Upgrading OUTDATED Church Video Gear – ATEM Constellation for Churches

Hey there, folks! Luke Jackson here, and today I’m excited to share the incredible transformation that took place at the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas. We had the pleasure of working with Michael Stanford, one of our accelerator students, on upgrading their broadcast room, or as they fondly call it, the “tape room.” I’m thrilled to walk you through the journey of how we simplified their setup and enhanced the user experience for both in-person and online viewers.

The Challenge: Simplifying and Expanding

When Michael reached out to us, his primary goal was clear – to streamline the user experience for volunteers on Sunday mornings. This included not only managing in-person screens but also ensuring a top-notch livestream for online viewers. Highland Church of Christ had various TVs and destinations throughout their building, and they needed a solution to distribute video feeds seamlessly to all these destinations.

Our Solution: The Blackmagic Atem 2 M/E Switcher

After assessing their needs, we recommended one of our favorite solutions for churches – the Blackmagic Atem 2 M/E Switcher. This versatile device serves a dual purpose: it functions as a video switcher for both broadcast and in-person services while also acting as a video hub with multiple outputs for different destinations within the church.

To make the transition smoother, we converted all their existing signal connections from HDMI to Cat 5 to SDI using a couple of SDI splitters. Previously, they were using two Blackmagic Atem Television Studio Switchers to manage in-person screens and broadcasting simultaneously. Our solution simplified everything into one unit, significantly reducing cable types and making troubleshooting a breeze.

Enhanced Control and Accessibility

One of the key improvements we made was relocating the CG computer, which ran ProPresenter, from the “Crow’s Nest” to the front of the house. This change allowed better communication among the tech team members and improved overall efficiency. We installed the Blackmagic software control app on an iMac and integrated it with a Stream Deck for tactile control. Volunteers could easily switch between program and preview, manage camera angles, and execute mix effects.

The new setup not only simplified operations but also offered a high degree of customization. Additional buttons on the Stream Deck allowed for programming other controls and effects from the Atem software.

Efficient Rack Mounting

We made sure to maximize the available space by rack mounting the equipment in the room. By repurposing the existing rack, we avoided the need for new equipment purchases. This approach ensured that everything was easily accessible, with a convenient display on the front of the constellation for monitoring.

Expanding Broadcast Capabilities

Highland Church of Christ also had plans to monitor their broadcasts more effectively. To achieve this, we repurposed an older iMac for broadcast monitoring. This station allowed them to engage with comments on platforms like Facebook and YouTube, display sermon notes, and handle various tasks on Sunday mornings.

Improved Live Experience

At the front of the house, we set up two cameras – one for a tight shot and the other for a wide shot of the room. The CG position, responsible for managing in-person lyrics and broadcasts, used a Mac Mini purchased from eBay. It was connected to an LG monitor via a Deck Link Duo through an expansion chassis. With the Stream Deck, the volunteers could control what appeared on the in-person screens, making it a dynamic and engaging experience for the congregation.

Simplicity for Volunteers and External Events

One of the highlights of the upgrade was the simplicity it brought for volunteers and external event organizers. The Stream Deck’s user-friendly interface allowed anyone to easily select their desired inputs for the screens with a simple click. They no longer needed to navigate the complexities of the Blackmagic control software; it was as easy as pressing a button.

Final Thoughts

A big shoutout to Michael for inviting us to be part of this incredible broadcast upgrade in Abilene, Texas. The simplicity and efficiency of this transformation will undoubtedly benefit the volunteers and enhance the worship experience for everyone at Highland Church of Christ.

If you’re considering an upgrade for your church, whether big or small, or if you want to optimize your current gear, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at ChurchFront. Schedule a free call with one of our coaches to discuss how we can assist you in your ministry.

And, of course, be sure to hit that subscribe button to stay tuned for more exciting videos as we visit churches and help out folks just like you. Until next time, stay blessed!