Welcome to Inside North Point Ministries Production! We have created this site to share insight into our current projects and what we are currently learning as we strive to create an unforgettable experience for our guests each Sunday.
Our mission is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ by creating a pure technical experience each Sunday. The lights, stage crew, props, videos, etc., are all part of the technical experience. We feel it is a win for our team if none of those elements detract from our guests’ experience.
Multi-Site Transmission – Explained
NPM MULTI-CAMPUS TRANSMISSION – EXPLAINED
(Not necessarily in plain English)
Our current multi-site transmission system connects six different churches around the greater Atlanta area. Buckhead, Browns Bridge, Gwinnett Church, North Point East, North Point West and Woodstock City are all connected via a fiber network leased on a monthly basis from various telecom vendors. The feed to our Decatur City location is delivered solely over the internet with equipment that aids in packet recovery and forward error correction. Each location is equipped with similar video gear including cameras, switchers, projectors, and screens. This allows each venue to both originate and receive content in the same way. However, each auditorium is operated independently with its own video control room and personnel to facilitate live local service elements including music, announcements, and video playback. Additionally, each system is able to record and play back transmissions from any other location in a time-delay, DVR-like scenario.
The Virtual Set Model
Currently, the only portion of our service transmitted between campuses is the message. We utilize two different video paths to create a virtual teaching experience for each local audience. Along with a standard IMAG video system, there is a separate static center camera shot that captures the entire stage. When displayed together on multiple screens the result is perceptually identical to the original environment. This virtual set is displayed the same way in every location. There are two screens (10.5’x18.8’) on either side of the stage that show close-up camera shots and graphics. Along with the side screens, there is a single, large format screen (16’x28’) mounted center stage that extends down from the proscenium to the floor. The image projected here is a simple, static, center wide shot of the stage that does not move or change composition during the service. Its purpose is to capture a comprehensive yet intentional view of what happens on the stage. It is composed in a way that portrays the communicator in life-like proportion—literally walking back and forth and about 6′ tall. The combination of all three screens at a viewing campus makes a “virtual” copy of the original, live environment.
The IMAG System
The IMAG video system at each campus consists of four to six cameras, graphics computers, and video playback servers that are all connected to a switcher. The collection of images generated by the switcher, often referred to as Image Magnification (IMAG), is then fed through a router to multiple in-house destinations, including side screen projectors, plasma displays, digital tape recorders and hard drives. At receiving locations, the incoming IMAG feed is recorded on the first channel of a local delay server. It can then be triggered on demand to play the content back through the local switcher to the side screens.
The Center System
The center system at each campus consists of a single camera mounted on a robotic pan/tilt system in the center of the auditorium. Parallel to, but separate from, the IMAG feed, this “constant” wide shot is also fed through a router to multiple destinations, including digital tape recorders, hard drives, and other locations. The center signal is recorded locally on the second channel of the same delay server. It is then triggered, in sync with its IMAG counterpart, to play the center content on the separate center screen.
The systems at each campus were built on an SDI digital video platform, supporting eight channels of embedded audio. When the time came to connect the church locations, this existing infrastructure made the choice in transmission method quite clear. Through local telecom providers, we lease “dark” fiber paths between locations. Essentially, this means they provide the physical “pipe” and we are responsible for the gear that creates and manages the “light.” The biggest advantage of fiber is it’s scalability. If we need more bandwidth, we simply add or combine another wavelength of light, usually in 10Gb increments. Once the transmission hardware is configured, these fiber circuits act as uncompressed tie lines between each building. The latency between locations is hardly noticeable, about 45ms, allowing the video signals to be displayed in a real-time live presentation. However, due to service synchronization in different locations, this is not the most common choice for delivery. In fact, the services are intentionally programmed to be a few minutes apart in order to record and “time-slip” the content on demand.
Time Delayed Recording and Playback:
This component is accomplished using a customized, multi-channel video server. The device simultaneously records two, or more, video signals side by side and associates them to a single reference file. The dual stream content can then be cued and played in synchronization before the files are even finished recording. The receiving church locations start recording the content as it happens in real time, then simply play it when they are ready, much like watching a program on your DVR at home.