Church Production

Review: Elation EZ4 LED Video Panels

David Martin Jacques investigates the Elation EZ4 LED Video Panels, noting "ease of assembly" and "brightness."

By David Martin Jacques
June 4, 2014 2:23 pm EST

Topics: Video, Staging and Rigging,
Tags: LED, projection, screen,

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Yes, upgrading to an LED video screen IS expensive, but the difference in image quality and intensity is indescribable.

We are living in a world where large video screens are just about everywhere. In the entertainment world you can’t go to a concert without a giant video screen behind the stage projecting abstract images and live image magnification (IMAG) of the artists so everyone in the area can see. You see them on television shows as essential elements of scenery. You even see them in your living room where 60-inch, high-definition television sets are now selling for less than $1,000. And yes, you see them in houses of worship to project verses from the Bible, lyrics for worship songs, and live IMAG images of the worship team. Projectors are perfectly fine for churches that have controlled lighting that keeps the area around the projection screens dark, so that ambient house and stage lighting does not wash out the projected image. But what if your worship space has large windows that allow all that glorious daylight to flow into your sanctuary? That daylight will no doubt wash out the intensity of your front or rear projection screen. Also, as you add more lighting to your stage area the need for brighter projection increases. This is where high-powered modern LED screens have a huge advantage.

When I was at NAMM this past January, I stopped by the Elation booth and saw its new EZ4 LED high-definition projection screen hanging above their booth. I knew that I had to get my hands on one of these to see if it was as good as it looked. Elation kindly agreed, and within a couple of weeks the crates holding the screen and the media server arrived at our theatre for testing and review.

Hands-on Trial

The E4Z came in two crates, one holding the 15 individual 19.7 by 19.7 by 2.9-inch (500mm x 500mm x 75mm), 22 pound LED panels, and the other containing the hanging hardware and cable jumpers. The media server was built into its own road box. I was first quite amazed that only two crates held the screen, but upon opening the crates I discovered how thin the panels were. They were all housed in individual vertical compartments to keep them protected while on the road.

The screen was extremely easy to build. In fact, we just lowered a system pipe in our theatre and hung the first row of five panels on the pipe. The panels are constructed of a die-cast aluminum frame with high-precision CNC machining techniques, creating a very precise, square panel that allows for a flat and seamless LED video wall construction. The panels easily interconnected with a turn of a wrench. We then hung the second row of panels. Again, the turn of six nuts interlocked each panel into the top row and their side neighbors. Finally, the last row was hung below the second row. After connecting the panels with the included Neutrik Powercon/Ethercon linking connectors, we were ready to power up. This entire process took the two electricians about 20 minutes.

After construction, the final screen looked absolutely seamless. The interlocking mechanism is not only easy to operate, it really does the job. Elation tells us that these panels are light and sturdy enough to be floor mounted. In any case, we can see how easy and quick it is to assemble and disassemble the screen, making it useful for portable as well as permanent installations. Next page