A/V upgrades Part 4 - The Control Systems

If you've been following along with this blog series, you've read about our Audio upgrades, our presentation upgrades, and most recently, the video upgrades.  Today we are going to be talking about the systems we use to control all the other systems to get you the audio and visual experiences both in-house and via our livestream.

All of our devices are networked together.  They use a separate internal network from the main church network for security.  In fact, several of the devices require network access to be able to adjust many of their parameters. This picture shows the patch panel where all the devices run to, and all the cables that then hook them up to the AV network switch.  This switch not only allows all the devices to communicate, but is also the power source for many of the devices (using "Power Over Ethernet, or POE protocols).  The cameras, camera controller, and video switcher remote all get their power from this switch.

Directly underneath the switch and patch panel is the video switcher.  We use a BlackMagicDesign Television Studio HD switcher.  All the devices capable of being displayed on the LED screen, and the livestream, all have connections that plug into this device.  This allows us to switch between any of the three cameras, the worship graphics being ran through ProPresenter on the Graphics PC, a local HDMI hookup back in the AV stand, or a remote HDMI hookup located behind the organ with a connector that can stretch over to the lectern.  This system gives a lot of flexibility in display options.  We can even use sound from the local connection in the AV stand by running that laptop connection into the mixer.    The video switcher also integrates the main audio feed from the mixer into the video output that is sent to the streaming PC.  This is a very important piece of equipment.


The last piece of equipment, near the bottom of this stack, is a Digital Signal Processor, or DSP.  This device takes the signal that is coming out of the video mixer, and sends it to the LED screen for display.  Without this, you wouldn't see anything on the big screen behind the altar.  Interesting note:  to avoid disturbing our services, our electrical contractor ran power and data conduits for the LED wall along the outside of the building.  The power and data lines exit the building in the corner by the votive candle stand, run through two conduits outdoors, then come back into the building through the exterior wall - all directly behind the LED screen.  We are grateful they did that as it eliminated the need to have the sheetrock repaired had they decided to run it all behind the sheetrock inside the nave.




The livestream is recorded and monitored by the mixer operator, who also controls the sound during the service.  They have a monitor to their right that allows them to operate Zoom controls, see who is online, and if anybody should be muted during the broadcast.  They can also verify audio is going out, and monitor the chat.  Just behind them is the streaming PC, which send the broadcast out over the Internet.





The last piece of the control pie is our Magewell SDI-USB converter.  The feed for the livestream comes from the video switcher using an SDI, or Serial Digital Interface, coax cable.  Both ends of such cables have BNC twist-lock connectors.  Very few computers come with these connections natively, so this signal does us no good.  The converter takes the SDI cable, with the video and embedded audio, and converts it to USB, which the streaming computer can see and process.


Tune in to the next blog post when we'll start to cover the people that make this all happen!

Bryan Irvine
Audiovisual productions coordinator

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