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FOIGM increases its digital content creation with brand-new studio

FOIGM increases its digital content creation with brand-new studio

FOIGM increases its digital content creation with brand-new studio


The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry (FOIGM) was founded in 1938 as a compassionate effort to meet the spiritual and physical needs of Jewish people whose lives were displaced and tragically affected by the Holocaust. Committed to teaching scripture and the significance of the land of Israel, the FOIGM has historically produced CDs and DVDs that were posted to its viewers. When Covid hit, the FOIGM increased its digital content creation in a makeshift studio by outfitting a large open meeting room with sets, audio, video and lighting equipment. The issue was that this space was never intended to be a studio. It had windows, a low ceiling and inadequate lighting. That is when the FOIGM decided to build a space, from the ground up, that was specifically catered to their needs.

“As a Christian ministry, we have constituents rather than customers,” explained Jim Showers, executive director/president of the FOIGM. “One of the lessons of the pandemic was our lack of preparedness to produce video communications. It quickly became evident that we needed a space designed to create audio and video digital content. Our goal for the new studio is to reach out to new people with our message while staying engaged with our current constituents and will be a tremendous resource to our ministry.”

Penn Valley Constructors was selected for the design-build, and while Penn Valley has an accomplished team, president Jon Otto said that it did not have specific experience in studio building and knowledge of the highly technical systems that go into making a great studio. After multiple referrals and an interview, Hewshott, led by Brandon Creel, came on as the theatre consultant for the project. From the very beginning, Hewshott was actively engaged, first in the needs analysis and space planning and later in designing the studio’s production systems. Also, acoustics was a critical part of the whole project.

The purpose-built studio consists of several manned studio cameras as well as remotely controlled cameras suspended from a pipe grid that covers the entire space. The control room has a director’s console, audio and lighting control desk, and a graphics station, while the editing suites have motorised sit/stand desks. The facility is connected with a vast wiring infrastructure to tie all spaces together to the head-end equipment rack. This allows users to connect network, audio and video anywhere and send to anywhere, which is critical in cases where the space is needed for special events and configurations.

The equipment rack houses a Blackmagic ATEM 4 M/E Constellation 8K switcher, four Blackmagic HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro recorders, Blackmagic Cloud Store, Blackmagic Teranex converters, Bittree patch panels, Netgear M4250 network switches, Shure QLXD4 wireless microphone receivers, Shure P9T transmitters for IFB, an Allen & Heath AHM-16 digital signal processor, an Allen & Heath AR2412 stagebox and related processing, amplification and intercom equipment. Even the performance and architectural lighting processing equipment is in the rack.

Cameras include three Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 with motorised Canon lenses and two Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K Pro with studio converters. For future expansion or complex shoots requiring additional cameras, the system can support five additional cameras. Everything is shot and recorded in 2840x2160 UHD 4K over a 12G-SDI infrastructure. Graphics and character generation are ingested by a Blackmagic Decklink 4K Extreme 12G and Mac Studio.

All of the wired mic inputs connect to the stagebox to be digitized and mixed by an Allen & Heath digital mixer. 16 channels of digital MADI audio then go to the video switcher to be embedded and recorded with video, allowing for postproduction editing and remastering.

While the video is 12G-SDI and doesn’t travel via the network, the recorded video does and ends up in the cloud. Hewshott designed a purpose network of Netgear M4250 POE+ 1GB switches with 10GB uplinks and Netgear M4300 10GB switches to allow for a mixture of 1GB and 10GB speeds and POE+ where needed.

“Once Hewshott joined us, they opened our eyes to all the important elements of studio design; from sound acoustic management, to studio layout, to equipment selection and lighting design, they had the knowledge and understanding we lacked,” added Showers. “Hewshott not only directed the studio's technical design, but they were also gifted at explaining the design recommendations in a layman's language we all could understand. They interfaced very well with the building design architect to create a great studio design team.”

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