Mon 9 Apr 2012
Mon 9 Apr 2012
Mon 8 Nov 2010
Guest post by John Youssef.
Recently, Ustream has changed the way they do advertisements. We were blessed enough to be able to use them for the amount of time we did, but this new changed prompted us to look for a more reliable and professional streaming provider. When considering a new provider we had several criteria in mind:
After considering several options, it was an easy decision to agree on Mediaserve as our new streaming provider. They offered several options that many other streaming providers do not offer, and they do it at an extremely affordable price. Their biggest advantage is that their streaming service is built on Wowza Media Server. This allows us to run a flash stream, and an iPhone stream simultaneously, as wowza automatically encodes into iPhone format in real time. Wowza also has the ability to encode using Microsoft Silverlight technology, but it is not something we are currently implementing at the moment.
At the time of registration, we were required to register a domain with Mediaserve, to use as our streaming hostname. We decided to go with the .net version of our current domain name for simplicity’s sake. The registration process was very simple and straightforward. Within a couple hours of registration they had everything setup for us, and had emailed us very detailed step by step instructions to get everything setup and running.
Everything is done through Adobe’s Flash Media Live Encoder (FMLE). Once you download it and install, you simply need to follow the instructions emailed to you to get it properly configured. With Mediaserve’s setup, streaming is as fast as clicking start in FMLE. No more pesky browser windows to open like in Ustream’s setup. In order to get the iPhone streaming working properly, you need to purchase a third-party plugin to encode the sound in AAC format. We purchased ours from Mainconcept for a one-time fee of $249.
To setup the embedded stream window on your website, you need to download Flowplayer from Mediaserve’s download page. The free version of flowplayer has a small watermark in the top right hand corner and does not have any functionality in terms of customizing how the player window looks. Since we were changing everything around, we decided to purchase a commercial license for a one-time fee of $95. This allows you to remove the watermark, add one of your own, and completely customize how the player window looks and feels.
The iPhone streaming is done through your Ipod’s/iPhone’s built in video player. The only thing needed is to setup a piece of embedded code using the instructions Mediaserve provides in order to get it working properly.
I have to say, Mediaserve’s support was amazing through the whole setup process. They respond in an extremely timely manner, even on weekends, and their responses were always very polite and helpful. They made the setup process a breeze, and answered any questions I threw their way.
Now I know the last thing you all want to know is the price. They offer two payment options. You can choose to pay a monthly fee of $39.95, or if you pay annually, the monthly fee is reduced to $30.95 a month. We decided to go the annual route since it was a savings of over $100 annually. This price includes 30gb of storage space, and 300gb of monthly bandwidth. This price also comes standard with 100 simultaneous connections. You do have the option to upgrade the number of connections on a per-need basis, but the only time we feel that we would need to do that would be during Holy Week when our number of viewers more than doubles. Other than that 100 is more than sufficient for our needs (for now anyway!) All in all, for the amount of features they include, and their price, and level of service, I would highly recommend checking out what they have to offer. We’ve gotten nothing but compliments since we made the switch.
Fri 11 Sep 2009
I know I am long overdue for an update on what’s been going on with OrthodoxSermons.org, we launched the new site on July 12th. The team at Mustardseed Media did a wonderful job and we are continuing to work with them for additional features on the site.
One of the features I am most excited about on the new site is the ability for other Orthodox Churches to easily upload their sermons, once uploaded those sermons can be embedded back on the church site.
Wed 9 Sep 2009
Growing up in today’s culture, our children are inundated with all types of media throughout the day, from tv to radio to print. A lot of that media is negative or not appropriate for children, some Christians advocate having our kids grow up in a bubble, avoiding media completely. I think that a more moderate approach is better for the children, with the understanding that you can’t take something away without replacing it. That said, here is a list of wonderful resources where you can find positive, wholesome media for your kids. Using these resources in a moderate way (growing up I was limited to 1hr/day of TV in the summer and 2hr/weekend of TV during the school year) can be a wonderful, educational and entertaining benefit for our children.
Plugged In Online is a good place to check for reviews and discussions of mainstream media before watching it with your kids.
What media resources for children do you use and recommend?
Mon 8 Dec 2008
My wife and I love sitting in front of the fire in our living room, we would love to have a fireplace in our less formal family room but alas it isn’t practical. In my typical geekness I wondered if there were any virtual fireplace options available for playback on our big screen. After scouring the net for a while, I did manage to find a few fireplace DVD options, but I couldn’t justify handing out cash for those. While taking a nice retreat day in front of the fire, I set up my Canon Vixia HD Camcorder on a tripod and got 30 minutes of great flames. I’ve put it up on Vimeo in case anyone else is as corny as I am and wants to loop it on their TV…at least it is greener than burning firewood!
Fri 28 Nov 2008
Sat 19 Jul 2008
Looking for graphics, audio or visual resources to spice up your next series? This is my current list of sites that provide materials for ministry, some free and some may cost a bit. Let me know of any sites that I have I missed in the comments.
Thu 17 Jul 2008
We were on the road for a couple of weeks so I wanted to make sure we had our bases covered when it came to tech gear. Some of the churches we visited are savvy and have everything we could need, others not so much. This is what I ended up taking along:
Fri 6 Jun 2008
David Bebawy, a techie deacon at St. George & St. Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church in Jersey City, has started a new blog and already has a great write up on getting started with Google Checkout for Non-Profits. He also has details on Ctech (Coptic Technology) and Coptic Presentations. David also setup a Google Group for anyone interested in keeping up with Ctech.
Presentation from Ctech on May 27, 2008:
Fri 7 Mar 2008
This Sunday we are moving our Light & Life (contemporary young adult) service back from the chapel to the gym. This means we are going back to a portable setup that goes up and comes down every week. We used most of our equipment from the previous setup to outfit the chapel, so we had to get a few new pieces to make things work.
We currently have an awesome portable Fender Passport system that we use on retreats and for meetings up to 100 people. The speakers clip in to the mixer/amp and the wires are stored in the back of mixer amp. The unit we have now is too small for the gym, so we went with the 500-watt Passport Deluxe PD-500.
We already have a portable Canon GL2 Digital Camcorder to capture video but we needed something to mix in the presentation video feed for recording. We went with another trusty Edirol V4 mixer (we already use one in our main sanctuary). This allows us to take up to four video feeds, mix them and output s-video to an Osprey 100 capture card in a desktop computer. From there we use Windows Media Encoder to stream or record video.
We already have a complete portable lighting system from All Pro Sound, unfortunately it looks like their site is having issues so I can’t give a direct link.