Pope Francis' September 26 Mass at Philadelphia's Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul to be Captured with Panasonic AW-HE130 and AW-HE870 Remote Pan/Tilt/Zoom Cameras

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The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, will provide a glorious backdrop for Pope Francis' first stop on his visit to the city, a special papal mass to be celebrated for the people of the Archdiocese. Live video feeds of the mid-morning Saturday, September 26 mass for the 2,200 congregants as well as for worldwide viewers will come from several newly-installed Panasonic remote production cameras, including six  AW-HE130 integrated 1/3” pan/tilt/zoom and two AW-HE870 2/3” 3-CCD multi-purpose units.

With its grand façade, vaulted dome, and main sanctuary that comfortably holds up to 2000 worshipers, the Cathedral Basilica is the largest brownstone structure and one of the most architecturally notable structures in Philadelphia. Daniel Kearns, technology specialist to the Communications Office of the Archdiocese (and currently Broadcast Engineer, Princeton University), said the Basilica’s prior 4:3 robotic camera system sustained its AV requirement until earlier this year when the papal visit was announced. Event production company ESM Productions (Philadelphia, PA), assigned to handle all on-Benjamin Franklin Parkway activities during Pope Francis' stay, understood that the Cathedral Basilica would be a focal point and approached Kearns to determine if his longtime plans to upgrade the robotic cameras to 16:9 HD models could be implemented..

With funding for the project from a church donor in place, Kearns consulted with longtime colleagues Dave Barletta of Cenero (Malvern, PA) and Joe Pagano of RGB Broadcast Video Service (Philadelphia, PA), and chose the Panasonic remote production pan/tilt/zoom cameras, which excelled in side-by-side comparisons.

“Our criteria are unique for a large venue,” said Kearns. “We're not in the entertainment business, our 'productions' require a reverent, unobtrusive approach: we don't want to notice the cameras during the celebration of a mass.”

“Beyond these considerations, the Basilica Cathedral is an historic landmark, the largest Catholic church in Pennsylvania, with vintage lighting and long vistas (approx. 30,490 sq.ft.). The cameras' technical specifications had to be top-notch.”


Panasonic representatives visited the Basilica Cathedral, and demonstrated that the HE130s--several to be placed in the main sanctuary--would be discreet and that camera movements would not disturb the congregants. Ultimately, four HE130s have been installed in the body of the church, one each on the front left and right pillars, facing the altar; a third on the second left pillar, facing back to take in pews and processions; and the fourth on the last left pillar, looking back at the church entrance and the baptistery.
A fifth HE130 is placed on the right side of the altar, looking back at the congregation; and the sixth is in the choir loft, on top of the organ, looking forward through the church to the altar.

Kearns chose critical placements for the two HE870s, with their bigger, 2/3” optics, superior light handling and longer, 20x zoom lensing. One is placed on the left side of the choir loft, trained in the opposite direction on the pulpit and also able to capture the wider shot of processions moving from the rear of the church to the altar. The second HE870 sits on the left side of the altar, looking all the way back through the church to the vestibule at approaching processions, and able to capture sweeping views of the church and its celebrated stained-glass windows.

Kearns also plans to have two, five-pound AJ-PX270 P2 HD camcorders on hand for the papal mass, both outfitted with Paralinx Triton 1:1 wireless transmission systems. “The PX270s have the same chip set as the HE130s, and we can use them on tripods, one in a left side aisle where we have no other camera coverage, and the second in a large side chapel where up to 800 of the communicants will be viewing the mass on two large screens.”

On September 26, Kearns will be operating all the cameras from a new, permanent control room located in the church's upper sacristy. HD-SDI cabling runs from the cameras back to the master control room, and an IP connection is maintained through a Panasonic AW-RP120 remote camera controller.

Live video coverage of the papal mass will be fed to a multi box in the church's parking area, and also over fiber to ESM Productions, who will direct the feed to large video walls outside the church and all along Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The video will also be sent over fiber to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where feeds will be set up for worldwide media coverage.

For more information about the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, visit www.cathedralphila.org; for more information about the upcoming papal visit, visit. www.popefrancisvisit.com

About the AW-HE130
The AW-HE130 P/T/Z incorporates new high-sensitivity; low-noise 1/3" 3-MOS imagers that produce stunning pictures, even in low light conditions. Revolutionary new features include Power over Ethernet+ (POE+) for easier integration; and multi-stream transmission of H.264 HD video and audio (up to 1080/60p at 25Mbps.) The HE130 adds many innovative features to previous Panasonic P/T/Z models, such as a 3G-SDI output (up to 1080/60p); stereo mic/line-level inputs for embedded and streaming audio; a Night Mode for hi-res; near IR video acquisition (using an optional IR-illuminator in the 900nm range); an Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S); and IP-Live Preview for remote control and management of up to 16 cameras via Browser.

About the AW-HE870
The AW-HE870N is a cost-effective, versatile 2/3″ HD/SD convertible camera that supports 1080i/720p/480i image acquisition. Delivering affordable image capture for a wide range of applications and lighting conditions, the HE870 is compatible with most 2/3-inch motor drive zoom lenses, all current Panasonic Broadcast pan/tilts and controllers, and many third-party systems. The versatility, high video quality, and cost effectiveness of the HE870 makes it ideal for use in education, government, houses of worship, corporate, rental and staging, and other applications. The HE870’s 38-bit digital signal processor (DSP) and 14-bit A/D converter deliver super-sharp images. The camera’s high sensitivity is measured at f11 at 2000 lux for superb video capture in varied lighting conditions. Panasonic’s advanced spatial-offset, image-processing technologies provide exceptional high definition imaging, and 12-axis color correction allows for precise control and matching of HD video.
  
For more information about Panasonic professional video products, visit www.panasonic.com/broadcast, or contact Panasonic at 877-803-8492.

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