The Cathedral of Faith in San Jose, California is one of the largest and fastest growing churches in America. Its main sanctuary was built in 1981, and its campus has expanded to include a Reaching Out Center, Family Life Center, Prayer Center, and Youth Center. It began broadcasting in 1982, and currently broadcasts live services while using IMAG video internally to magnify images.
Spectaveris helped the Cathedral of Faith convert its system to digital standard definition in 2006, and in 2012 the church called in Spectaveris again to convert its system to HD.
The challenge was threefold: to make all the changes without impacting the church's weekly broadcast schedule, deliver the desired capability while controlling costs, and maintain a workflow that would be user friendly for a production staff that is 95 percent volunteer.
Spectaveris worked out a two-phase solution, beginning with the installation of a new HD router and a switcher with two control panels. The second phase, to be completed three months later, would include integrating and testing new cameras along with reducing rack size – since the new equipment would take up only a third of the space previously required.
"We avoided disruption by focusing first on the core of the system, rather than the Sanctuary cameras and other equipment spread throughout the campus," said Spectaveris' Dean Stone. "It's easier to put in the heart if you're not worrying about all the locations." Doing the switcher and router first allowed the church to set up effective demos to test and evaluate new HD camera options before purchasing them. The competitive tests also led to substantial vendor discounts.
To fit seamlessly into the church's weekly schedule, the Spectaveris team wired up the new broadcast rack beforehand and then took down the broadcast system immediately after services ended at 4 pm on Sunday. The full Spectaveris team then worked long hours each day to install the new core by 5 pm Wednesday, in time for weekly Wednesday evening services.
With phase one completed, Cathedral of Faith now has full HD broadcast capability, along with multi-viewers that allow technical directors to see exactly what their output is so that they don't have to rely on verbal communications.
The Spectaveris team researched switchers at length to find exactly the right model at the right price. They chose a FOR-A HVS-350HS, with two control panels and two multiviewers, which would take the place of two switchers, at a substantial savings. Other savings accrued from using a router that would reduce the number of distribution amplifiers from 50 to just 10. In addition, the new router and switcher are backwards compatible with the church's existing Standard Definition cameras, in case those need to be pressed into service. Spectaveris carefully researched all new components and, drawing on its own experience, selected those with the best cost-performance ratios. "Helping stretch that ministry dollar is a very big deal," said Kurt Foreman, the church's Executive Pastor and Director of Operations.
The system will also make things easier for operators. In designing the monitor wall, the Spectaveris team made sure that each operator would see the same picture they were used to seeing, no matter where the operator was located. They also made it more ergonomic, so that instead of having to turn their heads, operators would only need a 90-degree field of vision. The new setup can easily be reconfigured if adjustments are needed down the road.
Owing to the carefully planned installation, all changes were made without disruption, and the new system required only minimal retraining of volunteer operators because it did not change workflow significantly.
"What I love about working with Dean is his flexibility and his commitment to getting the job done," said Foreman. "Whenever we needed something, he was there and had solutions."