Posted in news on September 27, 2016 11:22 am EDT

Willow Creek’s Tool for Managing Media Workflows

Chicago-area megachurch migrates from Flip Factory to Vantage to automate transcoding workflow for weekly multimedia shows across regional campuses.

Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Ill., image courtesy of Telestream.











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TAGS: avl design, multisite, outreach, streaming, video,


By Church Designer Staff

Telestream, based in Nevada City, Calif., provider of digital media tools and workflow solutions, announces that one of the country's largest megachurches, Willow Creek Community Church, is using Telestream Vantage to automate its transcoding workflow.

More than 20,000 people worship at one of Willow Creek’s six regional campuses each weekend, including its main outpost in South Barrington, a suburb northwest of Chicago. Willow Creek does things in a big way. Every week, the church’s creative and production teams put together either a concert-quality live contemporary musical performance, a creative drama, or an interpretive dance show, and create high production value videos to enhance the sermon given at the 7,000-seat auditorium in South Barrington.

"We have a whole team of people, including a camera crew, producers, editors, graphic artists, etc., who work throughout the week to create this content."

—Dave Cooke, Chief Engineer, Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, IL

"For every one of our week-end services, we produce a 1-4 minute long video, such as a creative music video or some type of promo for an upcoming event, or even an interview. We have a whole team of people, including a camera crew, producers, editors, graphic artists, etc., who work throughout the week to create this content," says Dave Cooke, Chief Engineer at Willow Creek.

Content repurposing

The production timescales are really tight at Willow Creek, and because the church community is spread across several campuses, all the content that is created for the main stage has to be shared and repurposed in multiple ways.

"With everything we do, excellence in quality is paramount and what we have created is essentially a broadcast quality operation, complete with 13 cameras, high-end moving theatrical lights and a state of the art sound system," adds Cooke.

"Not only do we produce a version of the show that can be streamed to our online service at for people who can't physically attend the Sunday service, but we also have to create multiple versions of the video element, of the live performance and of the sermon that can be shared with all of our satellites. We also make DVD versions of each week's sermon for people who prefer to watch it that way," says Cooke.

"In the early days, when we originally switched to a digital asset management system to manage all of our content, we used Telestream's Flip Factory to transcode all of our digital assets for archiving. As our needs became more complex and we revamped our operations, we decided to upgrade to Telestream Vantage."

Systems integrator specifics

Working with systems integrator KeyCode Media, Cooke and his team were able to use Vantage to seamlessly migrate over 40,000 assets to their new DAM. Today, when the production teams create new content (including video files, images and graphics), it automatically gets transferred into the Digital Asset Management system. From there, Vantage transcodes it into smaller proxy files that the system can play back on a browser.

"Most of what we shoot is in HD or 4K which are really large files and anyone on the team can come in and browse to easily and quickly look at all the content because we’re only dealing with jpeg images or MP4 files," says Cooke.

At the end of every Sunday, Cooke and his team also produce a final edited master of the day's service. Having created a simple workflow in Vantage, they are then able to quickly create multiple versions of the master, including a streaming version for the website, a DVD version, an MP3 version to publish to the church's podcast on iTunes as well as ProRes and DVC Pro HD to suit the needs of the variety of servers used by our satellite campuses.

Using Telestream Pipeline to ingest the live video during the Sunday services, Cooke has created a workflow in Vantage that allows him to produce DVCPro HD, ProRes file and H264 compressed files within minutes of the service ending so that the media is immediately available to the rest of the teams across all campuses in a format they can work with.

"Being able to automate our workflow with Vantage not only means that we can get to go home on time in spite of such a tight production schedule, but it also means that we get consistent quality across all the versions that we create," concludes Cooke.




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