Challenge:

To broadcast masses, funerals and weddings with the “next generation” broadcast system to a remote congregation, and recreate a physical community connectionwithin the midst of a pandemic.

Solution:

A bespokely designed IP broadcast system, including design and installation of the network infrastructure needed for solution using Panasonic PTZ cameras, Datavideo cameras and a central Epiphan control unit.

Panasonic PTZ camera on our custom produced bracket

With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and continued social distancing restricting numbers attending services in Churches at St Brigid’s Parish Belfast, they turned to Machine Eye for an innovative broadcasting solution. With a specialism in vision systems, Machine Eye engineered a bespoke and unique solution.

After a site visit, Machine Eye recommended the use of Panasonic PTZ and Datavideo cameras alongside an Epiphan controller to be permanently installed as a discreet, easy to use and professional quality system.

High Quality Broadcast System

The optical zoom capability and the flexibility that the Panasonic PTZ camera is capable of was of key importance for St Brigid’s;:From following a bride walking down the aisle, to being able to seamlessly change views from the organ to the christening font on the other side of the Church using a number of pre-sets, the system provides Multicam capability, with simplicity for volunteers to operate.

The 3 Datavideo cameras were positioned to provide static shots of the altar, chair and lectern where speakers would most likely be during a service, providing an immersive visual experience.

The installation of an Epiphan based system allows St Brigid’s to easily control the production switching between cameras and views through a touch screen interface and through the custom developed profiles, while maintaining the highest production values. This was mounted in a control cabinet in the Church but through design and installation of networking infrastructure and wireless access points by Machine Eye, switching is possible from anywhere in the Church using a laptop or tablet.

One on the 3 Datavideo cameras discretely integrated into the fabric of the church building

Planning for the future

The choice to use an IP based broadcast system provides the best long-term flexibility and are the most modern cameras currently being used. The audio for the broadcast is achieved by tapping into the Church’s existing audio system.

The installation of the cameras was discreet as possible with infrastructure concealed within existing channels, or sympathetically hidden in the building fabric. Our custom designed mounting brackets, manufactured with a laser cut St Brigid’s Cross as a feature allowed the most simplistic integration to existing structures. With direct streaming to YouTube, the system provides the easy access needed to connect anyone in the Parish and beyond to masses and events, much to the delight of Parishioners, with one stating:

“Great camera angles. St. Brigid's Church looks beautiful. Sound Excellent. Wonderful to participate in Mass in our own church.”