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Misericordia Moves Ahead With Panasonic

The Panasonic AV-HS400 multiformat live switcherCHICAGO
Misericordia is one of Chicago's leading non-profit organizations and has been providing services for persons in need since 1921. Today it supports 550 children and adults with mild to profound developmental disabilities on a 30 acre campus in the far northeastern corner of the city.

Some four years ago, we started planning a multi-functional meeting facility for our residents, staff and the community at large. Among our objectives were the raising of overall awareness about Misericordia and implementing a contemporary and comprehensive television production system for our own use.

Additionally, we sought to provide a revenue-generating "downtown" television production experience by renting the space to outside clients (ranging from Fortune 500 companies to wedding parties) at a very competitive rate.

When the facility was first proposed, it was going to be constructed as a standard-definition composite video operation. However, by the time the engineering construction drawings were produced, we found that it was possible to provide high-definition cameras, switching, routing and displays and still stay within our budget. The HD revision was well worth it, as the improvement in picture quality has been amazing.

The entire project was done in collaboration with our systems integrator, Midwest Media Group. Midwest recommended a variety of Panasonic equipment, including the AV-HS400 multiformat live switcher equipped with built-in MultiViewer video preview, along with Panasonic's AW-HE100 integrated HD/SD cameras. The switcher and cameras are integral to our ability to broadcast events such as concerts, parties and church services across the campus so that even the most profoundly disabled residents here can participate.


The HS400 switcher has proven to be a feature-rich device with an ease of operation that allows our staff to advance their capabilities while having a very manageable learning curve. Misericordia personnel—several of whom were originally at the novice level of experience—have been able to expand their knowledge of the system, and they approach each new production with added assurance in their television production skills.

The facility has hosted a wide range of events since last fall, including an inaugural breakfast with David Axelrod, senior advisor to President Obama, as guest speaker. Larger-scale events use the central control room (outfitted with the HS400 switcher, PESA router and camera controllers) for sending video and audio signals throughout the facility, thus allowing the proceedings to spread out among our various rooms. We also have three AV carts so that discrete events can be handled simultaneously.

I was thrilled with how the Panasonic equipment functioned the morning of the Axelrod breakfast, as this was such a critical public outreach for us. Since then our confidence has only grown with the knowledge that the most sophisticated productions are well within our capabilities.

Hugh Connolly is Misericordia's director of facilities and has been responsible for all physical planning and development and construction, since 1995. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Panasonic Broadcast at 800-528-8601 or