Located 25 minutes southeast of Phoenix, Compass Christian Church in Chandler, AZ is a fast-growing non-denominational church. Growing by leaps and bounds and needing a bigger space than the 900-seat multipurpose building they were utilizing, Compass Church recently opened a new 2,058-seat worship center on its over 25-acre campus with the goal of delivering a modern, authentic, and open feel.
With a worship community of more than 13,000 individuals, Compass averages 3,500 attendees for its two Sunday services, and 200 to 300 people view the services via a livestream. The new multi-purpose center is built to shapeshift to accommodate a wide range of activities, including hosting events throughout the week for the community like the corporate meetings and theater events.
“We’re holding less Sunday services in the new building, which allows time to have more events in the afternoon, such as weddings, movie nights, and other large-scale activities,” said Kelly Schmidt, Lighting Director, Compass Church. “The primary driver behind the new building was to give attendees an upgraded, modern experience, so we could communicate clearly and really foster a quality worship experience. Our former auditorium held only 900 seats, which led to the church having more services and not being able to extend as many opportunities to the community as we wished to.”
Compass Church has its main location in Chandler, an auxiliary campus 34 miles away in Casa Grande, AZ, and a separate online service with its own creative elements. The in-person Sunday services and the livestreamed online services are their own dedicated experiences.
Production technology is a cornerstone of the new worship center and Strata, based in the Atlanta area, was chosen as the church’s AVL partner for the project. To find the perfect cameras, Strata teamed with Panasonic to setup a demo of the Panasonic AK-UC4000 4K studio cameras. For its expanding acquisition needs, Compass deployed two AK-UC4000s, three AG-CX350 4K handheld camcorders plus five AK-HRP1000 remote operation panels for control of the UC4000 and CX350 cameras.
According to Schmidt, “We demoed several different cameras and created scenic environments desired for our worship and a look for live speaking elements. We did a shootout and the UC4000 had the studio feel with the depth and really rich colors we sought. Its CCU is very intuitive and you didn’t have to work hard to get the look you wanted. This is super important because we have volunteers operating the cameras,” said Schmidt. “Some of the greatest benefits with our video equipment upgrade were moving from 720p cameras to 4K cameras with new sensor technology and the use of only a single controller (HRP1000) to control the studio or handheld cameras.”
The UC4000s have a prime center location that works well for the fan-shape of the multi-purpose room. The cameras are set back close together and centered for IMAG. “During teaching or presentation moments, this setup allows us to have a close shot and a wide shot and they handoff back and forth, so one can position another shot while the other is live,” Schmidt said. “We love the look of the UC4000. We have volunteers that operate the cameras, not industry professionals, so being able to translate how to obtain an industry professional look with an inexperienced individual was key. With the camera’s CCU interface, the operators are able to dynamically work in our quickly changing environment. The UC4000s deal well with the challenge of different colors, tints, shading and color temperature per song, and make exceptional images on our LED walls in the front of the room in a dynamic environment.”
“We have definitely been stretching how we utilize the UC4000s to get a cinematic look when we want it with the conjunction of the management of the CCUs and lighting. And then when we want that professional studio look with the depth, that’s right there. It’s super easy to obtain,” said Schmidt.
Exceptional Images from the CX350 in Wireless Configuration
Any place one of the church’s stationary UC4000 cannot go, an CX350 camcorder is running there. To capture different shots, angles and viewpoints, the church selected the AG-CX350 with the Vidovation VidOlink Reacher wireless video transmission system to provide excellent mobility. The three compact, lightweight CX350s each have their areas of coverage, with two assigned to each side of the stage, and one that floats around to acquire the low-angle shots. In addition, Compass has a recording studio with a CX350 setup in the new facility where different people can talk to different places and then stream the content to the appropriate location.
Schmidt said, “I’m so happy we have the CX350 wirelessly in that we can capture outside shots at the baptismal pool in dynamic conditions and then move inside with ease. We go from in-room dark, dynamic concert lighting and then outdoors to sunny shots with the clouds moving overhead, and we’re using the CX350 with same controller (AK-HRP1000) as they’re used for the studio cameras inside.”
Dave Roche, co-owner of Strata, added, “The CX350s equipped with wireless transmitters make a very nice, compact and mobile package for the church to make broadcast-quality video, and it can be wirelessly shaded with the HPR1000. When you look at what you can do with the combination for the price, it is an outstanding solution for churches.”
The Unique Flexibility of Using One Controller with Panasonic Cameras
“Having the same top-end control via the HRP1000 over the CX350s as we have with our UC4000 studio cameras was a huge selling point for us,” said Schmidt. “Our shooters can move around with the 350s and not have to worry about iris, shading, color as all that can be remotely handled by an operator with an HRP1000 in the control room. Our CX350 operators can enjoy being creative with their shots without worrying about the technical logistics. This creative jump translates clearly to our guest and we have been overwhelmingly pleased with the results. It’s been a big plus.”
Roche added, “Panasonic is in unique position in that it has a wide range of cameras, from studio units to PTZs to camcorders, that have matching colorimetry and can be controlled by a single controller (HRP1000).”
The same HRP1000 controller can be utilized for the remote control of the company’s different style cameras, from studio cameras to handheld camcorders or Panasonic integrated PTZ cameras.
Joe Paryzek, co-owner at Strata, said, “We were very impressed on this project with how Panasonic cameras color matched and worked together. The combination of the cameras’ outstanding color imagery, compatibility, and cost were the key reasons we recommended Panasonic for this installation.”
Overall, the Compass Church’s new building and new 4K cameras have been an outstanding success and they’re ready to grow with the congregation as it expands.
According to Schmidt, the biggest compliments received from the video upgrade is the substantial improvement in image clarity and how good people are looking. “Attendees are feeling more a part of what’s going on onstage,” he said. “We have received an overwhelming number of comments from people watching online as they’ve really noticed the quality difference with the new cameras and new workflow. Our improved online experience has increased the quantity of our online audience, quadrupling viewership since our opening in August. We’re attracting more followers and we have been more than pleased with the outcome.”
To learn more about Compass Christian Church, visit https://compassaz.church/
For more information on Strata AVL, visit https://strata-avl.com
Photos courtesy of Compass Christian Church and Strata AVL.