This week our contractors Audioworks began the work of fitting cameras to the church building, as part of our Cameras Project.

One of the main goals is in this work is for the new equipment and cabling to be as discreet as possible, meaning most of the first morning was taken up with discussions and investigative work to find the best possible locations and routes.

Unfortunately, all the parts haven’t yet arrived to complete the system, but the team were able to finish all of the cabling work and fit two of the three cameras (one covering the font, and one ‘wedding cam’ with a unique angle on ceremonies). The cabling also involved going through the organ loft, so we could get some pictures of angles you’ve probably never seen before.

Cables strewn across the pews in the south aisle as the Audioworks team measure out lengths.

To begin with, we had a bit of a nest of cables – each camera needs at least two cables (and one of them needs three), which connect them to power and carry video and control signals around the building. Some of these wires only travel a short distance to mains extensions, but others continue uninterrupted for over 40 metres – that’s more than two double-decker busses.

As the work carried on, these were bundled together and painted to match our walls, running along existing cable routes as much as possible. One of the challenges of working in an ancient building like St Mary’s is that it was never built with the expectation that wiring of any kind would need to be put in place – let alone wiring to send images worldwide in real-time!

Eventually, the cabling was complete, and we could fit the cameras! Unfortunately, only two of our three cameras were available to install (the ‘main’ camera is still caught in shipping delays), but there’s no point sitting around waiting.

These two cameras won’t be used for most Sunday services, but instead cover unique angles which won’t be available to the main camera but which are crucial for all-important life events like baptisms and weddings.

So, what next? We’re still waiting for the heart of our video system – the video mixer – and the main camera with its motorised mount which lets us point it where it’s needed. Once these arrive Audioworks will be back to hook everything up, but with the cables already in place this should be a quick and easy job.