by Craig Harper
The singers are lit and miked, it’s a packed house and the cameras are rolling, when the pastor says, “let’s try that again.” Pastor? While this might sound like something a director would say while recording a concert or live event, it’s increasingly becoming a more common scenario at many ministries.
Gone are the days when it was good enough to simply record a service with one fixed camera pointed at the pastor. Churches are now producing more live events and special services, and streaming services on the web to reach more people across the country and the world.
At the larger churches, audiences and A/V systems are on the scale of the biggest stadium concert tours, bringing with it a whole new set of production challenges and opportunities, for example, IMAG and multi-camera set-ups.
Churches need to deliver content to more platforms and in higher quality, and the increasing accessibility of more affordable and capable production technology is making it easier to do this than ever before.
When churches buy new technology they need to think about more than its ease of use and durability. They have to consider image quality and how it can help them achieve the right “look” they need.
The keyword for any ministry is options, and a company like Sony has the most comprehensive mix of technology options to fit any size room or application. Churches are implementing any, or a mix of, these options — from full-frame mirrorless alpha cameras or the compact RX0 for specialized POV shots to compact handheld 35mm camcorders like the FS7 or FS5 up to the F55 and new VENICE camera, the same cameras used to shoot big-budget movies and TV shows.
It could be a mix of models like F55s with an HDC series studio camera to combine a beautiful Super35 “film” look with 2/3–inch lenses, as well as fiber connectivity, seamless gen lock and many other features.
Many churches have been using the HDC-4000 series cameras. The reason churches like Lakewood have chosen the HDC-4000 series cameras is the ability to produce 4K HDR and HD SDR simultaneously, and they support both S-log3 and HLG workflows for HDR to provide a unique look.
One ministry, Lake Pointe Church uses Sony’s 4K cameras — from the FS7 and FS5 camcorders to the full-frame 7S and 7S II interchangeable lens cameras — in nearly every aspect of the ministry’s video production to capture services and events and handle the streaming, reaching 3,000 people online.
Chip Acker, Video Director at Lake Pointe Church, noted that since the organization is focused on video production and streaming, it’s important to have high-quality, easy-to-learn equipment that can be used and maintained by the church’s volunteer staff.
Acker continued, “Pairing the right gear with our wide range of production styles gives us the best options for our church. The variety of Sony products that we own allow us to put the right gear into action with any of our production requests and it also helps us save money over the long-term.”
These are just some examples of churches employing a mix of different cameras to spread their messages effectively and wider. And it’s not just limited to cameras.
Sony offers wireless microphone technology and high-res audio systems to keep the audio sounding as good as the video looks. Churches can also satisfy their entire workflow with Sony’s intelligent media services, which offer flexible and cost effective workflow solutions ranging from editing, storage and archive to cloud collaboration, asset management and distribution. In addition, beyond the sanctuary, it’s more common to see laser projectors or the latest “active learning” solutions in classrooms and collaborative worship spaces.
Churches needs will never stop growing. Sony’s family of options will keep pace, ready to meet, and exceed churches needs today, and tomorrow.