Saddleback Church Upgrades to HD with Sony XDCAM HD and HDC-1400 Camcorders

Saddleback Church, one of the largest religious congregations in the country, recently completed the first phase of its expansion into high-definition production. The church’s new HD video control room uses Sony’s PDW-700 XDCAM HD optical camcorders, complemented by Sony HDC-1400 studio cameras.

The new Sony HD cameras provided the equipment infrastructure necessary for the church to deliver video internally across its main campus as well as to its eight HD-compatible satellite locations. The HD feeds are switched for image magnification in the main worship area and also used to create a program feed for Saddleback’s onsite worship rooms and at its regional venues.

Saddleback’s modernized control room technology will also help to support the future rollout of additional worship sites.

“In order to meet the needs of Saddleback Church’s growing congregation and expanding facilities, it was absolutely necessary to upgrade our video capabilities with state-of-the-art HD production values,” said Greg Baker, technical director for Saddleback Church. “The Sony cameras were a natural choice and have provided the stability and high-quality image capture we needed.”

Broadcast systems integrator TV Magic engineered and installed the HD video control room and production system at Saddleback Church, including integration of six Sony HDC-1400 HD portable studio cameras and a PDW-700 XDCAM HD camcorder.

According to Baker, a key benefit of the XDCAM HD system was its ability to provide a flexible interface between existing and new products, allowing Saddleback Church to upgrade its full infrastructure over time.

The church also wanted a file-based workflow that would allow it to not only store video on hard drives, but also to maintain physical archives. The non-linear, file-based recording functionality of the XDCAM recording system has removed those linear barriers and allowed the church to archive both ways.

Saddleback Church serves Southern California through more than 200 ministries and worship at 11 venues, and offers seven service times every weekend. Teachings are delivered live or edited on Final Cut Pro® systems and then delivered to different campus worship areas via fiber. Teachings from the main campus also are delivered on a hard drive to the church’s four off-site locations, each of which has a unique style and environment.

The XDCAM technology has also helped Saddleback’s mostly volunteer video operators save time and improve workflow production with its unique ability to store clips as both full-resolution and lower-resolution files which can be quickly uploaded for remote editing via i.LINK or Ethernet connection. The church’s tapeless workflow relies on disk- and drive-based storage, which significantly reduces the time required for file transfers and simplifies editing of the main program feed for off-site services.