While many things still remain unclear in the world, the UUSM Transition Task Force (Saunder Choi, Aubrey Sassoon, Brad Hutchinson, Beth Brownlie, Elizabeth Fuller, Nurit Gordon, and Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae) has been planning for new ways for UUSM to share our community and our programs while accommodating the diverse needs of our congregation. Even before the pandemic, there was a growing recognition that upgrading our technology to allow for the streaming of live in-person programs was needed to facilitate community connection. So before we go back to regular in-person services, the Task Force has been preparing what they think will be a fantastic suite of technology to allow UUSM to stream across multiple platforms in ways that feel engaging and truer to the in-person experience.
With the help of a $10,000 Spirit Level Foundation matching grant written by Rev. Jeremiah and Music Director Saunder Choi, the transition team is working to upgrade the sanctuary’s audio system, purchase new computer-controlled cameras, and formulate a new part-time professional staff role to operate the system. Once hired, this new employee will also collaborate with our worship team to deliver an enhanced experience both inside the sanctuary and for at-home viewers.
This means that the presentation of the service won’t be exactly the same as it was before the necessary move to online-only programs during the pandemic, but we all are different now as well. The transition team hopes to provide the groundwork for a more enriching and rewarding experience for our community and those who enjoy our programs and facilities for many years to come.
To provide a slightly clearer picture of what to expect when we return to live services, tentatively scheduled for September 5, Aubrey Sassoon from the Transition Task Force reports that a tech booth to manage the programs “will likely be set up in the back corner of the sanctuary by the main doors where the current audio connections are, but all plans are tentative while the system is being set up. It will also likely evolve over time from a simple computer desk into possibly something more permanent after we come back, and the community is able to give input.”
The projector and drop-down video projection screen will still be used although some adjustments may be made. According to Aubrey, the Transition Team is “also planning to update the TV setup along the library wall in Forbes Hall to receive the livestream with hopefully little to no delay so that those watching from Forbes can have a greatly improved viewing experience.”
Saunder says that all the audio and video equipment has finally arrived, so “now we just need to install them.” This includes new mics, a sound board, cameras, computers, and switchers for streaming.
In the end, what may be the most important component in returning to live in-person services is that everyone in attendance is fully vaccinated. Please, if you can, do your part to keep us all and yourself safe. The health and safety component of our return to live services is still being developed. More information will be provided later in the month.