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Case Study: Eliot Chapel, MO

Eliot Chapel in Kirkwood, MO had a decades-long history of solid podcasting when Covid hit. Indeed, the congregation’s audio tradition harkened back even further to the days of CDs and Tascam tape. The pandemic disruption was exacerbated by a fire; like many churches it was imperative to hold the congregation together in the most difficult of circumstances. The team became instant experts in Zoom, YouTube, and Adobe Premiere.

AV volunteer Ken Denson was learning on the fly. When provided the opportunity for a more integrated and permanent system, he and AV tech director Nicholas Rousseau had a pretty good idea what they wanted conceptually. “We were going to live streaming,” he declares. “That was our flag in the sand.”

Initially the team began by supporting outdoor services in the sprint of 2021 and built from there. Camille Novak, Director of Finance and Operations for the church led the charge Denson says, looking at the components and assimilating what was going to be needed. “Along the way we came across Broadcast Pix Church Pix and it was the perfect thing for us—well-packaged with everything we were going to need.”

The team paired the Church Pix with a Behringer XR19 mixer to take advantage of the USB audio in on the Church Pix. This gave them 16 bidirectional channels, mixed down to a stereo pair that integrated to the dedicated USB port on the Church Pix. Their previous “very capable” mixer was iOS only so the Behringer also brought more PC/Windows options.

The vision was that the live-streamed experience would be as close as possible to being there. The team uses two cameras (Church Pix can support a third) With his background in television, tech director Rousseau, sees with a producer’s eye. He says he watches services like the Pope’s midnight mass for inspiration and tries to capture the emotion and intimacy of the memorials, concerts, and services they record and stream.

“One of the great things about Church Pix is you can simultaneously record and stream,” Denson says. He describes the video they’re able to capture as “gorgeous” and he likes that there’s no compromise on audio to get it. “Previously we had a simple pulpit mic and wireless mics for everything else,” he recounts. Now they also capture the ambient sound, which he considers transformative. “Stereo condenser microphones focused to the front and back of the church, and response readings captured in the balcony open up the audio and that’s what makes it like you’re in the room for the people watching the stream.” They also use a pair of subs and monitors on stage. “We put all eight of our output channels to work.” He considers the Church Pix “instrumental” for the way it simplifies integration and allows for both high-quality video and audio. Designed with the volunteer in mind, the all-in-one system incorporates two RoboPix PTZ IP cameras with 20x optical zoom and integrated remote control; PC hardware and IP switch; up to three IP/ NDI inputs; royalty-free clips, stills, and graphic templates; support for any Windows Audio Device including NDI, Dante, and external USB convertors; ad a software control interface to automate many common production tasks.

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