Case Study

Times Square Church



Times Square Church was founded by Pastor David Wilkerson in 1987, and it moved to its current location in the Mark Hellinger Theatre in 1991. Situated in the Theater District of Manhattan in New York City, the Church is an interdenominational congregation that aims to minister to those in the New York area and beyond.

Section 2

The Challenge

Times Square Church had the unique situation of moving to New York City and trying to build a community during a global pandemic.

Due to lockdowns, they couldn’t bring people into their building, so they needed to bring church to them. Their challenge was determining how to get the high-level, engaging church experiences to the living rooms of their community. The church has been traditionally known for its beautiful facility and inspiring in-person experiences, so reaching beyond the New York community was never a goal. During COVID lockdowns, they were forced to be creative with how they reached the community. As a result, they were able to leverage existing technology to capture and edit services that were streamed/broadcasted to their viewers.

When it came time to restart in-person church services, Times Square Church was in a challenging situation. The times had changed, and the technology that served them to capture, edit, and broadcast their services during the lockdowns could not be used to host in-person services and broadcast at the same time. The church leadership knew something had to change, and they needed a solution that would allow them to have in-person services while broadcasting via the internet to their community who could not attend in person.

While this goal seemed impossible, they reached out to several vendors to see if they could help solve the problem of technology and workflow. Being that the church is volunteer-based, they needed an upgrade in technology with equipment that was also volunteer-friendly and easy to operate. They also had another unique challenge: the church is located in a beautiful historic building that needed to be shown and represented in their online broadcasts. This meant that they needed to capture wide camera shots from unique positions and install equipment that minimally impacted the architecture and design of the building.

Unfortunately, they didn’t have the technology to empower them to translate the in-church experience to an online remote experience. Their challenge was not just a technological one – it was a creative issue. How can people at home feel the excitement and enlightenment of a live in-person event? At the same time, they also needed equipment that is intuitive, easy to use, and offers a short learning curve.

Section 3

The Solution

During their search for a solution, they came across Ross Video, which introduced the church and their system integrator to solutions for robotic camera systems and hyperconverged production as the technology path – they were both excited about the potential. After countless meetings, discussions, and designs, Ross landed on a way to help the Church with their creative and ease-of-use problems. Thanks to the work of Special Events Services (the system integrator), Ross Video, and the church, the solution that was accomplished was something special.

Ross prescribed a solution that addressed all Times Square Church’s challenges – this consists of the Furio robotic camera system, the software-defined Ultrix Carbonite hyperconverged router and video production switcher platform, and the DashBoard facility control system.

The Ross Technology Solution for Times Square Church Includes

  • Furio Robotics
  • Ultrix
  • Ultrix Carbonite
  • DashBoard
  • TouchDrive TD2S
  • OpenGear

Section 4

The Impact

The track-based Furio system provides Times Square Church with smooth, accurate cinematographic camera moves that capture the room and provide compelling imagery for production. By strategically placing the track system, Furio provides full room and angle coverage while also staying out of viewers’ line of sight once they are allowed back into the church. Furio dramatically improves the visual experience for the home viewer without impeding the in-house experience.

The Ultrix Carbonite switcher, along with the TouchDrive (TD2S), gives the church a video switcher experience that allows volunteers to operate and execute Sunday services with the level of excellence that matches the beauty and detail of the in-person experience. The Ultrix Carbonite platform allows the church team to grow and expand their production as their needs change in the next few years.

DashBoard is the Ross Video control system that allows the church production director to control all the equipment from anywhere in the building. In fact, DashBoard can be used to control the equipment from anywhere in the world. This is important because DashBoard opens up the possibilities for seamless and simple volunteer execution and experiences. A volunteer producer can be sitting in the room helping with the services, and with a click of a button, they can have total control of the LED wall or lower thirds.

Times Square has realized through this process that they are not only able to provide a live streaming and broadcast experience for their church in the local New York area, but now they can reach the entire world. When speaking about the system, Luke Laprarie, Production Director at Times Square Church, says, “With these new systems, it really just allows us to create an online experience that is better matched to what it feels like to be in the room itself. The system also allows us to impose lyrics and sermon notes, and that’s a big aid in giving a visual element to what’s happening on screen. This Ross system allows us to achieve that flexible nature that we need.”

Sallie Guillory, Creative Director at Times Square Church, is excited about the future that this solution can bring: “As much as we’ve put into upgrading the technology and getting to a place to reach people through the internet over the last two years, we believe that this has set us up to reach even more people over the next ten years. But as we’re doing that, we’re really going to put an emphasis on how we utilize that technology to build community.”

Through the Church’s partnership with Ross, Times Square Church has been able to reach, maintain and build their community outside the physical walls of the church throughout the pandemic. On top of that, they are now able to expand their community to home-based congregations now that people can attend services in person. Their goal moving forward is to expand their influence and have as many people hear their message around the world as possible.

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