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How to Choose the Right Projection System for Multipurpose Rooms
By: Mark Hall

Hundreds of years ago, the church would teach Bible stories through plays, paintings, and stained glass windows. Today, most people are still mainly visual learners, and projection in churches is a relatively new medium for sharing and teaching. As one minister noted, “Projection is the modern stained glass.”

Houses of worship around the globe are adding projection systems as a way to engage their congregations, share messages and information, and make all of their spaces more appealing and viable for the congregation and for community use.

What can projection do for a house of worship?
In the sanctuary, projection systems can create ambience or a mood. Houses of worship use PowerPoint, photos, or video to display seasonal or Biblical images for sermons, photos of the couple at weddings, or images of a life well lived at funerals.

Displaying hymn lyrics is another common use, and congregation members find that looking up to read the lyrics, rather than down into a book, makes for a more joyful, shared experience. 

Very large churches often use HD displays to show the minister and the congregation and even link together multiple congregations.

One church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, uses their projection system to hold one real-time service from three locations, with the pastors alternating between the venues.

Some churches link their sanctuary and their multipurpose areas by video to handle “overflow” if there is high attendance.

As the names suggests, multipurpose rooms are spaces available to congregation members and even members of the public for activities, ranging from study to social events to business meetings and sports. The ways that projection systems are used in these rooms are limitless.

Projection is an excellent tool for enhancing learning and is used by Bible study groups to bring Bible stories to life. Some churches even encourage their youngest congregation members to create movies covering favorite Bible stories in a 21st century version of the familiar children’s pageants.

Knox Presbyterian Church in Waterloo, Ontario, has a large multipurpose hall where they hold basketball games. YouTube videos and music are played on the hall’s projection system to get the players pumped up for their games and create a fun atmosphere.

When they planned their new church building, Knox ‘s congregation recognized that including new technologies such as a projection system in its sanctuary, multipurpose hall, and smaller meeting rooms would allow the church to open its doors and be a viable, useful space to the larger community – local businesses and the universities.
The church rents out all of its differently sized meeting rooms to the public who find the church’s amenities and central location very attractive. The church, in turn, is a vital part of its community.

How to choose the right projection system for multipurpose rooms
With so many user-friendly projection technology choices available, there’s a display for every size of house of worship and every budget. And, an HD projection system can run on inputs as simple and easy-to-use as a computer and DVD player. 

Having said that though, not every display technology is right for every space, and there are many variables to consider. 

Is the space large or small? Is it brightly lit?

In small spaces, flat panels might be an effective display technology. Typically, multipurpose rooms tend to be larger spaces and need larger displays. A projector and screen is a more cost-effective display option in these situations.

The brightness of the room will affect how powerful the projector needs to be – the stronger the ambient light and the less control over it, the more lumens that may be needed to produce a bright image.

Who is your audience?
Who will be looking at the images you project? Children love bright visual displays – especially video. And, people enjoy looking at themselves and each other.

Displaying video images of the congregation on a big screen during a service has proved to be a very popular feature at many churches, as are links to what’s going on in the Sunday school room.

Older members often appreciate large projections of information, such as hymn lyrics and service programs, and being able to see the minister and other speakers easily.

Business people and students need a projection system that’s easy to use, readily connects to a computer, and can display detailed information clearly.

What do you want to do?
How do you want to use your projection system? Who will use it?

If your projection system will be permanently installed in one location, then you can consider using motorized screens. If you need a mobile projection system, you want to consider something that’s sturdy but compact.

Whether you will be operating the projection system yourself or plan to rent out your space to the public, you’ll want a projection system that’s reliable and easy-to-use for an overall positive experience by the widest assortment of users.

Your budget
Cost is always a consideration, but you can’t determine the quality of a projection system just by its list price. There’s a difference between the price of your projection system and the total cost of ownership.

Total cost of ownership covers both the initial price and the ongoing cost to maintain your projection system – costs that can include lamps, filters, maintenance, repairs, and expected lifespan.

Sometimes, when you consider the total cost of ownership, what at first appears to be the highest priced projector can turn out to be the most cost-effective one over the course of its lifetime.

Look for projectors that are known for reliability and durability and have a low-maintenance design. In the long run, these attributes and features will keep the costs of your projection system down.

When it’s time to buy
If you’re considering adding a projection system or upgrading your existing one, work with a dealer who will review your goals, venue, and budget, and help you choose the projection system that’s right for you.

And, protect your investment. Purchase from a reputable manufacturer that stands behind their warranties and offers live service and support.

Mark Hall is senior product manager, business strategy, business products for Christie, a market leader in terms of projectors and display solutions for houses of worship and recognized as a world-class provider of visual display technologies, www.christiedigital.com.

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Religious Product News