Elation Lighting and Video System Revival at Comunidad Apostólica Hosanna Church in Panama
Michael Garrison Associates designs and installs new audio, video and lighting systems for 5,000-seat auditorium
Comunidad Apostólica Hosanna (CAH) is a large evangelical Christian church in Panama City, Panama, that is unique for several reasons. With Sunday services attracting well over 12,000 practitioners and operating its own TV division, CAH has grown to become one of Central America’s more influential mega-churches. Design and systems integration company Michael Garrison Associates (MGA) of Fresno, California, were called on to create a comprehensive conceptual design for the renovation of Comunidad Apostólica Hosanna and chose Elation Professional lighting and video products to realize the project.
MGA owner Michael Garrison explains that the church’s TV division, Hosanna Vision, was looking for a firm to help CAH upgrade the TV lighting in their existing 5,000-seat main auditorium, but the project soon grew to encompass more. “We learned that the room was very dated and needed much more than a TV lighting system upgrade,” he says. “This led to further discussions with the church and CAH ultimately selected a comprehensive design for the renovation of the facility. This included the demolition of the existing stage area and construction of a whole new, multi-level stage, along with the design and integration of all new audio, video and lighting systems.”
Elation LED lighting system
Such an extensive audiovisual renovation is fairly uncommon in Panama and CAH is one of the first venues of its kind in the country with this level of installation. Randy Garabedian, Senior AVL Consultant at MGA, designed and installed the new lighting system, which consists of Colour Pendant™ color-changing LED downlights, Opti Tri White™ variable white LED Par lights, SixPar Series™ LED Par color changers, and Platinum Spot III™ LED color and graphics moving heads. “The intention of the lighting installation was to upgrade to a new ‘production style’ of lighting,” he states, explaining that the original lighting comprised of roughly two dozen metal halide house light fixtures and five television/film style fluorescent lighting fixtures.
“The initial Elation fixtures I chose were to accomplish the task of even illumination of the platform area for a general ‘wash’ to replace the fluorescent fixtures,” Garabedian explains. “After a meeting with the pastor and staff, we discussed the possibilities of adding some fixtures to provide color and movement, which was part of a grander upgrade that would also include the new LED walls and audio system upgrade.”
MGA were then tasked to provide several concepts for upgrading the platform area with a new stage and support of the four Elation video walls and proposed loudspeaker layout, plus the enhanced lighting system. “The Elation product line allows for some wonderful flexibility in LED technology with the Opti-Tri White a great variable white fixture,” Garabedian comments. “This was my primary choice for the general illumination of the platform area.” The Opti Tri White is a high output variable white LED PAR light with cool white, warm white and amber LEDs that allow for adjustable color temperature control. It houses (18) 5W LEDs and is powerful enough to be used from high trim heights with a compact size that allows them to be rigged virtually anywhere.
Garabedian says that the newer SixPar Series has become one of his favorite LED color fixtures, providing not only the standard RGB, including amber and white, plus a nice UV. “All of this in a single lens LED emitter so you don’t see the individual colors of the LED as you might with some other manufacturers,” he said. Garabedian incorporated SixPar 200 fixtures (12x 12W RGBAW+UV LEDs) on the lighting trusses above the platform to provide side and backlight and SixPar 100 (7x 12W RGBAW+UV LEDs) fixtures in the platform façade for upstage backlight and uplighting of the walls.
Elation’s energy-efficient Colour Pendant downlight, an increasingly popular choice in HoW environments, is used for house lighting. Excellent color matching units with a uniform flat-field output, there are 30 Colour Pendants in the main seating area (5 per 30’ truss] and 48 in the balcony seating area. The units in the balcony are attached to eight 6’ circular trusses to provide a “chandelier” type design, each truss holding 6 Colour Pendants. Each Colour Pendant houses thirty-six 3W RGBW LEDs for fully blended projections of color or variable shades of white light. Convection cooling and lack of fans make it ideal for noise sensitive environments like HoW installations. “We rounded off the project with a few automated fixtures to provide a little eye candy with Platinum LED Spot III fixtures,” Garabedian adds.
The trussing system provides a coverage of 180 degrees around the fan shaped room’s platform plus top/backlight directly above the platform area, all supported by chain hoist control, allowing the church technical team to access the fixtures for cleaning and re-purposing at any time. Garabedian commented, “It is our goal to provide a great infrastructure and as much flexibility in the area of lighting as we can possibly design within a project budget.”
EZ6 LED video screens
The lighting system was only part of the visual upgrade. The pre-existing video screen system was a combination of very tired LCD projectors and front projection screens, with one center stage-mounted LED screen, and needed a serious upgrade. “All were improperly sized and located,” Michael Garrison said.
The new video system features four LED video screens made up of Elation EZ6™ LED video display panels and has changed the feel of the room completely. It consists of three upper EZ6 screens used for IMAG, each screen 11 panels wide by 6 panels high (6.3m x 3.5m, 1056 x 576 pixels), as well as one lower video backdrop screen that is 16 panels wide by 6 panels wide (9.2m x 3.5m, 1536 x 576 pixels). A total of 312 EZ6 panels are used in the install. Processing is from Elation-distributed Novastar NovaPro HD™ video processor and LED display controller devices.
“We selected the EZ6 LED panels because of their excellent value,” Michael Garrison says of the high definition 6mm pixel pitch, 1,800-nit brightness LED panels. “They are the proper mix of quality, performance specifications and cost. The quality of construction and operational reliability were very important to MGA and to CAH. Panama is a long way from California, so we needed a product that would not pose costly service problems in the near or long term and we have had good experience with this particular product. They are well designed and straightforward to assemble and set up and the NovaPro HD display controllers are elegant and easy to program.”
Yani González, AVL Department Supervisor at Hosanna Vision, explains the reasons for choosing to work with MGA and Elation. “About two years before we met MGA, we purchased an LED video screen directly from a manufacturer in China. We were told that this would save us a lot of money and that the manufacturer would provide us any support services we needed. This turned out to be a poor choice for us, as it took months of time and effort for our engineers to get the screen operational. So, when we found MGA and learned that they would not only fully install the audio, video and lighting equipment - including the LED screens - but that they would also provide on-site warranty support services, we were more than happy to give that responsibility to them. MGA and Elation Professional did a great job on the design and installation of this system, and have also provided excellent training and support. MGA’s prices were very competitive, especially considering the very valuable services and peace of mind we received!”
Comunidad Apostólica Hosanna conducts a wide variety of events and celebrations in the facility from church services to weddings, graduations, conventions and kids’ parties, and the new lighting and video system can be used to enhance them all. The project has received praise locally and was a team success for MGA and Elation, a fact that Michael Garrison appreciates. He comments: “We are very pleased with our working relationship with Elation. They were very helpful during the design phase, where we had many challenges to overcome existing conditions. They were also very helpful with the logistics of shipping such a large order to Panama. And Elation’s LED panel product specialist Red Walter was invaluable to us from start to finish - even spending time onsite during the actual assembly/installation of the four video screens.”
Diego Reyes, Technology Supervisor at Hosanna Vision, sums up: “On behalf of the entire technical team at Comunidad Apostólica Hosanna, it has been a wonderful experience to develop our main auditorium renovation project with MGA and products from Elation Professional. The end result is that our members now enjoy a quality of lighting and video that sets a new standard for facilities in Panamá City.”
312 x EZ6™ LED video panel
6 x Novastar NovaPro HD™
82 x Colour Pendant™
34 x SixPar 200™
10 x SixPar 100™
30 x Opti Tri White™
12 x Platinum Spot III™