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Broadcasting To The Masses At La Porte Ouverte Chretienne

In the city of Mulhouse, close to the French border with Germany and Switzerland, thousands of people gather every week to listen to the rousing sounds of drums, bass, electric guitar and voice.

What at first glance appears to be a gathering for a rock concert, is actually a congregation of people lining up for Sunday mass at a church called La Porte Ouverte Chretienne. Known for its spectacular sermons, people come from towns and villages up to 100 km away.

In 1961, Jean Peterschmitt founded La Porte Ouverte Chretienne after his wife was miraculously cured of a serious illness. The church grew year after year, changing premise to match the increasingly diverse congregation.

Today, each mass is attended by more than 2,000 people, and "virtually" by thousands more, as services are also streamed live to the church's website (http://www.porte For an even wider reach, church services are published on DVD within a week.

Jery Vannieu (Vanniewenhuyse) is the technical director at La Porte Ouverte Chretienne. With a background in audiovisual technology, Mr. Vannieu has worked in audiovisual production as a freelance technical event director for concerts, youth gatherings and festivals for more than 10 years. Already a member of La Porte Ouverte Chretienne, he was delighted to be invited to collaborate on audiovisual projects involving multiple media, including TV and streaming live to the Internet.

In addition to spearheading the technical initiatives that involve implementing a professional video workflow for the church, Jery Vannieu also manages a team of around 40 volunteers and one full time worker, all members of the church's expanding congregation. Since they provide their services for free, the volunteers need to be kept motivated. This means making sure that they are properly trained with products they can trust - products like the Blackmagic Design ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher, Videohub and DeckLink Studio, which provide, according to Vannieu, "the guarantee of 'une bonne serenite' (peace of mind). "

"We were looking for a way to streamline our production process and be able to use both HDMI and SDI sources . . . that's when we turned to Blackmagic Design," says Jery Vannieu. He adds, "Blackmagic saw there was a gap in the market for the HDMI/SDI combination . . . one of their strengths is definitely the way they react to needs in the market."


The audiovisual team has a tight production deadline every week. Within a seven day period, they manage two live multi channel broadcasts and produce two DVDs that cover the Sunday and Tuesday sermons. Blackmagic Design's ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher, ATEM Television Studio, Micro Videohub and DeckLink Studio help technicians throughout the entire production process, creating a poignant experience for the live crowd, those watching remotely online and those who buy the DVD.

To better engage the more than 2,000 attendees who gather for each mass, La Porte Ouverte Chretienne projects the sermon and musical performances in high definition (HD) onto two large Phillips liquid crystal displays (LCDs) located at the front of the church. The internal broadcast is made possible thanks to the Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Studio. Four Sony PMW EX1R camcorders record the live event, leveraging the Blackmagic Design Videohub and ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher to manage camera signals and orchestrate a live broadcast of the service complete with eye catching graphics.

The Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher free software control panel supports Mac and Windows platforms, giving Vannieu and his team access to the switcher from any laptop. With a professional M/E workflow and parameter adjustments in easy to use palettes, Vannieu can easily manage the media pool from just about any location within the facility.

Mr. Vannieu is especially fond of ATEM's built in multi view capability that allows up to 10 video channels to be displayed on a single SDI/HDMI monitor. With channel viewing consolidated onto one screen, the church was able to cut down on equipment and lower costs.

The Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher is also used for real time graphic overlays and transition effects. With one key click, Mr. Vannieu can easily add titles, such as the pastor's name, or create a wipe to elegantly transition from one camera position to the next. Each of the ATEM's four upstream keys offers independent chroma, pattern, shaped and linear keying. The system also offers two downstream keyers and independent fade to black.

"The quality of the design and the lightness of ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher are amazing. It's a really high class product, with professional broadcast capabilities . . . all at a price we can afford," says Jery Vannieu.

To bring mass to those unable to travel, as they are sick or are not close by, La Porte Ouverte Chretienne developed a "live" Sunday morning external broadcast on the Internet. With this broadcast, thousands of virtual attendees become more engaged with the congregation. The sermons are streamed to the La Porte Ouverte Chretienne website using Wirecast in SDI, HD and low speed options for smart phones. The church also offers other short programs such as "T'as 2 minutes" ("You got two minutes"), EVEN and soon "Action ou Verite?" ("Truth or Dare?"). Content is available on video on demand (VOD) and DVD from the church's online store

In addition to French, all of La Porte Ouverte Chretienne's sermons are broadcast and streamed in German as well as sign language. One of Mr. Vannieu's favorite features of the ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher is its ability to handle the multilingual streams by enabling him to overlay the media of the signed sermon onto the French and German versions.

The Blackmagic Design Micro Videohub serves as the facility's principle router, coordinating media movement throughout the facility. Cameras, edit bays, the ATEM and DeckLink Studio connect through the VideoHub, tying production, post production and broadcast components together.

Staff can easily change connections from any desktop. Unlike manual patching, the video team can send one SDI video connection to multiple outputs so that team members can access any SDI video source simultaneously. 

Not all members of the church are able to view live or streamed services, and many followers like to watch services again, so the church also publishes each service to DVD. The task must be completed quickly, so the finished DVD can be made available within a week of the service. This gives the audiovisual team some tight deadlines to work with.

As soon as the service is over, the audiovisual team heads straight to post production. The HD material, broadcasted internally during the service, is used as the base edit for rebroadcast and DVD development. The team uses Blackmagic Design's DeckLink Studio to ingest and play back video. Editing is done using multiple editors (Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro) with output in multiple formats. Thanks to DeckLink Studio's extensive format and product support, the post process can be completed quickly regardless of the editing application or media requirement.

It's been six years since Mr. Vannieu moved with his wife and three children to Mulhouse, and he is still enthusiastic about the job. "I'm not working for a man or for a church. I'm working for a higher authority, God, the creator of the universe, and my motivation comes from there," he says. "What gets me up in the morning is the feeling that I'm a tool in the hands of the creator for giving meaning to people's lives by the revelation of who Jesus Christ is." 

"Our aim as a church is to reach as many people as possible to proclaim the gospel," says Mr. Vannieu. He is happy how Blackmagic products help him spread the word, adding, "They're easy to use, simple in design and extremely effective."

With plans to expand the church even further, including creating a 400 seat room for wedding ceremonies, Vannieu says: "We are looking forward to implementing new Blackmagic Design products, such as the HyperDeck Studio and ATEM Camera Converter, which will help us to optimize our cameras over longer distances, covering our expanded facility."

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Related Keywords:Blackmagic Design, ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher, ATEM Television Studio, Micro Videohub, Decklink Studio, live video streaming, DVD production,

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