Multiscreen for the Portable Church

By September 16, 2015Design & Philosophy


Multiscreen for the Portable Church

Last week, I had the privilege of being on a podcast talking about multiscreen video technology and environmental projection. One of the questions that was asked to me while on the call was if multiscreen is better suited for small or larger churches. This is something I get asked a lot, and though larger churches often have more resources to do a more extravagant setup, that’s not always the goal. So if you’re wanting to do multiscreen for the portable church, keep reading… it will be well worth your time.

The larger your church, the more you HAVE to spend in order to make the environment cohesive, quality and worshipful. You can’t just do it with a few small to mid-size projectors and a computer. It becomes a bit more complex. In the end, I believe that smaller churches are actually able to harness more power from the multiscreen setups. They are naturally more intimate for your congregation, because the scale you’re able to achieve for the cost, is pretty astonishing.

My friend Darren Whitehead, formerly from Willow Creek and past keynote speaker at SALT Conference, planted a church here in the Nashville area. The vision of this Church is to create a collective of churches across multiple neighborhoods. For the most part, this is a Church that has decided that they always want to be in “portable” mode for the time being. Every year, they start another one. Using the Church of the City setup, I wanted to share a few thoughts on how to make multiscreen portable.

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Multiscreen Portable Church Tip #1:
Allow Plenty of Time to Setup

One of the first things I noticed up front with the COTC setup, is that the first few weeks they did the edge blend screen, they set it up on Saturday to allow for any and all issues to be worked out before Sunday morning. This obviously took working with the local school (the place the church met at was a local high school auditorium) to work through scheduling the right time. You probably won’t have this time every week, but if you can get it right in the beginning, it will save you loads of time in the end.

Multiscreen Portable Church Tip #2:
Flexible Lensing Options

Because the COTC doesn’t own the space and the original purpose of the building is for the high school theatre department, they just can’t guarantee that the stage space will be available every week for the best lenses. So COTC had two sets of lenses. The ultra short throw, and the short zoom. In your portable environment, make sure to account for flexibility in lensing, or in other variables that you don’t know how they will pan out. Many portable churches aren’t in the same space every week consistently, maybe flexibility in cable lengths or screen sizes would be a beneficial consideration.

Multiscreen Portable Church Tip #3:
Good Storage Plan with Great Cases

In any portable church environment, your load in goals need to be similar to that of the Taylor Swift World Tour, quick and efficient. No matter how contagious your vision is, you won’t be able to sustain a 4am load in with volunteers forever. It’s worth bringing in a consultant who has done touring to help outline the right cases that will make load in and load out quick and efficient. Invest in a trailer that can store this equipment in a safe place, and make sure that you’re organizing everything on the load out to be ready for the load in. One thing I found with COTC during some of the mornings I went and helped them, is they realized that loading out was when they had time to solve problems, not load in.

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Multiscreen Portable Church Tip #4:
Always Refine Your Process.

Of all the things the team at COTC does as a portable church is that they’re constantly asking how they can make it more efficient, more streamlined and a better load in/load out experience. This is essential for any portable church, because a large part of sustaining the quality in a portable church environment is the ability to recruit, and retain great volunteer teams. They’re donating their time, and everyone is more willing to help when they know their time isn’t going to be wasted.


Do you run a portable setup utilizing multiscreen?

Luke McElroy

Author Luke McElroy

Luke McElroy is the founder of Orange Thread Media, the parent company to TripleWide Media, SALT Conferences and Orange Thread LIVE. He is the author of The Wide Guide: Blueprint for the Multiscreen Movement. Hailed as one of the “top innovators for worship” by Worship Leader Magazine in 2013, Luke’s leadership has helped create powerful worship environments for thousands of Church communities throughout the entire world. He currently lives in Nashville, TN and regularly writes about creativity, leadership and faith at 

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