Elevation Church is no stranger to community-building and unity. With a physical attendance rate of around 20,000 people over 14 locations every weekend, keeping everyone on the same page is crucial to having a successful congregation. This is not an easy feat to accomplish, as megachurches like Elevation have a number of smaller churches that are far from the main location. To overcome this, they turn to streaming technology to bring their communities together, sending live video to and from all of their campuses. This is the tech behind Elevation Church.
In order for a church with 14 campuses to feel unified, Elevation likes to keep events coordinated between each location. “Every campus has their own band; their own worship leaders; their own campus pastor. Every campus plays the same songs, sees the same videos, etc. When it comes time for the sermon though, that’s when they’ll see the same feed,” says Brian Poole, Technical Director of Elevation Church.
The challenge then is to find a way to connect the satellite campuses’ feeds with the Ballantyne (main location) feed so they can chat and interact with one another. For this endeavor, Elevation chose Teradek’s Cube devices.
“We were looking for a cost-effective device that would allow us to stream over our Metro Ethernet circuit to and from other campuses. The Cube was able to do that for us.”
Cube encoders were placed in each of the smaller campuses of Elevation. Connected to the organization’s Metro Ethernet network (a faster Ethernet option for metropolitan areas), the Cubes could then send feeds of up to 15Mbps to decoders at the main campus. This would include videos of the audience members, stage performers, worship leaders etc. that the main campus would display on their big screen. With low latency in each direction, the Ballantyne attendees could interact with all the smaller campuses as if they were present themselves.
The Teradek Cube family comes in the form of encoders and decoders and are both IP network based - the future of digital media - making them easier to manage than traditional (satellite or analogue) counterparts. Cube decoders come with an SDI or HDMI output, which makes for easy integration with A/V system with minimal delay. Overall, when compared to an online stream, having an encoder/decoder setup improves video quality significantly and results in a clearer image, which leads to a better experience.
“The tech connects all the campuses together and really unifies everyone. We have a branch in Toronto, Ontario and because of the tech their band is able to play along with ours here in Charlotte.”
Encoder technology has become an integral part for houses of worship to expand their outreach and has changed the way faith is delivered. Devices like the Cube can bring organizations and people together more effectively than ever before, and churches are taking advantage of this.