Founded in 1976 and nestled in Denton, Texas, Denton Bible Church is a non-denominational church that averaged 4,000 congregants each Sunday across its three services. As the demand for digital content and streaming grew and the need for quality video for the church increased, Denton Bible Church sought to replace its outdated camera system with a solution that would be flexible, deliver high-quality content and create a worship environment that would deliver on the needs of its congregants, regardless of where they chose to worship.
As the Church began their search for a new camera system, there were a few key features the new system needed to have in order to future proof the church’s investment. Because Denton Bible’s camera operators are all volunteers, the solution needed to be simple enough for novice users to operate and eventually master without sacrificing on the quality of the content delivered. The camera system also needed to have a small footprint, yet a wide field of view in order to capture engaging video content, including different angles from each camera position without impeding the congregants’ view. Additionally, the camera needed to be lightweight, mobile and have the ability to connect over IP to accommodate for the various events that take place around the Church’s campus.
“We were stuck in an SD/HD environment using a camera system that was 15 years old,” said Preston Fuqua, technical director at Denton Bible Church. “We knew we needed a product that was on the leading-edge and offered multiple options to achieve the end results we were looking for.”
Empowering a Volunteer-Driven Worship
After participating in several camera “shootouts”, Denton Bible Church deployed five Panasonic AW-UE150 4K pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras throughout its sanctuary along with two AW-RP150 touchscreen remote camera controllers as they were the most intuitive to a volunteer camera crew, gave them the ability to jump to 4K/HD resolution and allowed them to use the cameras in multiple ways. Additionally, the PTZs large 1” sensor and 20X optical zoom allowed the Church to zoom in two times further with exceptional image quality, allowing congregants to enjoy higher quality streams to fully immerse themselves into their at-home service as they would in-person.
“Once the Panasonic’s PTZs were installed and we saw the images they produced, we were blown away. The IP control on the remote camera controller is spot on and exceeds our expectations due to the controller’s ability to manipulate multiple cameras at once and simultaneously output 4K. It was hard to even compare our old set up to the new.”
Historically, Denton Bible Church had needed three camera operators to pull off the Church’s three Sunday services, along with its midweek events. With the new camera system in place, the Church’s volunteer operators are able to show up prior to service, review the notes for the day and check the configurations on their control surface. Additionally, Panasonic’s RP150s remote touchscreen camera controllers allow the volunteers to output multiple resolutions, control them via a webpage and capture multiple shots from one camera, which they utilize with the different speakers and panel events they host.
“Panasonic’s camera systems have been a very versatile tool for us. Our camera operators have caught on quickly and really enjoy the ability to customize the user experience as well as the ability to quickly jump between pre-programmed shots and moves.”
Worshiping Beyond the Church Walls
Shortly after Denton Bible Church deployed Panasonic’s UE150 PTZ cameras and remote touchscreen controllers, COVID-19 spread to the United States. As social distancing measures were put in place due to the pandemic, the need to remotely live stream their services became increasingly important. After a few changes to their infrastructure which included adding a broadcast suite with separate audio mixing and video switching capabilities, the Church was quickly up and running with streaming-only services. Once the capabilities were seen by Denton Bible’s leadership and senior pastor, a new weekday series was started. When paired with its streamed Sunday services, the Church was able to serve approximately 6,000 viewers – tripling their weekly attendance when compared to their in-person services and special events.
Having the ability to stream and connect with families remotely in their congregation during quarantine opened the pastor’s eyes to a whole new way of doing ministry and teaching. As a result, Denton Bible Church’s online viewership has increased beyond what they have historically seen for in-person Sunday service attendance.
Recognizing the importance of streaming content, Denton Bible Church has also added more UE150 PTZs to some of their smaller venues within the campus, including their Student Center Auditorium and Chapel, allowing them to deliver the same quality image no matter the event or where they are on campus.