A clear view at Water of Life via Hitachi and CreateLED
USA: More than 8,000 worshippers attend weekend services at the main campus of Water of Life Community Church in Fontana, California. With so many congregants to accommodate, the non-denominational church has recently undergone an expansion that included the construction of a new facility and the addition of state-of-the-art technical equipment.
HD cameras were to form part of the technical upgrade as live image magnification is displayed on the sanctuary’s 13m x 4m CreateLED LED video wall for those seated towards the back of the main auditorium. In addition, the services are also streamed over a fibre connection to a secondary venue on the campus as well as to an adjacent prayer room and online. Recordings produced on Saturdays are also played back in the church’s smaller venues in Upland and Rancho Cucamonga.
‘First and foremost, we wanted the video to look good. The proliferation of video everywhere has increased people’s expectations of quality both on-site and online,’ explained Joe Chappell, production manager at Water of Life. ‘All of our fibre infrastructure, our giant screen and our HD streaming – it would all mean nothing if it didn’t start with great quality coming off great cameras.’
To facilitate its video needs, Water of Life purchased four Hitachi Kokusai Z‑HD5000 HDTV cameras from systems integrator Mankin Media Systems. Three of the cameras have been installed inside the main auditorium in fixed positions, while the fourth is used for both on the shoulder and stationary functions and is occasionally deployed outside of the main building, shooting the scenes at the church’s baptismal space.
‘We knew we wanted cameras with two or three-inch sensors,’ Mr Chappell continued. ‘I believe we looked at, touched and demoed every camera in its class on the market, and Hitachi stood out. We then had a chance to compare them hands-on against other cameras when we rented them for an Easter event, and the Z-HD5000 really rose above the rest in quality, flexibility and ease of operation.’
The cameras all came equipped with Fujinon lenses and have been connected to Hitachi CU-HD500 camera control units via a SMPTE fibre cable and the 1,000U of control panels in the facility’s broadcast control room. ‘All of the pieces of the Hitachi system, from the image sensors to the CCUs, have improved our productions and our workflows,’ noted Mr Chappell. ‘Our senior pastor, Dan Carroll, often walks off the stage and into the aisles during his sermons, resulting in big lighting and colour changes. The Z-HD5000s give us a great image whether he is in the centre of the stage, or walking freely around the auditorium.
‘The cameras have elevated our production quality at least tenfold over our previous equipment,’ Mr Chappell concluded. ‘They are easy for our volunteer operators to use and by providing power, programme audio in and out, microphone inputs, multiple headset connections and integration with our Clear-Com intercom system all at the camera, the Z-HD5000 gives us flexibility and makes all of our audio, video and fibre work really well together. The image quality is amazing, and the price is incredible for what you get. The whole experience of dealing with Hitachi Kokusai has been fantastic, from the ordering and delivery process in conjunction with our reseller to follow-on support as our project and needs evolved.’