Projection at Tree of Life Lutheran

The Budget Projection System

We wanted to use projection in our sanctuary, but we were on a limited budget of $6500 and most contractors won’t talk to you until you have 10k in the bank.  The solution we came up with was way out of the box and unorthodox, but we stayed close to our budget with the help of many volunteers and met our goals with this project.  A member of our church Butch Nye, a retired Houston Fireman and incredibly gifted carpenter, created the shelves that our projections ultimately now sit.

This is the end result of our work.  The following pictures explain how we got to this point.

This is what Sanyo calls an ultra short throw projector.  It only needs 4-8 INCHES from the wall to get what I would describe as a standard definition picture.  Because the projector is so close to the wall it does not require a massive amount of lumens to make a decent picture.  I want to be clear concerning this view point. I am not an expert on this stuff.  I suspect that the video techs of the world are screaming right now in frustration for any number of good reasons.  I am sure there are many factors that we are not using that would improve our situation.  However, at the end of the day, this is what we could afford and how we gauged this project was by our own eyes.  My team, which included many sets of eyes, asked one question.   Did we like what we looking at?  The answer was yes and continues to be yes for over 5 months now. Here is the link if you want to know more about this projector.

Note: This particular projector is no longer being sold but Sanyo does sell other ultra short throw projectors.

We started out putting our projectors on old speaker stands we had using black wooden curtain rods we found for $20 apiece.  This idea, although economical, had a slight draw back.  This draw back was discovered when one of our fine and brave acolytes actually got his robe caught on the stand and brought the whole thing down in a mighty crash.  See the following link for the video.

The Fall

Please note:  neither the student nor the projector was harmed, although the student was rewarded a hard hat for his bravery and future protection.

After the “fall” Butch Nye a member of our congregation built a pair of shelves which matched the sanctuaries interior.  His work went so beyond our imaginations.

The shelves blended in so well that I had to point them out to my early service folks.  They had not immediately realized that we had removed the projections on a stick, and upgraded to this elegant and beautiful addition.

We use a Macintosh because the keynote application works so nicely with an iPhone or iPad, showing me the current and next slide.  I can say without hesitation that after 5 months we have little to no trouble using this setup.

Here is what is so amazing about our projection system.  You don’t see a projector we stayed very close to our budget and it fits our traditional style of worship in a way that compliments instead of dominating the room.  We still use a bulletin every Sunday as we don’t have all the people we need to go straight projection, but the congregation is eager to keep pushing forward and to see how far we can use our system.

If your have questions, suggestions or would like to come by our church to see the system yourself please be in touch by going to .  This is the beginning of blog I have been thinking about for over 2 years now.  I am of the belief that technology is at its best when it helps bring people together as the body of Christ so whether it is a Sunday morning or Monday morning the goal of is about helping make that possible.

God’s Peace

Chris Lake, A Lutheran Geek

One thought on “Projection at Tree of Life Lutheran

  1. I’m interested in your strategy for this installation. I have taken some pictures of our sanctuary at Holy Comforter after speaking with you yesterday. Do you have an email where I can send our pictures?

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