Published in April 2004

Many Venues, One Message
By Dawn Allcot

Little Rock's Fellowship Bible Church uses multimode fiber to connect AV sources in multiple buildings across two campuses.

      Fellowship Bible Church (FBC), as many churches nationwide, is expanding rapidly. In 1996, the non-denominational Christian church in Little Rock AR, moved to a new multi-campus Worship Center, but it wasn’t long before the 2000-seat main venue couldn’t hold everyone who wanted to attend one of the church’s three Sunday services. “Our church has been growing tremendously over the last several years,” said David Mills, FBC’s audio technology director.

Turned to AV
      Just as so many growing churches are doing, FBC turned to audiovisual technology to help maximize the church’s resources. New AV systems were installed in the Special Events Center (SEC), where New Community services are held, and the Fellowship Student Center’s Edge worship venue, which hosts youth-oriented services. These were connected to the AV sources in the main worship center via miles and miles of multimode fiber. With the new systems in place, FBC can now hold six services at two different times, in three separate venues. Last summer’s installation also included new AV systems in the second through sixth grade classrooms.
      The audio systems in the SEC and the Edge were designed and installed, with input from Mills and his staff, by Ruston LA-based American Audio, Inc. (AAI). Jud Archer, the church’s video director, worked with Grant Fitch of Wagner Media in Houston TX on the video side. The installation within the classrooms was also completed by AAI. The fiber and related components were installed in-house, with help from the church’s computer-services department.
      In the past, the church has handled other AV installations in the same manner, and it has worked well. “We will, typically, have somebody come in and install the systems, and we will work with them on the design side,” Mills said. “We know what we want. They’ll help to implement it.”

Interconnectivity Across Campus
      Fellowship Bible Church is made up of six separate buildings across two campuses, with a street dividing the East and West sides. Because services are held in three venues simultaneously, the church needed a way to transmit the audio and video feeds from the main sanctuary at the Worship Center to the SEC and the Edge. Each service features its own blend of live music or drama but, when it comes time for the main message, the pastor is broadcast live via fiber. “They have the consistent teaching from the same person, the same message,” Mills said.
      A Yamaha O1V accepts and distributes the audio feed from the main worship center to the other venues. The signal is then sent through an Optelecom 9056 audio transmitter/receiver, down the fiber and to another Optelecom 9056, which feeds the audio console in the satellite venues.
      At the nucleus of the video system is a Folsom Research Screen Pro Plus 1604 multi-screen presentation switcher.
      One of the main challenges, Mills said, was to make sure the service in each venue would begin at approximately the same time. To accomplish this, audio and video feeds are buffered into a Panasonic DVD-Ram in each venue, and are played back with a two-minute time delay. “The people on stage can be finishing up their music, and the video operator is cueing up the start of the message, where the pastor comes to the pulpit. The musicians walk off the stage, the lights come down and the service plays back while it’s still recording,” Mills explained.
      A second challenge to creating a “virtual pastor” was in using the audio and video to engage the audience. The goal was to create a system that would bring the video service to life, so audience members wouldn’t feel as if they’re simply watching an image on a screen. “We want them to come in and feel like they’re a part of what’s going on,” Mills offered.
      The pastor makes a point to address parishioners in the SEC and the Edge, making special references to them. But, technology, too, helps enhance the virtual reality illusion.
      The projection screens in both venues are placed center stage. A second screen, placed above and to the side of the main screen, displays PowerPoint images or graphics. If the pastor in the Worship Center points toward the screen, his image in the other venue also points to the screen.
In the Edge, Mackie 1530 powered speakers were added to the left and right of the stage, creating the auditory illusion that the sound is coming directly from the screen.
      “When you have a person actually standing there speaking,” Mills explained, “you have some of the acoustic energy from [his] voice coming naturally off the platform, as well as what’s coming out of the front-of-house speakers. To compensate for the actual person not being there, the audio feed comes out of the speakers and gives you the perception of it coming through the screen. It helps to draw the attention center stage.”

Sound, Video in the Edge
      As the center of FBC’s youth services, the Edge worship venue features contemporary praise bands and high-energy services. Seating is designed for 400 attendees at Sunday services, but the room is large enough to hold up to 1000 people, leaving plenty of room for continued growth.
American Audio president and founder Gwin Edwards outlined the main needs for the Edge. “We needed a system with extremely high clarity and tremendous volume and range. Stereo was a strong concern in there,” he said.
      “We had high expectations for quality of sound in the room, and for the coverage to be even throughout the room,” Mills added.
      In addition, the venue is used as a gymnasium during the week, with rock-climbing walls, basketball hoops and lots of activity. “It’s used continuously throughout the week, so we can’t have the system out on the floor,” Mills said.
      American Audio installed an EAW KF730 line-array system for the front end, which provided good sound quality in small boxes.
      To provide multiple mix positions and maximum versatility in the system, two mixers were used: an existing console located in the loft, which was used as part of the previous center-cluster system, and a Yamaha DM1000 digital mixer in a rack. A Whirlwind multi-pin connector and 24-channel splitter, along with a custom mixer output switching relay from American Audio, allows the operator to switch mixing capabilities from the DM1000 to the loft. For Sunday video services, the operator wheels out the digital mixer to the FOH position.
      On Sunday mornings, the gymnasium undergoes a transformation in which stage extensions are added, curtains are brought out around the stage area, and architectural lighting is dimmed to allow for better viewing from the Eiki projectors. “It changes the whole look and feel of the room,” Mills said.

SEC: ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of FBC
      As a multi-purpose venue hosting singles gatherings, contemporary gospel bands, lectures, weddings and Sunday services, the Special Events Center is what Mills described as “the Swiss Army Knife of our campus.”
      The new audiovisual systems in the SEC Video Venue had to be able to handle the Sunday New Community services—a more informal gathering of parishioners featuring live music and the pastor’s message delivered live via video feed—as well as other events. The room is designed to hold as many as 500 but, to keep the venue intimate, services are limited to 300 people.
      For the fan-shaped room, FBC chose a mono system composed of two EAW MQTD412 cabinets for the low frequencies, two LA400 single 12” horn-loaded subs from EAW and high-frequency horns from Electro-Voice, all powered by Crown amps.
      “The EAW low-frequency [products] worked out well in this room,” said Edwards. “And the Electro-Voice drivers have extended high frequency response.”
Edwards said he worked with digital crossover to ensure minimal problems in the overlap areas of the room.
      A Yamaha DM2000 digital mixer added to the room’s flexibility. “The mixer was chosen,” Edwards said, “because there’s a different function in there every day. They’re building a library of settings for each different event.”
      Mills agreed that the digital mixing console, with its ability to save and recall scenes, makes it easier for the church’s 45 audio volunteers to operate the system.

Themed Environments
      While parents worship in their choice of three venues, junior members of the church are invited to attend classes in new high-tech classrooms, each of which features a themed environment ranging from the second-grade HMS Gospel clipper ship setting to the sixth grade Yukon Ho wilderness adventure. Each classroom provides a mini-theme-park-style experience, with suitable theme music, puppets and decor that immerses students in the illusion. “It’s a great way to communicate,” Mills said, likening each room to Disney World.
      Of course, just as in a theme park, the audiovisual equipment had to blend into the surroundings. Two Renkus Heinz TR-61s, with 150° horizontal coverage and rotatable horns fill the entire room. “They’re mounted way up in the ceiling,” Mills said, “so you hardly even notice that they’re there.”
Companion powered subs hang from the ceiling for optimal coverage on the low-end.
      Because non-technical volunteers would be running the show, the equipment also had to be easy to use. Sony SRP X700P digital mixers made this possible. “We have been able to bring instructors up to speed on the operation of the X700P very quickly,” Mills said. “They hit the power button, turn on their mics, push up the fader and they are ready to roll.”
      With the ability to pre-set, store and save all of the settings, the mixers make it easy for instructors to focus on delivering the message to the students. FBC purchased the units from Harris Audio in Miami FL, and all systems were installed by American Audio.
      From a cost standpoint, Mills said, the units were a logical choice. “Each mixer has a built-in wireless microphone, optional tuner and built-in video switcher.” An instructor can use the Eiki projector to show video from the classroom’s VHS/DVD combo, or PowerPoint presentations from the computer.
      Because the classrooms are also used for conferences, Mills needed the flexibility of multiple inputs. “When presenters come in with their laptop computers, we needed the ability for them to patch in at the front of the room and still be able to control things,” Mills said. “The units have been a very good choice.”

Room to Grow
      Whether the setting is a traditional church sanctuary, a modern video venue like the Edge, a community gathering place or a fun classroom environment designed for youth instruction, FBC has maximized the use of technology to help church ministry. With its forward-looking perspective, the 5500-member church, which was formed in 1977 by a group of University of Arkansas graduates, seems poised to handle any future growth.

Equipment
The Edge FOH
2 Earthworks SR69 mics
1 Juice Goose JG8 power conditioner
2 Mackie SR1530 powered speakers
4 Martin Audio LE400c monitor speakers
1 Neuman KMS105 mic
2 Pro Co HJ-4P headphone box
1 Shure UA844 antenna combiner
2 Shure ULX1 bodypack transmitter
2 Shure P6RE1 IE receiver
2 Shure P6T IE transmitters
2 Shure Beta 56 mics
3 Shure Beta 87C mics
1 Shure Beta 91 mic
4 Shure Beta 98D/S mics
1 Shure KSM 137- Stereo Pair mic
3 Shure ULX2/Beta 87C mics
2 Shure WL51B mics
4 Shure ULX P wireless system
3 Whirlwind Hot Box active direct boxes
2 Whirlwind Imp 2 direct boxes
1 Whirlwind direct 2 dual direct box
Yamaha cables
1 Yamaha MY16-AE digital I/O card
1 Yamaha MY8-AD96 digital I/O card
1 Yamaha MY8-AE digital I/O card
1 Yamaha AD824 digital mic pre
1 Yamaha MB1000 meter bridge
1 Yamaha DM1000 mixing console
Base System
2 Crown CTs1200 1200W dual amps
2 Crown IQ2PIPUSP3 2x2 digital EQ/delay modules
1 Middle Atlantic PTRK14 rack for splitters, relays
7 RDL TX-10B 10K audio isolation transformers
West Penn wire
Whirlwind cable, misc.
Audio
4 Community XLT-415 Quad 15" horn-loaded subwoofers
8 Crown CTs3000 1200-1500W dual amps
10 EAW KF730 portable line arrays w/suspension accessories
2 EAW MX8750 2x8 digital processors
1 QSC DSP3 2x2 digital EQ/delay module
1 Rane RPM26Z 2x6 digital processor w/AES inputs
West Penn wire
Video
2 Eiki LC-X1U projectors (north, south)
1 Eiki LC-X4L projector (middle)
1 Extron DVS204 digital video scaler
1 Extron VSC500 video scan converter
1 Folsom Research Presentation Pro video switcher
1 JVC HR-S5902U S-VHS video player
1 Marantz PMD910 DVD player
1 NEC 1760V MultiSync LCD pre-view monitor
1 Optelecom 9056 audio transmitter/receiver
1 Optelecom 3654AR RGB video receiver
1 Panasonic DMR-E30 DVD RAM/DVDR recorder
2 Toshiba preview monitors
Special Events Center
Base System

AAI Cat5 cables, etc.
3 Atlas Sound SACS1 electrical power outlet box-LV control
4 Community CSX.28M monitor wedges
1 Crown CTs2000 2000W dual amp w/70V out
2 Crown CTs-600 600W dual amps w/70V out
2 Crown CT-400 400W dual amps w/70V out
2 Crown CT-800 800W dual amps w/70V out
2 Crown IQPIPUSP3 2x2 digital EQ/delay modules
2 EAW MQTD412 LF cabinets
2 EAW LA400 single 12" horn-loaded subwoofers
3 Electro-Voice HP6040 HF horns - large format
5 RDL TX-10B 10K audio isolation transformers
West Penn mic wire
1 White Paramedic 26 digital system processor
Digital Mixing
1 Yamaha DM2000 digital console (configured for 24
mic+16 line inputs, 14 digital I/O, 8 aux outs)
1 Yamaha MB2000 meter bridge
1 Yamaha MY16AE 16 AES digital in/out (2 pins)
1 Yamaha MY8DA96 8 D/A outputs (25 pins) @ 96K
2 Yamaha MY8AD24 8 A/D inputs (TRS) @ 24bit
Yamaha 15' AES breakout cable to 8 digital XLR
Video
1 Eiki LC-X4L projector (bottom)
1 Extron DVS204 digital video scaler
1 Extron VSC500 video scan converter
1 Folsom Research Presentation Pro video switcher
1 JVC HR-S5902U S-VHS video player
1 Marantz PMD910 DVD player
1 NEC 1760V MultiSync LCD pre-view monitor
1 Optelecom 9056 audio transmitter/receiver
1 Optelecom 3654AR RGB video receiver
1 Panasonic DMR-E30 DVD RAM/DVDR recorder
1 Proxima 9320 projector (top)
2 Toshiba preview monitors



Additional

1 Bias Peak 4 audio editing software
1 Countryman E60W5TSL earset mic
1 Digidesign Digi 002 Rack digital audio interface
1 Digidesign Protools LE 6.1 audio production software
1 DPA 4065-F head mic
2 Earthworks SR-69 mics
8 Gentner Digital 1 assisted-listening system receivers
1 Gentner TX-37A assisted-listening transmitter
2 Juice Goose JG8 power conditioners
1 Lexicon PCM 91 digital reverberator
2 Mackie SR1530 powered speakers
1 Marantz PMD510 dual-well cassette deck
1 Neumann KMS 105B mic
1 Phillips CDC 925 CD player
2 Pro Co HJ-4P headphone boxes
3 Shure Beta 87C mics
1 Shure Beta 91 mic
4 Shure Beta 98D/S mics
1 Shure KSM 137/SL- Stereo Pair mic
6 Shure P7R-HF wireless in-ear receivers
4 Shure PA770 antenna combiner
4 Shure PSM700 in-ear transmitters
2 Shure SM57 mics
4 Shure U1-UA body pack transmitters
2 Shure U24D/Beta 87C wireless mic units
8 Shure U2-UA HH transmitters w/87capsules
1 Shure UA845 antenna distribution system
4 Shure WL51B mics
1 Sony CDR-W66 CD recorder
1 TASCAM DA-30MKII DAT recorder/player
1 TC Electronic D2 digital delay processor
1 Whirlwind Director stereo DI Box
2 Whirlwind Hotbox DI boxes
3 Whirlwind Imp 2 DI boxes
Yukon Ho Sixth Grade Classroom
1 Da-Lite Director screen
1 Denon DCM-280 CD changer
1 Eiki LC-XNB5M notebook projector
1 HP XW4100 computer
1 HP 1502 monitor
1 Juice Goose 8.0L power distribution center
1 Marantz PMD510 dual-well cassette deck
2 Renkus-Heinz TRX61 FOH speakers
1 Renkus-Heinz PN112 FOH subwoofer
1 Shure Beta 58A mic
1 Sony SRP-X700P digital powered mixer
2 Sony WRU806B62/64 UHF synthesized diversity tuner modules
1 Sony UTX-H1wireless handheld mic
2 Sony UTX-B1 wireless lavalier body packs
1 Sylvania SSD803 VHS/DVD combo
Voyage of the HMS Gospel Second Grade Classroom
1 Audio-Technica AT831CW mic
2 Audio-Technica ATM 75 mics
3 Audio-Technica ATW-R14 wireless mic receivers
3 Audio-Technica ATW-T51 body pack transmitters w/lavalier mics
1 Audio-Technica wired body pack
1 Crest CKS 400 amp
1 Eiki LC-XNB2U projector
1 Juice Goose CQ 1500 power sequencer
2 Martin EM 26 FOH speakers
1 Middle Atlantic DK4 rack drawer
1 Panasonic AG2530 video machine
1 Sony SA-WM40 subwoofer
1 Soundcraft Folio FX 8 console
2 Technics SLPD9 CD players

List is edited from information supplied by Fellowship Bible Church.



Freelance journalist Dawn Allcot covers the AV and music industries.

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