Blackmagic Design, Fujinon Spearhead Equipment Transformation for Christian Faith Center Programming
As the largest church in the Pacific Northwest with its programming carried on national networks, the Christian Faith Center found itself in urgent need of an upgrade. With outdated, standard definition equipment, the networks were pushing the church to overhaul its video infrastructure. With the current technology available, their recent overhaul went beyond HD, and the Church is now fully 4K compatible.
Church Pastor Casey Treat’s show Successful Living with Casey Treat, a combination of teachings from recent church services with sit-down interviews, airs weekly on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) and the Hillsong Channel. Earlier this year, engineering staff from both networks requested that the show be produced in HD to mirror the look of their other programming.
Chad Rose, president, of systems integration firm Rose Media, was called in to spearhead the entire facility’s SD to HD transition, including completion of a separate control room. With Rose leading the charge, Christian Faith Center based in Federal Way, Washington, added two FUJINON XA55x9.5BESM and two XA20x8.5BERM zooms on four Blackmagic Design URSA Broadcast cameras in May. Within its new 25’x25’ permanent control room, a Blackmagic switcher and multi-viewer, a Renewed Vision graphics system, and new furniture were installed.
Given the scope of the upgrades, price was a consideration. “The church was very interested in the Blackmagic camera because of its price point,” says Rose. “Churches are beginning to see cameras as a four- to six-year investment. They put more of their money into long-term investments like lenses.”
The new control room, camera, and lenses capture content from Pastor Treat’s Sunday services and video interviews, which comprise the weekly show that airs on Hillsong and TBN. The camera/lens combination is also used for live feeds of the Pastor’s services to other Christian Faith Center locations, to the Church’s Federal Way website and other Church location websites, as well as for closed circuit coverage within the sanctuary.
“While the goal was HD, the entire system is now 4K compatible,” reports Rose. “From the switcher to the cameras and lenses, to the multi-viewers, everything is 4K. They just turn it on in the switcher, and they’ve moved from SD to 4K in one fell swoop.”
While the image quality has taken a serious upturn, the learning curve was far less steep for the all-volunteer camera crew. “They went from a much older SD system,” Rose adds, “and without any training or rehearsal, they were running the new camera and lenses. It was truly a seamless transition.”
The cameras are positioned over a hundred feet away from the stage, so lenses that could cover the distance were essential. The XA55x has a focal length from 9.5 to 525mm (19.0 to 1050mm with a 2x extender). It comes standard with optical image stabilization, making it ideal for any application where the camera operator must maintain a rock steady close-up shot for long periods, such as sporting events, houses of worship, corporate presentations, or concerts. The XA20x ENG lens features a standard focal range of 8.5-170mm and reach out to 340mm (with a 2x), while only weighing 3 ½ pounds.
“Matching the 4K image sensor of the URSA camera with the FUJINON lenses is just a great combination,” Rose explains. “The images are outstanding, and my client couldn’t be happier with the results. With the film type sensor of the URSA, combined with a great lens like these that can maintain focus throughout the zoom range and handle any lighting situation, is a real winner for churches. Because the URSA broadcast camera comes standard with a B4 mount, no adaptors are needed.”
“The look produced is more cinematic. And if you ever need to add gain, any resulting noise created presents in a more film-like way than a typical broadcast camera/lens combination would produce. It’s a very pleasing look.”