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25 October 2006

Frequently Asked Questions

This post seeks to transcend the typical lifespan of a blog post - which tends to go from origin to read to forgotten in the span of a few days...

In order to do this I will frequently edit, add to and take away from the post in order to make it the most helpful resource possible. Due to the frequency at which inquiries roll in it just makes sense to answer the questions in one place and then point people to that place...

I will also place a link on the main page so you can get to this post in the future quickly. Enough said. Here we go in random order - the first entry is just an explanation of the entry structure:

Format: (Date updated) Question: Answer.

  1. (11/12/08) Who Designed Your Website? Aspire!One out of Chicago. They have partnered with us since 2005 to not only design the current look of the site, but also to help guide us through the development and implementation of newer site components like each version of our Media Player, the addition of a dynamic events page, the integration of FellowshipOne into our website, etc. The site is designed with an administration panel and a database behind the scenes. It dynamically populates a handful of preformatted templates, allowing us to create "stories" with copy, pictures and attachments (PDFs) and schedule them in various places on the site for given lengths of time. That's sweet by the way! We started with one person running point on the website and managing all content. Today, because of the simplicity of the admin panel we are able to manage the entire website along with media player and streaming pages with a team of less than three people. [More]
  2. (10/17/07) Can I have Your Media Player? Well, actually you can. We recently released an online version of the Media Player that you can purchase (as a subscription service). Here is the product page and here are two posts with more information on how it works: Online Media Player Now Available! and Online Media Player: Follow Up.
  3. (11/12/08) How Do You Stream Your Video? Well, that's a loaded question. We are currently capturing standard definition video and upconverting it to HD (720p) video. We then encode it into flash video with either On2 Flix Pro or the Flash Video Encoder that ships with Adobe Flash Pro. We use the following settings: Flash 8 high quality / deinterlacing / 640x360 / 15 FPS / 80k stereo audio / total stream bandwidth of around 750 kbps. This video is then uploaded to LightCast - our streaming video partner where it is served up for us to either be displayed in our Media Player or on our Weekend Message page.
  4. (12/02/09) Aren't You Breaking Copyright Laws? The simple answer is NO. But here's why: During our weekend service we may use movie clips, play popular songs or have popular songs playing in the background of the medias we show. In order to make these available on the web, we had to acquire a license from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Go here for the available web licenses that they offer. This year however, we did our research and have upgraded our copyright/licensing efforts by adding the following: CCLI (for the use of most worship songs and the lyrics during a service), CVLI (for the use of most video/TV/VHS/DVD clips during a service) and finally, we joined forces with Church Copyright Solutions which works with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC to provide comprehensive licensing on things that fall outside the typical CCLI/CVLI coverage. The basic product necessary to stream your weekend message on the web is called the WorshipCast License. This license allows you to offer live stream and on-demand stream versions of your services. IMPORTANT!!! There is a HUGE difference between streaming media and media that can be downloaded and/or purchased. This license only allows you to stream the video. If you would like to take it to the next level by allowing for downloads and possibly selling video/music that is copyrighted, you would need to get additional licensing for each "product." CCS does offer this service per item or at a "per project administration" fee. Obviously this can get costly and time consuming.
  5. Do You Link to Outside Content From The simple answer is yes. Welcome to the golden age of Web 2.0! We have recently had to deal with the harsh reality that our people are using social networking applications - and that leaves us with a few options: 1) Ignore the problem (which never seems to work) 2) Re-create the wheel (create the vegetarian version of MySpace, Facebook or YouTube – development is expensive and never works as good as the real thing) 3) Create a touch point in places where people are already spending time. For a long time we were dogmatic about not linking to anything outside of our site. But recently we have rearranged our thinking on this. We now use blogs as part of our communication strategy – linking to ones that we create to generate buzz and allow people some level of social interactivity. To recreate blog functionality on our site would be expensive and still wouldn't look as good as the real thing. We also began linking to Facebook groups that have proved their quality and longevity. We now understand that this is where the high school and college age kids live so why not have a presence there as well. is doing this well. In fact they have multiple Facebook groups that are all tied back in to their internet campus. People watch the message online and use their Facebook group to stay connected. We recently began uploading our medias to both our media player and to YouTube simply due to the large viewing audience YouTube has and the ease with which the clips can be shared and embedded on other peoples sites all over the world. Our media player is much higher quality, but doesn't have the social interactivity and reach that YouTube has. It may not be an easy transition, but develop the strategy, champion the strategy and others will buy in eventually. Resources:, and