Setting up a church projection system can be tricky, so it's important to make sure you have all the equipment you'll need for your church projector installation as well as a good idea of where you want to put the projector itself.
It's a good idea to really think it through because there are a number of factors that can affect your projection system. If you need to, you might want to read my article on setting up a projection system or discuss the needs of your space with a professional multi-media consultant.
This article is going to go over what to consider with your projector as well as the steps for getting it set up including mounting your projector, connecting it to your computer, and connecting the audio so that church members can see and hear your multi-media ministry.
Things To Consider In A Church Projector Installation
You'll want to make sure that the projector is going to be bright enough to project well in the room. With that in mind, if you haven't purchased your projector already it will be a good idea to make sure you know the size of the room you need a projector for, as that will affect the amount of lumens that are needed for the projector to work well.
A small room isn't going to need a very high number of lumens to work well, but in a larger space it may be likely you need to spend more on a projector that will have the strength to work from a farther distance and in a bigger space.
When shopping for a projector, make sure you read my buyers guide. It goes over the all the considerations you need to consider when purchasing a projector.
If you are a mobile church or church plant, your projector should be somewhere sturdy, where it won't be bumped or knocked over by anyone. It's also important to keep in mind that neither the projector nor the screen should take up a lot of space. They can become somewhat of an eyesore if people who are typically there to focus on worship now have to work their way around a projection system.
In some cases, there are projectors that have an ability to work well even if they aren't centered exactly in front of the screen. This is known as a lens tilt. If for some reason you don't have the space free to have it mounted directly in front of the screen it would be worthwhile to look into this option.
In any case, it's ideal to make sure that your projection setup doesn't take away from the aesthetics of the area.
Churches and other places of worship are often built with very particular architecture, meant to set the proper tone for those inside. A projection system can be a useful tool, but you don't want it to come at the price of lessening the aesthetics of the space.
It goes without saying that you're going to want people to be able to tell what it is you are trying to show them, so make sure you look into a projector with a high enough picture quality. This may also be determined by how large the room is and how far away the projector is from the screen.
This makes it even more important to make sure you know the needs of your space prior to purchasing a projector.
You can't just pick up whatever is on sale if it doesn't apply to your specific place of worship. Otherwise you can easily end up with a picture that is fuzzy or otherwise difficult to see. I recommend that you do not go below a high definition projector.
Particularly if your projector is mounted in a hard to reach place, you're probably not going to want to have to change the bulb in the projector lamp very often. Not only is it strenuous, but it also has the potential to cause delays in your service if you turn the projector on hoping to share a video announcement only to discover that the bulb is going bad.
It's important to make sure your projector has a long lasting bulb and that you have back up bulbs that are easy to get to in order to make the task less of a hassle. Make sure replacement bulbs are inexpensive as well. Our last video projector bulbs were so expensive that it was cheaper to buy a new projector than to replace the bulb in the old projector.
Where To Mount Your Church Projector
A great place to mount a projector is on the ceiling. They normally have mounting brackets that will mount from the top or the projector.
This is particularly beneficial for a place of worship because it keeps the projector out of the way, allowing church members to keep the focus where it needs to be rather than on the piece of equipment.
If you can't mount your projector on the ceiling, the next best place would be a wall or pillar somewhere centered to the screen.
A good rule of thumb is that you want to take the width of your screen and double it. Whatever that doubled distance is will be how far away from the screen you want your projector to be set up. You can read more about church projector screen size here.
If you have no means of mounting the projector permanently in a place where it will be safe, you can use a cart or something similar to keep the projector on. However, do keep in mind that this may make the projector easier to bump, and you may have to re-connect it for every use with this option.
For the initial setup it may seem easier, but it will create more work down the road.
Connecting The Projector To Your Church Computer
Once your projector is mounted in whatever location you have chosen for it, it's time to connect the projector to the church computer. This can easily be done with an HDMI, DVI or VGA cable depending on your setup.
One thing that will be very important to keep in mind is to make sure the cables are as out of the way as possible. Try to keep them close to walls as much as you can, and for any areas that simply can't be along a wall make sure to mark it well.
You can run brightly colored tape over the cable in order to make it less of a tripping hazard. If at all possible, the best option will be to keep the cables far from where people will be walking so they don't present a problem.
There are also options of using a wireless video transmitter between your computer and projector.
Connecting The Computer Audio To The Sound System
Lastly, you'll want to connect your computer to whatever sound system you have within your church. If you don't have a sound system already in place, you can read my article on basic church sound systems.
This connection from your computer to the sound system can often be made with either a USB cable or an audio-specific cable.
Just as with the cable from the projector to the computer, you'll want to be careful to make sure the cables for your audio equipment are well out of the way.
If your church has the budget available, some high quality bluetooth speakers would be a great option for wire-free sound connection. They allow you to connect the computer to the speakers quickly and easily. Just make sure the speakers are turned on and everything will be good to go.
Once you have both the projector and the audio properly connected, make sure to test it out prior to your Sunday service with your new church projector installation. Nothing makes you look as foolish as a well laid out plan that fails. We have all eaten that piece of humble pie more than once in our lives.