Setting Up A Church Projection System
Setting up a church projection system in your church is no small task. There will be a lot of things to consider including how much space you have and what kind of equipment you'll need.
Differently sized churches will have different needs, and that will influence the kind of equipment you're going to need.
Overall, a projector, a computer, and various cables are going to be important. Also, don't forget a screen, or maybe even a few screens if you are in a larger church, that way your people will have a screen close enough to them.
You're going to want to make sure your setup is simple and easy to use so that there are little to no hang-ups while your parishioners are waiting for the announcements, sermon illustration videos, or worship lyrics you want to show them.
To keep everything running smoothly, it's best to do as much research as possible as well as get some practice in prior to the moment you actually need to use your system.
Once everything is set up, you will be well prepared to dazzle the congregation with the trendy new addition to your sermons or the "trying to be cool" video announcements made by your youth pastor.
Church Projection System Equipment You Will Need
A projector is going to be the key part of your setup, as it is the device that will project the images or video that you want to show onto the screen. There are just a few things you'll want to consider when purchasing a projector to use in your church.
First, you'll want to think about the size of the room. A larger room is going to need a higher lumen count for the device to be able to project appropriately. Simultaneously, a smaller room won't require as high a number. It would be a good idea to at least have a rough measurement of the room prior to purchasing your projector.
Another thing you'll want to keep in mind is how many screens you're going to need to project upon. You may need to purchase multiple projectors in order to make sure you are covered.
Once you have the projector you need, make sure to set it up in a fixed place. Most churches mount them from the ceiling but if you are a mobile church or church plant you will want to place it where it won't be bumped or otherwise easily messed with. This becomes somewhat tricky because you'll also want it to be somewhere that allows it to be fixed and adjusted with relative ease.
You'll also want to think about how far away from the screen your projector is. A good rule of thumb is to make the distance between the screen and the projector twice the width of the screen itself. You might want to read my article on church projector screen size here.
The computer is going to be your base of control for the projector. Essentially, whatever is on the computer screen at a given moment will be what is projected onto the large screen for the audience to see.
This makes the computer particularly important if you are making and showing church announcement videos because the same computer that you are using to send signal to the projector will probably be the one somebody uses to record and edit those videos. You need a computer that can handle both tasks.
If you have a suitable space to keep a desktop computer within the church then it is likely to be the better option. There's a greater chance of being able to find a computer that will have the hard drive and graphics card capabilities to handle images and videos. If not, then a quality laptop will be necessary.
You'll want to discuss what it will be used for with your pastor or church communications director as you search for the right laptop to use so that you can guide you in the direction that will provide the best fit for your needs.
Depending on your projector and computer, you are going to need the right kind of cable to connect the projector to your computer. There are three different cables that might work for your setup. It will be important to find out which kind of cable will work best for you before you make a purchase.
The three kinds of cables consist of the HDMI cable, which is the most popular. It's a simple and easy to use cable, but only works effectively up to 32 feet. After that, you may need to look into purchasing a booster in order to keep it working correctly.
The second cable is a DVI, which can reach farther than an HDMI cable but comes in two different kinds, digital and both digital and analog. With this cord, it will be important to know which kind you'll need.
The third kind of cable is a VGA cable, which is also known as an RBG-HV cable. This kind of cable only works for an analog signal, but it will run up to 100 feet. That makes it perfect for bigger rooms with longer distances. You won't have to worry about your projector being too far away from the computer for the projection to work.
You can also look into the option of sending your signal wirelessly with a wireless video transmitter.
A key factor in determining what kind of equipment you'll need as well as how much is how large of a space you have for the projections.
In larger churches, you may need multiple screens to project on in order to make sure everyone in attendance is able to see what's happening on the screen. In a larger space, it may also be wise to think about having your computer sound connected to the sound system so that everyone will be able to hear the announcements as well.
The idea is to get the messages out to as many people as possible with the highest amount of ease.
If you have a smaller church, you may not have a need for multiple screens. This makes it easier to get a projector setup because you won't need to get anything too fancy or have multiple projections to deal with.
In either case, it's always good to start small and work your way up to larger rooms and more screens. Otherwise, it does have the possibility of getting confusing!
In order to run church announcement videos, it will be important to make sure you have the right kind of software installed on your computer. This will be helpful not only for projecting your videos, but also for editing and making sure those videos are of the highest possible quality.
Depending on your budget, you may want to use a simple software that is easy to utilize and comes at low to no cost.
There are plenty of software options available for those purposes, though they may not have as many bells and whistles as more expensive paid software. Low cost to free software that you can use includes PowerPoint, Windows Movie Maker and iMovie.
There are also more expensive but also church oriented software options that will have more options available to churches specifically. That may include special backgrounds, Bible passages, song lyrics, sermon aides, and even tips on how to make the best possible church announcement videos. These options include Easy Worship, ProPresenter, and Media Shout. My church uses Proclaim by Faith Life.
Final Thoughts On Setting Up A Church Projection System
Setting up a church projection system in your church doesn't have to be a difficult process. As long as you know how much space you have available, how many people you will need to show your media to as well as what kinds of cables your projector will need, you will be well on your way to having an exciting audio visual ministry that the members of your congregation will enjoy.