Cherry Hills Community Church

Church Finds a New Sense of Mission that Critical Technology Upgrade Helps Achieve

Like many faith communities, Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colorado found a new sense of mission amid the pandemic. With so much adaptation and innovation today, AV has become a critical tool. The church had been planning a technology upgrade before the coronavirus hit, due to the sheer age-related state of their cameras. The priority of the upgrade would be a more cinematic style to the music-driven services. This commitment to inspiring visuals only increased in importance as world events took hold.

Diversified partnered with the church to assemble a range of cameras, from ENG style and robotics to PTZ, that would represent a long-term investment and share a common visual style – one that invokes rich colors, depth of field, and focal nuances typically associated with a more cinematic style. An upgrade that initially focused on IMAG became equally important to both in-person and remote audiences.

The Cherry Hills sanctuary is quite large, with some camera positions as far as 100 feet away from the stage, making 100% cinema or 100% broadcast cameras a difficult choice due to natural lensing strengths and limitations of both categories. In addition, as a six-day-a-week operation, the church needed tools that would stand up to the schedule and be part of the media toolkit for many years to come.

The answer for Cherry Hills was a holistic all-Sony investment comprised of a mix of HDC-3500 HDR studio cameras, Sony F55 HDR live cinema cameras, and Sony BRC-X1000 PTZ cameras, all with Fujinon lensing. “This is about mission and vision, for us—the biggest return we could get was from the cameras,” says Chris Thomas, Worship and Creative Arts Pastor for the church. “We started there because the congregation was going to see it, see results. If we had started with the router, or the switcher, I would not have received the response I did. It was immediately clear to people that something had dramatically changed.”

“We knew we wanted to improve the style and move towards the cinematic side of things,” he continues, drawing inspiration from the example of the legendary Hillsong Church, from movies and television, and from concert films like U2. “We couldn’t buy nine cameras that needed to be manned; we needed a range of cameras that could do different jobs and accommodate different levels of operator skill, or no operator. We wanted a single manufacturer that could provide cameras at all those levels and with an aesthetic that would remain consistent, and a technology partner that could service us both in this initial phase, as well as future phases to come as the rest of the video plant receives future upgrades. Sony and Diversified were the right choice for us.”

The response to the new cameras and content style has opened Cherry Hills’ future for both in-person and virtual outreach. The technology upgrade – pandemic or not – is elevating the worship experience for its community, helping them reach larger constituencies than ever before.

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