Church Projection System Design: Sample Purchase

Below is a spreadsheet showing some equipment for a design that I did for a small church. This may give you an idea of what might work for you. This certainly won't work for all churches. If you plan to submit a proposal to your local church then I recommend that you submit something at a higher cost than this. Leave yourself some room for unexpected expenses in case you have some problems. WARNING: This budget also does NOT include the cost of electrical work, labor and other factors. You may have to rent scaffolding or even a lift to safely install your equipment. I also don't list the cost of a computer, software, PowerPoint or song projection software. The projector you need may cost more than the projector we listed.

If you skipped to this page and failed to read the previous pages then I strongly encourage you to go back and read the other information. There are LOTS of ways to fail in installing even a simple system. I have tried to give you many practical suggestions in this guide. You can save a lot more time by reading the guide than by trying to correct your problems later on.

A lot of companies provide good technical information on their websites. Take the time to read up on the equipment that you plan to buy and install. Become familiar with the capabilities and installation requirements of what you think you may use. Visit similar installations and talk to operators and salespeople. Go on discussion groups like the one linked to on this page and ask questions. You can save yourself a lot of grief in the process. Expect some problems along the way but if you persevere you may be able to save lots of money and be intimately knowledgeable about the system you have installed.  


  1. Note that the projector MUST be flipped upside down when hung from the ceiling. You will use the menu control on the projector to tell it to invert the image. First try the projector on a cart on the floor to determine how far back you can place it then flip it over and mount it on the ceiling. The projector should hang down from the ceiling about as far down as the top of your projection screen.
  2. However low down you hang the projector is how high the top of the projected image is. Don't set the projector as far back as the zoom lens will allow or as close as it will allow. . . Set it about midrange. That way you can change the image size later if you change your mind. One very important consideration is to get ambient light off of the screen of the image and ADDING light to the speaker. MOST churches I check do NOT have enough light on the speaker. You should probably add a couple of 100 watt halogen spot lights at 45 degree angles down & 10-15 feet in front of the speaker. The lights MUST be spot lights and not flood lights so that they will light up the speaker without putting light on the projector screen.
  3. Your current speaker lights are over the top of the speaker which is incorrect for this application. But you might be able to use the electrical power and controls already there. In the church in Missouri, the projector probably needs to be mounted about over the front pew.


Sample of what I worked up for a small church in Missouri…

Projector -  XGA 1024 by 768 native resolution, 2,700 Lumen  $  1,800.00
      (If works for you - SVGA 800 by 600  $  1,100.00
native resolution, 1500 lumen projector)
2nd Remote control for Projector above)  $      60.00
Projector mount made for projector above  $    189.00
Ceiling mount for Post  $      42.00
Post for projector mount  (probably about 2- 3 foot long) Local Hardware Store  
Low Loss VGA Cable Male/Female HD15 100 FT  $      84.00
100 Ft RCA cable, Male to Male  (for VCR connection)  $      11.50
100 Ft S-Video Cable (for DVD player connection)  $      58.00
4 Way video Splitter/amplifier  $    148.00
6 Ft VGA Cable  (from CPU to splitter above)  $        6.95
Wire Ties to bundling and tying off cables  Local Electronics Store  
Cover Plates at cable penetrations Local Electronics Store  
Misc Hardware at ceiling (nuts, bolts, etc.) Local Hardware Store  
Computer/keyboard/mouse/monitor Local Choice  
Microsoft PowerPoint Local Choice  
Worship Song Software Local Choice  
Combo VCR/DVD player Local Choice  
Surge Suppressor  (one for projector, one for computer) Local Hardware Store  $      16.00
Sound cables to connect VCR/DVD player to church sound system Local Electronics Store  varies 
Screen Various  varies 
Gyration Wireless Mouse and keyboard  GP270-001  (100 Ft range)  $    265.81
PowerMid remote extender (allows long distance infrared remote control)  
      X-10 Powermid Infrared Extender Set PM5900  Catalog #: 980-0234  $      49.99
120 volt electrical outlet within 4 ft of projector.    
One run of VGA cable from projector to source    
One run of RCA cable from projector to source    
One run of S-Video Cable from Projector to source    
120 volt electrical outlet in computer room.    
No guarantee on prices, prices subject to change....    
Listed for general info only.
     I recommend that you try to figure out a way to run a monitor back to the front pew area that would allow the minister/song leader to see the image without turning around.  Get another 100+ ft VGA cable that could be run off of your 4 way splitter amplifier above.  The routing of the cable could be a problem. In the meantime, just buy a little convex mirror and place it on the front of the front pew where the speaker can look down and see that he has an image up on the screen.  Later, I recommend that you consider adding a dual monitor card to your computer that would allow an operator to work on the computer while sending a different image to the projector.  Get a high end card say Matrox brand with DVD capability on both outputs.  ($500 to $1000 card)
Other Items to Consider    
Video Splitter Cable  $        2.99
VGA Switch  $        7.48
 PS2 Mouse Y Cable  $        2.66
Case & Cable Labels  $        2.19
LCD Flat Screen Monitor for Minister with cable or mirror    $    250.00
Consider USB input to Projector    
Basic Dual output video card  $    110.00
Dual Monitor display card    $    500.00

I hope you have found this guide useful. I would like to continue to improve it. Write me about your church experience. Tell me what you think I should have included in this guide. I would even like to know if it worked out well for you! Let's work together to help small churches. Contact me.


More on Designing a Video Projection System