Letter to the Congregation – Technical Challenges

Dear Cornerstone Family:

This week we were able to have our first live stream from the sanctuary, with the music team on-site, and it mostly worked! We are really excited to hit this goal and while it might look simple, there are a large number of technical challenges that had to be overcome to accomplish this.

For example, some of the items we had to think through were:

  • How do we set up a camera that can capture different angles for music and teaching and liturgy?
  • How do we arrange everything on stage?
  • How do we ensure the video looks correct on a phone as well as a TV or a laptop or an iPad?
  • Will the internet connection at the church handle the load?
  • How do we capture audio without the general sounds of people and papers in the room (and the echo)?
  • What do we do about the sunlight moving across the stage throughout the stream?
  • How do we adjust the lights in the room?
  • How do we sync the audio and video?
  • How do we stream it reliably each week (some may remember the issues we had the first week of streaming on Facebook)?
  • What computer should we have in the sound booth to control all of this?
  • How do we keep those on-site safe as far as Covid-19?
  • How do we show lyrics and liturgy on the screen simultaneously?
  • How do we install and test all this when we cannot be on-site yet?
  • And most of all, how do we honor God and be wise with His resources as we purchase equipment to solve these issues?
  • And on, and on, it went…

The team took this very seriously and prayerfully. We tested several applications and methods over the last few weeks. We noted successes and failures, debriefed after each sermon. We held workshops via zoom, had people on-site testing, and the more we worked the longer the list of issues seemed to get.

As you know, we did not have a plan in place for streaming video when all of this started. That first week was thrown together in just a couple of days by only Jeremy, Roy and Carter. Since then we have had several learnings and changes to how we handle streaming but always working toward establishing a permanent solution for streaming LIVE from the sanctuary each Sunday. We know that as the church opens back up, some people will come back on day one and some might have to wait longer. So, we want to keep the stream going even after we start returning to the church and keep everyone connected as much as we can.

The good news is, we are getting really close. We have additional equipment ordered that should arrive this week. We would appreciate your prayers as we install this and that we would find a couple of items that are on back-order. (We are not the only church trying to live stream all of a sudden.) As you saw last Sunday, we are now live from the sanctuary with a mix of equipment that… works… but is not a permanent solution yet. We are still learning and improving, and the team is working really hard to make this happen. We want to thank Jeremy, Jonathan, Mark and Jack for their awesome work and flexibility as we learn and grow. Also, Don and the elders for their support as we work through all these details.

Our hope is that the live stream is an encouragement and a help as we learn and praise God. We are really looking forward to gathering together again soon, seeing faces and hearing voices in the sanctuary again.

Hopefully, this information has been helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Don Russell.

As always, we solicit your prayers and input.

In Him,
Roy Thomas