Oct 19, 2011 2:24 PM, By Cynthia Wisehart
Case Studies in Media Capture and Distribution
Celebration Church of Jacksonville, Fla. is a model example of the multisite church, part of a growing trend made possible by AV. In the 13 years since its founding, the church has grown to encompass 12 locations throughout Florida and abroad; more than 10,000 congregants attend every weekend, simultaneously led by Lead Pastor Stovall Weems through the power of video streaming.
Meanwhile, during roughly the same period—since 1999—the International House of Prayer (IHOP-KC) in Kansas City, Mo., was modernizing the congregation’s defining spiritual practice—24/7 prayer and worship—to serve a worldwide audience through a combination of live broadcast techniques and streaming.
Both of these churches grew their media ministries gradually and organically; in both cases, AV leveraged the spiritual goals, not the other way around. In both cases, technology allowed these churches to seize the outreach opportunity that fit their respective missions. Let’s take a look.
For Celebration Church, a key component of the ministry was the leadership of Pastor Stovall Weems. As the church grew to encompass multiple sites, a goal was to bring the same passionate and engaging experience to all the congregants. This is despite the fact that each of site had its own production workflow and system design. The only universal technical denominator would be the streaming model.
The job of pulling disparate systems together under a single video delivery model went to Orlando-based consultant, Eastgate Productions. According to Eastgate’s Jayson Fuhlbruck, the engineering challenge was accommodating the wide range of production systems in order to create a standard for live video delivery. “A multisite is deployed based upon various requirements: the needs of the community; the geographic location, which is unique to each campus; as well as the facility or technology perspective of each location, all are taken into consideration,” Fuhlbruck explains. “Each of the multisite locations is then deployed with its own unique technology solution depending upon facility, size, and campus focus.”
Production for each of the remote sites at Celebration Church is run by volunteers, supervised by a central technical staff that helps support and maintain all of the technical needs for each site. As a result, it became crucial to create a standard for the streaming system, and one that was highly reliable, easy to use, and easy to train remote teams to run. It also needed to have a simple integration—both from a technical and logistical perspective—regardless of the unique production and network systems at each location. So, basically, standardizing for non-standard workflows.
“One of the engineering objectives we considered in designing this solution was to create a standard stream package for deployment,” Fuhlbruck says. “This would allow for a streamlined troubleshooting process and equipment maintenance plan for each of the remote sites.”
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