Bidwell Presbyterian Church in Chico, California describes itself as a congregation made up of all walks of life – from community leaders, musicians, and volunteers to teachers, small business owners, and farmers. The descriptors are many and show there is no one way to define who makes up a church.
Similarly, Bidwell Presbyterian is working to ensure there is more than just one way for a church to serve its members. The church has many digital offerings, including a mobile app and live video of its services available to all – offerings that went from impressive to critical during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“About two years ago (we looked to video) to enhance what we’re already doing, and start being more relevant to younger generations and integrating our services with technology,” said Miykael Goodwin, Director of Technology at Bidwell Presbyterian Church. “When (the pandemic) started we were in lockdown and it was a little bit of a growing pain like everyone else had. But we also knew we had this resource available to us that we could take advantage of.”
That resource is NewTek’s TriCaster® live multi-camera production system.
REDUCING THE BURDEN WITH NEWTEK
NewTek’s line of TriCasters offer powerful and affordable tools to help craft more stories, better told. TriCaster systems put an entire suite of media production capabilities at a creator’s fingertips. This allows anything from keynote presentations and webcasts to online training and sporting events to look amazing with quality, consistency, and efficiency.
The systems offer native Skype integration – perfect for bringing remote callers into a video. TriCaster live production systems also offer many social media in-tegrations, allowing live streaming to Facebook Live, Microsoft® Azure®, Periscope, Twitch, YouTube™ Live, and more.
Further, when combined with NDI® – the free-to-use, vid-eo-over-IP protocol that allows video signals to be made instantly available over the network – TriCasters can make use of NDI PTZ cameras. These cameras require only a single Ethernet connection for setup, pow-er, operation, and signal flow. They also pair perfectly with TriCaster, enabling remote operation.
“The burden of having multiple people needed for cameras and things was not there,” Goodwin said. “We had already transitioned over to PTZs and network cameras, allowing us to use less people, which is very relevant.”
“We had already transitioned over to PTZs and network cameras, allowing us to use less people, which is very relevant.”
REMOTE PRODUCTION, FULLY FLEXIBLE
The video control room sits in a building across the street from the church. This helps meet social distancing requirements, and as the two locations are on the same network, there is no issue with taking complete control of the production remotely thanks to NDI.
“It’s been very convenient to where if we need to adjust cameras at the main campus, we don’t have to walk across the street, or phone somebody to make those quick adjustments,” Goodwin said. “We can do it all on the fly. Or if we do see a problem, we’re able to address it quickly.”
NDI allows individuals and organizations to access the benefits of IP-based, software-defined visual storytelling for a fraction of the cost of other IP protocols or traditional video transport methods. Many manufacturers have adopted NDI, and many free-to-use NDI tools are available for download. Mobile applications, which transform handheld mobile devices into networked video cameras, means anyone can participate in a live production. With NDI, nearly any video source can be utilized for creative storytelling.
EASY TO USE, POWERFUL CONNECTIONS
Goodwin praises the user-friendly layout of the TriCaster system and said the support offerings from NewTek have helped Bidwell Presbyterian with its broadcasts.
Further, he says the system has been mission-critical for the church during COVID-19 restrictions.
“Using NewTek technology, and using this equipment, allows you to reach more than just your immediate community,” he said. “It allows you to reach the hard-to-reach or the hurting. They can access it from their phone, they can access it from their computer.”
And that, Goodwin said, is how a community continues to be fostered while adhering to safety and health guidelines.
“You can hop on to a live service and see real people, maybe even see the children, and just kind of brighten your day,” he said. “Kind of get that human element back into your life.”
Goodwin said those results – coupled with the ease-of-use and flexibility of the system – make NewTek solutions easy to recommend.
“If you’re on the fence, or you’re looking for a solution to bring your house of worship into a digital world, then I highly recommend looking into the NewTek products and their offerings,” he said. “They have so many solutions that could help enhance what you’re already doing or help expand to people you are trying to reach.”