Doing A Lot With A Little

27 Mar 2013

Our Hillsong NYC team are masters of pulling off the miraculous with very little resource. Our production team in particular is able to make a lot out of a little. This past weekend, moving into anther new venue with extremely limited time for bump in and a budget to match, they were able to create an excellent stage look with limited resources.

One of our team, Mike Q, takes up the story from here…

Our goal was to find an affordable alternative to an LED wall that had the same impact on stage. One of our key production guys, Ben Lunsford, had seen PVC used as a stage element somewhere else, and thought we could try a similar setup whilst using projectors to throw content on them. A few of us brainstormed various ways to accomplish our goal. We started with three separate individually controlled square panels, and ended on a wall that was comprised of six widescreen panels running a continuous image the full width of the stage.

Hillsong NYC: Hillsong Collected

The Wall Structure

This was made of six individual panels arranged in a semicircle behind the band. Each panel is 8′ tall and 10′ wide. We used twenty 10×2 PVC white untreated pipes evenly spaced to achieve a “screen” with an aspect ratio of 2:1. The upright supports for the PVC are 8′ 2×4’s painted black with 2.375″ holes drilled every 3″ on center for the top 5′ of each.

The Backend

To achieve a seamless image across all 60′ of screen we used two Mac Mini’s each with a Matrox TripleHead2Go running ProPresenter in slave mode. One Mac Mini controlled the left three screens and the other controlled the right three. The projectors are 5k BenQ’s arranged at the center of the screen array on the floor, however, they could be flown with the same result.

Hillsong NYC: Hillsong Collected

The Controller

We used a third computer running ProPresenter with the Master Control Module to trigger the Mac Mini’s on stage. It’s important to remember all three computers need to have the same media files setup in the same way within ProPresenter for everything to work. Our final output resolution for the entire wall was 4800×400 pixels. To keep things as simple as possible for content creation and management we setup both mac mini’s in ProPresenter with the full output of 4800×400, even though each would only be displaying 2400×400. Then, using the cornerpin feature, we offset the left mac mini to show the first 2400px and the right mac mini to show the last 2400px. It’s also important to make sure all media is set to “scale to fill” in ProPresenter so that it’s not distorted. We also setup all the computers with shared hot folders so we could drop content in on the fly.

Just goes to show – sometimes you don’t need a lot to do a lot.

We would love to hear some of the great creative ideas your church may have implemented that surpassed expectations. Use the comment section below to share the love!

See you soon!