February marked the opening of the new First Baptist Church of Marco Island, Florida. This new facility includes a 500-seat worship center, children’s space, multi-purpose areas, and youth rooms. Brawner and Associates was tasked with providing turnkey design and installation services for the project, including the overall sanctuary design, ceiling treatment, seating layout, audio, video, lighting, digital signage, scenic elements, acoustics, and motorized rigging systems.

At the core of the worship center design is a scenic wall used to create vivid backgrounds behind the pulpit. The wall works in unison with a soft fabric ceiling. “We were looking for a background that would be versatile—something with lots of depth and dimension,” explains Donnie Brawner, senior consultant. “It had to be great for the live message and also work well for video and television. Back at our office in mid-2006, the wall with matching ceiling was elected as the winning solution.”

Lighting designer Ron Robertson explains the lighting needs: “The design of the wall required strong sidelight from multiple color changing fixtures. We set our sights on a product that would be an inexpensive, small unit with a powerful punch and smooth dimming. The Chauvet Colorado 1 units did an incredible job. Due to the focus on video, we were looking for a product with high refresh rates to eliminate flicker with the camera’s eye. Chauvet upgraded recently and they are great lights.”

The plywood / Formica wrapped wall is lit with 16 Colorado 1 units from the side with additional front lighting units. There are also 4 High End Solutions X-Spots providing texture on the wall. The stretched fabric ceiling is lit with 3 Colorado 1 units per panel. The main stage lighting is made up with multiple ETC Source Four products.

“The client was very excited about the LED lighting,” states Brawner. “LED lighting meets green building initiatives and allows for rich color saturation without the power consumption, lamp replacement, and maintenance costs of standard lighting.”

The motorized batten system by Texas Scenic include three lighting positions and two scenic pipes housing a 16’ by 9’ screen and a self-illuminating, dimensional LED cross unit. Other lighting positions included four sidelight cove positions and trusses hung between ceiling fabrics.

The auditorium also includes a professional audio system consisting of EAW speaker cabinets in addition to a distributed speaker system throughout the church, inside and out. The high-definition video system contains three 16 by 9 aspect ratio screens with two operator cameras, two remote cameras, and a full video edit suite. Digital signage is spread out over a network to 10 locations throughout the facility and technical systems were also installed in children’s areas, youth rooms, and fellowship halls.

Brawner’s design team also called for an acoustic island ceiling, built by scenic company ID3, over the entire auditorium which acted as a masking device for the front lighting positions, audio speakers, and ETC houselights. “We really did not want the big drywall ceiling,” Brawner notes. “We always approach things insisting that lighting, audio, video, and acoustics are well integrated and use the scenic elements and interior treatments as the vehicle to make it happen. Then we work to design the set to help define the space.”

The entire space was designed by Brawner and Associates in conjunction with AV partners SG Integration with the goal of intimacy, flexibility, and future expansion in mind. Emphasis on the future included dedicated power services for touring performances or outdoor special events. The church has the ability to do television broadcast, stage productions, concerts, or intimate live services in the feel of a small space with the technology of the largest space.