Creating Signal Backbone at Gateway Church
By: David Leuschner
Gateway Church is one church with multiple locations. Though our campuses share similar weekend service experiences with the same teaching message via video, the music and programming at each site are live. To assure the continuity of this live multi-site worship experience for our congregation, we have installed and expanded a ﬁ ber-based network that enables reliable real-time transport of audio and video, as well as communications and data.
With help from Beck TV, we established our ﬁber-based signal transport model in 2010 using Riedel Communications’ MediorNet real-time media network and the company’s Artist digital matrix intercom system to connect three of our seven buildings via ﬁber. Two links are used to connect us to our North Fort Worth and North Richland Hills Campuses and another is used to connect our main Southlake campus to our editing suites, located about a mile from the main campus. We are working with systems integrator Pro Sound and Video, based in Miami, Fla., to extend our use of the Riedel MediorNet solution and expand our use of the Artist intercom system. Our goal is to eventually outﬁt and connect all seven sites with the Riedel systems.
Riedel’s MediorNet system gives us a true ﬁber-based realtime network that goes well beyond inﬂexible single pointto-point links. Using the MediorNet network, we can route any signal to any point — or even multiple points — on the network. During worship services, we use the system primarily for distribution of HD video feeds between different campuses. Each campus has four signals — two sending and two receiving — and the editor’s ofﬁce is set up to receive eight signals. The versatility of the Riedel network makes it easy to deliver the right video to the right sites at the right time. Though we do not move audio via MADI right now, the connections are available on the MediorNet frame for future use.
Because MediorNet is a modular system that takes advantage of ﬁber connectivity to simplify cabling and reduce setup time, expanding the system has been quite straightforward. Once the frames are installed and fed from our router, conﬁ guration or reconﬁ guration of signal I/Os is simply a matter of a mouse click. In this way, we can very easily adapt to the increased video and communications demands of special events and productions. The Riedel network not only gives us the ﬂexibility to add signals if and when they are needed, but also makes communications and data available to our sites. We maintain a network connection to each facility, and this also rides on the MediorNet network. With the system’s integrated CWDM multiplexing capability, we do not have to depend on a provider for each connection; we just dial up the new connection at will. The single network connection to all MediorNet-equipped campuses also supports our VoIP phone system, as well as the transfer of data from various point-of-sale systems to our main ofﬁce.
The Artist mainframes operate discretely on each of the three campuses, but there is also a single party line for inter-campus communications. The party lines are created by taking 4-wires from the Artist and embedding them into the video that is riding on the MediorNet. Should the need arise, we can easily link the mainframes through the MediorNet system. The Artist facilitates the distribution of comms signals during church services and, like the MediorNet system, it adapts easily and quickly to meet changing production requirements. Equally important in the worship environment is the Artist’s intuitive operation and the speed with which we have been able to train staff and volunteers to program and operate the system.
Our current installation of Artist systems includes a combination of Artist 62 and Artist 32 digital matrix intercom mainframes. They provide the connection for a large number of Artist control panels of the 1000, 2000 and 3000 series. Due to its modular approach Artist systems can be easily expanded to form infrastructures with up to 1,024×1,024 non-blocking ports if needed. With Riedel equipment, we know that exceptionally ﬂ exible and powerful technology is running in the background to take care of all our signal distribution needs, even as those need change and grow. As a result, we’re able to concentrate on what’s most important to us: providing a meaningful and immersive worship experience that helps connect our attendees to God.
David Leuschner is the Associate Senior Director of Technology and Technical Arts for Gateway Church, which has multiple locations in Texas.