Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones — a phrase that has an almost biblical message to it. While the parishioners at Calvary Lutheran Church would likely never dream of throwing stones indoors, they certainly had a lot of glass to worry about. The church’s floor-to-ceiling glass walls presented a challenge to a well-needed update of their 90s-era sound and video system. But Diamond Support Services of Junction City, Oregon, brought a solution.
In addition to a new digital console and wireless microphones, Calvary Lutheran Church wanted to replace their retractable stand-up screen and pico projector with large fixed-frame video screens just above the pulpit so parishioners could read the sermon notes and hymn song lyrics during services. The architecture, however, included three floor-to-ceiling glass walls that streamed in an immense amount of horizontal light.
“Horizontal light is the enemy of video,” says Steve Diamond, owner of Diamond Support Services. “Even the best projector and screen couldn’t compensate for that much ambient light.”
An LED video wall was out of the question, he says, because it was beyond the church’s budget and was too flashy for the tranquil interior. Diamond suggested options to control light, such as motorized shades, curtains, or even window tinting. But Calvary Lutheran Church project manager Larry Weaver said he knew it would not go over well with the congregation.
Our church is mostly older folks who are not too quick to embrace change,” notes Larry Weaver. “They didn’t want anything to obstruct the natural light.”
Inside the Calvary Lutheran Church Installation
Diamond Support Services found Crystal Screens, a product which uses materials originally designed by optical scientists for the aerospace industry. The holographic patterns inside these screens manipulate light to produce a reflective surface, resulting in high gain and wide viewing angles. Crystal Screens received a custom order from Diamond Support Services for two 120″ screens with their Reflect 3.0 material.
The screens have horizontal seams and three-inch-wide, velvet-covered bezels with proprietary frame tensioning. Diamond Support Services crew drilled into the aluminum frames and threaded hardware to suspend the products from the cathedral ceiling at a slight angle for viewing from both sides of the pew aisles.
In addition to the high gain, Crystal Screens Reflect 3.0 material has a 70° viewing angle, which was more than the space needed, according to Diamond.
“It was all about the gain,” says Diamond. “We didn’t think that such a high gain screen could possibly have a wide viewing angle, but these screens do. We walked around the room and were amazed that images were still clear from every pew.”
Each screen pairs with two dual-laser Eiki projectors with long throw lenses mounted on the eaves above the church entryway, out of sight of parishioners.
“I knew how an 8000-lumen projector would perform on a traditional screen surface, so I had my doubts,” says Enoch Howel, lead installer and video designer. “But when we fired up the projectors, I was absolutely blown away.”
Diamond estimates that installing an LED video wall would have more than doubled the price of the installation and not resulted in this level of video quality. In the end, however, it came down to improving the experience of the congregation.
“These screens are absolutely radiant and exceeded everyone’s expectations,” concludes Larry Weaver. “After we played the first video, the entire congregation erupted with applause, and several people commented that they could finally read the words. That’s a good feeling.”
- 2 Crystal Screens Ambient Light Rejecting Screens, Reflect 3.0 130” 16:9
- 2 Eiki EK-810U projectors with long throw lenses
- 1 A-ten 4 x 4 switcher
- 2 Chief Projector Mounts
- Primus CAT6 cable