Local video technician/engineer John Fawcett has invented a new, self-contained, turnkey live streaming webcam system that he is offering to local churches and non-profits for FREE – perfect for those looking to pivot to live video events during the COVID-19 crisis.
Fawcett has been working on the project – called ‘JellyBean‘ – for the past two and a half years, but felt that now, during the ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order is a good time to launch it.
“Our product is live streaming, but my focus is not on larger audiences,” Fawcett said. “Instead, I thought of all the church services, birthday parties, homecomings, weddings and funerals, and all the other events that are only really important to a small audience.”
Fawcett’s system is completely turnkey, and as foolproof as possible (we know this because we’ve used it!). His webcam is small enough to fit in the palm of an adult hand, and just requires electricity/power and WiFi.
“All of this is already in place, so I know I have something churches can use today,” Fawcett said.
This last week, John set up a system for Pastor Pete at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Burien, and Pete will be using a JellyBean to provide services and outreach to his congregation.
Here’s more info on John’s offer:
If you are a religious institution or other non-profit, or if you are a retirement home or other senior-oriented organization, and you’re interested in FREE hardware and software for streaming during the COVID-19 Stay-At-Home period, please fill out the form here. I only have a limited number of devices on-hand, but I will make more if there is demand.
My JellyBean systems are completely turnkey, once configured. Configuration means you tell it what the WiFi network name and password are, what your EventStream name and password are, and what schedule you would like. Once that’s set up, all you’ll ever have to do is plug it in and turn it on.
My Gummi Bear systems are capable of live switching multiple cameras, handling complex audio, doing lower thirds, etc. If you have someone who knows how to run OBS Studio, a Gummi Bear Production Station is a powerful stream production platform.
In both cases, you get a full-time, permanent URL. Your devices will always stream here, and your guests can always find the stream here. The URL is delivered as a stand-alone web page or an undecorated iFrame URL. Text chat among your guests is optional.
Stay safe and be patient with each other.
To learn more about this FREE service, visit
‘Computers and I were made for each other’
Fawcett was one of four children born to a United States Air Force airman, and he says that lifestyle helped teach him the importance of price and availability.
“Computers and I were made for each other, and I never looked back,” he said. “I became a journeyman computer programmer and embarked on a career that has, so far, spanned over 40 years. I have worked in engineering flight simulation for Boeing, helped with oil and gas exploration for Halliburton, and worked deep inside the operating system for a number of smaller companies. I designed and implemented one of the world’s first web-based game for Sierra On-Line, then went on to design and implement large-scale, server-based multiplayer game systems for Electronic Arts and Wizards of the Coast. I hold one patent for file system virtualization and have another pending.”
John says that he was not a good student though, and his grades reflected it.
“But I tested off the charts for raw intelligence, which was something of a problem for my counselor and advisor at school. Today we would recognize my problems as dyslexia and attention-deficit-disorder, but back then they just figured I was lazy. I graduated high school with a GPA less than 2.0, but placed in the 92nd percentile on both the ACT and SAT.”
At the beginning of his Junior year in 1975, he was offered the opportunity to take an advanced placement class through Colorado State University. The class was EE101, FORTRAN IV programming. The lectures were recorded on VHS tape (a very new technology at the time), then hand-delivered to participating high schools.
The rest, as they say, is history. And history sometimes has ways of elevating new technologies into the hands that need it most.
John’s offer to the churches is as follows:
- He will provide hardware, either a JellyBean or a Production Station, pre-configured to work with the church WiFi system, FREE of charge.
- Allow churches to use my service at no charge for the same amount of time.
- Once the crisis has abated, anyone wishing to return their equipment is welcome to do so.
- Churches that do not return their equipment may continue to use it until we have production devices ready, at which time one will be provided at a discount.
“I am willing to do this for any church, civic organization, or other non-profit,” he said. “I will loan them my equipment for the duration, and will provide the first couple of months for free.”
John has a few JellyBeans and Production Stations set up and ready, and he is making more and is ready to help immediately.
“I have a way to help and, as my mother, the Rev. Carolyne Harris, would have said, ‘being given the gift of insight and invention, I have a responsibility to use my inventions in ways that, first and foremost, better the Human Condition,'” he added.