Today on Transform Christmas, we wanted to take a look at Trinity Fellowship Church, in Amarillo, TX and what they have been doing with 360° Environmental Projection! I talked with their lighting designer, Kevin Penrod, to learn more about how he pulled this off.
The whole idea to use Environmental Projection was born out of a meeting for the church’s Christmas show. The pastors leading the event gave the vision for the show and then wanted to know how it would be possible to make people feel like they are in the locations portrayed in the show.
Stage design in the round can be rather complicated, since you do not want to block the view of part of the audience with a set piece that is only visible to half of the people in the room. That is when Kevin proposed the idea of bringing the audience inside each location by projecting all around the room. Leadership loved the idea, but wondered if it was possible. Kevin then set out to find a way to make it happen.
Due to the size of the room, they needed some pretty large projectors to get the desired effect. They ended up finding used DLP 35,000 projectors on eBay. Originally, they pitched using these projectors on the one Christmas show and then as other campuses were built, they would pull down EP projectors to use at the new campus. This would help justify the cost tremendously. Once the system was installed, leadership loved it and they decided to keep the EP system beyond the one Christmas show.
Each main screen in the room (they have 4 since they are in the round) already used a DLP 45,000, so they swapped out lenses to fill the wall. All they would have to do at this point is use picture-in-picture whenever they wanted to use IMAG on the main screens. This gave them the option to have a combination of EP and IMAG but then they could also take out the screens to create seamless projection. The DLP 35,000s were then used on either side of each main screen. Using the picture-in-picture did slightly decrease quality of the image and added a frame and a half of latency, but this was not noticeable enough to prevent them from doing it.
To control the system, they decided to use Arkaos MediaMaster. The first year doing the Christmas show, the system was actually only outputting a Triple Wide image. They used a Macbook Pro and output using the two thunderbolt and one HDMI available. They converted the signal to SDI using Matrox converters and then split each signal 4 ways to send to the individual projectors. Blends were created on the edges in Arkaos to help blend the image flipping when the triplewide repeated. Columns in the room ended up blocking this flipping image to the majority of the congregation. The next year doing the show, they used a second triplewide rig and mapped them together to create a six wide image. Eventually, they do hope to build their system to have a seamless image all the way around.
As you can tell in this above picture, one of the pieces of media they used was the Stations of the Cross 6 by Illuminate. Click below to see the media they used for this event (even if it isn’t 360 degree’s environmental projection).
Stations of the Cross by Illuminate
Flat Edge Collection by Church Motion Graphics