Calgary’s First Alliance Church Upgrades Image Quality With Hitachi HD Cameras

The First Alliance Church (FAC) in Calgary, Alberta produces two distinct live video feeds of their services, each optimized for a particular purpose: image magnification (IMAG) to enrich the worship experience for on-site visitors, and online streaming to reach congregants unable to attend in person. Recently upgrading its production infrastructure to HD, FAC purchased four Z-HD5500 cameras from Hitachi Kokusai to capture high-quality video for both applications while accurately reproducing the church’s LED lighting effects.

Paul Nadeau-Bonilla, technical director at FAC, said the Hitachi cameras’ versatility allows them to use the cameras (supplied by systems integrator Applied Electronics with Fujinon HD lenses) for its current studio-style application in the 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,” he said. “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.”

Under the guidance of video director Russell Moore, the church’s volunteer video team creates separate productions for online streaming and for IMAG on the church’s two 24-by-13 foot Stewart Filmscreen front projection screens on the sides of the stage.

FAC uses less-expensive LED lights, so it needed a camera that would provide flicker-free video despite the varying refresh rates of these different fixtures.

FAC uses less-expensive LED lights, so it needed a camera that would provide flicker-free video despite the varying refresh rates of these different fixtures.

“IMAG is about helping those in the room see what’s happening on stage more clearly; streaming is about conveying the full experience for those not in the room,” Nadeau-Bonilla said.

FAC Calgary also chose equipment from Ross Video, including a Carbonite Black 2S HD production switcher and was pleased to discover the tight integration between the 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,” Nadeau-Bonilla said. “The integration allows the director to shade the cameras using Ross Dashboard while also doing his other duties, which is a big asset. Our congregants and online viewers have been thrilled to bits with the quality.”

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