightlines.6. Before investing in a video wall, churches first need the tech capacity on staff to effectively use the technology.
This is especially true if deciding to select adjustable screens that are more complicated. You wouldn’t want to give a fancy car with a manual transmission to someone who doesn’t know how to drive stick. Designers should encourage churches to recognize their limitations before moving forward. 7. Once a church has decided to purchase a video wall, encourage your clients to work with a reputable dealer and manufacturer.
Given the substantial size of the investment, sacrificing quality to save a few percent off final costs is imprudent.
Building designers can play a key role in guiding churches through the process of purchasing and implementing video walls in their worship facilities. Although these walls present challenges in the design process, they also eliminate several obstacles—and potentially helping to provide a superior experience for church attendees.