The toys that make the webcast work

I’m listing the specific models we use. But there are many other choices on the market. If you want to know why we chose these specific devices, give me a call or an email and I’ll be happy to tell you about our decisions.

My good friends Bill and Alex Martin at Digital Video Group were invaluable in helping us put all these toys together.

For the worship service, we have an HD production system built around five Sony HDC-1400 cameras and a Panasonic AV-HS450N production switcher. We record the worship services and edit them to air on WRIC-TV8 on a one-week delayed basis.

We send the “line cut” from the production switcher and the live mixed audio (from a Yamaha DM2000 digital mixer) to an Ensemble Designs Brighteye BE71 Embedder. That device “muxes” the audio and video and spits out an HD-SDI signal, which goes to a simple 4×1 switcher.

That switcher, a Kramer 6241HDxl, is used to select which “feed” we’re sending out to the webcast: either the main feed for the worship service, or the studio feed for the WebClass.

In the WebClass studio, we have a separate, self-contained production system.

The heart of the system is a Panasonic AG-HMX100 production switcher. This is where all the video and audio signals come together. It also combines the audio and video signals. The output of this device goes to one of the inputs of the Kramer switcher mentioned above.

We have two cameras, both of them from Panasonic. But there are lots of choices on the market.

For the playback of the video clips, we use a Panasonic P2 deck: the AG-HPG10P. But there are options. The video switcher has HDMI, DVI, SDI and composite inputs, so you have a wide range of choices. Be aware that there are legal as well as technical restrictions on the use of copyrighted material. And some devices have a built-in firewall in the form of High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP).

We use a lavalier mic for the teacher and four shotgun mics mounted in the ceiling to cover the onsite participants. The audio technician mixes these sources, along with the output of the P2 deck, using an 8-channel Mackie mixer. The output of this mixer goes to the aux input of the Panasonic switcher.

The teacher uses an iPad for visual support. The iPad connects wirelessly via Airplay to an Apple TV box. The HDMI output of the Apple TV box goes to an HDMI distribution amplifier. That device sends the display to both the in-class TV monitor and to the Panasonic switcher.

Now, back to that Kramer switcher I mentioned earlier…

The output of the Kramer switcher goes to a Viewcast Osprey 700e-HD capture card mounted in one of the PCI slots of a computer. On that computer, we run the free Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder which creates a flash movie in real time. Actually, we create two movies – a high-bandwidth version for computer users and a lower bandwidth version for those who connect via mobile devices. Those movies are streamed out via our Comcast Business Class internet connection to our live streaming host – Truthcasting works some magic to produce live streams that can be viewed on every kind of device, from computers to iPhones.

Pretty simple, huh?

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