We’re touching bases with two industry experts to see how the last few years of technology improvements have impacted the portable church.
Jim Kumorek · February 8, 2018
Every church that utilizes audio, video and lighting technology in a significant way has a lot of work to do to keep that equipment operating. But the portable church especially may just have it the worst in terms of workload—they are loading in, trouble-shooting, and loading back out again every week in the span of a few hours.
Wireless DMX: A way of transmitting lighting control information through a Wi-Fi network instead of through physical cables.
LED Lighting: Lighting fixtures that utilize Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) as their source of illumination. Traditional lamps generate light as a by-product – their primary energy output is heat. In LED lighting, the primary output is light, so they are far more energy efficient and generate much less waste heat. They also put less heat on the stage, so the “talent” is much cooler (and happier).
Laser Projectors: A video projector where the traditional lamp is replaced with a light engine that uses a laser to “excite” phosphor, which then emits full-color-spectrum light. Like with LED lighting, this mechanism generates far less waste heat, and thus is more efficient and removes the constraints of moving the projector while hot.
Digital Audio: A way of processing sound where the audio is turned into numbers on a network and can be transmitted over computer networking cable. Traditional analog audio requires one wire per input to be run to the console; with digital, one light-weight Ethernet cable can transmit many channels of audio.
With this weekly workload, any improvements in technology that can make a significant difference in how well that process goes is a pretty big deal.
In this article, we’re touching bases with two industry experts on portable churches to see how the last few years of technology improvements have impacted the portable church. Curt Banter is the director of consulting with Portable Church Industries based in Troy, Michigan; and Mike Gardner is the managing partner of Church On Wheels, based in Madera, California.
“The newest thing that’s really cutting setup time is wireless DMX lighting,” says Gardner. “While not a brand-new technology, it’s becoming more prevalent. Most of our churches are going to a wireless lighting system, leaving the daisy chain of DMX cabling behind. In a traditional wired DMX environment, there’s a ‘chain’ of cable going from one fixture to the next. Any disruption in that cable means all the lights downstream from the problem also will not work. In a mobile environment, you have to set that up every week, and that increases the chance of issues. With wireless, you have a wireless DMX receiver on each piece of truss that is stored with the lighting fixtures already attached—all you need to do is connect power to that truss.”