In 2009, Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church decided to move from its longtime home in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico, across the Rio Grande to a large patch of land in the Northwest Quadrant of town. In recent decades, the population had exploded in the area with neighborhoods filled with families – many of whom had young children. It was the perfect place for a church like First Baptist to settle and grow.
Church leadership wanted to be prepared not only for immediate needs, but also for the needs they would have in the future. The church developed a master plan that could be built in phases. The first step was constructing a multipurpose space for worship services as well as areas for education and fellowship. In time, as membership grew, the church would turn the current space into a youth facility and eventually add a new worship center with gathering space with a bookstore and café, more classrooms, and administrative offices.
First Baptist also took this forward-thinking approach when it came to the technical needs of the church and hired a consultant with Acoustic Dimensions in Dallas, Texas. The consultant turned to Contemporary Research Corporation, also based in Dallas, to help design and manufacture an intelligent yet simple solution for integrating the church’s system. The firm had built a solid reputation for performance, reliability, and expert support on numerous sites and in diverse applications, including Willow Creek Community Church, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Home Depot’s Headquarters, Goldman Sachs, NBC Studios, NASA, Louisiana Superdome, Boston College, and the San Antonio Spurs and Seattle Mariners arenas.
First Baptist wanted a system that would allow them the ability to display digital signage throughout the facility by posting jpeg slides on a continuous loop. The church also wanted to send audio signals to specific areas such as atmosphere music in gathering areas. The church also wanted to provide DirecTV service for certain ministries by sending different programs to televisions in various areas of the church.
“They started with a QMOD-HD and TV One 1T-400 scaler,” explained Doug Engstrom with Contemporary Research. “A Mac computer with the Final Cut Pro software feeds digital signage to the scaler, which then feeds the QMOD. The channel is then distributed throughout the facility.”
QMOD-HD is an HDTV modulator that takes in RGBHV or Component video, and converts it to an in-house cable TV channel. The channel can be tuned in using any flat-panel TV.
A video scaler accepts video in one format and converts it into another. In this case, the TV One box takes in the VGA from the Mac and converts it to a 16:9 video suitable for broadcast.
The church can also switch in a DirecTV receiver using the same QMOD to broadcast special-interest programming, such as golf for the men’s group, as well as distribute an analog channel fed by a DVD player for special events and educational programming.
“This is the first phase of construction,” Engstrom said. “It’s a great facility, but just a first step.”
As the church grew, it wanted its technical opportunities to expand as well, says Stewart Linthicum, the church’s creative arts director, explaining, “We eventually want to purchase cameras and TV equipment not only to broadcast outside services or stream the services online, but also to send a signal to TVs so that volunteers or people who had to leave the sanctuary would not miss the service but could watch from the lobby concourse area and still be a part that way.”
In the next phase, a larger sanctuary would be built, and the current facility would be for youth ministry. “At that time, they were gong to add a QMOD-SDI to distribute the HD video from live services,” Engstrom said.
A QMD-SDI can accept an HD-SDI video feed from the church’s presentation system, distributing the video over the in-house RF (radio frequency) system as a digital cable channel.
Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church is well on its way to expanding its facilities, as well as its audio-visual amenities. Since the church moved to its new home in the Northwest Quadrant of town, membership has grown more than three-fold.
“We know we will quickly outgrow this space,” Linthicum said. “We already have that problem. Our worship center is full. Soon, we will be able to expand.”