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Meetinghouse Hardware Guidelines

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MEETINGHOUSE HARDWARE GUIDELINES

OVERVIEW

In August of 2021, the Information and Communication Services department (ICS) sent notice to local units that the current meetinghouse webcast (MHW) system would be decommissioned in July 2022. Units have until July 2022 to transition from Meetinghouse Webcast to Zoom but have been encouraged to make the change as early as possible. These guidelines should help you answer questions about and respond to requests for new and updated technologies related to this change.  

HANDBOOK REFERENCES

The Church’s Handbook of Instruction has three sections pertaining to streaming in the meetinghouse. Below are excerpts from each of these sections. Refer to the handbook for a complete reference.

29.2.1.5

“In some cases, the bishop may authorize streaming sacrament meeting for those who cannot attend. For information, see 29.7.”

29.7 p15

“For the benefit of these members and others, the Bishop may, as an exception, authorize a livestream of sacrament meetings and of funerals and weddings held in the meetinghouse. Streams allow others to see and hear a meeting remotely but not participate directly.”

38.2.3 p4

“The bishop may authorize the streaming of baby blessings, baptisms, confirmations, and Aaronic Priesthood ordinations. The stake president may authorize the streaming of Melchizedek Priesthood ordinations and the setting apart of missionaries.”

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

The following design considerations have been derived from the above excerpts and sections of the handbook:

  1. For streams that originate in chapels and are broadcast to remote locations, buildings shouldn't be modified.
    • There may be an occasional need for remote presentations at stake conferences. For most systems, no modification to the building or its existing systems is necessary to accommodate such needs.  
  2. Policies affecting streaming of stake conference meetings have not changed. Updates which are required for the Zoom platform to replace Webcast can be made.  

Design Recommendations

Area leadership may allow stakes and districts to use member-owned technology to avoid purchasing laptops, high-end cameras, and other expensive technology. For events, including sacrament meetings, a member’s mobile device can originate the broadcast. The Zoom & YouTube Live platforms support a mobile phone as the video source of the event.

1. Local units approved to use technology for virtual meetings should ensure selected technology and virtual meetings are:

a. Not a distraction.

b. Easy for remote participants to join.

c. Flexible and adaptable as needs, policies, conditions, and technology evolve.

d. Not inclusive of the administration of the sacrament.

e. Deleted within one day after the meeting (if recorded)

2, Counsel with your ecclesiastical leader to determine the following:

a. Unit Needs

b. Preferred Technology

c .Budget

(Choose hardware devices that meet the needs of your area and budget)

STREAMING IN MEETINGHOUSE CHAPELS (NON-STAKE CENTERS)

Meetinghouse buildings should not be modified, and new equipment should not be installed in meetinghouses to enable streaming of sacrament and other meetings. Instead, local units should use portable, temporary devices, such as standalone webcams, phones or laptops with cameras, and a zoom license.  See “Camera & Audio Recommendations” for a partial list of options.

Zoom licenses can be requested by stake technology specialists at meet.churchofjesuschrist.org. One license per unit is available (A stake and ward are separate units). License fees are automatically paid by church headquarters.  

STREAMING IN STAKE CENTER CHAPELS

Units attending stake centers have 2 options for broadcasting via zoom. First, they may use the same types of portable systems outlined above for meetinghouse units. Alternatively, with the approval of the stake presidency, they may use the integrated video system included in stake centers which is primarily intended for distribution of meetings within the stake center facility (see “Camera & Audio Recommendations” for a partial list of options).

Regardless of which option is chosen, some modifications to the integrated video system should be made to accommodate streaming of stake conference broadcasts via zoom.  

USING INTEGRATED VIDEO SYSTEM

Stake centers in North America are equipped with video distribution systems. These systems allow stakes to distribute audio and video from the chapel to other areas of the building and stream to other buildings. They are primarily used for stake conferences and other stake-level events. These systems are currently equipped with a Teradek device. Following the transition from MHW to Zoom, the Teradek will become obsolete as it is not compatible with Zoom.

To stream video content from the video system, both a computer and capture card will be required. The computer should be provided on an as-needed basis by the local unit or a member of the unit. It can be any type or brand which can run a Zoom session. The capture card can be any of several “cards” which are compatible with the computer being used. See “Capture Cards” for a partial list of options. The card is permanently installed in the video system.  

FM Groups may provide one capture card per stake center, as a replacement for the existing Teradek device.

To install the capture card, remove the current Teradek, and attach the capture card in its place. When needed, members may connect their laptop or similar device to the capture card. Zoom will then show the capture card as a video source that they may select.  

ZOOM IN CLASSROOMS

Local units may opt to use Zoom or similar technologies to enable members to remotely participate in other meetings. Units should utilize portable solutions to meet these requests (see “Camera & Audio Recommendations” for a partial list of options).

PRIESTHOOD, RELIEF SOCIETY, AND CHILDREN’S MEETING ROOMS

Many Priesthood, Relief Society, and Children’s meeting rooms have existing sound reinforcement systems. Members may connect the audio output from laptops and other devices running Zoom to one of the sound system inputs. These systems may include XLR (Microphone) and or 3.5mm (headphone jack)-style inputs.  

If the system includes a 3.5mm Input, members can connect a 3.5mm cable between the laptop and the sound system. If the system includes an XLR input, members will need to retrieve the crab box or similar device from the library. The 3.5mm device is connected to the crab box; the XLR output is connected from the crab box to the sound system.  

As requested by local units, FM groups may replace one XLR jack with a combination XLR/3.5mm Input jack to simplify these types of connections. These rooms do not include a way to input the classroom sound into the Zoom session. Modifications to enable this functionality are not authorized.

CAMERA & AUDIO RECOMMENDATIONS

SACRAMENT MEETING BROADCASTS

Video

The recommended setup using the Zoom platform is a mobile phone mounted on a tripod or a microphone boom near the podium directly connected to the building’s audio system. This has been evaluated and will result in a high-quality viewing experience. If local units feel they need additional functionality, the following options are supported:  


NEXIGO 2K Zoomable Webcam: Zoom Certified Camera. Remote with 3x Digital Zoom, USB Type A or C & Privacy Cover, Built-in dual stereo mics with noise cancellation provides clear audio capture from most angle.


NEXIGO 4K Zoomable Webcam: Zoom Certified Camera. Remote with 5X Digital Zoom, USB Type A or C & Privacy Cover, Built-in dual stereo mics with noise cancellation provides clear audio capture from most angle.


TONGVEO USB Video Conference Camera: PTZ camera w/ 10X Optical Zoom, USB 2.0 Plug & Play with Multiple Application compatibility including the Zoom platform.


NexiGo N990 4K PTZ Zoomable Webcam: Zoom certified camera. Remote with 5X Digital Zoom. Built-in dual stereo mics with noise cancellation. Provides clear audio capture from most angles.

Lumens VC-B30U: This device is a bit more expensive but will provide better image quality and Zoom capabilities (15x optical Zoom) in the broadcast. Zoom certified camera.  

Audio 

Tinysine TSA6017    This is a very inexpensive device that can offer Bluetooth (BT) audio delivery to a mobile device for the event.  It works well with voice and speech but struggles with the music portion of the broadcast.  Purchase of 1 device is $18.50 and is needed to broadcast. In the Zoom Application, there is a little speaker button at the top, and when it is tapped, the meeting would switch from using the Bluetooth audio to the phone audio. The phone audio (speaker + mic) might be good for music.

1Mii ML301    This device is a bit more expensive but will provide better audio for both speech and music in the broadcast.  This device has an RX/TX setting and will require 2 devices for a broadcast. A physical connection is required to the encoding device and may require an audio adapter and TRRS cable (Headset Buddy). Purchase of 2 devices is needed to broadcast. They cost $34.99 each. In the Zoom Application, there is a little speaker button at the top. When the speaker button is tapped, the meeting switches from using the headphone audio to the phone audio. The phone audio (speaker + mic) might be good for music.

Taotronics This device is a bit more expensive but will provide better audio for both speech and music in the broadcast.  This device has an RX/TX setting and will require 2 devices for a broadcast. Each device costs $21.99.  A physical connection to the device is required and may also require an audio adapter.  

INTERACTIVE MEETING (BI-DIRECTIONAL)

Video

The recommended setup using the Zoom platform is a mobile phone mounted on a tripod or microphone boom near the podium and directly connected to the building’s audio system. This has been evaluated and will result in a high-quality viewing experience. If local units feel they need additional functionality, the following options are supported:


NEXIGO 2K Zoomable Webcam: Zoom Certified Camera. Remote with 3x Digital Zoom, USB Type A or C & Privacy Cover, Built-in dual stereo mics with noise cancellation provides clear audio capture from most angles.


NEXIGO 4K Zoomable Webcam: Zoom Certified Camera. Remote with 5X Digital Zoom, USB Type A or C & Privacy Cover, Built-in dual stereo mics with noise cancellation. Provides clear audio capture from most angles.


Audio

Phonum Beyerdynamic This is a device used for meetings with two-way interactions needed inside the meeting.  This device has voice tracking which will help with the external noise. There are similar devices in this space that may be considered as well. Purchase of 1 device is needed to broadcast. The cost is $99.00 each.

Jabra This is a device used for meeting with two-way interaction needed inside the meeting. This device has voice tracking which will help with the external noise.  There are similar devices in this space that may be considered as well. Purchase of 1 device is needed to broadcast. The price is $149.00.


Poly  This is a device used for meetings that require two-way interaction. Purchase of 1 device is needed to broadcast. The price of the device is $120.00.

STAKE CENTER BROADCASTS

Video

NOTE: If there is a PTZ camera already in place, continue to use the existing camera. In stake centers where a camera is not in place, stakes may request the FM group to install one of the following options:  


RL500 - PTZ Camera: This is the new PTZ camera offering available on E-Market: The RL500 - PTZ Camera from Clear-Touch is the current E-Market offering. According to our product tests, this camera performed better than other PTZ cameras available on the market. There is no PTZ camera on the market at this price point that offers the features that the RL500 provides.  

NOTE: The current E-Market offering is the RL400 from Clear-Touch at $879 until the end of February. Although the look of the RL400 slightly varies from the RL500, Clear-Touch has agreed to include all software and feature upgrades of the RL500 and apply them to the RL400 before shipping them to us.  

Audio

Within the US and Canada, there are four preferred methods of connecting to the A/V distribution system (see Understanding Audio Connections in Meetinghouses article for additional information).  

NOTE: The following are Bluetooth audio options if you are not tying into the building video distribution system.  

1Mii ML301    This device is a bit more expensive but will provide better audio for both speech and music in the broadcast.  This device has an RX/TX setting and will require 2 devices for a broadcast. A physical connection is required to the encoding device and may require an audio adapter and an TRRS cable. Purchase of 2 devices is needed to broadcast. Devices cost $34.99 each. In the Zoom Application, there is a little speaker button at the top which, when tapped, switches the meeting from using Bluetooth audio to the phone audio. The phone audio (speaker + mic) might be good for music.

Taotronics   This device provides higher quality audio for both speech and music in the broadcast. This device has an RX/TX setting and will require 2 devices for a broadcast. Devices cost $21.99 each. A physical connection is required to the device and may require an audio adapter.

Tinysine TSA6017    This is a very inexpensive device that can offer Bluetooth (BT) audio delivery to a mobile device for the event. It works well with voice and speech but struggles with the music portion of the broadcast. Purchase of 1 device is needed to broadcast. Each device costs $18.50. In the Zoom Application, there is a little speaker button at the top which, when tapped, switches the meeting from using the Bluetooth audio to the phone audio. The phone audio (speaker + mic) might be good for music.

CAPTURE CARDS

Capture cards vary drastically in price depending on quality and features. For our purposes, superior-quality cards can be found for about $150 USD. Due to variation in member-provided computers used to host the Zoom sessions, there is no single card that will work with all devices. However, USB-C-compatible capture cards offer the broadest compatibility. Before purchasing a capture card for local units, ensure one is needed and that USB-C style will be compatible with their device. Meetinghouse-Shared Services recommends Razer Ripsaw.  

FAQ

Q. What do I do with the old Teradek devices?  

A. The Teradek device does not have any sensitive or private Church data stored on it and requires no special handling. Please follow Church and local guidelines for proper disposal or recycling of electronic devices when disposing of these devices.

Q. What about units with special needs, such as ASL (American Sign Language) or language units?  

A. Special Needs units will have unique requirements which merit the granting of approval. For example, ASL units have already been granted approvals for mounted cameras, regardless of whether the unit meets in a meetinghouse or stake center. STS’s please contact your local FM, and they will work with Steve Poulsen, or Kurt Dallinga in MFD Shared Services to discuss options to meet these needs.

Q. Is more than one camera permitted in the chapel?

A. The standard stake center system includes one permanently fixed camera and one input for a portable camera. Additional camera inputs are not approved. When properly set up, these two cameras should be sufficient to produce a stake conference video feed which is simple, yet able to convey the spirit of the meeting to those members attending in other parts of the stake center or other buildings.

Q. What is the current guidance about stakes purchasing their own Camera?  

A. Source: (MFD Manager)

Currently, when a stake requests an extra camera to be mounted (in addition to the one standard camera), our instruction from MFD is to provide them with the guideline and recommend that it be followed (in the spirit of the PB Vision/Temporal Affairs Guiding Principles of “Simplicity”, etc.).   

If the stake persists and purchases an additional camera and then asks the FM Group to mount the camera, MFD is instructed to do so to ensure it is done properly (safety, etc.), and to inform the RAM about the mounting (not to seek permission to install, but to notify RAM what was requested of us).

Q. Who do I talk to about installing a mounted PTZ camera?

A. The decision to permanently mount a camera should involve both the unit and the facilities management group. They should also consider the need for cameras at events held outside the chapel.  Local units who have a desire to obtain PTZ camera should make the request through the proper channels. For reference, the request process is listed below:

The STS talks to the PFR. The PFR then talks to the Stake President for confirmation. Then the PFR discusses this with the FM Manager.


Q. Where should the fixed PTZ camera and portable camera jack be installed?

NOTE: Fixed PTZ cameras and portable camera jacks are only installed in stake center buildings.  

A. When determining the placement of the fixed camera, a suitable location should be found where:

•   The camera lens is placed at or near the eye level of an average speaker at the pulpit.

•   The camera has a clear view of the seats where the presiding authorities are typically seated.

Users often wish to center the camera in the chapel, placing it just above the folding partition wall header in the rear of the chapel. Unless the header is near eye level, this placement should be avoided. A camera placed above the header is more likely to:

•   Present an unnatural viewing angle for remote participants,

•   Experience a glare from lights reflecting off surfaces on the rostrum.

The portable camera jack should be placed on the chapel wall opposite from the fixed camera location. It can then be moved anywhere throughout the chapel if the video cable is long enough.


Q. Who pays for streaming/broadcasting services?  

A. The Church covers the costs of one Zoom license per unit. The facilities management group has funds to provide and maintain audio and video hardware included on the standard plan at the request of the stake or district leaders. All additional broadcasting equipment (e.g., cameras, cables, and adapters) are purchased and maintained by the stake or district leaders using local unit funds.  


ICS’s Technology Standards for the Funding of Meetinghouse Technology is quoted below:

3.2 Funding of  Meetinghouse  Technology 

3.2.1 The facilities management group (FMG) within the Meetinghouse Facilities Department (MFD) provides meetinghouse technology equipment as directed by the Office of the Presiding Bishop (PBO) and Area Presidencies. Standard meetinghouse technology equipment is included in new building construction. Maintaining, upgrading, and replacing equipment is the responsibility of the FMG which adheres to MFD and Information and Communications Services (ICS) guidelines and standards. 

3.2.1.1 Equipment which was provided with new building construction or was provided later by the FMG is replaced when the product reaches end of life. 

3.2.1.2 Equipment under warranty should be replaced or repaired according to warranty instructions.  This is managed by the FMG. 

3.2.1.3 MFD has established quantity and quality standards for each type of equipment. Standards vary based on building size, number of units in the building and local adaptation needs.  

3.2.2 Local unit budgets should not be used to purchase meetinghouse technology (see General Handbook: Serving in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,  34.7.2).  

3.2.3 Local leaders should not seek donations to pay for meetinghouse technology equipment or donations of equipment. If local leaders approve the use of donated equipment, then security, inventory, maintenance, and replacement costs are the responsibility of the local unit.   

3.2.4 Equipment not provided by the FMG is the responsibility of local units to secure, inventory, maintain and replace. 

Reference: Technology Standards

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Q. Where can I go if I have technical issues?

A. For additional help, visit the “Virtual Meeting Wiki Page” Or contact the Global Service Department.