Southland Christian Church, in suburban Lexington, KY, has opened two remote worship facilities in the past decade. The fact that both use different media transport formats underscores how fluid this type of video teleconferencing technology is for houses of worship today.
The main church’s weekend services are shared via physical media with its Danville, KY, facility, one of Southland’s two satellite locations. In place is a DV Cam tape cassette format, recorded using four Sony broadcast-quality standard-definition cameras. The motivation for opening the Danville facility was the fact that more than 300 of the main church’s members were making the 20-minute drive each week from Danville to Lexington. The church’s first satellite location is substantially closer: about 100 yards from the main worship area in the same building. That secondary on-site location uses Softron MovieRecorder software on an Apple Xserve video server. Multistream playback happens via Renewed Vision ProVideoSync software over fiber cabling, allowing the main-building services to run two separate streams. One shows a life-size image of the pastor or teacher, and the other provides two side-screen IMAG images of the interior of the main worship facility. While there is minimal latency, largely because the video is standard definition, the on-site secondary facility delays its service by 10 minutes to help with logistics like parking. (Overflow was the reason the church looked into going with a multisite approach in the first place.)
When Southland opens a third satellite location, in downtown Lexington in January 2013, Mike Vandemark, the church’s programming director, expects it will use the same server-over-fiber technology as the on-site location now uses, but with a very slightly delayed start that will be used to create a buffer for the streaming video. He hopes to have the center screen at the new location upgraded to HD.
Vandemark says that an Internet-based solution had been considered for the Danville location,