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Out with the old, in with the new: Hales Corners Lutheran Church partners with Clearwing for complete upgrade of audiovisual systems
Jay BaumgardnerJuly 12, 2023 at 10:50 AM5 min read

Out with the old, in with the new: Hales Corners Lutheran Church partners with Clearwing for complete upgrade of audiovisual systems


Clearwing Systems Integration worked with Hales Corners Lutheran Church (HCLC) to orchestrate a plan that not only brought more life into the space, but gave it the flexibility, simplicity, and coverage it needed to remain that way for years to come. Specifically, the Clearwing team focused on integrating systems that were up to date with today’s technology, energy-efficient, and cost-effective while supporting the traditional feel of the church. These goals and objectives served as guidelines for our team throughout each phase of the project, ensuring that every step was executed smoothly and efficiently. 

Client Background 

Hales Corners Lutheran Church was founded in 1929 and has been growing as a worship space and congregation for the past 90+ years. It is also credited with providing quality Christian education to students ranging from preschool through 8th grade. 

  In the early 2000s, the church developed a twenty-year multiphase plan to completely renovate and unify the worship space and school campus to be located all on one site. With a continuously growing congregation, it was of great importance that the worship space was given the technology necessary to produce services to an abundance of congregants each week. Alongside this ongoing project, the church reached out to Clearwing Systems Integration with the request for a complete modernization of audio, video, and lighting systems in the sanctuary. Due to our team’s expertise, agility, and detailed consideration for each client and project, HCLC was confident in collaborating with Clearwing as an exceptional partner for this additional project.  

Challenge and Approach 

  Identifying the client’s goals and priorities is always Clearwing’s first step in approaching any project. With the goal of bringing more life into the sanctuary, the church wanted to prioritize systems that would enhance the worship experience while remaining visually unobtrusive. Our team worked closely with HCLC staff to develop an overall project plan which was divided into multiple phases in order to accommodate annual budgets and prioritize the church’s top demands. This scope of work allowed the church to approve the plan before installations began and ensured a seamless experience between the client and integrator. 

The upgrade from outdated to modern technology came with the challenge of working diligently to specify systems that not only outperformed the existing ones but also preserved the space’s traditional features by minimizing the visual impacts of a new system. All the while, the Clearwing team carefully planned deployments and coordinated with associated trades to ensure that each system installation was completed in one-week windows to avoid any disruption to weekly services. 

In addition to the installation windows, our team trained and commissioned HCLC staff on the upgraded systems to allow Sunday services to run on the new equipment. Because of this, the staff was confident in using the new systems to run all services without help from Clearwing for the remainder of the ongoing project. This multi-year project began with a full video upgrade in 2020, followed by an audio upgrade in 2021, and was completed with a lighting upgrade in 2022.  

 Results and Benefits 

Clearwing Systems Integration supplied Hales Corners Lutheran Church with the video systems and technology to serve both in-person and online audiences effectively during the peak of the pandemic. Due to the urgency to reach a partially remote congregation, the video system took priority in the upgrade plan. Content from 3 Panasonic HD PTZ cameras, fixed Marshall POV camera, and inputs from ProPresenter all pass through the Ross Carbonite Black Solo Production Switcher for ultimate control and system flexibility. The church chose the popular RESI platform for the live streaming of its services. Content feeds to a RESI Prism encoder for distribution to any streaming destination of choice. For in-person worship, two 13,000 lumen Christie laser projectors and Da-Lite motorized screens were installed to display graphics and video content. The projectors provide a clear and bright image regardless of the high ambient lighting from the overhead skylights. Additionally, Clearwing added monitors in the lobby and café areas that display announcements and live feeds of the sanctuary in case of audience overflow. Five HD recorders were implemented to individually record the camera feeds for enhanced editing following a service or event.

The sanctuary’s audio upgrade included new speaker arrays, microphones, a mixing console, and touchpanel that helped enhance the sanctuary’s acoustics. Four L-Acoustics loudspeaker hangs consisting of two A15i Focus, one A15i Wide, and one KS21i were each installed above the altar to provide full audio coverage and clarity throughout the sanctuary. An additional A15i array was flown as a choir monitor. The RAL white color of each main array was extremely significant in keeping the cohesive interior design of the space. Additionally, the speakers were equipped with acoustically transparent front screens to retain a clean and sleek look. Altogether, the loudspeaker systems are fed by a Yamaha QL5 console, allowing for superb sound quality, operability, and functionality. Distributed ceiling speakers were also installed to supply audio feed to the lobby, bathrooms, and other back-of-house areas. 

Finally, Clearwing focused on lighting systems that supplied the client with even coverage, flexibility, simplicity, and user-friendliness. To meet these criteria, Clearwing installed an ETC Datatrack Backbone system supporting ETC ColorSource Spots and Pars to light the altar and musician areas. All fixtures can be moved between any installed DataTrack in the facility and use color-changing LED engines with minimal power, giving the church full control while operating at ample brightness. Clearwing also revamped all existing house light fixtures with new LED lamps, improving both coverage and energy efficiency.  

The lighting control system consists of two main systems. The ETC Paradigm system drives twin ETC DRd racks equipped with an array of modules capable of providing switched power to each DataTrack Section and efficient LED dimming to the array of retrofitted chandeliers, sconces, and recessed lighting. The Paradigm system controls the house lighting over the seating area in addition to the altar lighting via wall-mounted button stations and portable touch screens for everyday use. An ETC Ion XE 20 provides more advanced lighting control for services and special events when needed.  

As a result of Clearwing’s planning and coordination throughout the process, Hales Corners Lutheran Church received integrated audio, video, and lighting systems that seamlessly connect and complement one another. The church and its community now have a fully upgraded worship space with modern equipment that will last for years to come as the congregation continues to grow.