St James is a traditional Church that dates back to the 13th century and is grade 2 listed. The tower was added in the 15th century and the Church remains today as it has done for centuries.
The Installation Brief
As with many historical buildings, Churches in particular, the sound systems are very dated and are often of very poor audio quality. Often certain items get replaced ‘as and when required’ which has been the case at St James Church AV Installation. Due to many Houses of Worship now wanting to stream their services to a wider congregation, plus as with the majority of 2020/21 people haven’t been able to get to Church, it was decided that a total upgrade of the audio and the addition of video / camera facilities were required. Our first site visit took place on a Saturday morning and we were able to meet with several members of the Church to establish exactly what was required. The control point of the sound equipment was poorly placed and of very limited features. The speakers were extremely old, column type that lacked intelligibility. A permanent camera solution was required to enable more control and integration into the sound system. The radio microphones required upgrading, along with more inputs for a growing worship band! Restrictions of what we could and couldn’t do due to the graded listings was also discussed
The loudspeakers were required to fit in well within the Church surroundings, so not too large, but with the ability to cope with a number of instruments when required. For this reason we opted for a number of Audac XENO8 2 way full range 8” speakers in white. These were positioned around the Church to give an optimum listening experience to the congregation. We also added one as a monitor speaker, pointing back towards the choir. The Church Wanted to stay analogue rather than go digital, so we installed a YAMAHA MG20XU mixing desk at the back of the Church and fed a 20 way multi-core the front of the Church, adjacent to the worship band. The monitors could also be controlled separately for both the choir and the band, being fed from different auxiliary sends from the desk.
We installed 4 channels of SHURE BLX Radio Microphones and new discreet headworn ‘cheek’ mics. We installed CROWN XTi series amplifiers with processing to power the Front of House and monitors. A CD/multimedia player was also installed.
For the video / camera solution we installed an ANGEKIS Sabre 20xZoom PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom)camera. The positioning of this enabled full coverage of the door, the aisle and the front of the Church. A second fixed camera, supplied by the Church was also installed. This comes in useful when the operator wants to change to a different on the PTZ camera. The fixed camera can momentarily be used, whilst changing the PTZ to a different position. This can be done manually or can be programmed into the unit. These were fed back to a BLACKMAGIC Atem Pro switcher unit, that has the facility to operate up to 4 cameras, either manually or remotely. This unit also has an audio input so that sound from the mixing desk can be fed into it. The operator can easily monitor the camera positioning via the screen monitor situated alongside the video switcher. Colour coding (red/green) on the video switcher also shows the operator what camera is being used and what the next scene will be. BlackMagic HDMi to SDi converter boxes were also used due to the increased reliability of long runs of SDi cable over HDMi cable, which is preferred for shorter runs.
”From the initial meeting with Richard and Mick, the team explained everything and although we had to wait a fair while for the work to be carried out due to how busy the company were, we have been very happy with the end result. Richard trained us on how to use the camera system, and was on hand over the phone to talk through a few teething issues that we had with the sound desk. All in all, a great job done, everyone is very pleased with the resultDavid CooperChurch Warden