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Connecting the congregation

Connecting the congregation

Connecting the congregation

St Stephen’s Episcopal Church has upgraded to automated livestreaming with Q-SYS

Serving locally as a place of worship as well as a gathering place for residents of Richmond, Virginia, St Stephen’s Episcopal Church holds daily worship services as well as a Saturday farmers’ market. The church recently sought to enhance its livestreaming and audio capabilities to maintain the highest level of service for its congregation. Recognising the existing system needed an upgrade, it contracted RTW Media to install a new AV system. With its strong affinity for Q-SYS products, RTW selected Q-SYS as the ideal technology to provide the church with a unified, adaptable solution.

Zack Guida, AV integrator at RTW Media, saw the need to offer St Stephen’s broadcast-quality audio for its livestream. Guida comments: “For those sitting in the church, the sound produced by the organ and the choir was clean and vibrant. However, those watching the livestream outside the church had difficulty hearing anything clearly, creating a noticeable contrast between the sound experienced in person and the sound coming through the livestream.”

Given that intelligible audio for the congregation is an essential component of an uplifting experience, Guida chose Q-SYS because of its native AES67 capability, advanced DSP and control capability. In addition, Guida believes that Q-SYS offers integrators a cost-effective solution, with the ability to stream audio between the Q-SYS system and third-party products supporting native networked audio technology.

“We have a Q-SYS Core 510i processor (now available as the updated Q-SYS Core 610) running the entire system,” explains Guida. “The Core is located next door in an adjacent building, which was easy to hide and flexible to install. We have Q-SYS I/O frames for the microphones at the altar and PTZ cameras tucked away in little nooks in the sanctuary to provide broadcast-quality video. We designed the system to be flexible and handle the various services, including weekday prayer, traditional Sunday morning services, contemplative evening services and funerals.

“During morning prayer services on weekdays, the Q-SYS system automatically turns on at a specified time and provides a hands-off solution delivering quality audio and video for the livestream. The system auto-selects the microphone and camera needed for this livestream. During Sunday services, where there are up to 15 open microphones and six PTZ cameras in use, the Q-SYS system provides the control and audio DSP needed to deliver a quality finished product. All control is handled from the control room by St Stephen’s technical director, who simultaneously manages the audio controls for the in-room experience and livestream, video broadcast, cameras, lower thirds and captions, overflow audio and video routing. During Sunday morning’s complex services, Q-SYS provides the control for the director to accomplish what many other churches need three or four dedicated members for.”

Guida notes that one of the key motivations for St Stephen’s to invest in Q-SYS products was the shorter learning curve to allow for end-user changes over time. “Many of our clients want a system that isn’t complicated – with Q-SYS Designer Software, engaging training videos and custom-built user control interfaces (UCI), it’s super flexible and easy to learn. With Q-SYS, we built one of the most sophisticated systems, all with a terrific user interface, and it’s rock solid.”

Guida highlights the advantages of using Q-SYS for traditional churches that are interested in livestreaming. “Many of our clients have dedicated staff or volunteers on Sundays but are in great need of weekday technical support that can assist with the popup meeting, conference or funeral, that may require simple AV on weekdays. Q-SYS enables churches to gain access to a high-quality audio and video system that can be automated and can be scheduled to begin running whenever they need it. Q-SYS can also provide incredible audio control during Sunday services. For example, the Q-SYS system at St Stephen’s can mix up to six lavalier microphones, podium microphones, choir microphones, organ and ambient microphones for congregation pickup. Along with using various gates, compressors and other audio features, Q-SYS can create an in-room lift and a separate livestream mix off the touch panel that automatically runs in the background.”

With Q-SYS, St Stephen’s Episcopal Church has been able to create a dependable ecosystem that allows them to focus on what matters most: connecting with their congregation.

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