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Hitachi raises streaming quality for Immanuel Baptist Church

Hitachi raises streaming quality for Immanuel Baptist Church

Hitachi raises streaming quality for Immanuel Baptist Church


When Immanuel Baptist Church of Little Rock, Arkansas, designed its new on-campus City Center for hosting community and local corporate activities, it purchased three SK-HD1800 cameras from Hitachi Kokusai to improve in-house video production capabilities. The visual quality of the Hitachi cameras has shone even brighter during the pandemic, elevating the church’s livestreaming and IMAG as it moved its services from its primary church building to the new City Center auditorium.

Developed in a former grocery supermarket on the same campus as Immanuel Baptist’s main church building, the HOW has placed a high priority on video ever since it became one of the first to broadcast its worship services live on television in the mid-1970s. “We wanted to have a high-quality production entity in the City Center so that anyone using the facility would feel comfortable that they’re getting top-notch IMAG and livestreaming capabilities,” said Phillip Ashworth, the church’s director of communications. “The cameras play a key role in making sure we achieve the level of quality we want, so even though we had a different vendor’s cameras already in our main worship centre, we wanted to see if we could do even better here.

“I have always loved Hitachi cameras, but when we did our main worship centre years ago, our tight budget didn’t allow that class of camera. I was thrilled to find out the SK-HD1800 fit our budget. We were evaluating various LED videowalls and looking at different vendors’ cameras shooting with them in the frame, and saw artefact issues such as flickering. We put the Hitachi camera on the videowalls and it eliminated that problem for us.”

Supplied by systems integrator Edgemont AVL, the SK-HD1800s are deployed in fixed positions and on a recently added track dolly in the City Center’s 850-seat auditorium. In addition to driving IMAG on the room’s 9.75m x 3m Primeview videowall and livestreaming through a Teradek Trax encoder, the camera feeds can be called up in multiple rooms in the City Center and main building through a fibre network.

The City Center opened in February 2020 but the quality improvement enabled by the SK-HD1800s came even further to the forefront when the pandemic led Immanuel Baptist to relocate its worship services from its main sanctuary to the City Center for easier social distancing. “Now that we’re using the Hitachi cameras for our worship services, we had immediate feedback from people watching our screens and streams that they noticed the quality gain,” Ashworth explained. “That was a particularly huge deal when we needed to jump to 100% online for several weeks. People were always thankful for our online stream, but we never had comments about the quality before. Now, people were commenting that ‘I don’t know what you did, but it sure looks better’.”

That improvement has led the church to discuss raising the quality of video productions in its main worship centre once it reopens, and when budget permits. In the meantime, the new Hitachi cameras continue to help the church better engage its followers through challenging times.

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