Canon BU-50H HD Cameras Chosen by Prominent House of Worship
November 3, 2010 – Easter 2011 will be a very special time for the Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church congregation in Augusta, Georgia. In addition to the season’s religious importance, it will also mark the completion of the total renovation of the church’s 50-year-old building. When worshippers enter the new church they will see a beautifully appointed new sanctuary, a new exposed-truss ceiling under a new roof, a new choir loft, and original stained-glass windows. What the congregation won’t see will be five strategically placed BU-50H remote-control PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) 16:9 aspect ratio HD cameras from Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging. The cameras will be used for inconspicuous, high-quality HD capture of church services for broadcast, cable, and Internet distribution, as well as for image magnification and wedding videography.
“As part of the renovation, we removed the church’s entire 1972-era analog television system,” said Tom Greene, Trinity on the Hill UMC’s director of television ministries. Greene added that the church hired Blue Hat Design of Norcross, Georgia to plan and install its all-new digital HDTV system, which will include a control room, fiber-optic routing system, and the five Canon BU-50H remote-control cameras. Blue Hat’s initial work on the project included installing the first three Canon BU-50H cameras in a temporary worship center to accommodate the congregation during the church renovation and rebuild.
“The gym on the Trinity on the Hill UMC campus has been carpeted and a big riser stage has been built in it,” Greene explained. “That’s where services are held. We are on the air every Sunday on a local TV station and on cable three times a week. The three Canon BU-50H cameras we’re using are rock-solid. You turn them on, they make beautiful images, and they do everything they’re supposed to do in conjunction with our Telemetrics remote-control systems.”
Canon’s BU-50H is designed with a non-proprietary control protocol. Users and system integrators can interface the BU-50H with their own control system or one from a leading third-party provider for remote operation of the camera’s pan/tilt system, lens, and video functions. When the Trinity on the Hill UMC renovation is complete, the church’s finished control room will be outfitted with three Telemetrics control panels, two of which will be able to control two cameras.
“The center camera in the middle of the sanctuary with the longest throw will be controlled by one operator,” noted Greene. “Two more operators will control two cameras each, which will be the front and back cameras on the left- and right-hand sides.”
“It’s all IP-driven,” elaborated Brian Kincheloe, director of field operations at Blue Hat Design. “The control system is robust enough so that any position can log into one, two, or three BU-50H cameras at a time. So through three positions they’ll be able to control all five cameras.”
Engineered to provide exceptional HD video imagery and versatile remote-control performance, the BU-50H incorporates a Canon HD camera equipped with three 1/3-inch (1.67 million-pixel) CCD sensors (1440 H x 1080 V), a Canon HD zoom lens with 20X optical zoom ratio (4.5 – 90mm), an advanced Canon Auto Focus function, and Canon’s sophisticated Image Stabilizer technology. Designed for quiet operation, the BU-50H features a maximum noise level of NC30 and is well-suited for use in such indoor environments as houses of worship.
“My personal feeling about televising church services is that the cameras should be invisible,” Greene confides. “Our old video system included two big cameras operated by volunteers standing on platforms in front of the congregation. That can be distracting. The BU-50H cameras, however, don’t draw much attention and don’t bother anybody because they’re not obvious. They’re just little box-like cameras.”
Capable of extremely smooth 300-degree pans and +/ – 40-degree tilts, the BU-50H also has advanced connectivity features, including genlock input for video synchronization in broadcast television systems. Outputs include uncompressed HD-SDI and SD-SDI with embedded audio, and composite NTSC video. The HD-SDI can be used for HD recording and the HD-SDI or NTSC will support simultaneous SD monitoring. Trinity on the Hill UMC’s system will employ a house genlock system and use a fiber extension to deliver the cameras’ HD-SDI video back to the control room. The cameras connect to the Telemetrics control devices via Ethernet.
“Every customer has a budget for their project, and our job is to provide them with the greatest value for what that budget is,” Kincheloe said. “We see a lot of cameras, and in terms of value, image quality, and price, the Canon BU-50H excels. The BU-50H fits nicely into this project, and provides what the customer needs, which is a remote-controlled high-quality HD video camera.”
“I can’t say enough about the smoothness of the operation of these BU-50H remote-control cameras,” stated Greene. “Some of my crew have been operating cameras manually for 20 years, but after about 15 minutes of practice with the BU-50H cameras they were what I’d describe as ‘comfortable and competent as ever.’ In a project like this, you certainly want to have something you can rely on and are happy with. Canon makes solid cameras, and always has. Plus, when it comes to lenses I prefer Canon.”