SAW solution rounds off Faith Dome renovation
Tuesday, 23 November 2021
faithStage Audio Works designed and integrated a sophisticated audio, lighting and rigging solution for the main arena
South Africa - Faith Broadcasting Network has consolidated a vast following of approximately 264m viewers worldwide since its inception two decades ago, with satellite, terrestrial and digital broadcasts reaching worshippers all around the world. With headquarters in South Africa, and studios in the USA and the UK, MyFaithTV is the largest religious broadcaster on the African continent.
To accommodate such growth, the Faith Dome - the ministry’s base in East London, South Africa - has been undergoing renovations for many years. Parts of the premises have been refurbished to house different aspects of the ministry’s work: including a number of television studios, humanitarian aid warehouses, activity spaces as well as their main broadcasting studio.
In 2015, work commenced on the ceiling to replace it with the dome we see today. Stage Audio Works were called upon to design and integrate a sophisticated audio, lighting and rigging solution for the main arena based on d&b’s A-Series loudspeakers, Cameo and Hog4 lighting with Stage Plus truss.
In early 2021, the ultimate round of renovations to the main broadcast studio was concluded, and the Faith Dome was officially completed. At maximum capacity, the indoor arena holds a staggering 10,500 live attendees, making it the largest in the Eastern Cape.
SAW’s brief was to provide the Faith Dome with audio and lighting solutions to support their existing broadcasting channels, as well as live events. Dr Andre Robert, founder and CEO of the River Group, comments: “It was important for us to have a central stage in the Faith Dome as it truly places the focus of worship in the midst of our congregation. It’s more democratic than a traditional front-to-back organisation and allows everyone to remain connected and involved with the worship experience.”
“From an acoustic perspective, the sheer size of the space is a factor to be reckoned with, in particular the extreme height of the room which necessitates a PA system that provides comprehensive vertical coverage,” observes Nathan Ihlenfeldt, CTO of SAW. “We ruled out a traditional line array, as the number of speakers required would have interfered with the client’s broadcasting setup and stretched the budget. For this installation, d&b’s A-Series augmented array technology was the perfect fit in terms of directivity control, sonic quality and price range. Notably, this project marks the first A-Series installation in Africa.”
SAW opted for eight augmented arrays of three AL60s flown from a custom-built square truss, itself flown from the ceiling at an impressive height of 13m. To handle low end, four hangs of four V-SUBs are flown from a second square truss inside the first. In order to reduce cable runs, the amplifiers for the subs and the main PA are neatly housed in custom amp racks situated on top of their respective trusses. “It’s an unusual solution, but given the constraints we were working with, keeping everything together solved a number of issues,” admits Ihlenfeldt.
“One of the most crucial elements of our brief was to ensure that the PA would not impinge on camera sightlines,” he explains. “Consequently, the system is 13m above the floor. In fact, the bottom of the PA is higher than the top of the screens.” Four large screens are housed in a custom-built cuboid truss structure flown over the centre of the stage. The sub array is flown directly above that.
Additionally, SAW was responsible for the integration of the lighting system designed by Cape Town-based creative production company, Bad Weather. A Cameo solution illuminates the main arena, supported by interspersed Zenit floodlights, chosen for their wide-angle beams. In terms of lighting control, especially on such a large scale, ETC’s Hog 4 Console was chosen.
Finally, SAW designed and manufactured a trussing solution comprising two concentric squares and an outer rectangle to house the PA and the lighting, plus the central cuboid structure to accommodate the screens, based on their Stage Plus OV truss – an engineering solution manufactured under license to Total Solutions Group.
“Even though this was a tricky project to execute, we are proud of the outcome,” concludes Ihlenfeldt.

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