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Solomon Awards 2018 – Christ Fellowship (Design and Installation of AVL System, New Building Sanctuary)

Project Overview

Christ Fellowship is consistently recognized as one of the largest and fastest growing churches in the country, located in one of the most unchurched regions of the United States in South Florida. We were referred to the church initially as they began exploring LED walls for their main campus.

We quickly identified mutual core values between our organizations and a few months later began preliminary conversations around this project. The church had an existing longstanding relationship for AVL systems with a regional vendor but were feeling the tensions of wishing for a ministry partner who would help push them to reach further & faster rather than a contractor who did what they were told.

Dream

In January 2017, Mankin was brought to the table when Christ Fellowship’s leadership was not satisfied with the current stage shape, the feel at the front of the room, and wished they could gain more seats. Many late night conversations occurred around what constitutes an immersive space, what was already working for the church, the most prioritized needs, and so on. Through active collaboration, we reimagined the entire infrastructure to meet their needs.

Design

This project was already well into the construction drawing phase as we were introduced to the construction team and began formal design. Mankin’s team worked through a number of iterations to ultimately craft an acceptable stage and backstage space, change the wall placement at the front of the room to better support LED video rather than traditional projection, add 138 additional seats, rework the control room to add an equipment machine room under the seats, reimagine the production infrastructure for more of a Mankin hybrid touring approach with 400A power distro for theatrical lighting & LED video, socapex tie lines, distributed DMX network system, audio multicore drop snake system, and a floor trough recessed into the stage for cable passage and downstage foot lighting / audio monitors.

There were mutual concerns between the church and Mankin teams over the existing plan for the acoustical sonic signature of this space developed by a well respected acoustician prior to Mankin’s introduction to the project. This was exacerbated by the fact that this room was to have the most impactful loudspeaker system deployed to date at a Christ Fellowship campus. As such, Mankin introduced an independent acoustician to take a fresh look at the treatment plan with the primary goal to achieve balanced decay between HF and LF but with more life so that the room would not be as dead for congregational participation as other of the church’s rooms without completely sacrificing clarity for spoken word.

Deploy

Mankin’s Deploy team expertly managed the procurement and pre-build phases as the entire system was made to function in our Franklin, Tennessee headquarters prior to shipment to site. Every detail that could be addressed prior to the on-site deploy timeline was completed to minimize risk when we knew our team would be under the gun on site leading up to opening day. The team spent 5 weeks in South Florida deploying the system into the space and another week commissioning the systems, training the church’s production staff, and assisting with first service support. Successfully executing so much careful planning delivered this project on time and on budget.

Defend

Being a satellite campus rather than the main broadcast campus, it was important for contingencies and redundancy to be built into this system wherever possible to minimize risk of catastrophic failures that could take down any portion of the system in typical week-to-week operation when staff members may or may not be present.

Technical Highlights

The loudspeaker system features the L-Acoustics K2 system. Mankin collaborated closely with L-Acoustics and the church to marry the loudspeaker design to both the acoustic signature and treatment design, as well as addressing pre-existing challenges in other spaces specifically related to how it sounds in the first few rows where the pastors sit every week. Due to the stage shaping that was required to address leadership’s goals, there was less available space under the stage for subwoofers. Thanks to L-Acoustics, this was not a problem – the majority of LF in the system originates from the air between the K2 and K1SB loudspeakers flown over the stage, with supplemental infra LF produced by a smaller number of KS28 subwoofers located under the stage. The result is a tremendously even and consistent audio experience throughout both the floor and the stadium seating.

All of the LED video panels in the system are CreateLED AirMAG-S 2.9mm panels. Such large surfaces at such high resolution (the center screen pixel space is 4928 pixels wide!) made canvas management and scaling extremely important. We implemented a Barco E2 system to accomplish this purpose. Latency throughout the broadcast video and LED canvas systems is extremely low and the result is stunning.

The theatrical lighting plot for this room represents a new philosophy compared to every other Christ Fellowship venue through the increased value on lighting and the intentional introduction of visual layers – exponentially more fixture quantity than in other spaces with the intention that rarely, if ever, would all fixtures be on at the same time. Rather this increase in quantity would allow one rig to deliver a variety of different looks and feels from a common toolset. Every fixture in the system is moving head LED – a mixture of Chauvet and Martin instruments – further increasing flexibility and creative options.

Summary

This room represents the highest level of production systems, forward thinking design, and immersive environment in the house of worship market today in the United States. Class leading technology implemented with intentionality provides a cohesive worship space that truly sets the bar for others.

“I really do feel like we just brought on a dozen more highly qualified staff members that understand the ministry “why” when we’re working with you all, and that’s a huge deal for our team!” Danny Dagher – production director

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