Big changes, big benefits - for you!
Over the past few years, the transition to High Definition digital television has had a dramatic impact on technology for worship and presentation settings. We've seen unprecedented improvements in both video and audio-for-video quality, and we've seen price reductions that make wide-format projectors, switchers, and screens affordable for most churches.
So what's the fuss about wide-format projection? Should you make the change? If so, why?
What I hope to explore in this article are the benefits to using wide-format projectors and screens from a practical standpoint. Current 4:3 standard format video and data projection systems are certainly very good and serve us well.
Let's talk about four reasons that wide-format systems could be a benefit to you, especially if you're starting from scratch.
HDTV - It's fairly obvious that most new video content, whether movies or television, is being produced for wide-format 16:9 displays. New televisions are all 16:9. New program material shot in 4:3 NTSC video is a thing of the past.
New computer screen resolutions - For years, XGA (1024x768) has been the standard screen resolution for virtually all PCs and Macs. In just the last couple years, we've begun to see a W added and now have WXGA (1280x800) and other wide-format computer graphics resolutions. The computer that I'm currently typing on has a native screen resolution of 2560x1440 - which is both 16:9 and beyond-HD resolution. We frequently see that computer screens are wider in order to accommodate video uses. 1280x800 and 1920x1200 are also common.
Wider screens are also typically easier to retrofit into older buildings. Most new worship spaces are designed with video and audio systems in mind. That hasn't always been the case. What we find in older buildings are often low ceilings and awkward spaces into which to integrate a screen. Standard 4:3 screens often have to be installed behind the platform participants, so projected images are consequently blocked from the view at least some of the congregation. Quite simply, wide-format screens can be mounted higher above the platform floor and offer a greater degree of effectiveness.
Easier to read - The most important factor that you may not have considered is that wide-format video equipment will allow you to display more words on each line, to use fewer presentation slides and to have more natural line breaks. Take a look at these images below and you'll see what I mean.
4:3 Ratio Screens
16:9 Ratio Screens
Notice that phrases break more naturally on longer lines and that the layout becomes much more open, attractive, and easier to read.
In just the last year or so, prices for wide-format projectors and switchers have come within reach of many churches. Right now, we have several products that offer you a high-performance yet affordable point of entry to wide-format projection.
In the realm of projection, the Sanyo PLC-WXU700A is a fantastic choice for a starting point. With 3800 ANSI lumens, it offers wide-format, lights-on performance on screen sizes large enough for most auditoriums and sanctuaries. It also features wireless connectivity for those times that you might have a guest presenter with a laptop. The PLC-WXU700A also allows streaming of motion video to the projector over its 802.11 WiFi connection.
If you have multiple video sources like DVD, a computer (or two), video cameras, and maybe an old VCR, the Kramer VP-728 will help you keep things straight. Its scaling function allows you to match the variety of sources to a single output resolution for better consistency. Your computer, DVD, VCR and potential video camera feeds will be formatted to fit your new screen, even if you have as many different formats as you have sources.
Think of the VP-728 as a format conversion devices to help you make seamless transitions between different devices and one that will keep the "No Signal" blue screens from being a part of your worship time.
At $2199 for the PLC-WXU700A and $1196 for the VP-728, you'll find that affordable, high-performance equipment is within your reach. And if it's not, we have other options for smaller screens and less-elaborate set-ups. Wide format projectors start at $1089 for use on smaller screens.
For more information on how to integrate wide-format images into your worship setting, please call for more information. We're happy to answer questions and to help you get on the road to making the good decisions when faced with the future of the video side of your worship experience.