By Michael Arman, Technical Coordinator, The Moody Church
The User: The Moody Church, Chicago, Illinois
The Challenge: Improving the streaming of weekly worship services and special events online
The Solution: TouchStream
The Benefits: "We love the small size of TouchStream and how easy it is for our volunteers to use."
"TouchStream's compact and self-contained form made it easy to install right in our video control booth."
The Moody Church is a non-denominational evangelical church located in downtown Chicago, IL. Named after its founder, the great Chicago evangelist, Dwight L. Moody, The Moody Church sees a weekly attendance of around 2100 people. As a 16 year production veteran, and The Moody Church's technical coordinator for 6 years, one of my responsibilities is live streaming of our services to online followers beyond our on-location congregants. Using the Digital Rapids TouchStream live streaming appliance, our streams reach over 1000 people in 80 countries each Sunday. We also use TouchStream to stream special events and concerts to our online audience.
We chose the TouchStream appliance as our live streaming encoder as part of a major website re-design and launch. We wanted to upgrade our existing Windows Media stream, and needed a reliable and easy to use appliance that our rotating volunteer video crews wouldn't find intimidating. We chose TouchStream for its capacity to simplify our streaming set up for our volunteers. Our TouchStream was supplied by Digital Rapids reseller Midwest Media Group.
TouchStream's compact and self-contained form made it easy to install right in our video control booth, where our director or video director can monitor and adjust the stream if needed. We found TouchStream to be the most user friendly appliance available, yet it's very flexible with a lot of options. Our TouchStream takes in analog, 16:9 aspect ratio S-video signals with balanced stereo audio, and outputs a high-bandwidth video and audio stream, as well as a lower-bandwidth audio-only stream.
One of the biggest pluses TouchStream offers for us is the graphic overlay feature. We generate one program feed that goes to two local video venues as well as recording and streaming. Often we may have an element during our service that for whatever reason we don't want streaming to the world, but we do want it going to our video venues. Our past solution was to simply turn off audio and video to the stream for that segment -- which irritated our viewers and created a false perceived loss of content. Apart from integrating an additional video switch to the mix just for the stream, we didn't have a way around it. TouchStream allowed us to create a very simple and pleasant graphic that we can overlay on the video, letting our viewers know what is going on, and that their stream will re-join the service momentarily. It may be a small part of TouchStream, but it was a big plus for us.
Getting rid of a bulky streaming server with a keyboard and monitor has also been great -- we love the small size of TouchStream and how easy it is for our volunteers to use. TouchStream has helped us accomplish a major overhaul of our website and the way we reach online audiences.