No matter the size of your congregation — whether you have a small community parish or a 2,000-seat megachurch — the audio-visual infrastructure for your sanctuary plays an essential part in the worship experience. With in-person and online attendees, existing space constraints, budget limitations, and acoustic challenges to consider, designing the perfect AV system can be challenging. But it doesn’t have to be; with the right expertise and knowledge, finding the best AV solutions for your space is easier than you think.
Not sure where to begin? The following tips are a good starting point.
Key Church AV Considerations
While there are many applications for AV systems in contemporary houses of worship, their primary role is to support the service’s audio, video, and theatrical lighting elements. When choosing an AV system for your church, the following components are crucial considerations.
Mode of Worship
For many churches, worship services have become contemporary events over the years. In more modern institutions, praise bands rock out while parishioners sing along. This isn’t to say that a more traditional approach, complete with organ music and traditional hymns, has been left by the wayside. These types of services still take place in churches across the country.
No matter what type of service your church prefers, AV systems can enhance the experience for congregants. Projections of song lyrics and scripture, sound systems, and web cams (for those attending virtually) are becoming more prominent fixtures.
The seating capacity of your church should always be a top consideration when determining the type of AV setup that’s best for your needs. The size of your congregation (and sanctuary) will dictate how powerful the system should be and how to best manage acoustics so outside noise is kept to a minimum and that those gathered can hear and see, no matter where they sit.
Video is a growing component of worship services. In order for the entire congregation — both in-person and at-home attendees — to fully participate, your video equipment must be up-to-date. To ensure the best experience, your church’s video system should deliver optimum brightness and picture quality that’s crystal clear, smudge- and error-free. To provide this level of detail, you may need to upgrade cameras and projection devices.
Speaking of projectors, many churches rely on this technology to conduct services. If that includes your church, you know that projectors can be affected by natural light and require costly bulb replacement. LED video walls offer a less temperamental alternative and are popular choices for the following reasons:
- They are surprisingly affordable
- They consume less energy than comparable technology
- They are bright, and make it easy for congregants to see
- They last longer than projectors
Lighting & Sound
When updating your church’s systems, it’s crucial to take stock of the sanctuary’s lighting and sound characteristics. If the building has natural lighting, controlling the sunlight will be important when viewing video projections or screens. Additionally, there may be too much echo, requiring sound absorption solutions to dampen the reverberation. And if your HVAC system is too loud for efficient AV services, a professional AV integrator like DGI Communications can assess your space to ensure minimal disruptions.
In order to choose the most cost-effective AV system for your church, you’ll need to know your budget. Is this an ongoing expense or part of a one-time campaign? What percentage of the overall budget is available for technology expenses? These are both important questions to ask when planning and finalizing the plans for your AV setup. If the planned updates are extensive, AV as a service can help spread out the associated costs.
Audio System & Acoustics
“Those who have ears, let them hear” — online or in person. COVID forced many churches online, and it was challenging for many to bring the experience to a smaller screen. Though most churches are back to in-person services, many congregants still want to be able to tune in remotely from time to time. To ensure an equal experience, sound systems must provide clear, powerful audio for both types of attendance.
A professional AV integrator will be able to thoroughly design a new AV system or upgrade an existing one using acoustical data and parameters during an analysis of the existing space.
Installation & Setup
Lastly, it is essential to consider how you handle your upgraded church audio video equipment. Does it need to be stored when not in use? Is it easy to set up, or will volunteers need detailed instructions? What about training after installation? With touch panels, laptops, tablets, and video production switchers as part of AV systems, there are multiple ways to control the components. To guarantee that the system is simple to use and works as intended, consider working with an expert partner for installation as well as ongoing training and support.
Church AV Solutions: Examples & Designs
A popular choice for many churches is to use a video conference setup platform for capturing services. There are many available online — both free and paid — that can meet your community’s needs. For example, Zoom is a frequently used option as well as YouTube for its live streaming capabilities.
Other real-world applications for church AV systems include:
While many video conferencing platforms are readily available to make online worship services enjoyable and easy, one of the best solutions is a church app with built-in services for church gatherings and tithes. These apps often include built-in scriptures, facilities for interpersonal communication during the service, and features that encourage giving.
Video broadcasts of church meetings, celebrations, and services offer the congregation a more in-depth and well-connected experience. High-quality AV systems can make this possible, and help members of a church’s remote community feel included. These presentations are also a great way to relay information about upcoming events to as many members as possible — like a modern-day update to the paper program (which your attendees may also want to access online).
This is an AV service that many churches across the globe use to broadcast their sermons. Live streaming helps churches record and archive services and makes it possible for them to increase their reach by connecting with congregants from anywhere in the world. After all, future members may find your church online.
Efficient acoustic solutions help absorb or diffuse noise to improve the sound quality of services and other meetings. The nature of these treatments will vary depending on your sanctuary’s characteristics — including size, noise levels, and echo. With the right solutions in place, you can create an environment that enables a comfortable auditory experience for your congregants.
Digital signage in the church is yet another innovative AV application that benefits in-person attendees. This convenience serves many purposes, assisting with wayfinding, displaying announcements, and reminding the community about upcoming events. Solutions include LED walls, LCD monitors, and video walls.
Using assistive hearing in your church can make services more accessible for those with hearing difficulties. Sound systems equipped with these capabilities enable parishioners who are hard of hearing to connect their hearing assistance devices to your church’s AV or sound system directly. Not only does this make services more inclusive to all, it also presents an opportunity to reach more people.
Designing Your Church AV Setup with DGI
In today’s landscape, the need for an AV system that sufficiently serves your church is increasing — no matter the size of your facility. With options such as digital signage, video conferencing, assistive hearing, and live streaming abilities you can create a system that not only serves the needs of your flock but enhances their church-going experience as well.
If you’re looking for skilled AV professionals to help you put these tips into practice, contact DGI Communications for a free consultation.