Digital Projection Offers Guiding Light to Grace Polaris Church Transformation

PHOTO COURTESY OF RACHEL JANSSEN

For many churches with growing congregations, implementing new technology is not always an easy task. Balancing costs and timelines along with structural and layout constraints can befuddle even the most seasoned House of Worship integrator. For Grace Polaris Church in Columbus, OH, this challenge was no different. So, when they were ready to begin their multi-phased church transformation project, they first sought a high-quality projection solution to excite the congregation and act as a guiding platform for the later upgrades that would bring the church a more modern and engaging worship experience. To do this, they selected Digital Projection’s robust M-Vision 18K projectors.

 

From small beginnings to grand spaces

Back in 1963, a small gathering of what would later become the Grace Polaris congregation began meeting at a local preacher’s house. This basement bible-study group would grow over the years, expanding into a small chapel, a small-sized church, and finally, its current building to host its ever-increasing community. Over the past 30 years, the 1400 seating capacity auditorium had been playing catch-up with worship technology – retrofitting the space with outdated equipment was possible through donations and second-hand devices.

When the time came to fully equip the sanctuary with new technology, the church leaders knew they needed an expert integrator to optimize the worship experience. Johnnie Barlow, Video Production Manager at Grace Polaris describes their vision in saying, “We really wanted a full visual refresh. Our previous setup made the sanctuary look somewhat empty given the large amounts of space. We needed this update to match the size of the church and modernize it.” For that task, the House of Worship AV gurus at InteRise – a Solotech Company were chosen to help transform the sizeable auditorium.

PHOTO COURTESY OF JAMES D. DECAMP

A unique challenge for worship AV specialists

Primarily comprised of AV experts with a history of working in churches, InteRise is a unique integration company specializing in designing modern places of worship. They are also known for being super-focused on bringing the details of their HoW clients’ vision to life. Phillip Hagood, Market Manager at InteRise, describes the Grace Polaris project in saying, “The church had been around for decades, but there hadn’t been any major updates or facelifts. Most of the equipment was well-outdated and had been installed at separate times. There wasn’t a real congruent design, so we started laying the groundwork for a truly modern feel.”

These special circumstances provided a unique challenge for InteRise. Planning for the full renovation had not yet been completed, but the current video components for the church were rapidly failing. Barlow explains the situation in stating, “For the longest time, we were holding our entire broadcast workflow together with spit, prayer, and the hard work of a lot of dedicated volunteers. Because the projection and image quality of our old system was so poor, we felt we couldn’t continue another year without doing something”. The church needed a projector solution that would not only provide a powerful, instant improvement, but also act as a guide for the future renovation phases. For that task, InteRise installed two impressively bright M-Vision 18K projectors from Digital Projection. Barlow continues in saying, “InteRise explained to us that the DP projectors they specified could easily bridge the gap between the old equipment and the new, so we made the decision to move ahead with adding the two models in advance of the rest of our AVL upgrade.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF RACHEL JANSSEN

A remarkable change and a guiding light

When the initial installation was complete, the staff was shocked at the improvement. Using a cross-converter to upgrade their content signal from analog to digital, the visual upgrade was striking. Barlow describes the experience as, “the difference in what we had been seeing versus the new projected image was incredible! Even with a 30-year-old SD signal to drive the M-Visions, everything was remarkably brighter and cleaner. We even had one person at its unveiling call out, ‘Did we upgrade to HD!?’”

After a year of planning, fundraising, and installation challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the revitalized church was ready for its grand reveal. Now, outfitted with a new turnkey, high-definition video system, church goers are ‘blown away’ by the night-and-day difference. Powered by the vividly bright M-Vision projectors, the wedge-shaped space now boasts two large screens set into angled walls on either side of the stage – allowing all congregants to enjoy an enhanced praise experience from every location in the room. Complementing the upgraded visuals, InteRise added new LED house and theatrical lighting systems, audio consoles, DSP amplification, wireless mics, digital cameras, switchers, routers, a full acoustic treatment plan, and broadcast control room.

PHOTO COURTESY OF JAMES D. DECAMP

“A powerhouse of projection” for an enhanced worship experience

Hagood describes the new church experience in saying, “Guided by the new projection system, the church’s worship services are now punctuated by beautiful graphics, lower third visuals, easily read song lyrics, sermon slides, pre- & post service announcements, and a crystal-clear IMAG camera feed that allows the congregation to maintain a real connection with the pastor.” The ministers, staff, and congregation are all thrilled with the new projector-led worship environment, however Barlow summed it up best in saying:

The Digital Projection M-Vision Laser 18K has changed my expectation for what can be done with a projector. With profound contrast, tack-sharp clarity, and vibrant colors, our video production has never looked so good. It’s a powerhouse of projection that, for a surprisingly affordable price, can provide instant front-end improvement to any live production pipeline.

PHOTO COURTESY OF RANDI WALLE


PHOTO COURTESY OF JAMES D. DECAMP

You can learn more about Grace Polaris Church’s outreach and ministries at their website: www.gracepolaris.org.
Get more information on InteRise’s exceptional AV services at their website at www.interisesolutions.com.