Ikegami HDK-05C/4K Full Digital Portable CMOS Camera

In Product Reviewsby tfwm

IKEGAMI HDK-95C/4K Full Digital Portable CMOS Camera

By Patrick Buescher

Although it’s a good problem to have, a church’s rapid expansion comes with its challenges. At Crossroads Church, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, we feel very fortunate to have added multiple campuses since starting up in Cincinnati in 1996. But as our message resonates with more and more people, our ten locations aren’t enough to keep up with everyone who wants to attend.

Part of the solution for us is an expanded online presence. That’s because it’s obviously very expensive and time-consuming to build new buildings, but much more efficient to add community members via digital channels. We realized that if we were going to take that approach, however, we must be committed to engaging our online viewers with an excellent visual and audio experience. ­That’s why we established Crossroads Anywhere, an initiative with the goal of providing the best possible connection with our community outside of our area. While this is significantly more than simply streaming weekend services, that is certainly a component. For this review, I am going to focus on the cameras for weekend services. For us, it’s about establishing a true sense of place, and maintaining “eye contact” with the viewer.

As Director of Experience Innovation and Infrastructure for Crossroads Church, “Crossroads Anywhere” presented my team with a rare opportunity, which was to expand our video capabilities to go beyond our auditoriums and engage audiences through their own screens. After gathering the scope of the project and submitting a budget of $2.4 million, our leadership was excited to see what would come of this effort. We were also fortunate to benefit from the experience of our systems integrator on the project, Florida-based Pro Sound & Video, which oversaw the design/build.

Together, we collaborated on building out from one cramped 200 square foot space to 1,000 square feet and two connected control rooms. On the acquisition side, a cornerstone of the project was the addition of eight Ikegami HDK-95C/4K Full Digital Portable CMOS cameras at our Oakley, OH campus (we also purchased two Ikegami HC HD300 CMOS Camera Systems for our Uptown campus in Cincinnati).

Some specs on the HDK95C/4K: It’s a portable digital camera that’s part of Ikegami’s Unicam HD line, equipped with Native multi-format 2.5 million pixel, 2/3 inch CMOS sensors. It features end-to-end digital processing, as well as a low-profile docking camera head for fiber, triax, or wireless applications. It provides a simultaneous 4K output when the camera is operating in a 1080p format, such as 1080p/59.94Hz.

The Ikegami HDK-95C/4K cameras at our broadcast campus have proven to be crucial to our video plan. ­The first and most obvious benefit that they bring is their imagery: ­They look great right out of the box with effortless color adjustment. With some minor tweaks, the cameras reproduce what the eye sees. This is a key part of our workflow, as some of our shading volunteers are not experienced in broadcast. Having great color reproduction effortlessly is essential to our team. Environments that are lit for a speaker/presenter are central to worship, and the cameras provide extreme clarity in these situations.

On the visual side, another important aspect of Ikegami cameras is the fact that they use CMOS sensors, which represents the most advanced optical technology. CCDbased cameras are reaching the end of their lifespan in terms of new development. It does not seem prudent to invest in this technology since we plan on this being a 15-year purchase.

Connectivity was also a key consideration for us. These Ikegami HDK-95C/4K cameras are deployed throughout the 3500-seat auditorium of our Oakley campus, situated in various locations around the room. One is on a dolly, while another is used onstage as a handheld. ­e HDK-95C/4K is available with an HD-SDI trunk that allows the camera to transmit a second external video signal as a video trunk channel. ­is has proven extremely helpful, since we change up configurations all the time, so sometimes it’s necessary to place a camera in an unusual location. ­e HD trunk allows us to essentially use an Ikegami camera as a tie line to deliver the signal back to the CCU. ­That’s helpful because not only does it increase our flexibility in creative situations, but also decreases the amount of cable we need to make a shoot possible – that’s a timesaver, in turn, and we’re always looking for those.

Like many houses of worship, ease-of-use is a top priority owing to the large number of volunteers that use these cameras. In our experience, the Ikegami cameras are sufficiently uncomplicated to allow our volunteers to get the job done with broadcast quality. ­The menus are simple and they can be set up quickly. While you can always go deeper, we’ve seen firsthand – starting from the initial shootout – how fast you can get to a realistic look with just a few adjustments.

We also evaluate our equipment on service and support, and this is another area where Ikegami’s reputation preceded itself. ­There are a lot of other companies that will just put me on hold, but when I call Ikegami, I can always get a knowledgeable person live on the phone. ­at says a lot to me – it means that they’ll grow with us, which is essential because Crossroads Church is still growing.

The proof of the impact of our updated video infrastructure and our eight Ikegami HDK-95/4K cameras isn’t just aesthetics. We can see it in the metrics: Our church is experiencing strong growth both within physical buildings and online. We now see over 10% of our weekend attendance come from online as well as a significant amount of giving. High-quality streaming has shown we can engage more and more attendees from outside of our Metro area. ­The Ikegami HDK-95C/4K has proven to be a strong foundation for these gains, and we’re condent we’ll continue to see future growth at Crossroads Church.