Audio-Video Transformation Project
The pandemic has transformed us. Many of us now better understand the power of technology. We are enjoying the experience of Sunday services at home, while longing to return to our sanctuary where we can once again experience the sounds, the silence, the people and the hugs. How and when that can happen, we don’t yet know, but we may not want to return to exactly where we left off.
We have an exceptional physical location and space. Currently the beauty and ambience of the space is not matched by the aging audio and video equipment, the acoustics, and the lighting. Over the years, dedicated volunteers have given much time and effort to maintain and improve what we have, and the Grace Mersereau bequest has funded a number of improvements. However, there are significant issues with sound quality, unreliable and poor-quality streaming of services, and the projection system which suffers from bright ambient lighting.
The current sound system has many weaknesses which will be resolved with new microphones, speakers and controls to improve sound quality and coverage for voice and music; the current security camera, which we use for livestreaming, will be replaced with four high-definition cameras and accessories plus lighting which will provide a quality viewing experience for those watching from home; and the projection system, which currently cannot compete with bright ambient light, will be replaced with a high powered laser projector and larger screen which will allow closed captioning. This fully integrated “virtual sanctuary” will offer a first-class experience to those attending in the sanctuary and for those joining us from home or gathered elsewhere with friends and neighbours.
All of this will come at a cost. The entire project is estimated to cost up to $200,000, which can be funded from several sources. We will be conducting a feasibility study to find out how much we might raise from members and friends through a capital campaign; we could apply for a CUC grant and there may be other funding available; and we have accumulated operating surpluses which we could draw on while still maintaining a healthy reserve.
Upgrading our equipment in the sanctuary will greatly improve the overall experience of our services, especially for the hard-of-hearing. We will be able to invite guest speakers to our sanctuary, or view them at home, from anywhere in the world. We will have a state-of-the-art facility that will draw premium rates for rentals. Our existing equipment has served us well with much effort from our volunteers, but after 25 years it is time to move forward.
Amplify UU is being led by a new board-appointed team to help complete this ambitious project – Marion Pape, Gary Theal, Nancy Dobbs and John Hopewell in consultation with Finance Committee. If you have questions, please email John Hopewell or Marion Pape and we’ll provide answers or find someone who can.