Bellevue's First Presbyterian Church Lets the Light Shine in Without Washing Out the Visual Worship Experience

When a new sanctuary first opened over a dozen years ago, worshipers at First Presbyterian Church were awed by its beautiful stained glass motif, a massive pipe organ flanking one part of the chamber, and a solid wall of windows on the opposite side. While those windows quickly became an integral part of the worship experience, they also made traditional large screen video almost impossible to use.

"Because of the glass wall and skylights in the sanctuary, images from our existing projection system were really hard to see, "said Travis Talbot, the church's communications director. "In fact, during the summer months, enough direct sunlight filtered onto the screen to completely wash things out."

Frustrated by their video technology limitations - but unwilling to compromise the aesthetic value of natural light - church leaders began seeking new options. With a large display needed for the 800-seat sanctuary, high resolution LED technology was ruled out because of cost. Plasma systems, meanwhile were rejected because of size limitations and predictable screen glare. While the project's consulting engineers were dubious about another projection system, they changed their minds after seeing a demonstration of AccelerOptics' new digital display panel.

"After we saw a test in our offices, we had AccelerOptics send one of its display panels for us to try in this project," said Robert Scott, senior system specialist for Fowler Design Group, an Oklahoma based multimedia integrator. "At the church, we ran some programming and used a spotlight on the side of the display hit by light from the big windows. That's when everyone's jaws dropped. While the outline of the spot was visible, the display remained crisp and easy to see."

To accommodate the large space, AccelerOptics custom-built a CAPTURE™ 160-inch diagonal display panel, which allows for widescreen presentation of hymn lyrics, sermon notes and video clips. All programming is produced in-house, uploaded to a hidden media player and then beamed to the panel by two commercial-grade Panasonic projectors. The screen installation, which was handled by Fowler as part of an overall technology upgrade, took about three days. The new AccelerOptics display panel was installed just in time for the holiday season. During that time, Talbot said it received rave reviews from church members astounded by the display's clarity and brightness. In fact, the accolades for the system weren't limited to members of the congregation.

"In all the years I have worked in video production, plasma has always outperformed projection screens," said Todd Tolton, Fowler's lead engineer for the First Presbyterian project. "In this situation, however, the AccelerOptics projection display blew away what a plasma screen could deliver."

Job Specifics

•One custom-sized CAPTURE 160- inch diagonal front projection display manufactured by AccelerOptics.

• Display weight: 430 lbs.

• Operation: All multimedia developed in-house by church staff and fed to programmable media player with off-axis geometry correction. During church services, CAPTURE display receives images from two 10,000-lumen Panasonic PT-DW10000U digital projectors.

• Power saving feature: While both projectors operate during church activities to ensure continual imaging in the event of bulb failure, the units operate in Economode. This approach still delivers 10,000 lumens to the CAPTURE display, while reducing power consumption by 50 percent.

• Installation timeline: Three days.

• Cost savings. Approximately $200,000 less to install than an LED system delivering similar screen resolution

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Panasonic PT-DW10000U projector page.