Meeting House Permanent Projector/Screen Ideas

This page discusses the options for permanently mounting a projector/screen system in the Meeting House. Please provide your thoughts and comments to Charlie or Basil.

Background: The use of the church’s portable projector and screen in the Meeting House is increasing. While many wish to maintain a limit on the amount of electronic projection during service, even the occasional use of our current system is distracting and “breaks the peace” (setting up the screen, turning on the projector, cables covering the meeting house, etc.). Sunday school classes conducted in the Meeting House are ever-increasing in their use of a projection system but the hassle and non-guaranteed presence of the projector/screen creates logistical problems (including lost components and increase risk of damage to the current projector and screen). Non-Sunday-morning activities such as Rainbow, Youth and All-Church events would also take advantage of a more permanent system if available.

Discussions on this subject arise from time-to-time so this page is dedicated to listing options and virtual views of the Meeting House as we periodically investigate the cost and complexity of installing a permanent projector/screen system.

Options: There are two basic options.

Option 1: Mount a single screen behind the cross-beam above the Cross, then lower it as needed. A single projector would then be mounted high on the rear wall of the Meeting House.

On the surface, this sounds like the easiest and least expensive. However, because the cross-beam is so high, the screen would have to be lowered below the arms of the Cross. The least expensive motorized screen would require extra “drop” fabric that would extend down from the bottom of the cross-beam to the top of the screen and cover the arms of the Cross (the fabric would be black). An alternative would be to buy a mechanism that would lower the entire screen housing assembly on two cables to a height just below the arms of the Cross. From there, the screen itself would be lowered using its normal motors. This option would result in the least impact to the front of the Meeting House but would obscure portions of the Cross. Also, on Sunday mornings, the screen would most likely be lowered and raised during the sermon which could be distracting. This option is also the most costly for the screen. A motorized screen is 3X to 5X the cost of a fixed screen and the mechanism to lower the entire screen below the arms of the Cross would double or triple the already high cost of a motorized screen. Further, labor to run electrical power (needed for the motors) in the “steeple” area is intensive, especially if one wants those cables to be hidden.

Option 2: Mount two fixed screens on either side of the Cross. Two projectors in the rear of the Meeting House would have to be installed. [There are two sub-options: a) mount the screens nearest to the Cross (where the paraments are now) or b) mount the screens farthest from the Cross.]

This initially appears to be “twice the price” since there are two screens and two projectors. However, fixed screens are much less expensive than motorized screens. Also, they require no power so the installation costs are negligible. (The cost of a single motorized screen and installation could be exceed the cost of a second projector so this option could result in an overall cost savings.) There is still a question on where to mount two screens. Since covering the paraments would also detract from the Meeting House and raise many objections, the suggested location would be on the far left and right front “wings”. Note that screens in these positions would be limited to roughly 6′ x 7′ since they need to be lower than the hanging lights and higher than a 6′ 6″ person standing in line of the projectors. (As reference, our current portable screen is roughly 5′ x 6′ so these would be bigger.) Another consideration… Fixed screens can be “hung” to be easily removed (similar to a very large picture frame but much lighter). That said, the more they are moved, the more likely they are to be damaged.

Projectors: For either option, the easiest place to mount the projector(s) is on the rear Meeting House wall. This allows for power and cable to be run on the inside of the Trombe wall, invisible to those in the Meeting House. Given this long distance, however, more expensive “long-throw” lens(es) would have to be installed. Also, given the brightness of the Meeting House during “high noon”, high-lumen projector(s) would have to be purchased — something between 4500 and 6000 lumens. (As reference, our current portable projector is 3500 lumens. This is OK for dark text on a light background but is not bright enough for video or low intensity photos.)

Screens: The screen material can either be stark white, as in our current portable screen, or gray, to blend into the building material. The white screen tends to have lower “gain” and be visible at higher “off-angles”. The gray screen can be “high-gain” (reflecting more light) and be much brighter but would be less visible when viewing from the side.

Controls: It is envisioned that the computer/DVD and other controls would be mounted in the rear of the Meeting House near the existing sound system. A cable would be run to the front of the Meeting House for those who wish to have their laptop with them. Control of the rear computer and projector(s) would be by remote control. It is possible to mount a small monitor on a lectern so the speaker could see what is projected behind them (or to their side).

A Distant “3rd Option”: While not yet cost effective (as of 2009-2010), large HDTV panels (Plasma, LCD or LED) are coming “of age”. 100″ flat-panel screens exist today for more money than we can think about but 80″ screens are coming down in price while 60″ screens are now affordable. In another few years, 80″ to 100″ screens maybe less expensive (and less complicated to install) than projectors.

Sample Photos: For comparison and to get an idea, enclosed are some photos of the Meeting House and what the various options might look like (the “screens” and “projectors” are to scale). At the end is a schematic of the Meeting House with the distances noted. (Note that these pictures are best viewed on a 1024×768 or higher resolution monitor.)

Front of Meeting House with No Screens

Front of Meeting House with One White Screen

Front of Meeting House with One Gray Screen

Front of Meeting House with Two White Screens (nearest to Cross)

Front of Meeting House with Two Gray Screens (nearest to Cross)

Front of Meeting House with Two White Screens (farthest from Cross)

Front of Meeting House with Two Gray Screens (farthest from Cross)

Rear of Meeting House with No Projectors

Rear of Meeting House with One Projector Mounted High Between the Vents

Rear of Meeting House with Two Projectors Mounted Just Below the Lights (nearest to Cross)

Rear of Meeting House with Two Projectors Mounted Just Below the Lights (farthest from Cross)

Schematic of Meeting House with Approximate Distances (in feet)