Sunday, March 13, 2011

Its like Christmas in March

Because the fiscal year at Topeka Bible Church starts in March, that is the month that all the new gear that has been on our wish lists gets bought. We've been blessed to be able to upgrade to a Roland TD20x drum module, improve some of the components of our Aviom personal monitoring system, and pick up a smattering of other less noteworthy, but still fun, pieces of gear. But the real treat (and challenge) will arrive in about two weeks when our new lighting rig is delivered. Here's the low down:

200 feet of DMX cabling

The proliferation of LED lighting and more inexpensive control options is definitely a game changer for small and medium sized churches, allowing them to enter an arena once reserved for the mega-church in the next town. This is going to be quite a change for TBC, a church that has never really been equipped for emotional and creative lighting design. But purchasing and installing the gear is just the tip of the iceberg. It will be an exciting journey as volunteers learn to wield this powerful new tool.

The Elation 5Rs were at the top of my list from the beginning because of their insane versatility and low power draw. Its full motion, 22 gobos, motorized focus/iris, and small footprint make it perfect for our needs.

The Elation Opti Tri Par also have a low power draw, full RGB mixing, and three watt/TriColor LEDs. They are crazy bright, which is what we needed.

Finally, the ETC Smartfade ML. I looked at Jands and Lepricon and Elation and Martin and Freestyler and on and on. Basically we need rock solid reliability, easy control of conventionals and movers, and a tactile control surface for volunteers. For the price you can't beat the SFML. The Jands software-only system comes close but adding control surfaces gets pricey fast. So thats where we ended up. We really are not to the point of needing the control capabilities of a Hog or a full Jands console. Even if we do get to that level in a few years, the SFML is so affordable, I won't feel bad replacing it.

We hope to have the system up and running to unveil for Easter Sunday so there is definitely a lot of work coming our way!

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