Sherwood Baptist serves a congregation of more than 2,000 worshippers, and is well-known for its production company Sherwood Pictures, which has produced several Christian-themed dramatic films, including Facing the Giants (2006) and Fireproof (2008), both shot with Panasonic VariCam cinema cameras.
Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, recently completed a total upgrade of its A/V systems with a broad selection of Panasonic professional video gear including P2 HD camcorders, 4K and HD pan/tilt/zoom cameras, and the AV-HS6000 2ME production switcher.
Neil Philpott, systems advisor, and John Hogg, engineer, for dB Audio and Video (Gainesville, GA), supervised the overall installation and system designs, which was driven by the need to replace aging gear and an imperative to advance into 16:9 high-definition production.
"With Panasonic, we can count on excellent products, superior price/performance and a serious understanding of the needs of the HOW market," said Philpott, whose company specializes in HOW systems integration.
The main application for the Panasonic cameras and switcher is live image magnification of the weekly morning and Sunday evening services. Philpott explained that three AJ-PX380 shoulder-mount camcorders are used in studio configuration in the sanctuary, while two AJ-PX230 handhelds are utilized on and off tripods for point-of-interest shots on and near the altar stage.
Three AW-HE130 PTZs are mounted on the balcony face: during the pre-service and music/worship portion of the service, the HE130s are used for typical front-on shots, while during sermons they capture special interest shots that are mixed from one of the HS6000's ME busses for recording and streaming. The 4K AW-UE70 is mounted over the main stage for special interest congregational, instrumental and baptistery shots. All four PTZs are controlled by one AW-RP120 remote camera controller.
The powerful HS6000 switcher is the crux of the upgrade, handling live broadcast feeds of services to the large projection screens, as well as to the rear choir loft and several small rooms equipped for remote worship.
Dan Mingo, Sherwood's Pastor of Media, said the nine Panasonic cameras have dramatically improved shot angle options during services.
"Our sanctuary stage is quite steep, and prior we had no PTZs, which have been instrumental in expanding our shot coverage, notably of our baptism ceremonies," Mingo said. "The image production is significantly crisper and clearer, and the cameras are very easy to use, a meaningful asset because all our camera operators are volunteers," he added.
"I worked closely with Neil on the selection of the HS6000," Mingo said. "I've had my eye on it since its introduction, and I really feel it can't be beat on price/performance. It's a very simple switcher to use with a clean, intuitive layout, yet at the same time has more than sufficient I/Os (34 inputs/16 outputs). The four independent MultiViewer channels are a key benefit for us. Altogether, I feel there is no better option in a switcher for HOW."