Stonegate Fellowship campuses stick together With DigitalGlue
USA: As the first stage in Stonegate Fellowship of Midland, Texas’ growth plan, the church planted a satellite congregation 20 miles away in neighbouring Odessa. A former Graham’s Central Station facility was renovated to house the church, maintaining fellowship with the main campus congregation (which has two worship venues of its own) via video and audio shared over an IP network.
IP specialists DigitalGlue were tapped to develop and install the system for transmitting live, broadcast-quality video and audio to the Odessa campus. The installation uses public internet and advanced encoding technologies to provide seamless transmissions at a fraction of the cost of more traditional technologies, according to Sean Busby, DigitalGlue president and co-founder. ‘Controlling both operating and capital expenses is typically a very large concern for a house of worship,’ says Mr Busby, ‘but the emergence of IP solutions has really changed the game for multicampus churches like Stonegate Fellowship. Previously, securing the bandwidth necessary to transmit high-quality video meant establishing point-to-point private T1 or fractional DS3 connections, or investing in satellite equipment and airtime. Not only were these options expensive, but they would often require months to get up and running and involve complex interconnections among local service providers. But with its new system, Stonegate Fellowship is able to leverage the Internet to avoid all of those issues and deliver a high-quality HD video experience to its worshippers in Odessa.’
To meet Stonegate Fellowship’s requirements, DigitalGlue designed an IP-based workflow incorporating encoding/decoding equipment and the VideoFlow Digital Video Protection (DVP) solution. At the main Midland campus, a Harmonic Ellipse 3100 contribution encoder receives the camera feeds and encodes them into MPEG 4 AVC HD video for distribution over the open Internet. A VideoFlow DVP system guards the transmission against artefacts, packet loss and jitter that often result from IP streaming. At the Odessa location, another VideoFlow DVP system receives the stream and passes it to a Harmonic ProView integrated receiver decoder, which decodes the video and outputs it to SDI for projection to the audience. Cameras installed at the Odessa campus capture video images of the audience for transmission back to Midland, giving both audiences a feeling of unity during the worship service.
‘With the IP solution designed and installed by DigitalGlue, we have been able to bring our congregations at both campuses together for a unified and joyful worship experience, and at a much lower cost than traditional approaches,’ shares Tyler Dodds, worship pastor, Stonegate Fellowship. ‘When we opened our Odessa campus in response to our congregation’s rapid growth, we wanted to make sure we could maintain the intimacy and interactive nature of our services. The IP-based system has enabled us to do that without the monthly operational costs of leased lines or the high capital costs associated with satellite transmissions.’