The process of moving the technology in the church to one single place has been steady. It’s taken time to come up with a plan, build a desk, move the audio equipment (and its cables), move our video equipment (and its cables), install some new video cables and build a power distribution board.

Today we took the next step in the journey to completion – the addition of two new monitors. It might seem a bit over the top, but this is actually the bare minimum we need to have available for streaming our services once we finish the camera installation. One screen will show us the state of our various different cameras and our stream, and the other will be used for a supplementary PC responsible for mixing in graphics (like our title slides) and controlling more complex bits of the process.

A photograph of the technology desk at the back of the church building. It shows two monitors mounted on adjustable arms, a CD player and a sound mixing desk with a pair of headphones.
The technology desk, now with both of its monitors.

The other important reason for having these screens is that they give whoever is running technology for a service the ability to put all the information they need right there in front of them.

We did quite a bit of thinking about the best way to do this, and exactly how we should mount the monitors. We decided early on that mounting them on gas-lift arms would be the most appropriate way to give us the range of movement we wanted whilst also keeping the space underneath them clear. By getting a mount with two arms we could keep the complexity of fitting to a minimum as well. One thing in particular which we made sure our mounts had was the ability to adjust monitors to some quite extreme angles – technicians can spend a lot of their time standing up, so being able to adjust monitors to sit perfectly in their eye line no matter if they’re sat or stood was a crucial feature.

We also did a lot of thinking about how the screens would look from elsewhere in the building. There’s no getting away from the fact that these would be an obvious addition to the furniture (although these, like the rest of the desk, remain completely removable) so we opted for a slightly smaller screen size and a matte black finish which would be less visually intrusive.

There was another minor annoyance for people which we fixed today – knowing the time. We picked up a digital clock with an easy to read display that could synchronise itself to the MSF time signal (which is itself set using atomic clocks). We no longer have to worry about being a few minutes or seconds out, and we don’t even have to worry about changing the time when the clocks go backwards or forwards.

What next? We still need the camera controller and video mixer to be installed (which will replace a lot of the equipment on the desk), and then we need to adjust how some of the audio is wired up again. We also need to replace the borrowed computer which currently does all of our streaming with the new ‘management PC’ which will take over in future, and provide a keyboard and mouse for this as well.