Bellevue Baptist looks to the future with Grass Valley
USA: Bellevue Baptist Church, situated around Memphis, is believed to be the world’s first church to possess its own broadcast infrastructure, having taken its first delivery of broadcasting equipment in 1958. The church currently broadcasts its Sunday worship services for a local television station, as well as a simulcast to its two satellite locations and onto its website, for which it also produces on-demand content. With an existing SD system showing its age, the church’s leaders recently decided to upgrade to an HD system, seeking a solution that offered ease-of-use and upgradability options to future-proof the system against the current rise of 4K UHD and HDR. Meeting these requirements was a solutio nexclusively comprising Grass Valley products.
‘First and foremost, we were looking for a system that would be able to keep us relevant and make it easier for our broad congregation to consume content,’ explains Bellevue Baptist’s director of media, Larry Anderson. ‘Second, we wanted to be sure our investment was in a solution that would grow with us. Our broadcast and production capabilities are central to our mission, extending our ability to reach our members, the community and those searching for resources or answers on their spiritual journey.’
Bellevue Baptist has grown considerably since its beginnings in 1903, with almost 7,000 congregants attending its Sunday services today. The equipment purchased in the upgrade to HD, and to allow for later upgrades to UHD and HDR, includes two of the Belden Brand’s GV Node real-time IP processing and edge routing platforms, which are integrated with Kaleido KMX-4911 multiviewers. An NV9000 router control system, six LDX 86 WorldCam cameras, an RS-LDX Première integrated robotic camera system, a Karrera K-Frame S-series 3 M/E Video Production Center switcher and Korona 1 M/E and 2 M/E control panels complete the church’s investment.
The GV Node with Kaleido multiviewers forms the main foundation of the new broadcast infrastructure, offering flexibility in the routing and processing needed to expand as size and functionality requirements change over time. This will allow for Bellevue Baptist to become an IP environment if need be down the line. ‘It’s very flexible and it’s modular, so we can add capacity as our needs increase,’ adds Mr Anderson. ‘No other vendor offered that type of flexibility.’
The traditional HD/3G format is provided by the LDX 86 WorldCams in addition to simple and direct upgradability to 4K, 3X HD or 6X HD/3X 3G functionality, all of which are obtained via LDX 86 Series software updates. Bellevue Baptist is reportedly impressed with the image quality of the camera, which alongside the format flexibility allowed, played a part in the decision to purchase. Supporting the LDX 86 WorldCam cameras, the RS-LDX Première will be mounted to one of the sanctuary’s walls.
The Korona control panels are compact and modular, therefore allowing the church to move them around the facility as desired, while maintaining the quality expected for broadcasting and webcasts. Meanwhile, the NV9000 router control system will integrate advanced control across the whole router ecosystem. Said to match that of a much larger system, the Karrera's scalability combined with the power it possesses provided reason enough for Mr Anderson and his colleagues to select the switcher.
‘We selected 3 M/Es with the DoubleTake option to extend the number of M/Es and provide us with simultaneous clean feeds,’ he says. ‘The Karrera really serves multiple purposes for us and is the backbone of everything we do. It gives us robust aux for dissolves and dedicated positions for our IMAG with three large screens.’
The new equipment is expected to be installed and operational by the time Bellevue Baptist hosts its Fall Kick Off season that includes a new series of sermons and a range of seasonal events such as the musical, Singing Christmas Tree.
‘Leaders at Bellevue Baptist recognised the need not only for robust, easy-to-use solutions, but also for solutions that would be a smart investment and would enable them to upgrade as technology advances,’ notes vice president of sales, North America at Grass Valley, Kyle Luther. ‘High-quality production is an important element of the ministry there. These products are future-ready and adaptable in all the right ways.’
‘I really appreciate the partnership with Grass Valley,’ concludes Mr Anderson. ‘They took the time to understand what would make our ministry more effective and we were able to meet with the development teams for the routers and cameras — which really blew me away. No other vendor offered this much transparency.’