Flatirons Church Upgrades to Panasonic VariCam LT CineLive Camera Systems

Flatirons Community Church (Lafayette, CO), ranked by Outreach magazine as the 11th largest church in the United States, has upgraded to Panasonic VariCam LT cameras with CineLive, as well as AU-EVA1 5.7K handheld cameras, for live production of weekly worship services. In partnership with Summit Integrated Systems, the church invested in a total of seven VariCam LTs and two AU-EVA1s in a large-scale replacement of their video system.

With its main broadcast campus in Lafayette, Colorado, Flatirons regularly sees more than 18,000 attendees per weekend over its five campuses, plus online live broadcasts on Facebook and YouTube. The church’s satellite sites are located in Denver, Aurora, Longmont, and Golden.

Flatirons’ 168,000 sq.ft. Lafayette venue houses the main auditorium, which can hold 4,300 people, plus overflow in the lobby of up to 2,000 people. This location’s 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday worship services are broadcast live to satellite campuses, social media platforms and the church’s web site, https://www.flatironschurch.com/. Typical weekend services feature modern worship music, alongside a Biblically-based spoken message. The music is not limited to conventional worship songs, but includes secular songs by popular bands such as Imagine Dragons, Foo Fighters, Muse, Coldplay and more. 

Robb MacTavish, Flatirons’ Live Production Director, said that the move to the VariCam LTs with CineLive has resulted in “more cinematic, modern worship experiences that appear highly post-produced but are, in fact, live.”

“Flatirons is proud of its legacy of cinema cameras being used in live production, which dates back to 2013,” MacTavish said. “A main driver behind our investment in the VariCam LTs was the requirement for minimal latency due to a switch from projection to ROE LED displays for IMAG, which added about two frames of latency into our new 1080/59.94p workflow. With the new setup, we’re only experiencing four frames of latency end-to-end (two frames from our cameras and two frames from our LED displays).”

“The VariCam LTs are especially feature-rich; beyond the cinema look and feel, and low latency from the camera’s clean feed, we also utilize the ability to switch frame rates in-camera,” he continued, noting that worship productions deploy the 1080/59.94p format for a more lifelike teaching experience, with an effortless switch to 23.98p for a filmic rendition of musical performances.

MacTavish added that teaming the VariCam LTs with Panasonic’s AK-HRP1000 Remote Operating Panels “puts professional grade, tactile control of the cameras in the hands of our shaders, allowing camera operators to concentrate on shot composition and movement.”

“Also, we make extensive use of the ‘dirty’ feed out of the camera to relay on-screen menu detail to our shader positions, with a clean feed going to the switcher.”

The VariCam LT and AK-HRP1000 combination is referred to as CineLive and allows complete control and shading of the camera from the control room. While the CineLive system is capable of 4K internal recording and live HD output, Flatirons currently utilizes the 1080p output to interface with two 24’ by 12’ LED screens and broadcasting services. MacTavish anticipates a future upgrade to 1080/59.94p HDR production as Panasonic’s feature rich technology continues to evolve.

In terms of VariCam LTs’ placement in the main auditorium, Camera 1 is a locked down stage-wide shot, Camera 2 is on the center line 78’ from the stage, Camera 3 is a slash camera used for angle shots from Front of House right, Cameras 4 and 5 are placed approximately 24’ from the stage for angle shots from the left and right, and Cameras 6 and 7 are used handheld on stage left and right for close-ups of musicians and instruments. One AU-EVA1 is used on a 21’ dolly track at Front of House, and the second is used on a jib that is placed in various locations throughout the auditorium.

The VariCam LTs are outfitted with Fujinon Cabrio S35 lenses, including the XK6x20 (T3.5/20-120mm), ZK12x25 (T3.5/25-300mm) and ZK3.5×85 (T2.9-4.0/85-300mm) models, as well as Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 lenses and (for the LTs used handheld) a selection of Rokinon 3550, and 85mm prime lenses, and the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens. The AU-EVA1s use Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM (dolly) and Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM (jib) lenses.

MacTavish said that the AU-EVA1s were providing cost-efficient capture of wider shots, with ease-of-use for operators and versatile iPad control for live shading.

MacTavish supervises four full-time staff, who oversee all aspects of the live weekend worship experience (except audio).  “However, 98% of our operators are volunteers, and training on these latest Panasonic cameras was simple,” he added. “Panasonic has delivered excellent support throughout the upgrade process and has worked closely with us to fine tune our camera configurations and color space.”

To view Flatirons’ worship services shot on VariCam LTs and AU-EVA1 camcorders, visit https://www.flatironsproduction.com/panasonic. For more information about Flatirons Community Church, visit https://www.flatironschurch.com/.

About CineLive

The CineLive system is the unique combination of the VariCam LT Cinema Camera and the HRP1000 Remote Operating Panel.  Through an Ethernet connection, the HRP1000 interfaces with the VariCam LT to adjust the camera’s menus and imaging controls.  Production-style LUTs and CDLs can be used, or broadcast-style RGB controls for live grading.  Scene Files can be utilized for presets and quick switching of modes and looks, including switching between sensor frame rates for different looks.  The CineLive system allows multiple outputs from the VariCam camera so that the camera operator can view a display with focus tools while an engineer sees menu controls and a clean image is fed to a switcher for live output.  Equally at home in 4K or HD environments, the CineLive system can output in either resolution and also record a 4K or HD signal internally for later use.  The internal recording can be color graded to match the live output or left “flat” for later adjustment.  A 4K image can be recorded while an HD live signal is output, allowing for future archive use.  Remote record, tally, callback and return video features allow the engineer at the HRP1000 to communicate with the camera operator at the VariCam LT.For more info on the CineLive system, go to https://info.panasonic.com/varicam-LT-firmware-update.html.

About the VariCam LT

The VariCam LT camcorder inherits the same super 35mm sensor and superb imaging capabilities that distinguish the award-winning VariCam 35, but with significant reductions in size, weight and price. Incorporating this identical imaging “DNA” in a more compact rendition, the VariCam LT delivers 14+ stops of dynamic range with V-Log, and the esteemed cinematic VariCam image quality and color science, as well as the VariCam 35’s breakout innovation, dual native ISOs of 800/5000. Weighing just under six pounds, the VariCam LT is the ideal camera for handheld, SteadiCam, jib, crane, drone, gimbal and overall cinema verité work. The VariCam LT offers a host of new features including an EF lens mount, hot swappable batteries, IR shooting capability, a 23.98 PsF output, cinema style file naming, and image presets such as scene files.

About the AU-EVA1

The AU-EVA1 5.7K handheld cinema camera is distinguished by a pixel count of 5720 H x 3016 V (17.25 million), Dual Native ISO ratings of 800 and 2,500, and 14-stops of dynamic range. The newly-designed EVA1 sensor is Super-35 sized (24.60mm x 12.97mm) with 5.7K resolution. With an active resolution of 5720 x 3016, the EVA1 delivers more than 17.25 million photo sites, nearly double the 8.8 million for 4K DCI (4096 x 2160). Weighing only 2.65-lbs (1.2Kg, body-only) with a compact form factor (6.69” H x 5.31” W x 5.23” D) and a removable handgrip, the EVA1 can be used for efficient handheld shooting applications. Because of its compact form factor, it can also be mounted on a drone, gimbal rig or jib arm for complex yet smooth camera moves.

For more information about Panasonic cinema cameras, visit https://na.panasonic.com/us/audio-video-solutions/broadcast-cinema-pro-video/cinema-cameras or contact Panasonic at 877-803-8492.

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