Hill Country Bible Church
All photos courtesy of Hill Country Bible Church
Bringing Live Immersive Services to Remote Worshippers with Panasonic Camera Solutions
With two physical campuses in Austin, Texas and a substantial online community, Hill Country Bible Church supports over 6,000 worshippers weekly. Since 2016, the Church has recorded its services and provided them as on-demand content online. But once the pandemic spread, it became imperative that all churches pivot to providing only online services to maintain connection with their communities. However, the church deemed that its prerecorded broadcasts were missing an important element: the excitement of live experiences.
To stand out, the church wanted to update its production system with premium solutions that could not only broadcast live high-quality services, but also smoothly capture various angles to provide a more immersive spiritual experience.
“Our church’s mission is to reach our community where they’re at. We know that in today’s world, some people’s first interaction with us is through our online content. To show people the true value of our offerings, we knew that we needed a high quality, engaging online experience, so it was very important to us we upgrade with the right equipment,” said DeWayne McNally, Executive Pastor of Ministries at Hill Country Bible Church.
Working with Ridge AV, Hill Country chose Panasonic’s affordable solutions for its upgrade to high quality production grade movements. Additionally, the Church required an intuitive, user-friendly system that its rotating eight-person volunteer staff could quickly and comfortably learn to operate. The Church also wanted to create a network solution that it could easily control and manage from anywhere, while ensuring content could reliably move back and forth between campuses. Seeking to integrate a variety of solutions that expanded and diversified their production capabilities, the Church purchased Panasonic 4K integrated Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) and studio cameras, a remote camera controller and a Tecnopoint ceiling mounted track/dolly camera system.
“After learning of the Church’s needs, Panasonic was the natural choice over any other option. Its solutions are how the Church was able to up level the production value, image quality, and the camera movement of its services – all the things important to engaging a viewer,” said Mark Tarbet, President at Ridge AV.
To future-proof its camera system with 4K resolution and versatile camera movement, Hill Country installed two AW-UE150 PTZ cameras and two AK-HC5000 studio cameras. In the church, one UE150 is placed next to a HC5000; the PTZ camera captures static shots while the studio camera follows the subject. A popular shot this UE150 captures is a framed shot of the large display on stage when the pastor refers to it for illustrations. “I’ve never seen a PTZ camera produce such high quality images like the UE150, and the footage looks incredible side-by-side with the 4K studio cameras,” said Tarbet. “The strong network interoperability between the PTZ cameras and studio cameras makes operation so fluid.”
To remotely operate the cameras with flexible ease, the Church deployed one AW-RP150 remote camera controller and four AK-HRP1000GJ remote operation panels. Additionally, the Church leveraged a Tecnopoint ceiling mounted track/dolly system to introduce a new level of smooth movement to capture content dynamically. “The remote camera controller is incredibly intuitive, so that volunteer staff are able to easily learn how to operate the system,” said Tarbet. “The Tecnopoint system elevates production quality by helping capture beautiful sweeping shots from the ceiling dolly. It offers high cinematic grade movement at a price point you can’t get anywhere else.”
The full system was installed at the Church’s primary campus, Lakeline. From there, the Church broadcasts its live service to its Steiner Ranch campus and through the Church’s online platform and Facebook Live twice every Sunday.
Since installing its new Panasonic production system, Hill Country has added additional streams to its Sunday service livestreams, taking it to three to four times a week. While in-person attendance is trending toward a return to normal levels, the Church continues to receive considerable livestream views, demonstrating how critical online services are to truly reaching its community.
Hill Country is building studios for smaller broadcast applications such as targeted streaming to create visually engaging ways to present newsletter content and Sunday bulletins. The Church plans to continue expanding with new campuses, establishing two locations each year. Panasonic’s camera solutions are equipping Hill Country with the heightened capabilities to creatively deliver new experiences to its community wherever they are.
“It’s noticeable how much the quality has advanced since introducing Panasonic equipment in the Church. It was a huge improvement,” said Tarbet. “Looking into the future, the scalability of Panasonic’s solutions can also grow with the Church’s needs.” To learn more about Hill Country Bible Church, visit hcbc.com. The design and installation was made by Ridge AV.
Ready to equip your church or worship space for live video productions? Reach out to a Panasonic livestream production expert to schedule a consultation!