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FAC upgrades to HD

FAC upgrades to HD

FAC upgrades to HD


First Alliance Church (FAC) in Calgary, Alberta recently upgraded to an HD production setup, purchasing four Hitachi Z-HD5500 cameras to capture visuals for both its IMAG and online streaming feeds. The cameras were supplied by systems integrator, Applied Electronics.

‘When I first saw the Z-HD5500 camera package at the NAB Show, I knew right away that it was exactly what we needed,’ said FAC technical director, Paul Nadeau-Bonilla. ‘The cameras are so versatile, we can use them for our current studio-style application in our main sanctuary, as well as for ENG-style video acquisition in the future. The price point was also compelling, but the biggest thing for me was that they work well with LED lighting in the church world. We have some less-expensive LED lights, so we wanted a camera that would provide flicker-free video despite the varying refresh rates of these different fixtures.’

One of Nadeau-Bonilla’s bugbears with the church’s old system had been that colours produced by the LED lighting looked different on-camera. ‘Nice mauves or purples would show up as blue on the screen,’ he recalled. ‘The Z-HD5500s are so much better and are really great at picking up different tones of LED blue. Now, what you see onstage is what you see onscreen as well.’

The church’s volunteer video team, led by video director Russell Moore, produces separate feeds for online streaming and IMAG. IMAG images are displayed on two Stewart Filmscreen front projection screens set up either side of the stage. ‘IMAG is about helping those in the room see what’s happening onstage more clearly; streaming is about conveying the full experience for those not in the room,’ Nadeau-Bonilla reasoned. ‘During music and worship, what’s on IMAG is the same as the stream but, during preaching, they are different: a close-up shot from the centre camera on the side screens, and a combination of close-ups plus wider contextual shots in the stream. The Z-HD5500s and the Fujinon lenses that came with them allow us to get in nice and tight on the subject with a really sharp image. The video looks stunning on the side screens – absolutely gorgeous.’

FAC also invested in equipment from Ross Video, such as a Carbonite Black 2S switcher, as part of its HD upgrade, and has therefore benefited from the easy integration between Hitachi cameras and the Ross Dashboard open control and monitoring platform. ‘It’s difficult to find volunteers who like shading, as it’s one of the less glamorous positions on the video crew,’ said Nadeau-Bonilla. ‘The integration allows the director to shade the cameras using Ross Dashboard while also doing his other duties, which is a big asset.’

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