(HOUSTON, TX, October 11, 2005) Lakewood Church has purchased eight Fujinon HD lenses as part of the extensive $95 million upgrade of its new home, formerly known as The Compaq Center.
The Fujinon HD lens package includes two XA72x9.3ESM HD ENG lenses, which are used on Sony HDC-900 fixed cameras; as well as three HA13x4.5BERM and three HA22x7.8BERM HD ENG lenses, used on Sony HDC-950 hand-held cameras.
The refurbished 16,000 seat arena, now known as the new Lakewood Church, is host to a Christian service that integrates spectacular multimedia video and graphics displays and dramatic, theatrical staging of singers and musicians to present the ministry of world-renowned pastor Joel Osteen. Lakewood Church videotapes its weekly services and produces a variety of programs—a one-hour, half-hour, and Spanish version—which are aired by networks worldwide, including Discovery, USA Network, ABC Family, Trinity Broadcasting Network, Daystar Television Network, and CNBC Europe.
“Early on in the renovation process, we consulted with our Fujinon representative, Dave Waddell, to determine the ideal locations for our eight cameras and the type of lens that would work best from each vantage point. We then designed the arena around this multi-camera plan,” says Jon Swearingen, director of broadcast media for Lakewood Church (www.lakewood.cc).
During the one-hour service, Swearingen says that Cam-Mate camera jibs sport cameras equipped with Fujinon HA13x4.5BERM lenses because the lenses’ wide angle capability takes full advantage of the jibs, allowing the shots they capture to be as visually compelling as possible. The Fujinon XA72x9.3ESM and HA22x7.8BERM zoom lenses are used in hand-held applications.
“With these lenses, we can present crowd shots with incredible clarity, yet we can zoom in on a saxophone that someone is playing on stage. These images enhance our television programs as well as the experience of those seated in the arena,” says Swearingen.
“We chose Fujinon HD lenses for three reasons,” he explained. “We liked the look that Fujinon lenses produced due to the quality of the workmanship; we had always received excellent customer service from Fujinon; and Fujinon offered us incomparable price-performance.”
While the video is shot in HD, the imagery is currently down-converted to standard-definition. However, the new Lakewood Church arena has been cabled to support HD, and there are plans to upgrade to all-digital HD production, complete with 5.1-channel surround sound, in two years. “We felt it made sense to purchase the HD cameras and HD lenses now because our original complement of SD cameras had reached their end of life,” says Swearingen.
Called the largest, fastest-growing congregation in the United States by Forbes.com and Outreach Magazine, Lakewood Church attributes its exponential growth to the popularity and effectiveness of its leader, Joel Osteen (whose book, “Your Best Life Now,” recently debuted at the top of the NY Times Bestseller List.)
Swearingen says, “Our use of top-flight acquisition equipment, like our Fujinon HD lenses, and sophisticated video technology, enhances our ability to communicate the message of Joel Osteen’s ministry to those attending Lakewood Church as well as via television from around the world.”