For more than 10 years, the International House of Prayer (IHOP) has been conducting prayer and worship sessions on a 24 hour/day, 7 day/week basis at its center in Kansas City, Missouri. The prayer center was initially available only to those in the immediate area but in 2007, the Ministry went to live, 24/7/365 television broadcasts with full production crews. This change not only brought the prayer room to the world, but it also introduced an entirely new set of production challenges that were solved with the use of Telemetrics Camera Control Systems.
Using the emerging robotic television production model pioneered by Telemetrics with its Camera Control Systems, as well as new multi-platform distribution strategies including the Internet and satellite TV, IHOP-KC is able to air over 180 hours of live broadcast programming each week from the IHOP-KC facility. To support the 24/7/365 schedule, the prayer room has consistent worship teams of 10-15 people who are part of a group of approximately 1000 full time people who commit to 12 two-hour prayer times each week.
The worship teams are live on camera at all times as the prayer room is the core of the Ministry. This always-running broadcast schedule presented some unique challenges for Jono Hall, Media Director for IHOP-KC, in terms of keeping up a level of production professionalism and creativity.
"The programming is about prayer and worship and we did not want to call attention to the complex technical elements that are part of a broadcast production," said Mr. Hall. "The Telemetrics camera control systems allow us to put out a professional looking broadcast with a variety of camera moves and views that make it more appealing for the viewer without distraction from jerky or noisy camera moves and shots."
Mr. Hall goes on to say that having an unobtrusive system in the prayer room so as not to bother the worshipers was also a requirement. He added, "There are no camera operators in the room. We get really cool shots from the remote controlled dolly and Televator which, in any other regular studio production, would require zip lines and jibs and other distracting set ups. We can do it all without the distractions."
A 24/7/365 schedule also required around-the-clock staffing of the production crew. Aside from the financial burden a full time crew would cost, there was the challenge of finding and employing enough qualified people. Both of these reasons were additional motivation for the Ministry to turn to the Telemetrics Camera Control Systems.
"Whether it's during our NightWatch period from midnight to 6 am or during our regular daytime programming, the Telemetrics package gives us the ability to have a multi-cam shoot with only one camera operator," added Mr. Hall. "The dolly moves are smooth, and the pan and tilt and Televator respond with fluid movement that makes our on-air live production flow like a ballet."
Included in the production package from Telemetrics are the PT-CP-S2 Pan/Tilt Head, the EP-PT-S2 Televator® Elevating Pedestal, the ECM-PT-S2 Extendable Camera Mount, and the TG-TRO TeleGlide® Trolley c/w dual rail track system with mounting and support connecting brackets. The robotic camera control production system allows the IHOP Media Director to maintain live 24 hour a day production with minimal staff.
The Telemetrics PT-CP-S2 Pan/Tilt Head is used with a Panasonic AW-E860 Camera in a side-mounted configuration. Variable operating speeds and shot convergence technology that allow for programmable timed presets to start and stop all axes simultaneously help to ensure smooth, operator-like operation. For added functionality, the Pan/Tilt Heads are mounted on the Televator elevating pedestals which allow the program director to add up to 15" in height for a live or pre-programmed shot.
Other configurations include cameras and pan/tilt units used with the Telemetrics TeleGlide Trolley to provide quick, smooth and quiet camera positioning. It is fully servo-controlled with location feedback for preset position and motion control. In total, the studio uses seven cameras including wall mounted configurations using the Telemetrics ECM-PT-S2 Extendable Arm.
The system is controlled with the Telemetrics CP-D-3A Desk Top Control Panel that communicates via RS-232/422 to the Telemetrics serial Pan/Tilt heads. The joystick controls the pan/tilt/zoom (twist) functions with adjacent control knobs to set the speed sensitivity. Programmable buttons facilitate up to 250 user programming camera selects.
"Telemetrics really was the only product solution that fit our need to have minimal crewing with full television production quality," said Mr. Hall. "We have a seven camera shoot with one person controlling everything."
He added, "The products really get torture tested in this 24/7 application. They don't get a break. There's no down time. Telemetrics seemed to truly understand this and has been very responsive to our needs. I want to commend them for that."