20.05.08

Faith restored

AUTHOR: Inavate

Norwegian distributor Lydrommet has supplied a full sound system and consulting services to DKM Stord, a new multipurpose religious and conference centre on the island of Stord.

Brunstad Christian Church, also known as Smith’s Friends was founded by one Johan Oscar Smith, a Norwegian Naval officer, in the early part of the 20th Century. Through his travels in the Navy he made a network of contacts along the coast of Norway and thus a series of congregations sprang up following his own brand of evangelical Christianity. One hundred years later, the Church has what have become known as “Local Churches” all over the world, and one of the newest of these is ironically back in Norway itself on the island of Stord, situated off the west coast.

The site, known as DKM Stord (DKM being the Norwegian for BCC), replaces a much smaller and older building, with a fully fledged church halls cum conference centre cum youth project. Funding for the project came from congregation donations fund raising initiatives and also a specially made panoramic movie, which promotes both the stunning landscape of the surrounding region and also local business. The island area on the West coast of Norway boasts some of the country’s finest countryside and is a Mecca for tourists.

To accommodate this specially commissioned film, and also to provide the most flexible facilities possible for both the church and corporate users of the 500-seat hall, DKM Stord turned to trusted audio suppliers Lydrommet, who have a close relationship with the church, and AV firm Elaqus.

Paal Solli was Lydrommet’s project manager on the job and he explained the sound system that his company supplied: “The customer opted for a reasonably high end solution for the conference centre. It’s a 5.1 surround solution, which they can use both for the Church meetings and also for the corporate clients who also rent it.

“The left and right front channels are hung arrays of three VRX 932s, with the centre consisting of three smaller VRX 928s. In addition to this L-C-R set-up there are then twelve 8304A boxes, six on each side, to form the left and right surround channels. Bass reinforcement is in the form of six SRX718S subs, which are mounted below the stage.

“We used Crown CTS series amplifiers to power the system, 2000s for the arrays and 3000s for the sub-woofers. The whole system is controlled using BSS Soundweb. There’s a BLU80 processor with a BLU32 expander in the equipment room, and another BLU32 on the stage.

“We also supplied DKM with a full package of AKG microphones. There are four channels of the WMS 450 system installed in the equipment rack. Three of these are connected directly into the Soundweb system for conference use.”

There are a total of three different surround sources available to the user. The first is the DVD player, mounted on the stage equipment rack. It was located on the stage so that DKM wouldn’t have to give visiting companies access to their control room, or have a technician present at all times. The second is the Soundcraft mixing desk, although this technically is only a 5.0 source since there is no dedicated bass channel. The third source consists of the three PCs, which are used to run the panoramic film.

For on-stage performance or other auxiliary audio inputs there is a multicore system, with analogue inputs for musicians etc. These are then tied into the Cobranet transport from the BLU32 I/O units on stage to the BLU80 processor in the control room.

In addition to the main sound system, Lydrommet also supplied a collection of JBL ceiling speakers, these are dispersed around the communal areas of the building – the lobby, kitchen and meeting rooms. These are also slaved to the Soundweb processor and driven by Crown CDI amplifiers. In the ceiling of the conference room are hung a pair of microphones, and their signal is mixed with the direct signal from the mixing desk. This output is then played throughout the building. If the PA sound system is switched on, the audience microphones are ducked and the dry sound from the PA is played throughout.

The promotional movie, which raised a significant portion of the funds required for the conference centre, has greatly coloured the choice of equipment and also the installation process itself. Elaqus project manager Jan-Stefan Hansen described the AV system he installed.

“The video system consists of three large electronic screens, each is six metres wide and this makes for a continuous display of 18 metres. WE had to align the three F30+’s very, very carefully to make sure that the image was completely seemless when we played the film across all the screen – there’s no edgeblending or masking involved here. It’s actually three separate movies, on three PCs which are keylocked together. The movie was produced by a specialist company called KIB Media, which also provided a piece of proprietary software to sync all three movies.

“Each screen is running at 1920 x 1080, full HD, so we used a DVI over fibre solution to take signals to each projector. The reason for not adopting an edge-blending solution is that we really only need the full, 18-metre screen to behave as a single display for the purposes of the movie. In a conference setting, visitors can use some, all or none of the projection surface. It’s up to them.”

Sources for conference use can be DVD players, mounted in the stage rack for convenience, or there are a number of wall panels where one can plug in VGA or component video sources. These are switched through Kramer composite video and RGBHV switchers.

Central to the thinking behind the system design is the multipurpose nature of the hall. Whilst it is mainly used by the Church, three or four times a week, it also has to pay for its own upkeep. It can be rented out as a conference centre to businesses, and in these situations it is advantageous for the system to be as user friendly as possible – DKM Stord didn’t want to have to provide a technician for every event.

For this reason, everything including the lighting, Soundweb processors, projection system and electronic screens are all controlled via a Crestron control system. The centre’s technical staff can pre-configure the system for a particular event and then simply hand the client one of the TPS-4000 touch-panels to run the show.

The central controller is an AV2 processor, which is operated by one of two touch panels, or by auxiliary, wall-mounted CNX-BF12W key pads. The controller is paired with a CGDMX unit to allow it to interface with the lighting dimmers via DMX.

Last but not least, the conference centre is equipped with a video production suite. Proceedings in the hall can be recorded on three Sony BRC-300 PTZ cameras, which are operated with the RM-BR300 controller. There are also additional floor boxes allowing for further, tripod-mounted cameras to be used for key functions. The main control room houses the production equipment, including Sony preview monitors and a DV player. It is also provided with a Panasonic AW-SW350 video switcher.

Most of the installation work was carried out by DKM’s own technical services team. The church has a number of technicians, however they hired Lydrommet to design, fine tune and commission the sound system, as well as supplying the equipment in the first place.

The finished project is certainly light-years on from what was available to both the church and the local community, offering a full range of services from live performance, to religious meetings and youth events.