Technology Solutions for Worship
With congregations skewing older, houses of worship across the country are looking for ways to increase attendance and transform the worship experience by appealing a younger, more tech savvy audience. To dramatically grow the number of millennial members, Redemption Church in Greenville, South Carolina energized its congregation in church and online with new, immersive 4K worship experiences featuring Panasonic 4K/HD cameras, laser projectors and switching equipment.
Creating an intimate worship environment in a large space and having it translate accurately across broadcast and social media video formats was a big challenge for this multi-site mega-church. Thanks to Panasonic 4K/HD pro video and projection systems, Redemption Church achieved the visual intimacy they desired. Its congregants are now more engaged in a bright, vibrant, uplifting worship experience that appeals to a younger generation.
The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, will provide a glorious backdrop for Pope Francis' first stop on his visit to the city, a special papal mass to be celebrated for the people of the Archdiocese. Live video feeds of the mid-morning Saturday, September 26 mass for the 2,200 congregants as well as for worldwide viewers will come from several newly-installed Panasonic remote production cameras, including six AW-HE130 integrated 1/3” pan/tilt/zoom and two AW-HE870 2/3” 3-CCD multi-purpose units.
With its grand façade, vaulted dome, and main sanctuary that comfortably holds up to 2000 worshipers, the Cathedral Basilica is the largest brownstone structure and one of the most architecturally notable structures in Philadelphia. Daniel Kearns, technology specialist to the Communications Office of the Archdiocese (and currently Broadcast Engineer, Princeton University), said the Basilica’s prior 4:3 robotic camera system sustained its AV requirement until earlier this year when the papal visit was announced. Event production company ESM Productions (Philadelphia, PA), assigned to handle all on-Benjamin Franklin Parkway activities during Pope Francis' stay, understood that the Cathedral Basilica would be a focal point and approached Kearns to determine if his longtime plans to upgrade the robotic cameras to 16:9 HD models could be implemented.
As the pastoral staff of 121 Community Church (Grapevine, TX) was planning the building of an entirely new worship space, a key infrastructure consideration was the need for significantly improved image magnification of its services. The church desired a more immersive experience than provided by the prosumer-grade cameras used at its previous venue for its Sunday congregations of more than 2000 (plus hundreds more watching via Facebook Live and its website).
The solution that now provides a substantial upgrade in the IMAG experience was the installation of two Panasonic AK-UC3000 4K/HD studio/field cameras in the church's new worship space, which seats 900 congregants. (121 offers three identical worship services on Sundays at 9:15am, 11:00am, and 5:00pm.
According to 121's Worship and Environments Minister Colton Price, “Our former A/V capabilities were modest at best, and in the new space we were committed to a broadcast-quality experience for our in-person and on-line worshipers. Our criteria included better sensors, better lensing options, CCU control and, most importantly, future-proofing with native 4K acquisition, all of which we found in the UC3000.”
“The UC3000s have been very easy for our 'all volunteer' operators to master,” Price added. “Our video producer Matt Coleman is able to fine tune color correction, iris and more from the control room via the AK-HRP1000 remote panel. Another benefit we've found is that the intercom system can come in through the camera over the same fiber cable.”
Price explained that the two UC3000s are installed on tripods in the back center of the space; the cameras are equipped with Fujinon 2/3” XA20SX8.5BRM ENG-style zoom lenses. Paired with Panasonic PT-RW930BU WXGA large-venue projectors, the UC3000s currently output 1080p, but Price notes the cameras' ability to “glide into 4K.”
He noted that simulated live streams of the worship services are broadcast daily at 10:00am, 3:00 pm and 7:00pm. Price said that he intends to have the UC3000s double as production cameras to shoot congregant profiles, event promotions, web content and more.