How Central Christian Church uses Wireless Follow Focus to Capture Weekend Services

Tue, May 01, 2018
Central Christian Church Easter 2018 live stream with Teradek follow focus
Photo: Central Christian Church

There’s a church in every town and city across the USA, but it wouldn’t be surprising if members of multiple communities recognized the name Central Church. The non-denominational Christian church was founded in 1962 as a small, community establishment in Henderson, NV which locals from all over the Las Vegas area would visit to worship.

Now, half a century later, you wouldn’t believe that the megachurch started from such humble beginnings. Every week, Central Church sees more than 20,000 in attendance at the catalyst location, which doesn’t include their three other locations in the Las Vegas valley, three more across the US, or the locations in Australia and Mexico.

So what makes Central so successful? Well, check out this clip from their Easter 2018 broadcast and see for yourself:

The secret is in their production! Central Church really knows how to put on a show for their viewers. From massive concerts, to LED screens, to exuberant stage lights, to multiple cameras & angles, production is instrumental to keeping their attendees engaged and coming back.

Ryan Fuller, Live Video Director, explains:

“Our goal is to give our community an incredible experience when they attend a Weekend Experience. We have an amazing band and Senior Pastor that lead the service, but what really gives our church that edge is our production. We put a lot of time and effort into making sure the presentation is perfect so that it allows us to point to what really matters--introducing people to Jesus.”

The Setup

Teradek RT Smartknob with RED camera
Teradek RT Smartknob for remote follow focus. Photo: Central Christian Church

Central Church’s Easter service saw an extraordinary 50,000 people in attendance, with over 900,000 views online! How do they manage to attract so many people and keep them engaged? With cinema cameras and powerful camera tools. Here’s what the setup looked like:

  • 9x RED Scarlet W and Dragon cinema cameras
  • 2 on tripod, 3 handheld, 1 on MoVI Pro, 1 on 22ft. jib, 1 on dolly, 1 on Dactylcam
  • 3x Teradek RT wireless follow focus sets
  • Ross Carbonite Black 2ME S
Teradek RT Latitude M receiver
Latitude M receiver on RED Dragon. Photo: Central Christian Church

Remote follow focus was implemented on the three handheld cameras that roamed around the stage. Each camera contained 3x Teradek RT MK 3.1 motors and a Latitude M receiver, with each set controlled by a focus puller in the production studio using 4-Axis MK 3.1 controllers. The RTs offer complete wireless lens control, allowing the crew to adjust focus, iris and zoom on a whim.

Focusing on Faith

Teradek RT motor, receiver and 4-axis controller ready for Easter service. Photo: Christian Central Church

Lens control is critical to getting those perfect shots on camera. The handhelds roamed around the auditorium, filming both the stage and audience members which were projected to the LED screens. By controlling the lenses in real-time, the production team ensured everything was in focus when shooting.

“Our video production is unique in that we’re not just broadcasting it to the big screens in the auditorium and the live stream. We’re also recording everything to edit and post online after the service,” said Fuller.

Central Church's service production value is unlike any other. Photo: Christian Central Church

“Since the camera feeds go to so many places, the footage has to look perfect. We already have awesome musicians and pastors, so we want our production to be just as good. We’re competing against some of the biggest shows on the Las Vegas Strip, so we have to be on our  game!”

The Teradek RT provides a perfect solution for their handheld needs. RED Scarlets (and cinema cameras in general) are pretty heavy to be shooting handheld, but the RT’s brushless motors and receiver are extremely lightweight, not to mention instant. Additionally, with the cameras being so heavy, it’s much easier to have camera assists pulling focus than the camera operators alone. That’s why Central Church decided to go the wireless route.

RED with Teradek RT on MoVI Pro. Photo: Christian Central Church

“I’ve never fanboyed over a product so much as I did for the Teradek RT gear. We knew our Easter service was going to be big, so we needed the best tools in the market. Having the RT stuff gives us that wow factor and production quality that keeps our Owners coming back every weekend.”

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