Project spotlighting: A powerful cohesive system


I want to highlight a project that I was able to be a part of over the last couple of weeks with systems integrator Reach Communications. Embrace Church, based out of Souix Falls South Dakota, decided to launch their 4th campus 260 miles away in St. Croix Minnesota. Embrace had some big video requirements on a small budget.


-Large dual blended center screen for content and message playback

-Side screens for content and speaker Prezi-Presentation

-Distribution of 2 feeds around the building (Speaker playback and Prezi-Presentation)

-Simple and easy for volunteers to use

-Small footprint to maximize FOH booth space

As I was a sounding board for tossing ideas off of, I had little to do with the design of this video system, the mastermind…. Brad Van Voorst of Reach Communications.

The biggest hurdle was the dual blended center screen in the middle of the room. As ProPresenter was going to be a primary piece of the puzzle for this blend, it couldn’t be the only piece. There needed to be the ability to not only stretch an HD 1080i source across the screen but also the ability to format a 16×9 window on the screen for video playback. The key piece of gear chosen to partner with ProPresenter for the blend was a Ross Carbonite+ 1ME production switcher. With the use of the MiniME’s in multi-screen mode, it made it easy to go between the high-resolution ProPresenter sources, stretched 1080i sources and PIP boxes. All the data doubling (overlap) was done in ProPresenter and the Ross Carbonite+, but the featuring of the blend was done inside of 2 8K Panasonic Projectors for a seamless blend!


There also needed to be a camera in the back of the room to get a wide shot of the auditorium to distribute to the TV’s around the building. The challenge is that there wasn’t space on the desk for another controller. With a little bit of research the Marshall CV620 was chosen because it was cost effective and used Sony’s VISCA protocol which allowed the Ross Carbonite+ to control the camera eliminating the need for an additional controller.

Message delivery was deployed using a proven transport method that Reach and Embrace had already been using at one of their other campuses; Evertz H.264/ MPEG4 encoders/ Decoders , Grass Valley T2’s for time-slip and an AJA Ki-Pro for backup. To make it easy for volunteers, AMP protocol was setup between the Ross Carbonite+ and the Grass Valley T2 to control playback with the push of a single button.

After everything was setup, presets were built using Ross Video’s custom panel builder inside their Dashboard control software. This makes it easy for volunteers to press presets on a touch screen to recall different service elements. From this panel they can easily route video to their side screens, center screen, confidence monitor, and 2 distributed lobby outputs. They can also roll the message from their T2 and recall camera presets. Each service transition was thought through so that with 1 push of a button all pieces can move seamlessly with assurance that everything will be execute as designed.

I think the biggest win with this project is how clean and efficient everything turned out. The reason this was possible is primarily due to knowing the production gear inside and out to know what it can do, what it is best at, how to best implement the features needed, and what the limitations are. The Ross Carbonite+ was the perfect tool for the job with the multi-screen mode, Camera control, server control, and Dashboard integration. The Panasonic projectors allowed us to do the blending in them so there wasn’t conflict between ProPresenter and the Carbonite+ and it looks amazing! All pieces were strategically chosen to fulfill a purpose and to work in a cohesive system that turned out clean and efficient.

List of Materials:

Ross Carbonite+ 1ME live Production switcher

Ross Dashboard

Ensemble Design Mitto Scan converters (4)

Marshall CV620 PTZ Camera

Panasonic Projection

Evertz H.264 Encoder/ Decoding

Grass Valley T2 Video Server

AJA Ki Pro

AJA SDI to HDMI converters

Blackmagic 20×20 Router

Renewed vision ProPresenter

Apple iMacs & Mac Mini’s

Planar Touchscreen monitor


About brhoda

I freelance doing a few different thing in the video and live production market. I worked for a church for 5 years directing services and designing control rooms.
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