BATON ROUGE, La. — When it’s time, it’s time.
At Healing Place Church’s Highland campus, its main location among six in the state, it had been using a projection system – featuring three projectors – for 10 years.
A few weeks out before Christmas in 2018, though, one of its 12K projectors stopped working.
“The main thing was the center screen’s projector had gone out,” said John Tillman, technical director at the Highland campus. “It was no longer going to work, and no one would service them. (The manufacturer) wasn’t supporting them anymore. We needed to look toward the future.”
LED Wall or Projection?
It was decision time. Continue with projection, or opt for an LED wall? Tillman noted the price gap between each option that once existed, during the prior install, had notably shrunk. “Factoring in inflation, the LED wall cost was about the same as what we’d previously spent on projection,” he said.
For a church that began its existence more than 28 years ago, it opted for an LED wall, making a significant addition to its worship space.
A Need to Move Quickly
With Christmas quickly approaching, the project was put on a fast track. Healing Place was seeking to have the work completed before one of the biggest days on the church’s calendar.
“This project included the request, design and deploy, to be done in around four weeks, with shipping as well,” said Jordan McMillion, director of business development for e2i Design, based in Brighton, Michigan. “That is pretty unusual for a project of this size. It was a large project with a tight timeline, to go with many different factors that went into it.”
“e2i Design was able to do a turnaround that was faster than I’ve ever seen,” he said. “We triggered the project on the first of November, and we were installing the wall on the first of December.”
Once the work on-site began, Tillman described it as “a guided install. They came in and guided my team to install it. The hands and labor were all in-house, from the techs to the engineers.”
How e2i Design was crucial in the install, Tillman added, was by “guiding us through it. Also, if we were missing cables or parts, Jordan was on top of it. We were up and running within a few days.”
Install’s Success Began With Proper Preparation
To successfully complete the project so swiftly, both McMillon and Tillman agreed that the process went off “rather smooth.” And as Tillman added, “I don’t think we really hit any speed bumps through it.”
In part, the project’s success had much to do with the preparation done in the early stages, explained Tillman.
“Doing the work up front, made for a smooth install,” he said. Among some of the early work included “having a structural engineer come in and spec in our points. Or an electrician had come in, making sure the runs were all correct.”
Those early steps were integral to the project’s success, paired “with picking the right product and getting the right people in beforehand,” added Tillman.
Finding the Right LED Wall for the Church
Among the factors in finding a good match of an LED wall at Healing Place, was its weight and size. “We wanted an LED wall that filled the back wall, and upon considering the weight, chose the CB3,” explained McMillion.
With the church having rented some panels, and researched various LED wall manufacturers at trade shows, it helped guide the final decision.
“Among the gear we’d rented, included some ROE Visual panels,” noted Tillman. The rented ROE panels were also from the Carbon series that includes the CB3 panel. “We loved the hardware, and how they were robust.”
The church had also “seen ROE Visual at LDI, and knew the product would fulfill what they needed,” McMillion said. “It then boiled down to what size they wanted. Along with how to get it to move up and down with motors.”
The Value of Avoiding Hassle Associated With Repairs
With that prior experience with ROE Visual, Tillman learned about the simplicity of repairs, especially when not shipping overseas.
“If we have to replace a pixel (on a ROE Visual panel), they can color match the pixel. We can take out a single 4-by-6 panel, and send it off. They’ll then replace that pixel and send it back to us.”
When and if such an issue arises, ROE has three operational bases around the globe, including one in Chatsworth California. McMillion stated, “that’s when working with an LED wall manufacturer in the U.S. is ideal.”
Making the Right Choices for Gear for LED Wall Install
Among the featured parts of the install were 120 ROE Visual CB3 panels. Each tile measures 23.6 inches by 47.2 inches, at a 3.75mm pixel pitch.
Included as part of the LED wall system are Stagemaker SR10 (1 ton capacity) hoists and TMB cables.
The system is controlled with a Green Hippo Boreal+ media server and a CS-800LX hoist relay control from Skjomberg Controls.
Deciding on the Boreal+ media server was a bit challenging, Tillman noted, especially in “how to control (the LED wall). Do we go with Resolume, or Green Hippo, or Christie’s version of what the (Boreal+) was?”
After attending LDI, and getting their hands on various products at the show, along with talking to representatives, Boreal+ was the choice. Arriving at that choice was aided with the “flexibility it provided, with their Brompton processors,” added Tillman.
Aiming For ‘Big Impact’ Among Project’s Primary Goals
The project’s primary goal for church administrators, McMillion explained, was “wanting a big impact and an immersive experience on the stage.” In addition, the church sought to have significant flexibility with the LED wall, particularly to “reconfigure it every three months. They wanted to have it to look new every time.”
Since having installed the ROE Visual LED wall two-plus years ago, McMillion noted, “I don’t know how many (partial or full) reconfigurations have been done … at least 10. They finished a reconfiguration (March 29). They are using the technology to its fullest capacity.”
In each configuration variation, Tillman noted, “No matter the shape we create, we try to have a 16-by-9 shape. It allows us to do intro videos, anything lyric based, and testimony videos or recaps.”
Beyond the ability to reconfigure, Healing Place Church sought to have a solution capable in doing “more with stage design. One where we were not locked into a single design,” said Tillman. With the LED wall comprised of CB3 panels, “one can have scenery evolve throughout the service. Especially during the big Christmas services that we do.”
To get a sense of how big, at the main campus, the worship space’s auditorium includes about 2,000 seats. After typically hosting seven services each Christmas (prior to the pandemic), “about 15,000 people come through here,” added Tillman.
Upgrade To Space Brings Immediate Results
The difference in the space was stark, following the install.
“The leadership was absolutely blown away,” noted McMillion. “All the content running on that LED wall, from custom animations to video content, is an experience, not a distraction. It is all designed and deployed by their staff.”
With the church’s video wall, Tillman explained, “the ability to communicate through video has improved greatly. Trying to connect to the person in the back row (was a major challenge). What we do is all about communication. If we have made that communication clearer, we have done our job.”
With what Healing Place Church has been able to achieve over the past two-plus years, is in “creating an immersive experience, to make someone be comfortable,” said McMillion. “You want to be wowed, to feel that sense of a special feeling. They can do that with the LED wall, during a normal service.”
Tillman described that after the install, it “changed the in-person experience. We went from really impactful Easter and Christmas services, (using a rented LED wall), to having one all year long.”