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Hitachi helps Orchard Hill Church reimagine worship

Hitachi helps Orchard Hill Church reimagine worship
Images courtesy of Kaycee Orwig

Hitachi helps Orchard Hill Church reimagine worship


Inter-denominational Christian church Orchard Hill offers Pittsburgh-area worshippers an exciting, casual and contemporary experience at its primary Wexford campus and two satellite locations. The HOW has recently upgraded its main sanctuary to reflect a shift in its culture and vision, and purchased four Z-HD5500 HDTV production cameras from Hitachi Kokusai to deliver the quality and creative flexibility it wanted.

“Video has been part of the bread and butter of our church’s culture and our organisation, and it has blossomed over the 30 years of development and growth of our church,” said Josh Thomas, technical producer at Orchard Hill. “We have always put a high value on production quality.”

Recognising that attendees wanted to be more involved in services, the HOW embarked on a remodelling of the sanctuary – from the layout of the seats to its audio and video systems. “In addition to our architectural changes, the upgrades of our video infrastructure, acoustics and IMAG approach were designed to let people walk in and immediately feel like they are participating in something, rather than just observing it,” explained John Cornelius, technical director at Orchard Hill.

Trusting the advice of systems integrator Key Code Media, Cornelius chose four Hitachi Z-HD5500s to meet Orchard Hill’s goals. Their ease of use allowed Orchard Hill’s operators to quickly get comfortable with the cameras. “While the Hitachi cameras were a huge jump up in capabilities from what we were previously using, there was almost no learning curve,” said Thomas. “Our volunteers range from middle-school students to seniors, and they were able to jump right in. Just knowing that the technology was so solid behind the vision and direction we were trying to execute gave me a lot of confidence.”

In addition to IMAG on the sanctuary’s dual 5.5m x 3m Absen LED screens, video acquired with the Hitachi cameras is distributed to other on-campus buildings, edited for broadcast on WPGH-TV and WPCB, and shared with satellite campuses through the Resi streaming and hosting service. Resi is also used in conjunction with the Church Online platform for livestreaming to Facebook, YouTube and Orchard Hill’s website.

“Our picture quality has greatly improved,” added Thomas. “Our audience instantly noticed and appreciated the difference. The cameras’ extensive settings also enable creative flexibility vastly beyond what we were capable of doing before in terms of creating an image and an experience. Settings such as knee control also help me fine-tune the picture to accurately represent a variety of skin tones simultaneously, which is important in reflecting the diversity in our community. We’ve only scratched the surface of the creative possibilities, and we’re very excited about our future with the Hitachi cameras.”

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