Stake Conference broadcast upgrades

Using the Church Webcasting System, YouTube, etc. Including cameras and mixers.
harddrive
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Re: Stake Conference broadcast upgrades

#11

Post by harddrive »

hshthe7thm, I understand the confusion and totally understand where you are coming from. I have had leaders in my stake who felt the same way you have in that it is impersonal and that they wanted everyone to come together for stake conference. We did that until we got our new stake president 2010

I don't know where you are live, but I live outside of Washington DC and my stake covers the Southern Maryland area. From the top of the stake to the bottom is at least a 90 minute drive on a good day. The stake center is not centrally located and it is near the top of the ward. So the wards that are the furtherest south it takes them nearly 90 minutes of driving time to get to the stake center.

The other issue we have is that, even when we use the entire stake center, we still only can sit about 900 to 1000 people and if the fire marshal ever came to our building on a stake conference Sunday, he would close us down because we packed that building.

So the first stake conference we held our attendance was over 1,200 people. This was about 80 to 90% of our normal average sacrament meeting attendance. Each time we have had stake conference our numbers have stayed at this level. The church leadership has also realized that broadcasting this, especially in areas where travel time is huge or where there just isn't space enough to house people, it has paid off big time. People are more willing to go to their home units and sit there and then get home in a short amount of time, instead of worrying about parking, find a place to sit. Also, they may end up in a room watching it on the closed circuit TV anyway, so why not be comfortable and watch it in your home building?

In another unit, we had an investigator come and watch stake conference and was able to tell our stake president that we saw you on TV.

One final example of using technology to our advantage. I work with a single adult coordination council and that makes up 10 stakes in the Washington DC North and Baltimore Missions. These missions stretch from Winchester VA to Baltimore, MD, which is a good 4 to 6 hours. We had a regional single adult conference that I was chair of and I did all the planning with it via teleconference. It made life so much easier. I didn't have to worry about getting to the meeting, then hold in the meeting and then traveling home. I was able to do something within five minutes after I got out of the meeting instead of having to travel home, putting wear and tear on my vehicle and paying for the gas, which is over three dollars a gallon here.

Technology makes things much easier and give us a chance to be with our families more and not spend time traveling. That is the big reason we do this. If you read the handbook, the only thing that can be broadcast from the chapel is stake conference, nothing else can. However, if you want to do a fireside from another room you can, but not from the chapel.

I hope that this has given you a real world example of what technology can do to increase members to hear the words of our stake presidents who are in my book the prophet of our stakes.
michaelfish
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Re: Stake Conference broadcast upgrades

#12

Post by michaelfish »

I wanted to ditto what harddrive posted.

Over a decade ago our stake center just could not hold the 2,000+ wishing to attend stake conference and we were forced to hold multiple sessions - but even with two sessions, our stake president was embarrassed when a police officer informed him there were too many illegally parked cars.

This was years before webcasting was available, so the stake hired a company to broadcast to another building. Despite the poor quality and technical problems, it was the only viable option we could think of.

Since then, we have purchased and installed our own private microwave network, SlingBoxes and SlingCatchers between buildings and for almost a decade now, we have enjoyed flawless broadcasts. Now each member can attend his/her own ward building, sit in their own favorite pew, avoid parking hassles and enjoy stake conference.

Our stake president has always been concerned about the viewing experience at remote viewing locations and has been 100% on-board supporting the use of broadcasting technology to ensure our remote viewers have the best experience possible. For example, we added cameras, superimpose hymns lyrics over the conductor leading the music, add speaker's name and calling...just like General Conference does and we always receive positive comments about their viewing experiences, despite not being there in person.
russellhltn
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Re: Stake Conference broadcast upgrades

#13

Post by russellhltn »

hshthe7th wrote:What about just having Stake Conference the old fashoned way with everybody there and no broadcast.
That's still the way my stake is doing it. But then our stake is about 30 minute travel time end-to-end and the stake center is extra large (we have two cultural halls).

The newer stake centers in our area seem too be far too small to host an entire stake. They seem to be only a little bigger than a normal ward.
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lajackson
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Re: Stake Conference broadcast upgrades

#14

Post by lajackson »

russellhltn wrote:The newer stake centers in our area seem too be far too small to host an entire stake. They seem to be only a little bigger than a normal ward.
Two wards met in our newest building for the first time yesterday. They both overflowed the chapel into the cultural hall. This was by design, the Church informed us two years ago. (You can imagine why we assigned the largest ward in the stake to meet in the new building, at least for now.)

The building is a new "stake center", which by the new Church definition means it will accommodate the largest ward meeting in the building and have additional stake offices added to it. The Church no longer builds large buildings as stake centers.

So we will never hold a stake conference in our stake center that all the stake will attend. Half our stake cannot attend a stake conference. And most visiting authorities will not authorize two sessions when the travel office informs them that they will not get home from conference until Monday.

Our new stake center also does not have Internet service, a small oversight in the construction process. The Church is going to pay thousands of dollars to one of our national contract providers so that they will extend service out to our new location. The other option was to wait a year until the area builds up with new homes and service becomes more readily available in the area.

We fuss a little, but one stake about three hours away from us does hold two sessions of stake conference, and broadcasts both sessions to three additional buildings. Half the stake attends/watches the morning session in four different buildings, and then the other half of the stake attends/watches the afternoon session in those same four buildings. The stake is in a major city and the visiting authority can catch an evening flight out and get back to Salt Lake by 10 or 11 pm.

Stake conference broadcasts are here to stay. Our challenge is finding enough technically oriented folks to successfully pull it off. We have seriously considered assigning one of the priests quorums in each building to do it. But they might have used wire cutters to solve the WiFi problem last time. That would not have been pretty.
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gregwanderson
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Re: Stake Conference broadcast upgrades

#15

Post by gregwanderson »

michaelfish wrote:This was years before webcasting was available, so the stake hired a company to broadcast to another building. Despite the poor quality and technical problems, it was the only viable option we could think of.

Since then, we have purchased and installed our own private microwave network, SlingBoxes and SlingCatchers between buildings and for almost a decade now, we have enjoyed flawless broadcasts. Now each member can attend his/her own ward building, sit in their own favorite pew, avoid parking hassles and enjoy stake conference.

Our stake president has always been concerned about the viewing experience at remote viewing locations and has been 100% on-board supporting the use of broadcasting technology to ensure our remote viewers have the best experience possible. For example, we added cameras, superimpose hymns lyrics over the conductor leading the music, add speaker's name and calling...just like General Conference does and we always receive positive comments about their viewing experiences, despite not being there in person.
This is very interesting, but it does make me wonder where the money came from for this purpose. In another discussion, a church employee squashed the idea of spending budget money on A/V equipment and even letting members donate such equipment. So how did you pay for a microwave network, multiple cameras, a character generator for superimposing text on the screen and other enhancements that make it look "just like General Conference"? Meanwhile, we are told, you can't even spend a few hundred dollars for an extra monitor to play videos for the youth lessons every Sunday. You can only use what the FM Group provides.
michaelfish
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Re: Stake Conference broadcast upgrades

#16

Post by michaelfish »

The post you referred to is regarding purchasing of flat screens. TV sets are standard building configuration items and should be obtained through the FM group.

According to https://tech.lds.org/wiki/Meetinghouse_ ... guidelines
Budget and costs

The local unit pays for Meetinghouse Webcast components (examples: Webcast Communicator, video camera, cables, tripod) from local unit operating budget, or from other area funds as an area presidency may decide.

Standard meetinghouse items (such as video projector, portable projection screen, and draperies) are part of the meetinghouse standard configuration and should be purchased, installed, and inventoried by the facilities managers responsible for your meetinghouse as available budgets allow.
The network and broadcasting equipment purchased by our stake and installed by members was not considered "standard meetinghouse items" and funds were provided from our local unit operating budget. The private network's primary use was to provide filtered Internet access to local ward's family history classes, and was used weekly. The stake used this same network to broadcast stake conference to our other buildings. We initially started with a radio network to only one building and then years later, added a second building.

All equipment was purchased over a period 10 years and the majority of it was purchased "used" - for a fraction of the retail price. Please note, at the time the equipment was purchased and installed, the church had no broadcasting solution for our stake conference attendance problem. Local unit authorities are allowed to receive inspiration and act to solve problems for their stake.

I would also like to make mention that even though there are restrictions on stake purchased equipment, there are no restrictions on the amount of labor volunteers or those called can donate in the course of magnifying their callings. The amount spent on our project over this past decade has only been a few thousand dollars while the labor costs to implement such a project would have easily been many times more.

Through thoughtful planning and implementation there have been several years in which there was no need to access additional budgeted money for stake A/V equipment. Our stake was hugely blessed by those who donated their time, talents and expertise to make this happen.

As a stake technology specialist, we are encouraged by church leaders to solve problems for our own stakes.

For more information regarding purchasing webcast products, see https://www.lds.org/callings/melchizede ... s?lang=eng
troywo
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Re: Stake Conference broadcast upgrades

#17

Post by troywo »

Here are some of our realities - we have a stake population of nearly 4000 with a high activity rate. We cannot physically accommodate the crowd in the building even with some watching on other screens in the rooms around the periphery of the chapel, cultural hall and stage. That raises another point, does it matter much if that screen they are watching on is now located in their chapel closer to home? This also helps reduce a parking problem and we are less likely to annoy the neighborhood by parking in every possible spot up and down the street. The other pressure point we have experienced with visiting authorities is they want to get home Sunday night (don't blame them) and flights to SLC are limited not allowing 2 general sessions to be concluded in time to catch the last flight out.

Bottom line - we get more members hearing the messages of the conference by offering the broadcast and alleviate the issues mentioned above. It seems we are following a similar model to the way we "attend" General Conference in the spring and fall.
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gregwanderson
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Re: Stake Conference broadcast upgrades

#18

Post by gregwanderson »

I don't know if that last comment was directed at my questions or not. Bottom line: I am not questioning the idea of using webcasts to help Stake Conference attendance (and to address problems with travel and parking, etc.). I only question whether you need to have an elaborate, expensive production with a "slick" look that rivals General Conference. It seems to me that a much simpler production is sufficient. Are some people getting a bit carried away? When I consider the potential expense of a "slick" webcast compared to the cost of monitors for Sunday lessons and when I consider how the former seems to get a lot of budget leeway while the latter does not, then I get a bit discouraged (but I realize that this is just the way the system works and, technically, one expense is unrelated to the other... at least on some balance sheet somewhere).

From where I'm sitting, people are pleading for more and/or better monitors to use each Sunday and they're not so picky about the production slickness of Stake Conference webcasts.
googtx
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Re: Stake Conference broadcast upgrades

#19

Post by googtx »

I have recently been called as the Technology Specialist. Previous to me someone built a PC on NEWEGG. We currently have two VIEWCAST OSPREY 230, 2 Sony EVI-D70 cameras, and PC with 2 PCI slots. The computer however has proven to be unstable. Can someone tell me what PC they are using to support there webcasts? The current computer that was built has two PCI slots to support two VIEWCAST OSPREY 230. I am having trouble finding a PC that supports two PCI slots. We are trying to use the PC as the mixer. Is anyone using 2 PCI slots? Or do I need to buy a PC with one PCI slot and mix the signal prior to the PC with a product like Roland VR-3 mixer?

Thanks much!!
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