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Technology leads services in a new direction at Acts Christian Church Midrand

Technology leads services in a new direction at Acts Christian Church Midrand

Technology leads services in a new direction at Acts Christian Church Midrand

South Africa:

Technology plays an important role at the Midrand Campus of Acts Christian Church and the past seven months has seen the organisation invest in a variety of new audio, video and lighting equipment to improve both the quality of its streaming productions, which have attracted thousands of followers over recent months, and the experience for congregants present at the church. The upgrades have been facilitated by DWR Distribution over the course of several months.

The new equipment includes four Strand 300 S LED Softlights and two Strand 150 S Softlights for the live streaming studio and video material, as well as 16 Showtec Pixel Strip 40 LED strips to create an eye-catching background for the main stage area for both congregants and online viewers. These are accompanied by a new Arkaos MasterPro 5 license. On the audio side, a Waves Soundgrid System consisting of Waves SuperRack and a Waves SoundGrid Server One-C will complement their Midas console.

Pastors Peter de Fin and Sam Wuytack of the Acts Church
Pastors Peter de Fin and Sam Wuytack of the Acts Church

Pastor Peter de Fin and his wife Tammy started Acts Church in 1999, taking over what was previously a small mission church. “We really wanted to focus on the local church and to build this city,” the pastor explained. “Both my parents and grandparents were missionaries and started churches in places like Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland. But we had the heart to train the local people and over the last 20 years have built four campuses. We also realised that the modern church has become very technical. It’s not about producing a show, but it is about using equipment to create atmosphere and to welcome the next generation to the service.”

Their approach has been to upgrade technology little by little each year. “DWR Distribution has played a vital part of our upgrade plans,” furthered Pastor de Fin. “Robert Izzett and the guys just get things done and are willing to do the hard work.”

Pastor Sam Wuytack, a worship leader and part of the technical team agrees. “DWR has gone beyond just giving us service and that’s what I really appreciate about the company. In the past seven months, they have come out to our homes to see how they can help us set up our virtual studios. They have even come up with design work and solutions from the manufacturing department. From my side, it has been a great service and I really appreciate the team.”

Pastor de Fin points to the walls on either side of the stage, a multi-colour light curtain made possible with LED strips. “That was one of the big things we did a number of years ago and we just love it. It adds something to the entire wall and feel of the church. Most of what you see in our church, especially when it comes to colour and lighting, is from DWR.”

The most recent purchase has been 16 Showtec Pixel Strip 40 for the main stage. “We have always had, what we call, a black hole in the centre of the stage,” he explained. “Our stage was too short to add an LED screen as it would feel as if the screen were on top of us. Over the years we’ve tried different things, hoping to add something that would take away the black space. The Showtec Pixel Strip was a fantastic new product that we were able to connect to a media server and project a multitude of different content onto. We had great fun with the product, and it has added depth to the stage.”

The Showtec Pixel Strip 40 is a 100cm strip with 40 individually controllable RGB pixels. At Acts Christian Church they have been attached to a metal frame manufactured by DWR and can be taken off and repositioned when needs be. The church also purchased a new Arkaos MediaMaster Pro 5 to pixel map the Showtec products using Kling-Net. The software will also provide access to a range of digital media as well as a turnkey solution for running seamless video shows on the church’s existing LED screens.

“With people watching movies and videos, they see where concerts are going. Young people want to engage with churches that are progressive,” said Pastor de Fin. “At Acts Church we don’t want the lighting to be over the top, but we do want to keep growing and modernising with tasteful lighting that creates the right mood to worship and pray.”

During the Covid-19 lockdown, Acts Church created a virtual studio and did a vast amount of green screen work. “We purchased the Strand Softlights for backlight at our studio and for some of the smaller satellite studios created at a few homes,” furthered Pastor de Fin. “The Strand fixtures give you an incredible flat light so that the camera doesn’t fight with your green screen. We previously used LED lighting fixtures but the colour temperature was wrong. The Strand Softlight units were able to give us the colour tone we needed and just worked.”

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