New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore, MD recently installed five new Hitachi Z-HD5000 multi-format HD cameras within the 4,000-seat main sanctuary of its new multi-million-dollar worship center, known as The Holy City of Zion.
Besides enhancing the worship experience for churchgoers, the high-def video is used to produce The Empowering Disciples Broadcast, a highly rated, half-hour religious HDTV program produced weekly for over-the-air broadcast on WJZ-TV, the CBS affiliate in Baltimore.
When we first saw these cameras at NAB in April 2010, we realized that their price point would enable us to meet our goal to offer broadcast-quality, high-definition video while sticking to our budget, said Minister Joshua Thomas, multi-media and creative arts technician for New Psalmist Baptist Church. Hitachi put us in the best position to maximize our budget without compromising quality.
SD versions of The Empowering Disciples Broadcast are also delivered weekly to The Word Network, a religious network carried by DirecTV, as well as other local TV markets nationwide. Flash-encoded video of all Sunday services, led by Bishop Walter S. Thomas, Sr., Pastor of New Psalmist, also stream live on the Churchs website at www.NewPsalmist.org, extending the reach of the 8,000-member Church to a virtually global congregation.
The exceptional HD video produced by these Hitachi cameras enables our congregation to have a much richer worship experience, said Minister Thomas. Also, having the ability to produce religious programming in HD is critical to attracting those television viewers who are accustomed to watching high-quality sports and entertainment on HDTVs. Despite our budget constraints, Hitachi has put us on the forefront of HD camera technology.
The Hitachi Z-HD5000 cameras are positioned around the sanctuary, with two cameras on pedestals, one on a tripod, one on a 25-foot jib, and one operated as a handheld. The cameras, which were purchased through Professional Products, Inc., a preeminent Hitachi dealer in Gaithersburg, MD, were outfitted with a variety of Fujinon HD lenses and configured with Hitachi CU-HD1000 SMPTE hybrid fiber camera control units (CCUs). With built-in distribution amplifiers, signal convertors, and native support for many SD/HD video formats, the CCUs increase the value of the Hitachi HD camera package.
The CCUs feed HD-SDI signals to a Ross Vision switcher, which in turn outputs the program to a Blackmagic Design Video Hub which routes it to three Digital Projection 1080p HD projectors in the main sanctuary, as well as to HD LCD and plasma displays around the complex, such as the chapel, rehearsal hall, and banquet hall. An AJA Kona card records the Video Hub output onto a Mac hard drive for Apple Final Cut Pro editing. SongShowPlus software is used to create lower third supers of song lyrics and excerpts of scripture.