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Deliver HD content to multiple church campuses
By: Wood Johnson

Wood Johnson is a videographer at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. He had the opportunity to take a test drive of NewTek's TriCaster model TCXD300, an HD portable live production system.

Since we have five different locations, including a main campus and four remote locations, we are heavily media-driven. The main campus provides high definition (HD) video to the congregation, and we have been exploring ways to incorporate HD at our four satellite campuses.

Weekly Live Stream and Production
Our main campus uses three HD projectors, and each of our remote locations has at least one HD projector.

We deliver all of the content from the Oak Hills Church main campus, which has three live cameras and a sound booth in the worship center, where our director calls the shots.

Three isolated feeds from the live cameras are delivered to the projectors and to the broadcast center in the lower level of the church. Our previous week's content is mixed and burned to DVDs, which goes to our remote campuses through couriers who travel 180 miles each week. This content is also archived on our website.

High Definition
Our challenge has been to upgrade all of our remote campus locations to HD to match our main location. We want to ensure that every one of our members is watching in HD. I believe this will make a huge difference across the board.

Currently, our remote campuses only see speakers and our minister over SD video. With a crystal-clear image, people are more receptive. They are also not distracted by poor-quality video.

NewTek TriCaster TCXD300
The question we have been trying to work out is, "How can we find a way to deliver the live and remixed versions more efficiently and digitally vs. using a delayed DVD and courier service?"

Also, in addition to our live audience, we have been searching for a way that our 3,000 Web viewers who join us each month could receive content streamed from us that is superior in quality.

We have been looking for production equipment that would remove the challenges facing Oak Hills Church by enabling all of our remote campuses to run entirely in high definition and to stream the content live to our viewers on the Web. We found it in NewTek TriCaster TCXD300.

At Oak Hills Church, we need smooth, quick transitions. I love the in and outs with the DVR on TriCaster. It transitions immediately to whatever you have cued up. I think it is really nice that when the DVR ends, it automatically switches to live feed or whatever is next in the preview. This eliminates the need to have a director sitting on a stick, who needs to get the cut just right. The TriCaster does it for you.

We don't need several different pieces of equipment at our remote locations. We don't need a separate streaming box that takes an SDI input that switches and runs to the Web.

Space is a challenge especially at our remote locations. Now, our production crew can accomplish what they need with one portable solution in their small workspace. NewTek TriCaster eliminates the need for truckloads of control room equipment. If we take a production on the road, we can set it up anywhere and stream live from any location, from San Antonio to a service trip in New Orleans.

Network-Quality High Definition
The HD solution is critical for us. Currently, our main campus is running in 720p. My goal is to have all of the campuses running in 720p. I also want all of the archives in 720p.

NewTek TriCaster TCXD300 offers pristine, HD network-quality video, with virtual sets and titling. I was particularly impressed with the live keying; it is incredible. TriCaster has the ability to key green screen on the fly.

With other production equipment, this can take hours, and the results are half as good. I am still blown away. I also love the ability to scroll and zoom. With TriCaster TCXD300, we can have a switcher and playback device all in one. We can deliver content electronically and eliminate our DVD/courier method.

I was so impressed with how easy it is to use the NewTek TriCaster. I had very limited training, and it only took me an hour to feel completely comfortable with it. I initially ran it all weekend, without a problem. I found it very intuitive. I also loved the overall performance. TriCaster TCXD300 is an all-in-one-box; you can produce, live stream, and edit all from one HD portable solution.

Most worship facilities have limited equipment and limited volunteers TriCaster brings you up to speed with one appliance. I wouldn't hesitate to put a volunteer with limited training on it.

The intuitive interface makes it easy to smoothly run this robust, little appliance. I recommend this product, as it would make producing and live streaming in worship facilities a lot faster and less complex. Also, there is less equipment needed to deliver your content to the projector, the Web, or even to broadcast, which enables a church of any size to fit it into their budget and the smallest of production rooms.

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