I spoke with a pastor last week and he asked me if they should change their existing projection screens from video format (4:3) to widescreen format (16:9). My simple answer was “Yes, because 4:3 format is outdated and in our past when it comes to video in churches. We never design 4:3 format for anything”
Every church should move to widescreen.
How and when they get there could take some time depending on their current set-up, budget, and long term goals. It is a good idea to talk to a Church AV Consultant before making major purchases toward the video system. The correct answers will come from reviewing each individual situation and answering some key variables.
What are the sources?
Are your sources 4:3 or 16:9? If the computer is one or the other it can typically output either depending on the software used. Most updated software programs have an option for outputting multiple formats. If using a camera system the issue can become a little more tricky. Even if the church is already is using a 4:3 camera system I still lead them to widescreen. The reason being that when a camera update is done, the new camera resolution will be widescreen. Keep in mind that when implementing the current 4:3 camera system onto widescreens, there will be black or gray bars on each side of the image. Much like you would see on a non-High Def (HD) version of the local news or on Standard Definition (SD) ESPN.
What are the long term video objectives?
Make sure that whatever upgrades you do integrate with the long term video objectives of your church. Signal type used, cable used, HD, vs. SD etc. You want to make sure that the upgrades you purchase today will integrate with the changes that will come later.
How important are first impressions?
First impressions are everything. This is true in the church world just like any place else. People coming into your church for the first time will notice certain things. Does the worship seating look nice and is it comfortable? Is the carpet and decor trendy and up to date? And quite possibly for some, is the church audio, video, and lighting done well? If people cannot hear or see well or perceive old technology (4:3) being used in your church it might give them a negative first impression.
There are a few good widescreen projector options available that serve the church market nicely with performance and price. I recommend looking at the following options that typically are well suited for the midsized worship space.
- Barco RLM W6 (HD)
- Digital Projection E-Vision WXGA 600 (SD)
- Panasonic PT-DW6300 (SD)
As tight as church budgets are today, the prospect of changing over to widescreen can take some time. The important thing is to have a good plan in place to make sure that ministry dollars are spent wisely.