The Roland M-5000 Digital Audio Console and the V-1200HD Video Switcher Are the Perfect Problem Solvers for the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, Texas

Roland M-5000 OHRCA Live Mixing Console at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church

A view from the front-of-house position at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, featuring a Roland M-5000 OHRCA Digital Live Mixing Console.

The Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, founded in 1872, is a longstanding cornerstone of city’s African-American community. Communicating its message has always been the church’s primary mission, and to help accomplish that goal, it has kept itself at the edge of the AV technology, including in the building it has currently occupied since 1981. Recently, advanced components from Roland Professional A/V have helped the church keep its edge, technology-wise. Over the summer, the church acquired a Roland M-5000 OHRCA Digital Live Mixing Console and a Roland V-1200HD Multi-Format Video Switcher, which has taken the church’s worship and live-streaming video to a completely new level. The setup has kept the church’s mission running, even in the hectic weeks post-hurricane, during which time the church has been doubling as a FEMA disaster recovery center.

“We’ve been using the Roland M-48 Personal Mixers for some time, and they’ve been great — the musicians love them,” says David Donaldson, the Technical Coordinator at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church. “Our previous console wasn’t the most efficient interface with the M-48s. I just wasn’t getting the flexibility I wanted, in terms of how we interfaced with the monitors and with signal routing in general. Then we discovered the M-5000.”

Donaldson, who also owns a recording studio in Houston and who manages the audio systems integration for this church and others, says the benefits of the M-5000 were immediately apparent: instead of having to interface the M-48 units through a separate MADI card, he was able to integrate them seamlessly into the M-5000’s personal mixer manager. And as the routing became easier, the sound became even better. “As easy and intuitive as the M-5000 is to operate, it also sounds fantastic,” he says. In addition, Donaldson records up to 64 channels of audio at each service through the M-5000, to Waves Tracks Live software running on his laptop and takes them back to his studio for editing and mixing on Pro Tools. “It has been rock solid; we have never had a single crash,” he says. “We can just do so much more, so much more easily, using the M-5000.”

Roland V-1200HD at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Houston

A closeup of the front-of-house position at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Houston, featuring a Roland V-1200HD Multi-Format Video Switcher.

On the video side, the impact of the Roland technology has been just as game-changing. Previous use of a streaming system’s switcher for both the in-sanctuary I-MAG video and live-streaming applications had been proving increasingly unsatisfactory, due to the streaming switcher’s significant latency, which put AV synch off by as much as 10 to 12 frames. That was especially apparent on the huge video wall that rises behind Senior Pastor Dr. D.Z. Cofield on stage. Even harder to bear, says Donaldson, was the fact that the handclaps and other rhythm elements of a service would be so clearly out of synch with the picture. “If you know anything about African-American church services, you know that that just cannot happen,” he laughs. But at the same time, Donaldson also had to be sensitive to Pastor Cofield’s mandate that the video not distract from the message at services, even as the video had to stay engaging for both applications.

Enter the V-1200HD, installed at the church this summer by local Houston AV integration company Prime Camera. Donaldson says the V-1200HD has given Travis Rucker, the church’s video director and a longtime industry professional, the kind of tool he’s used to using. “We’ve gone from a single static camera to five or six cameras, including a jib cam and an ENG cam, and the V-1200HD lets him use all of those shots to their full advantage,” Donaldson explains.

Meanwhile, Pastor Cofield’s admonition about keeping the video both engaging yet not distracting was addressed through the V-1200HD’s 2 M/E architecture and two-operator structure – the ability for two directors to use the same switcher simultaneously. One director creates a mix for the sanctuary video during Sunday services while a separate operator creates a mix that is streamed live from the church at the same time from a tablet. The V-1200HD’s unique two-operator system along with 2 M/E’s simplifies the video and audio workflow for an in-room mix and live webstream with the same unit.

“Both the M-5000 and the V-1200HD are more than just products — they’ve been problem solvers for us,” says Donaldson. “They are solutions in the true sense of the word. They help us get the Word out, and that’s what it’s all about.”