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Markets: Houses of Worship

Blackmagic in Mulhouse

La Porte Ouverte Chétienne in Mulhouse, where France meets Germany and Switzerland, was founded in 1961, and has grown to attract a regular attendance of more than 2,000 at each mass. Its ceremonies are technically spectacular involving not only musicians (and modern instruments) but HDTV screens with captioning and transitional effects plus live streams over internet and recording to DVD.

The heart of the system, managed by Jéry Vannieu, a freelance AV technical event director who was already a member of the congregation, is Blackmagic Design’s ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher, Videohub and DeckLink Studio. Between them they take care of four Sony camcorders, recording the live event, plus

“Realistic budgets can often be the cause of going through a few sound system installations,” says Schwartz. “A cathedral might really need a digitally controlled beam-steering device while the budget calls for a few distributed speakers in a highly reverberant space. The minimal amount of money spent on the latter system will provide a few years of frustration for both clergy and congregants. Interestingly, once a real solution to their problems is


“customers wanted column speakers to be heard but not seen. Architects and local diocesan committees insisted on small, slender speakers to blend in totally with the architecture, without much thought for coverage or quality.”

all other AV inputs, orchestrating a live broadcast complete with eye-catching graphics. All services have to be broadcast, streamed and recorded not only in French but German and in sign language via the ATEM Production Switcher.

The work continues after each Sunday and Tuesday mass, when Vannieu’s AV team – all volunteers bar one full-timer – set about post producing the internal broadcast for rebroadcast and DVD using the DeckLink Studio, plus Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro, to edit and complete production within a week.

demonstrated, the money seems to make itself available. In a larger venue there can be a million-dollar performance expectation when only one-tenth of that is spent on a system. It may seem like a lot of money to the decision makers, but they may not realise what it really costs to provide their expected level of performance in a large space.”

The installer is rarely to blame. There can hardly be an installer in the

‘Intelligible speech reproduction and good music reproduction do not necessarily go hand

in hand’ Ivan Schwartz, TC Group

industry who wouldn’t rather sell a client a better system, not because it generates more profit but because it generates a better result. But equally it’s not the installer’s job to turn down work because the client won’t listen. There is, however, some evidence that they are listening a little more.

“In the past,” explains John Ellis, Electro-Voice UK’s permanent installation sales consultant,

Not just that, but as he notes: “The requirement was primarily speech. Things have changed, with more and more churches in the UK having a ‘worship band’ or at least a guitar/keyboard and vocalist, so the requirements have changed in favour of a system that can reproduce music and the understanding by the various planning committees seems to have taken a more open approach.” Schwartz sees a major stumbling block being lack of communication of what the facility needs. “A speech-only system requirement turns into speech and some ‘light’ music. Which really might mean bass, guitar, drums, etc. In some churches the music ministers are not involved in specifying the sound system, and therefore what is purchased is already inadequate even before it is installed. In larger facilities there can often be a gap between the technical specialists and whoever is designing the system. Involvement of the music leaders as well as the tech crew is as important, if not more so, than the managers and board members when it comes to discussions with sound system designers.”

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24 IE May 2012


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