First Southern Growth Visually Enhanced by Roland
USA: The First Southern Baptist Church in Pratt, Kansas, had the kind of problems that most churches wish they had: they were growing fast and had reached the point where they needed additional services each weekend to accommodate the nearly 800 people in the congregation. Its physical plant could not keep up. Enter Builders for Christ, a non-profit that gathers volunteers to construct church buildings for needy congregations at no cost. Last year, the organization constructed a new building for the First Southern Baptist Church, one that far better accommodates their growing flock.
‘Builders for Christ is kind of like the Habitat for Humanity for churches. They take submissions from all over the United States, choosing only a couple out of thousands of requests, to come build a building for them,’ explains Brent Handy, Audio, Video, Lighting and Electronics Designer and Sales Consultant at Advanced Sound & Communication, Kansas City, MO, which provided much of the new building’s A/V system. ‘The projects are chosen based upon church growth, evidence of effective ministry, number of baptisms, etc. This church in Pratt, Kansas, has a pretty good-sized congregation for the amount of people in that town. They were busting at the seams, having multiple services, and met all of the criteria. So, the organization agreed to build them a church. And so this particular building was built in the shortest amount of time they’ve ever built one.’
The First Southern media centre includes a new projection system with wraparound screens, five projectors, three Apple iMac computers, PTZ-networked cameras, and an entirely new PA system including speakers, consoles and wireless microphones. At the heart of that video system upgrade is the Roland XS-84H 8-In x 4-Out Multi-Format AV Matrix Switcher. The XS-84H is a flexible single-unit solution that integrates video and audio conversion with switching for full system control. Both Mr Handy and the project consultant recommended the Roland XS-84H matrix switcher and Roland HD Base-T extenders and receivers. ‘The Roland was chosen because doing this job with other brands would take many, many more pieces of equipment, adding more points of failure, and expense,’ Mr Handy explains. ‘And so, this box basically does it all in one nice, neat package and comes in at a great price point.’
The church’s media system now has three 16:9 screens illuminated by three projectors, with two more projectors for environmental projection on either side of the screens. By utilizing the multiple switching and screen processing modes in the XS-84H, the church can switch between ‘Span Mode,’ which extracts the horizontal centre portions of the video then splits and scales the content and sends each split to a separate output letting First Southern have one image spread across two or three screens, and ‘Matrix Mode’ (in conjunction with Pro Presenter software’s multi-display option), to put graphics or lyrics up on each side and IMAG video in the middle. The A/V team can then swap visuals around on the fly, all controlled by the XS-84H’s iPad option, which allows volunteer staffers in the church’s small control room to remotely control the XS-84H via presets set up by Mr Handy and his team. ‘A lot of competing products don’t have volunteer friendly operation and visual feedback – the Roland has that function,’ says Mr Handy. ‘It gives you your inputs and your outputs and shows you what’s routed all at the same time. That’s a huge benefit.’