How Houses of Worship are Simplifying and Energizing Live Video Production with Canon PTZ Cameras

(Image credit: Canon)

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Live video production of services is certainly not new for many houses of worship, but what has evolved since the pandemic struck in 2020 is the increased number of smaller congregations that began relying on video and live streaming via the internet to keep their faithful informed during those troubled times, and even expand by reaching new congregants online, despite social distancing and lockdowns. 

With the pandemic receding, video production—both for live in-person services and for live streaming—continues to play a central role in helping houses of worship achieve their mission of building community and outreach.

As an increasing number of smaller houses of worship adopt video production and integrate it into their ministry, its created challenges as production staffs typically consist of volunteers with limited or no background in video. It’s fortunate then that today’s pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras from Canon integrate several features that eliminate the complexity typically associated with video production, enabling inexperienced volunteers to come up to speed quickly and take control over shots. In fact, the benefits and ease of use are so robust that even larger congregations and mega Churches with sizable video equipment complements and experienced, paid video production staff are incorporating Canon PTZ’s into their productions as well.


(Image credit: Canon)

Highest Level Imaging, Easy To Use

Renowned the world over for its lenses, Canon brings its knowledge and experience designing high-end lenses to its CR-N700, CR-N500 and CR-N300 PTZ cameras. All three models incorporate lens elements that mitigate visual aberrations, thus optimizing their 15x, 15x and 20x optical zoom, respectively.

All three models are also engineered with high-performance 4K UHD CMOS imager sensors. While the CR-N300 offers a 1 /2.3-inch sensor capable of impressive video capture, the CR-N700 and CR-N500 utilize a larger 1-inch 4K UHD CMOS sensor that many houses of worship find particularly attractive when shooting services with low-lighting.

The CR-N700 and CR-N500’s large imager, combined with built-in ND filter and optical stabilization, contribute to capturing a more cinematic look, including shallow depth of field when desired.   

Several other key features make these cameras easy to deploy and use. Premium servo motors controlling pan, tilt and zoom ensure nearly silent, smooth, no-jitter movement.

IP connectivity makes the cameras easy to install and integrate into IP-based video production systems. With Power over Ethernet (PoE) support, houses of worship can simplify cabling. Of course, SDI video output is available for more traditional setups.


(Image credit: Canon)

Operating the cameras is easy as well. Integrating Canon’s Dual Pixel Auto Focus technology (DPAF) on the CR-N700 and CR-N500, the cameras leverage their CMOS imagers on a pixel-by-pixel basis to sharpen and maintain focus automatically—even when the subject moves. Making DPAF work is an ingenious approach that separates signals from each of the two halves of every pixel, allowing the separate photodiodes used for each pixel to work together, thereby creating phase-difference detection and ultimately ensuring automatic focus.

Canon PTZ cameras also leverage advanced facial and subject recognition tracking to maintain focus automatically when panning and zooming. Canon’s Eye AF technology, available on the CR-N700, contributes by looking at the eyes of subjects and tracking movement while maintaining focus.

Each autofocus and tracking technology simplifies video production, thus allowing those with limited experience to quickly perform like skilled camera operators.

The cameras also offer various image adjustments that allow all the Canon PTZ cameras to match the look of the cameras already being used in an existing setup.

Further simplifying operation is Canon’s RC-IP100 remote controller which features a joystick to control pan, tilt, zoom, exposure and other camera settings. The RC-IP100 makes it possible for a single operator to recall settings for multiple Canon PTZ and supported Cinema cameras (up to 100)—a particularly helpful feature for houses of worship looking to minimize production head count.

Proven Performance

The Salvation Army Hollywood illustrates how Canon PTZ cameras can transform live production. Coming out of the pandemic, the organization replaced the smartphone cameras it was using to live stream services with five Canon CR-N500’s. The decision was part of a facility upgrade to make its 300-seat worship space available for benefit shows and even rental to other churches to raise funds for its mission.

With the addition of the Canon RC-IP100, the group dramatically simplified its live video productions by relying on a single PTZ camera operator. ”I can literally have a symphony of cameras moving as if I have six operators at all times, but I’m only one guy,” said Salvation Army Hollywood PTZ operator Tommy Mach.


(Image credit: Canon)

About Canon

Canon U.S.A., Inc. is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions to the United States and to Latin America and the Caribbean markets.

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