In our 40 years of business, we’ve seen some major advances in technology. We’ve gone from VHS to Blu-ray, from multi-horn clusters to steerable arrays, and from cassette tapes to tablets. Currently, the most notable change in the tech world is from analog to digital; we see this across the board with audio, video, and stage lighting. Alpha’s Gulf Coast crew recently sat down to discuss a few common questions regarding this change. Our goal is to give you a better picture of where AVL production is headed in the future.
How do these changes pertain to audio?
-One of the major things we’re seeing is the transition from analog consoles to digital consoles. We’re getting calls from churches, large and small, who want to go digital. It’s a transition that’s been happening for years, but the change is more affordable, and consequently, more popular than ever.
What are some of the challenges that may arise when replacing an analog console with a digital console?
-In most cases, we see a learning curve issue with operation. For example, on an analog console, all of the faders and knobs are in front of you at all times. On a digital board, the channels are organized in layers. So, while you may be looking at only 16 faders, those 16 faders control multiple channels. This allows for a much smaller physical footprint.
Do you have any tips to make the transition smoother?
-In most cases, manufacturers post training videos on their website. When the client decides on a console, we recommend they watch as many of those videos as possible, even before the console is installed. This helps tremendously with the onsite training we provide.
What’s new with video?
-As with audio, everything is moving from analog to digital, so in reference to video, this means a transition from VGA to HDMI signal. Because the media we consume at home is high definition, we subconsciously expect to see the same at church and digital signal allows for that.
Are there any limitations with HDMI?
-Cable length is always a challenge. We find that you can only run HDMI cable 20-50 feet; any longer and we see signal loss. There are ways to work around it, but it’s definitely something to consider.
What we typically see in churches are video projectors and screens. Are there any other options out there?
-A lot of our clients are looking to move to LED panels, video walls, and even laser projection. We’re beginning to work more and more with these new concepts.
Finally, how is the world of stage lighting changing?
-Everything is moving from conventional fixtures to LED fixtures. Gone are the days of choir members sweating it out under the intense heat of par cans. Relief has come in the form of LED technology.
What are some of the advantages of LED lighting?
-LED fixtures require significantly less power. That’s possibly the main selling point. There’s also no need for dimmer packs, color gels, or regular maintenance. You have the option of wireless DMX control and they have a longer lifespan than conventional lighting.
Are there any drawbacks?
-Truthfully, there aren’t many. LED fixtures are highly efficient and versatile. However, the cost is typically greater than conventional lighting and you get what you pay for in terms of throw distance.
With these changes, and so much more, ALPHA is committed to helping you understand the ever-changing landscape of the technical world. Our goal is to equip you with the tools needed to facilitate a Spirit-lead worship experience. To us, AVL is more than just a production; it’s a ministry.
~Thea E. Willard
This blog post was written by our WorshipLife Event 2017 partner, Alpha Sound & Lighting. We are so very appreciative of their sponsorship and belief in our mission of helping Worship Leaders live out God’s greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your HEART, all your SOUL, and all your MIND.” If you’re attending WorshipLife Event 2017 in Gatlinburg, TN, we hope you will stop by their booth and see how Alpha Sound & Lighting can help you with your worship ministry.