Longview Approach

Longview Approach
  • LONGVIEW, TX-For the choir at Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview, TX, video technology revealed a sight they had never witnessed during worship. They could see the face of the pastor who stood with his back to them at the pulpit. Performing this marvel is a four-screen video projection system that was installed in Mobberly's sanctuary last year, with two screens flanking the stage and two screens near the rear of the space. The front screens display graphics and video aimed to enhance the experience for the congregation, while the rear screens show lyrics and the IMAG feed from a camera facing the pulpit.

While a significant amount of technology is employed behind the scenes to make all this possible at Mobberly Baptist Church, operation of the system had to be kept simple for the volunteer operators who would be controlling the system each Sunday. To this end, an AMX control system was integrated into Mobberly's video system. "The AMX is really the central brain of things," Ogletree said. "There's a dedicated control for switching the house, but there were a number of other locations that video is sent to in the facility, and AMX is a big part of controlling that."
"We've done several systems like this, and the members of the choir just love that they are finally able to see the pastor," said Tim Ogletree, system designer for MediaMerge, the Birmingham, AL integrator responsible for the technological upgrade to several buildings on Mobberly's campus.

Previous to this perspective-altering addition to the worship practice, Mobberly did not have any type of video system in place. Responding to the church's call to design and implement a high-quality, user-friendly video system, MediaMerge outfitted the 1,400-seat sanctuary with two 12 x 16 Stewart Luxus Deluxe ScreenWall front-projection screens for the main display, and two motorized Vutec Rear-Vu rear-projection screens that drop out of the ceiling at the rear of the space. Two Digital Projection HIGHlite 12000Dsx DLP projectors feed the front screens, while two Sanyo PLC-XF35NLs feed the back.

"There were some concerns as to where to locate the projectors and the screens and not have them be in the way," Ogletree recalled. To solve this problem, the rear-projection setup at the back of the sanctuary was configured so the projectors were hidden in the back wall. The church's catwalk system made it easy to conceal the front projectors as well.
The number of video displays in the sanctuary just keeps growing. For additional monitoring and prompting, a 50-inch plasma was recently built into the front pew. Fortunately, an FSR Omni Navigator routes video to any of the sanctuary displays and enables the overlay of graphics created in-house.

Mobberly Baptist Church not only uses AMX control in its sanctuary, but also in its new youth building, called Elevation. The AMX system makes it easy to distribute audio and video to multiple displays and rooms in the facility. Elevation contains a large meeting room with a stage for concerts and other presentations. There, two projectors and a screen were installed, and the staff can stream live video from Mobberly's main sanctuary when overflow seating is needed. A lounge for watching movies and TV
An AMX NI-3000 NetLinx controller and 15-inch AMX Modero touchpanel controls routing of video to any of the sanctuary screens or Mobberly's youth facility, located a quarter of a mile away on campus and connected to the sanctuary via fiber. A CCTV feed also passes through the switcher and AMX controls the routing.

The AMX system also enables video preview on the Modero touchpanel. "That's a unique feature that we are using more often," Ogletree said. "In the church world, you may have a simple preview where you can look at something before you switch it, but oftentimes those things are going so fast you really need another separate kind of a cue preview, which the AMX provides."

In addition to the projectors and two standard-definition cameras in the sanctuary, sources for the video system include a video presentation PC custom-built by MediaMerge, a DVD player/recorder and digital VHS. The equipment is housed in a dedicated control room that was built into Mobberly's sanctuary building when it was constructed in 1991. While Mobberly does not produce any broadcast content as of yet, the potential is certainly there. "With most of the churches we work with today, if they are doing video, they are also thinking about cameras and being able to record and produce video product," Ogletree said. "One of the long-term design criteria on this project was to create a system that could be expanded to handle broadcast TV production at some point. It's no longer just the 5,000- and 6,000-member churches that are on TV. Even the medium-sized churches have the ability and resources to create a really high-quality product."

Kirsten Nelson is a freelance content producer who translates the expertise and passion of technologists into the vernacular of an audience curious about their creations. Nelson has written about audio and video technology in all its permutations for almost 20 years; she was the editor of SCN for 17 years. Her experience in the commercial AV and acoustics design and integration market has also led her to develop presentation programs and events for AVIXA and SCN, deliver keynote speeches, and moderate and participate in panel discussions. In addition to technology, she also writes about motorcycles—she is a MotoGP super fan.