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North Point Community Church Uses Panasonic HD Studio Cameras for Live Video Production

Oct 18, 2007 8:00 AM

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With dynamic performance stage settings, North Point Community Church (Alpharetta, Ga.) is committed to creating irresistible worship environments that utilize contemporary ideas and technology to deliver a memorable experience.

Key to North Point’s vibrant worship environment is broadcast-quality video production, which encompasses seven Panasonic AK-HC931B HD studio cameras, camera controllers, and viewfinders. Panasonic AG-DVX100B cameras are used for capturing side shots and close-ups on stage. A cutting-edge postproduction facility is also housed on the church’s main campus.

From its early years, when members of the church met every other Sunday night in rented facilities, North Point’s worship centers have grown to include North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Buckhead Church in Atlanta, and Browns Bridge Community Church in Cumming, with more than 17,000 adults participating in worship at its three campuses each Sunday.

The North Point campus has two auditoriums—the East auditorium (Main), where the majority of live services take place, and the West, which hosts live elements of the same service, as well as broadcast portions from the East using Panasonic camera equipment and multiple projection displays. The scope of production also includes professional staging, lighting, audio, and video operated by volunteer teams that number more than 30 on any given Sunday.

Four of the AK-HC931B cameras are used to capture the live service in the East auditorium; the other three are set in the West auditorium. Each auditorium has its own studio-style video control room.

“While attendees watch the actual live service in the East, a life-sized, high-definition, virtual image of the pastor is fed to a large center screen (28’x16’) onstage in the West,” says Brendon Petty, technical director for North Point’s video production. “The center screen remains a static shot while the side screens deliver standard-definition IMAG and graphics.”

The satellite campuses feature the same video environment as the West auditorium. While music, announcements, and special segments are presented live at each campus, the message is delivered via video (captured one week prior) using the same technology as the North Point campus.

“We’re definitely impressed with the cameras’ performance,” Petty says. “The resolution is incredible. Although we acquire the footage in HD, our delivery system is still SD. But that really hasn’t been an issue. The quality of the downconverted image is still spectacular; so crisp and clean that people mistake it for HD.

“We have come a long way from our 1/2in.-chip analog cameras. The precise image controls of the AK-HC931B camera have allowed us to achieve clarity and color depth is true to life. The joystick control of the camera’s remote operating panel [AK-HRP931] has made this easy to achieve,” Petty says. “Another huge benefit is the optional mounted viewfinder [AJ-HVF931]; at 8.4in., it’s great for composing accurate shots and perceiving the smallest details. Plus, it has dual tally and a one-of-a-kind mounting bracket that maintains a low profile and keeps the image right in front of you.”

North Point has a fully staffed media department that generates video content for services and special events. “In many cases, the media team will produce television series-style pieces that illustrate the message,” Petty says. “They also create customized video announcements, complete with a regular host who is shot on a green screen then placed in a virtual set.”

In addition to the AK-HC931 HD studio cameras, North Point’s impressive cross-campus video production encompasses a wide variety of Panasonic equipment including a DVCPRO HD AG-HVX200 P2 camcorder, eight DVX100B cameras, AJ-SDX900 cameras, AJ-HD3700B D5 HD, AJ-HD1200A DVCPRO HD and DVCPRO50 decks, several Panasonic BT series LCD production monitors, and numerous Panasonic professional HD plasmas throughout the campus facilities.

“Our broadcast is not intended for television. We’re using high-quality broadcast production to provide an enhanced, memorable worship experience at each campus,” Petty says. “We never expected that video would play such a supportive role in our ministry as it does now.”

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