RF Venue solves wireless environment issues for Prestonwood Baptist Church holiday productions – rAVe [PUBS]

RF Venue solves wireless environment issues for Prestonwood Baptist Church holiday productions – rAVe [PUBS]

The main location of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas is a massive facility that hosts 8,000 to 10,000 worshipers every weekend. Productions can match the scale of attendance, with no detail overlooked – especially the major holidays of the year, Easter and Christmas. The Christmas presentthe church’s annual seasonal production, is a visually stunning multimedia event with special effects, a nearly 1,000-member cast and choir, a 50-piece orchestra, Circus of the Sunstylish aerials and stunning virtual landscapes on LED video walls bringing the Christmas story to life in a breathtaking way. Award-winning lighting and bold scenic design provide a unique look that inspires and engages the congregation. But as many churches and other large-scale facilities find, it can be difficult to implement the right solutions in a typically harsh RF environment, and Prestonwood Baptist is no exception. Fortunately, Venue RF components provide a solid and reliable wireless infrastructure for the space, eliminating dropouts for even the most complex worship programs.

The challenges posed by the RF environment near the Plano Church building are no small feat: Its 7,000-seat auditorium has a clear line of sight to television and radio transmission towers 40 miles away. west and is even closer to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. massive antenna farm, barely 10 miles away in the same direction. The area also has over a dozen DTV stations of varying strength on the air (one of which, TV 17, was dormant but suddenly appeared just before production started last Christmas). Then there are the corrugated metal elements of the roof and other parts of the building construction, which can interfere with RF propagation.

For the biggest holiday events of the year, the stage is expanded to form a larger production area than used on a typical Sunday. For The Christmas present in 2021, for example, it was over 120 feet in diameter, with a second story added. “If you were to list the top ten challenges that wireless microphones face for a theater or music production, most of them would be here,” says Ryan Sartell, the RF specialist who handled the wireless microphones for the company. production over the past five years. “The production takes place in a massive space, the ceiling curves left to right and front to back, and the corrugated metal means the multi-pathing in the room is extremely aggressive. In addition, two 12-foot video screens also emit a lot of RF into the environment. Previously we had used helical antennas, but things just danced through them. We would have regular dropouts. Sometimes we had to increase the gain of the transmitters under the suits, but that has its own set of issues. There was consensus: we needed a better RF solution. »

That solution came last year, before the big Christmas event, in the form of six Venue Spotlight RF antennas, four of which were positioned equidistant 30 feet behind the orchestra on stage, and two more placed near the end of scene push. built for production. The Spotlight antennas were linked using a Venue 4 ZONE RF Active Antenna Combiner placed in the stage side equipment area used to house the wireless microphone receivers. The Venue RF solution became the receive channel for the 40 channels of Shure ADX1M wireless micro-transmitters used during production. “The Spotlight antennas gave us a lot more latitude in terms of placement of the RF antennas, which was essential for a complex show like this, and as a result there was less distance between the antennas and the transmitter on stage, allowing them to use the Micro of the transmitters, which are much smaller and really useful for costumes and makeup,” he explains.

What the new Venue RF antennas and combiners have offered operationally for the church has been nothing short of a true game changer. “I don’t have to worry about wireless anymore,” says Mike Smith, chief audio engineer and head of live production for Prestonwood Baptist Church, which mixes the room for services as well as seasonal productions. “For the Christmas production, there were about 70,000 sold out over two weeks, so the pressure to make it perfect is there. You don’t want any dropouts, which had been an issue in the past. Smith says he and Sartell will work together for next year’s event, looking to further refine antenna placement.”Due to the extensive staging, once you place an antenna, it’s not it’s not easy to go back and reposition it, so we’ll learn from this year’s experience,” he says. “But the improvement we’ve had this year with the Venue RF antennas was very real and very welcome. .”

“The Venue RF gear took a tough RF environment and smoothed out its inconsistencies,” summarizes Sartell. In addition to how Venue RF technology helped make the annual Christmas pageant sound as pristine as it was, Easter 2022 was another hit, with a setup featuring two Spotlight antennas under the pulpit and built-in to the 4 ZONE active antenna combiner supporting another huge (but less massive than the Christmas one). And a pair of Spotlight antennas and a DISTRO4 antenna distribution system are permanently in place in the church’s student building. “RF coverage is no longer an issue here now.”

Marjorie N. McClure