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Use video to paint your sanctuary walls

By Camron Ware

Coppell, TX Baptist church uses environmental projection to tell visual stories during services.

Between Dallas and Ft. Worth, TX sits First Baptist Church of Coppell, where a long-time standing building and congregation wanted to modernize the inside of their sanctuary to stay in tune with the local community.

After seeing a demo and realizing the cost-benefits, the church implemented an environmental projection system, originally developed by local company Visual Worshiper, in order to transform the look and feel of their entire sanctuary with a simple click of a button.

Environmental projection uses video projectors to project images and video onto the walls and architecture of an existing sanctuary, taking its roots from ancient cathedrals and churches where stained glass was used to tell stories. Now it is done digitally, right from a computer. This allows the church to tell visual stories during worship, the message and any other time they want to transform the worship space into something other than four white walls.

Three projectors cast a seamless image around the front of the room, controlled from one computer by a volunteer, with an additional two projectors filling in the extreme side walls for special events which creates a 180-degree visual canvas. This setup allows the church to project not only still imagery, but also seamless motion video to tell a story or enhance the worship.

The church did not have to modify its existing walls or textures. It utilized the existing architecture in the room and mapped the environmental projection to key areas on the walls and ceiling, and at the same time, kept the light out of unwanted areas, such as the eyes of the people on stage and the congregation.

The visual media content is key in a system like this. Most standard images and videos won’t look correct being stretched around a room, but First Baptist received a sample library of content so they were able to use the system right away, with the ability to add more.

The church uses the environmental projection system as a way to foster a mood for worship; projecting images of crosses, stained glass, creation scenes, and anything else that is an enhancement to the worship and message. Motion videos are used as well, but very sparingly as they can be very quick to distract. A favorite among the congregation is a subtle video of snowfall around the room during a Christmas service, or white names of God slowly fading in around the congregation can serve as a powerful reminder.

Using the system First Baptist of Coppell is able to completely transform their worship space for a fraction of the cost and effort than with lighting or with anything physical, such as stained glass.

Camron Ware is founder of Visual Worshipper, Coppell, TX, which produces powerful atmospheres in churches. www.visualworshipper.com

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Project:

  • Gear involved:  Five Hitachi Pro-grade projectors, Apple computers, ProPresenter Presentation Software
  • Project cost: $25,000
  • Project designer: Visual Worshiper
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