Hitachi Cameras For Multi-Campus HoW Live Video

The WestGate Church in San Jose, CA attempt to improve the quality of its live production by using a pair of Z-HD5500 HDTV studio and field production cameras from Hitachi.

Kevan Long, production director at WestGate Church, explains, “When I joined the church, we had maxed out our capacity in Saratoga, and had dreams of going multi-site. Adding satellite campuses was crucial in extending our reach into other pockets of the Silicon Valley region, and linking them with video is an essential part of our worship experience.”

Adding new locations over the past three years, WestGate Church now spans four campuses with more than 3000 congregants attending services each week. Live broadcasts of services with lead pastor Steve Clifford originate from the Saratoga site’s 800-seat worship center and are streamed with a five-minute time delay to South Hills and Casa de Fe, while evening attendees at the Sunnyvale location watch a recording captured earlier the same day.

“We needed better image capture quality as we expanded to multiple sites,” explained Long. “Our existing robotic PTZ cameras created a fairly decent 720p image, but we knew our video could be much better with true broadcast-grade cameras. Following our communicators across the stage with robotic cameras also didn’t look very good, so we had to ask them to limit their actions so they didn’t step out of the frame.

“We don’t like to flood our stage with lights, preferring to run it a bit on the darker side to give it a warmer feel,” said Long. “Our previous cameras weren’t great in low-light situations, so we needed ones with better sensors and sensitivity.”

Systems integrator E2i Design recommended the Hitachi Z-HD5500 to the WestGate Church team.

Said Long, “The Z-HD5500’s full frame rate 1080p capability was a factor in our decision, and its 62dB signal-to-noise ratio is pretty amazing. Its new sensor’s ability to handle the challenges of LED lighting at different refresh rates was also very appealing, as our stage and house lighting are almost entirely LED, and we plan to add LED video walls in the future.”

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