Northview Church was running into a problem. The 10-year-old projection system they were using—comprised of two Christie Roadster HD12K projectors (1920x1080 resolution, 12,000 lumens) for two IMAG screens, four Christie Roadster S+16K projectors (1400x1050 resolution, 14,000 lumens) for the main upstage screen, and a Coolux Pandora's Box—was starting to lose its brightness. And when you use video as a primary method of teaching, having a system that delivers what you want at a suitable brightness for the space is imperative. It was time for Travis Carpenter, the Production Systems Director at Northview, to address the problem. He brought in Jon Cawston, the owner of JNE Productions, a firm that specializes in church installs, to help find a solution.
Initial thoughts were to replace the 80x30 foot projection screen with a video wall, but it quickly became obvious that such an endeavor would prove cost prohibitive. The electrical work alone that would be necessary to add the needed power to the building was approaching six figures, and in order to have the necessary space to service the wall after it was installed there would need to be significant structural work done. And this is all before the cost of hardware is considered.
It was determined that continuing with projection was the most cost-effective and flexible way to go. Northview Church had an existing relationship with Barco projectors at their other campuses, so they replaced the Christie projectors with six Barco UDX-4K32 projectors rated at 29,000 lumens and 2560x1600 WQXGA resolution—two for the IMAG screens and the other four for the main upstage screen. A Barco E2 processor and Green Hippo Boreal media server replaced the old electronics. The increase in resolution, while not necessary for their side-screen IMAG projections, was desired for their main projection screen. An additional three UDX-4K32 projectors were purchased as spares to be sure their systems stayed operational in the case that a projector was being repaired.
The original planned projection layout was a rear-projected 2x2 grid. The projectors would be double-stacked for added brightness and it would mean only one blend point down the middle of the image. However, once that was accomplished and looking beautiful, the team checked the picture from different points throughout their wide space and discovered a significant problem. When viewing the screen from the far edges of the room, there was a noticeable black band that ran down through the blend point and a significant decrease in brightness that made the image unpleasant to look at. The team quickly had to find a way to reconfigure the projectors to minimize that issue and be sure the visual experience was acceptable to everyone, no matter where they were sitting.
The solution was to first split the screen into thirds with three of the UDX-4K32s and use the E2 to blend the edges. While it minimized the black band issue, it did add in a second blend zone to worry about. One of the difficulties of having such a large screen is that it tends to bow as air passes around it and throws out the blend between projectors. Because of that, any text displayed across the blend would become blurred and hard to make out. To work around this, the fourth UDX-4K32 was stacked on top of the center projector and used to project content on the middle section without blending with the other projectors. The three projectors can now create a hole punch wherever the top projector is displaying content and allow the message to really come through.
To get the projector lenses to the recommended height, and also to allow them to be lowered for maintenance, they used Dayton hydraulic scissor lift tables. And to make sure the projectors didn't physically shift position over time, the UDX-4K32 rigging frame was connected to a unistrut frame built and bolted directly on the scissor lift.
The new system also addressed an issue the church had been encountering when trying to project any live content on the screen: latency. Because of the ingest and encoding necessary on the Pandora's Box there was too much latency added to be useful with a live feed. In addition to playing back all content, all of the processing was also taking place in the Pandora's Box. After incorporating the Barco E2, it now manages the blend while the warping takes place at the individual projectors. The E2 also acts as the switcher/router for the screens and allows the church to route any content to any projector on the fly. Content playback is then relegated to the Green Hippo Boreal. To reliably run the signal from the E2 to the projectors they used 60-meter DVIGear DisplayPort over fiber cables.
With adjustable light output, the Northview team is able to set the brightness needed for almost any type of event or content. And the Barco CLO (Constant Light Output) monitors and matches the brightness of all linked projectors to help maintain consistent brightness over time. In the end, with the help of excellent products from Barco, good planning, and some creative on-the-spot problem solving, Travis Carpenter and the team from JNE Productions added a new level of flexibility to what they are able to accomplish for their Sunday Worship and any other events that take place at their location.
For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Barco UDX-4K32 projector page.