Central Christian Church and the IP Control Buddy

Central Christian Church supports four satellite campuses located around the Metro-Phoenix area from our central facility in Mesa. Like most churches, they rely heavily on volunteers, so when thinking about implementing new technology or simplifying workflows, they have to consider the end-user, typically a person who, more than likely, has no prior TV production experience. So it’s an absolute necessity that any solution we choose be fool-proof and easy-to operate.

Every week the church simultaneously record sermons onto multiple Blackmagic HyperDecks, one for each campus plus one for redundancy, and then distributes them to the satellite campuses via portable hard drive. They chose this method because it’s the most cost effective and efficient way to deliver high-quality video; however, it takes lots of hands-on individual set-up and device control to pull it off. The decks don’t retain audio/ video input settings and each has its own record button. It’s impossible for a lone individual to manually put five or six decks into “record.”

The team were specifically looking for a device capable of triggering all the record decks simultaneously and control equipment over an IP network. There were lots of different options to explore, but most required developing a web browser interface and writing software and the customer didn’t want to task a volunteer operator with logging onto a computer program and navigating around a menu driven GUI.

By a happy coincidence, the team were walking by the DNF Controls (now TSL Products) booth and noticed they were controlling a HyperDeck with one of their devices. Dan Fogel, DNF’s CTO, and Fred Scott, VP Sales & Business Development, walked them through the IP Control Buddy and demonstrated its ability to send commands over a network. the team were impressed and knew they had found the right solution. It literally couldn’t be any easier. A volunteer need only press one button at the right time and the job’s done!

After receiving a demo unit to evaluate the product’s quality and assess its sustainability, the IP Control Buddy was quickly setup, placed into operation and became the new normal. Instead of dealing with software developers and having to hire people with skills beyond their own areas of expertise, the team went with something very simple and easy for staff to configure, install and integrate into their workflow.

The IP Control Buddy adopted has four buttons, although only three of them are used. The first sends a command that configures all the devices for the task at hand. Certain devices take video inputs and others, perhaps, take a different audio input, and they don’t natively remember what they’re supposed to do. Now, through automatic configuration, every one of the devices go through IP Control Buddy’s Button #1. Button #2 is set to start them all recording and Button #3 stops everything. All of our control rooms are sequenced, everything turns-on by itself and in the correct order, red-up and ready to go. 

Although triggering all the recording activity was the first application, the customer has been able to push the Control Buddy’s capabilities even further and have installed one in each of our other campuses for a total of five.

Operators no longer have to go to a rack unit somewhere within the facility to play or stop a piece of equipment; they have been able to put the controls right in front of them and taken IP control technology beyond recorders and playback devices, turning projectors on and off in all venues as well.

The IP Control Buddy came with a user manual that explained how to configure the device. and is easy to set up with minimal experience and specific mounting solutions were created to fit particular needs.

About Central Christian Church
The Arizona-based church’s stated mission is “Leading people to discover and own their faith in Jesus.” Central Church supports four satellite campuses in the Metro-Phoenix area from its main facility in Mesa. For further information, please visit CentralAZ.com