Feature Install: Pantano Christian Church (Tucson, AZ)

This is the latest in the CTL feature installs. Our goal is to capture both the ministry vision and technical side of new system installs and updates in local churches inside the Church Tech Leader community.

Pantano Christian Church in Tucson, Arizona is celebrating its new system install with a unique twist on their worship space. Our Church Tech Leaders team recently connected with Duke DeJong of CCI Solutions and Paul Taylor, Worship Pastor of Pantano Christian, to learn more about Pantano’s new system and what their team learned throughout the installation process.

IMG_4780What was the purpose behind the new install?

Pantano Christian has been at its Houghton Road location for many years. The previous system had multiple issues: audio was inconsistent across the worship space and the video screen placement was too high and far from worshippers, along with other technical issues.

Our new system install is a renovation of existing space with floating walls that can rise up, bleachers can pull out, and the auditorium can be expanded to 1,750 seats. This added space is made possible because of two gymnasiums that back up against our worship space. Our goal was to create a much more consistent worship experience free of distractions across every part of our worship space, including extended sections for seasonal services and future growth expansion.

Whom did the Pantano tech team consult with both inside and outside of Pantano in the planning and development stages of this install?

Duke DeJong of CCI Solutions helped Pantano navigate the sales and development process with their project lead Todd Japhany. CCI Solutions employed their Accelerated Collaborative Design process where they spent two hours with Pantano’s senior planning team and production leaders, which included Pantano’s Tech Director, Creative Pastor, Worship Pastor, FOH lead, and Lighting Director. The CCI Solutions team built a projection of Pantano’s desired new system with full specifications overnight and presented their projections to Pantano’s senior planning team the next morning.

What was the general timeline for this install, from initial planning to final completion?

IMG_4783The initial vision-casting meeting was in November 2013. The CCI Solutions team began work in March 2014 with the final install finished just before Easter 2014.

How much did the install change from the initial planning stages to final completion?

Because of CCI Solutions’ extensive experience with system installs, there was very little change from initial planning stages to final installation. The design and development process at CCI Solutions is carefully tuned in to keep system installs on track and consistent with the planning process, including budget. DeJong’s personal experience as a Tech Director also gives him a unique perspective to help manage expectations for both CCI Solutions and ministry staff.

What were some of the biggest obstacles and also biggest “wins” the Pantano tech team and other church staff and volunteers experienced, both as a team relationally and in the technical installation itself?

The Pantano Production and Creative Arts team has been together for a year and a half now. One of the great, albeit challenging, benefits of having a cohesive team is a high standard of positive critiquing. Taylor shared some of the passion behind their drive, “The world comes into church expecting mediocrity and we want to beat their expectations. We want to create atmospheres where people can walk away knowing there’s a God bigger than they think.”

One of the takeaways from the new system install experience was wishing the installation wasn’t right up against the Easter season. Thankfully, the Pantano tech team and CCI Solutions did a great job holding to a firm timetable and honoring each other throughout the process. Our Tech Director Phil Cain oversaw the entire installation process and made sure things were where they need to be.

What are some lessons the Pantano tech team learned from this install that would benefit other churches looking to make their next install?

Installing a new system could potentially grow your relationship with the decision-makers in your church leadership. It was hugely important to hear our lead pastor’s vision and our executive pastor’s perspective on how to best use the resources God’s given to us.

IMG_4799Another lesson the Pantano teams learned was how much a great sound system accurately reflected their band’s overall quality. Taylor shared, “I would highly recommend any church prepping for a new install to thoroughly prepare and coach their band to be at the right level to be processed through an exceptional sound system. We spent a month carefully working with our band members to improve each instrumentalist. We even removed our drum shield and coached our drummers to respond better to the dynamics of the drum in context of a worship environment.” The end result is a better band, both individually and corporately, that’s even more equipped to lead worship each work.

Thank you, Pantano Christian Church and CCI Solutions, for taking the time to share what God is doing in Tucson. We’re excited to celebrate your new system with you and can’t wait to see how God continues to work through Pantano Christian to keep growing His Kingdom.

Feature Install: The Crossing (St. Louis, MO)

This is the latest in the CTL feature installs. Our goal is to capture both the ministry vision and technical side of new system installs and updates in local churches inside the Church Tech Leader community.

The Crossing in St. Louis, Missouri recently finished their new system install in their main auditorium on their Chesterfield campus. Church Tech Leaders recently got a chance to connect with the Technical Arts team at The Crossing to learn more about their new system and what they learned through the installation process.

What was the purpose behind the new install?

14358090449_9ebfee4070_zThere are a number of reasons behind the new install. The Crossing is a multi-venue/multi-site church in western St Louis, Missouri with an average weekend attendance of about 8,000 people. We have four venues on three campuses with the main campus where we broadcast from in Chesterfield, a suburb of St Louis.

The vision for the expansion of the Chesterfield campus is to serve the increasing needs of visitors and staff on all of our campuses. The funds raised in our initial campaign went to improving some aspects of our two multi-site campuses and extra seating in the expansion of our Chesterfield campus. Our church understands the need to make room for others to come and engage in the Gospel.

This install happened on our Chesterfield campus and designed to be expanded in phases. This Phase Three was the final expansion plan for our campus. The install added 400 more seats in an auditorium designed to serve our vision for multi-site church. We included placements of video cameras, flexible floor seating, and a larger stage area with increased production capabilities of Audio, Lighting, Visual, and Stage Rigging. We also increased the size of our video control room and infrastructure to serve our campuses and online viewers.

How did the other campuses support and react to this install?

14358036840_db535a6223_zEarly in the process we set expectations with the tech leaders at each campuses as to what they could expect from us in terms of availability for support during the install. We also encouraged and empowered them to do more on their own during this time, but still assured them that they weren’t on their own. They all did a great job taking more ownership for any systems issues that arose and kept our involvement at a very manageable level. This was a critical part of why the install was completed successfully and on time.

The other campuses supported the install by merely owing their campuses. This meant challenging themselves to troubleshoot and navigate tech systems and installation obstacles that they encountered. The sites also gave us space to dive deep into the Chesterfield system install.

Who did your team consult with both inside and outside The Crossing in the planning and development stages of this install?

On the technical production side of the project, we used Acoustic Dimensions (now Idibri) in Dallas, TX as our consultant. We previously used them for the first two phases of the Chesterfield campus and the acoustics and loudspeaker planning of our other campuses. Our Director of Technical Arts Bill Swaringim has also worked with them on another project at a previous church.

Acoustic Dimensions was the natural choice for this project. They provided expert insight into spatial design, acoustics, audio, visual, lighting and video planning. Because of our past experience with Idibri, we felt that relationship assisted in how well the project succeeded. We also brought on Summit Integrated Systems (Denver, CO) as the systems integrator.

14358225347_66e54260fc_zOverall, we had a really solid experience from first concept to day one. There are issues on any project, especially one of this size. We believe it went as smoothly as it did because of how well the teams of Idibri, Summit Integrated, and The Crossing understood the vision and the relationships of everyone involved.

Who was responsible for the overall product supervision?

Art Kuiper, our Operations Director at The Crossing, and Bill Swaringim, Director of Technical Arts, were heavily involved on all levels of planning and execution of this project. Art was the overall project lead and owner liaison and Bill was over the technical production systems and spaces.

Our TechArts Specialist team, Stan Yoder (Systems Specialist) and Clark Wilbanks (Lighting & Design Specialist) had a huge part in spec’ing gear and working with our consultant and integrator throughout the project to completion.

Please share the general timeline for this install, from initial planning to final completion, including start and finish date/month.

Bill Swaringim, along with the church’s leadership team, was part of the initial concept meeting with Acoustic Dimensions (Idibri) back in 2008. Our team met with the Acoustic Dimensions team in Dallas in early 2011 for what was called a rapid prototyping session. This allowed us to work through the planning of what is now our new auditorium on the Chesterfield campus.

That meeting led into our capital campaign and the development and construction phases of the project. We were fortunate to have our AVLA (audio, video, lighting, acousitics) consultant involved in this project early on. It helped us get further down the road in the process.

We started the physical construction in late 2012. We contracted with Summit to start on the project in early 2013 and were ramping up the install of the production systems by the summer. We opened the new room during the first week of December 2013.

We live-stream our message each service via the Harris Broadcast Selenio via closed fiber network. We do not do any time shift. We were pretty adamant about having adequate time to move these components into the new video control and do proper testing to prevent any issues after the install. Our pastoral teaching team served us well by teaching live in each venue the week before to provide us that transition time. That weekend was Thanksgiving weekend and it was a very special time for the entire church to celebrate what God is doing.

A lot of hard work by many people on many teams helped make the transition into our new space. From day one for the new auditorium, the system was glitch-free and extremely smooth.

How much did the install change from the initial planning stages to final completion?

untitled-7017>The two most significant changes to the original design to the final design both involved the in-room video system. The most visible change was the projection screen on stage. The original design was for a single 30’ wide rear-projection 16×9 screen that would be able to move side to side on a track with a single high lumen projector that would also track left-to-right behind this screen.

The final design has three custom designed projector “pods”. The framework of each “pie-shaped” pod is 6” square aluminum trusses. An 18’ wide rear-projection 16×9 screen is stretched across the front of each pod and black fabric stretched across the sides, top, and bottom of each pod. Each pod also has a bracket at the rear, which holds a Barco RLM-W12 11,500 lumen 3-chip DLP projector. These pods can then be flown over stage (or placed directly on stage) at various positions and angles.

This change gave us much more creative freedom for our stage designs. It also compelled us to make a system change for driving content to the screens. Since we almost exclusively use our screens for lyrics, message notes, and video clip playback, and rarely use IMAG, the original design called for Barco ScreenPro II presentation switchers, which we already owned. We considering purchasing an additional Barco switcher and having one switcher drive each of the three projection screens, but in the end, we chose to go with the Coolux Pandora’s Box media playback system.

Our final design incorporates two Pandora’s Box Dual Players, each with a 4-input HD-SDI capture card. This allows us to still drive lyrics and message notes from volunteer-friendly ProPresenter and PowerPoint, but tap into the power of Coolux for overall screen media and management, including the three in-room screens, as well as a single screen feed set out for other venues.

If you haven’t shared this yet, what were some of the biggest obstacles and also biggest “wins” your team experienced, both as a team relationally and in the technical installation itself?

The biggest obstacle was pushing brilliant people, a defined amount of money and time into a project that we all had big dreams for. The biggest wins are the relationships that were developed, deepened, and protected among our staff team and the construction trades working on the project.

untitled-7217Another significant challenge was the compressed timeline for the project. There were times we frequently had to “drop everything else” to review a design, research equipment, or other tasks (often with very little notice or margin) just to keep the project on schedule. It is a huge win that we successfully completed the install and no one "fell off the bus". All our families are still intact and everyone on our team still gets along. As far as the installation itself, the flexibility of our systems has been a huge win. Already we have repositioned our screen pods in several locations on stage and used Coolux to manage the content with relative ease.

Learning the new Coolux projection screen delivery system was a big obstacle. It was a new technology for us and we had no formal training except the short time before opening of the new room. Our initial lack of knowledge of how this system operated and its limitations gave us some challenges on how we do things on a regular basis, which in turn stretched us to think creatively on how we can support the weekend services.

Now that the install is complete, what has been the overall reaction and adjustments your team has had to make to “break in” the new system?

While people are trying to get used to the differences of the ‘old room’, the overall action is great. The new room does provide us with flexibility we didn’t have before, which means the box is bigger and we are trying to figure things out. That’s a good thing!

Our team is working hard on breaking in the systems. Our audio systems and visual systems have taken the longest to adjust. With a bigger room, ‘livelier’ acoustics, different speaker system, and new infrastructure of our audio system, it provides a brand-new experience we are trying to define. After nine months, I believe we are close to doing so.

We choose to go with Coolux Pandora media server to feed our three projection screens. The Coolux Pandora has provided a steep learning curve. Early on it did affect some of the plans of the Programming team, but today, after training and spending more time with the system, the team is brilliant at running it.

We were able to make much-needed improvements to several areas in our system, which has helped volunteers perform better in their roles. The improvements include return video for camera operators to better preview graphic overlays, a separate broadcast audio booth from video control, an enlarged video control room with more confidence monitoring, shading monitor/scope, and better overall coverage for stage lighting.

What are some lessons your team learned from this install that would benefit other churches looking to make their next install?

1. Include your AVL consultant or design/build firm in your planning of your new space early. Do not assume or believe your architect understands acoustics and integration of production technology. That is alright, we want the architect to do what he does best – make sure all the lines need to be drawn and within code. Adding a consultant to the project will only help you, as the client/end user/financial investor, get you to your vision.

2. Keep your hands on all the information your consultant or build/design firm provides. I understand you are paying these specialists for their expertise, but don’t take their information at face value. Spend time understanding what they are spec’ing and what your needs really are. In our recent project, we saved money by doing this. We took time to process what we are really willing to compromise in an area and was able to save money that helped the bottom line of the project. The consultant has the best for you and your project in mind. They should be directing you to the best for an outstanding outcome. You may find an area that you can adjust to benefit the project with the same or acceptable result for you.

3. You are dealing with people. You are the client and the boss. Respect everyone involved in your project, from the architect to the guy cleaning up the work site in the evening. I developed some cool relationship with guys from all the construction trades. Buying lunch, bringing doughnuts, taking iced water on the hot days were signs of appreciation for their hard work. It was also an opportunity to share about the church and what the space they were working on meant and the vision behind it. By the end, they were bought into the vision. We showed them Jesus in small ways while they were with us.

4. Communicate early and often, even over-communicate! Set good expectations for everyone involved and continually share the "why" behind your work. Large building campaigns can be both a blessing and a curse. Your job as a church staff is to do everything in your power to increase the blessing. Tell lots of stories about successes and how lives are being changed for good.

5. Be thorough with details, down to the smallest degree to ensure the little things that matter don’t fall through the cracks. Be flexible with your schedule during construction as a supporting staff since it’s an ever-evolving process till the very end. Never assume anything is the way it is unless it’s on the blueprints or in writing from design to integration to final commissioning day.

Thank you, The Crossing TechArts team, for taking the time to share what God is doing in St. Louis. We’re excited to celebrate your new system with you and can’t wait to see how God continues to work through The Crossing to reach more people for the Gospel.

Feature Install: Hillcrest Baptist Church of Pensacola, FL

This is the latest in the CTL feature installs. Our goal is to capture both the ministry vision and technical side of new system installs and updates in local churches inside the Church Tech Leader community.

Hillcrest Baptist Church of Pensacola, Florida recently finished their new video system install in their main worship center. Church Tech Leaders recently got a chance to talk with Greg Klimetz, Production Manager at Hillcrest, about their new install.

The install process focused on different elements of the bigger vision of Hillcrest Baptist Church’s ministry. First, the ability to share their message to more people globally outside the Hillcrest campus was a key factor, especially connecting with the over 200 missionaries from Hillcrest serving around the world.

Another factor was developing the artistic and creative aspect of video in their weekend services. Greg and his team wanted the ability to record and produce live events on video format and also prepare the Hillcrest family for possible opportunities for ministry in a multisite campus format in the future.

Greg and his team designed the entire video system in-house and consulted with Pro Sound & Video (Pensacola, FL) regarding gear and audio. They purchased all the necessary equipment from Pro Sound & Video and the Hillcrest production team provided the install. The install process began in November 2012 and achieved full function and stability by February 2013.

The Hillcrest team converted an existing storage space into a new video suite. Greg personally designed the suite layout, which features a broadcast audio mix for web streaming. The main system features a Blackmagic Design 2/ME Production switcher. The two individual inputs are connected to two Blackmagic Design 1/ME Broadcast Control Panels, one at FOH and one in the Video Suite. This allows the Hillcrest Production team to monitor both live recording and web streaming in the room and the video suite.

It’s a year into the new system and the Hillcrest team is beyond satisfied with their new capabilities. Here are three nuggets of wisdom Greg and his team shared from their install…

1. “Plan for the future. Don’t plan for your needs right now. Plan for what you might need in 5-10 years. Hillcrest is currently a single site campus, but the possibility of launching a second campus is much easier with the right infrastructure already in place.”

2. “The biggest challenge for us was going over the details several times. Accounting for all the details is much, much easier before you begin installation.”

3. “Ask a lot of questions and get several opinions. Learning what others are doing helped us tremendously both before and during the install.”

We wish Greg and the Hillcrest Production team the very best as they continue ministering together in Pensacola. It’s evident that God is making a difference through Hillcrest Baptist Church.

Equipment List

Video Suite/ Video system Equipment List:


1- Blackmagic design 2/ME Production Switcher

2- Blackmagic design 1/ME Broadcast Control Panels. 1 at FOH and 1 in Video Suite.

1- Blackmagic Design Smart Video Hub 16×16 router.

2- Atomos Ronin hard drive recorders in video suite

2- Panasonic AG- HPX500 broadcast cameras at FOH w/ CCU controls in the video suite

2- PTZ - Panasonic AW-HE120 cameras

1- Panasonic AG-HCK10 camera & AG-HMR10 recorded POVCAM Combo

1- Panasonic AW-RP120 PTZ camera controller.

2- Panasonic PT-DW10000U 10,000 lumen projectors. 1 with a Panasonic ET-D75LE1 short throw lens and one with a Panasonic ET-D75LE3 long throw lens.

2- 16′ x 9′ video projector screens.

1- MacPro Tower loaded with Blackmagic Design HD Extreme HD-SDI video card for Key/Full screen graphics and media utilizing ProPresenter at FOH

1- MacMini for web stream keyed lyrics and other graphics in video suite linked to FOH Mac via ProPresenter master/slave feature.

Video Suite Audio:

1- MacPro tower with ProTools HD connected to FOH audio via 4 HDX PCI cards loaded in our Venue DShow console. Capability to record/playback 96 channels of audio as well as virtual sound check.

1- Avid/Digidesign C-24 control surface for integration with ProTools HD software. Used to record audio and mix web stream audio simultaneously.

1- Avid/Digidesign HD Omni in/out interface for local monitoring for audio room and video switch room.

2- Focal CMS 65 near field monitors.

Click to see a larger version of the images below.