by Claude McGill
Rivertown Community Church has been in existence since the 1950s, transitioning from a Mennonite church to a non-denominational church in the early 2000s. Once we made the switch to non-denominational, our vision was to reach our area – the panhandle of Florida – via the introduction of multisite church. We were running out of room at our main campus, and the church was quickly outgrowing its space and time for extra services. We started researching options for creating an effective multisite ministry. Initially, we recorded our 8:00am and 9:30am service to a hard drive, and then played back whichever was better at our 11:00 service. Our pastor would drive to the other location and arrive in time to lead the message at the 11:00 service at the school portable site. We were given a strip mall facility with an empty department store – a 53,000 sq. foot building – which we renovated and immediately went to two services there. At this point in time we also started looking at other options, including satellite and live streaming options, and this is when we found out about StreamTwo. Initially, we didn’t think we would be able to work with them because we just didn’t have high speed internet in our community. However, after meeting with StreamTwo we discovered that we could easily live stream our service because of their ability to work with a lower-speed internet.
StreamTwo works in the following way – we send the video signal through our Storm product, which encodes the 1080i at 59 mHz, and is sent through the cloud to StreamTwo’s Atlanta facility, where it is then sent out immediately to the receiving campus. There’s an A side and B side to the Storm; the A side transports the main camera feed for wide shot and middle screen with the audio embedded, and the B side sends video only for IMAG shots, video clips, etc. that will show up on the side screens. When the stream is received at our receiving campus, the Rain receiver is able to split the A and B feed and direct them to the appropriate screens, without our volunteers having to do anything. The only thing our volunteers have to worry about is turning on the Rain when the live worship streaming is supposed to start. If the live stream has to be delayed for any reason, it doesn’t affect where the message starts once the Rain is turned on. The feed will be ready whenever we need it, so we can do a live stream or buffer the services as much as we need, because the video housed in StreamTwo’s cloud-service until it’s needed. The brilliance of this means that when we start a new facility, we only need to add a Rain receiver linked to our Storm transmitter in order to access our stream.
At Rivertown Community Church, we try to help smaller churches from all over the Florida Panhandle, and feel that with the help of StreamTwo we can take care of them. If there’s a smaller church that doesn’t have a pastor, all they really need is aStreamTwo receiver to link to us to receive the message. We could grow exponentially and have unlimited facilities, and the only piece of gear we need to add to the new facility is the receiver. If a church is using a video switcher to be able to show different camera shots, the switcher can feed all those shots into the B Side of the transmitter. This means that whatever we produce at our main campus is exactly what our second campus gets. Our third facility should be up and running by Easter, and we’ve already got the StreamTwo products purchased for it! StreamTwo allows churches in rural areas to receive quality video without having to have a large bandwidth. I really believe this is a game changer for many churches that have been looking for a streaming solution.