Power To The People

When one of the country's first mega-churches, the 2,000-plus-seat Peoples Church in Fresno, CA, decided to upgrade and renovate its facilities, it turned to Broken Jar Productions (BJP), Fresno, specializing in stage lighting applications; and AMT Systems, an AV firm based in Santa Clarita, CA.

Around 2003, Peoples Church executive pastor/music minister, Doug Holck, asked BJP to design catwalks for a future sanctuary renovation. The church had just opened a new Music Ministries Center housing choir and orchestra rehearsal rooms, a music/worship suite and offices. BJP installed an ETC SR24 dimmer rack and 48 dimmers in the choir rehearsal space so it could double as a black-box theater.

For the sanctuary renovation, completed in 2005, BJP president Nathan Freeland redesigned and installed a new lighting/dimmer system bringing the total to 336 dimmers with 48 relays for a variety of moving lights. "These relays are DMX-controlled from the console," Freeland explained. "We had never done that before. This saves a lot of man hours and is less demanding on moving lights."

As the church continues to implement more technology into their worship services, an underlying infrastructure will allow them to grow without replacing any wire or control systems, he said. "An ETC DMX ethernet system was installed with 13 DMX nodes located throughout the building along with Unison lighting control stations throughout. We also tied the lighting system to the fire alarm system."

Because the church uses video on its screens and provides live webcasts of every service, lighting for both live and video became very important. BJP engaged artistic lighting designer Craig Poulsen, to create a fixture base around 65 Strand 2,000-watt Bambino Fresnels.

"We reintegrated the church's Whole Hog 2 console (with a wing and remote) and 14 moving lights," he said. "We needed to add an additional lighting cove farther downstage over the audience, but the steel structure holding the building up wouldn't allow for it. So we decided on flying three lighting trusses underneath the ceiling with automated chain hoists."

AMT also was previously involved at Peoples Church, in a speaker upgrade about four years ago, said AMT executive vice president, Tim Carlson. "We installed an EV X-Array, left, center, right system with Media Matrix digital processing and QSC PowerLight amps. The church was planning to reinstall what they already owned, with new mic locations, in the renovated sanctuary. Since they have an excellent music program, two excellent engineers, Henry Grimmius and Jeff Salley, live internet broadcasts and 48-track recordings, we suggested numerous upgrades to support these programs."

The $850,000 upgrade included the addition of a Yamaha PM1D, four EAW SB1000 subwoofers under the stage, and, from the X1 series, EV1152 downfill speakers to match the high frequency of the EV1183, under-balcony EV 1082s and the reinstallation of delays.

AMT also suggested that the church bring in acoustician Vance Breshears (Sound Technology Consultants, El Cajon, CA) to address acoustical issues causing late reflections and poor intelligibility. Some of his implemented suggestions included a change from the drop-tile ceiling to gypsum board and an acoustical panel on side and rear walls, Carlson said.

The all-new recording studio directly behind the platform features a Yamaha DM2000 with 48-channel preamps and a total of 48 tracks on two Tascam MX2424SEs. The studio and sanctuary equipment are all clocked from a single source in the studio using an Aardvark Aardsync.

Video also was upgraded by way of three rear-projection Draper screens, 11 x 15; Eiki LC-XT3 10,000-lumen projectors, and five screens with Eiki LC XG100s for those in the balcony. Spyder, from Vista Systems, handles routing and switching the main and balcony screens.