Farewelling 50 years of The Salvation Army at 34 Smith Street, Parramatta
The Salvation Army – Parramatta has been worshipping at 34 Smith Street, Parramatta since 1969. On 3rd & 4th March 2018, we farewelled this facility and celebrated all that’s happened over that time, with a Saturday evening concert and Sunday morning worship. This ‘Marching On’ weekend was a big production, and I had the privilege of coordinating the technical production.
Before you ask, no we’re not shutting down – we’re evetually moving to our new church home at 426 Church Street, Parramatta (it’s being renovated this year, and while that happens we’re in a temporary church facility in Granville).
This production posed a number of challenges:
- We were moving out of the venue and part-way through decommissioning all the technical systems
- The lead time for me was very short (I was only on the team for a few weeks leading up to the event)
- We were expecting a massive crowd and couldn’t take up any more real-estate in the venue than we absolutely required
- The expectations were very high – many thousands of people have worshipped at this church over the years, and we needed to respectfully honour all that’s happened
- The budget was limited (aren’t they always?)
For the production design, we decided to focus heavily on video projection as this allowed us to showcase as much historic content as possible.
We hired in two Barco RLM-W8 projectors with 0.9 short-throw lens (this took up the majority of our budget). These filled the two rear walls with environmental projection. We produced a lot of custom content for these screens, and ran it all from Resolume Arena 6 and ProPresenter 6. Resolume was great, because it allowed us to do all the image warping, and layer lots of content together.
The custom video content consisted of talking-head interviews, photo slideshows, footage from previous events, and custom graphics to aid the narration. I produced the majority of this myself in the two weeks prior, with help from a small team.
At the centre of the stage was a Cross with the letter “S” (for Salvation) wrapped around it. This has been a fixture in the worship hall since it was opened, and understandably, people were a bit attached to it. We featured this cross by covering the back surface with RGB LED Tape. This was broken into three segments, and allowed us to create a variety of different looks.
We also flew two XMLite 10R hybrid moving fixtures (wash and profile, two in one), a number of conventional front-wash lights (profiles and par cans), and LED Pars. All lighting was controlled from LSC Clarity software. Rigging and power patching was very limited and we were pretty much at capacity.
As this was a significant weekend, we live-streamed the whole event with 4 operable cameras and independent audio mix. Cameras were all connected to an Blackmagic Design ATEM via HD-SDI, and audio was split via a Dante network. After the event, we re-edited and re-mixed the entire event and released it on a DVD – and it’s also now available on YouTube.
There were 12 people on the tech team for the weekend, and it was a pleasure to lead them all and do the legwork needed to pull this off. I look forward to celebrating the opening of our new facility this time next year!
Most photos in this article have been provided by Troy Gibbs.
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