Control room in The Hall in Zurich with live production hardware and digital film cameras from Blackmagic Design

Event AG and ICF Church refresh AV solution in Zurich’s THE HALL

Already a three time winner of a Swiss Location Award (in 2019, 2021, 2022), state of the art event center THE HALL in Zurich plays host to a variety of different events, including concerts, conferences and live productions. Among its longtime customers who regularly produce live events at the venue is the International Christian Fellowship (ICF) church.

To meet all of THE HALL’s different demands and use cases, Swiss system integrator Event AG planned and integrated an AV solution for the venue in 2017, built on a fiber optic backbone and equipped with live production hardware and digital film cameras from Blackmagic Design.

During the pandemic, demand for studio space and streaming capabilities grew, something no one could have foreseen when THE HALL was originally designed and built six years ago. This highlighted the need for a neutral multipurpose control room and more production space.

ICF and digital communication agency FE Motion decided to expand into the basement to better service demand. “That included the installation of a virtual LED stage with XR (extended reality) capabilities built on Unreal Engine and DeckLink 8K Pro capture cards,” begins Simon Bachofen, project manager and product manager video at Event AG.

Multi camera live production

During this planned conversion, the other production equipment was also checked and, where necessary, refreshed. The ICF’s multicamera production, in particular, now relies on 11 URSA Broadcast G2 cameras for live production. The live camera feeds are routed to the venue’s main gallery, which has been newly equipped with two dedicated ATEM Constellation 8K live production switchers.

“The URSA Broadcast G2 delivers a modern film look with nice colors and less noise,” explains Bachofen. “Likewise, the interchangeable lens mount and option to record using USB-C drives makes these cameras and the space more versatile.”

The main venue space also features a new 3D cable camera system. Rigged with an URSA Broadcast G2, the EagleEye uses fiber for all video and CCU signals plus control.

For large live events, such as the weekly church services, the video content is streamed and recorded, then played out on a 120 m² 4K LED wall running from a Barco E2 Event Master processor and to various monitors installed inside and outside the multipurpose venue space.

For signal management, the AV solution employs the Universal Videohub 288 x 288 and Universal Videohub 72 x 72, as well as three Smart Videohub 12G 40 x 40 routers. DeckLink and UltraStudio capture and playback cards are used across the various computers for fill and key signals.

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The ICF also produces smaller live streams throughout the week, using an ATEM Mini Extreme ISO live production switcher and multiple Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6Ks.

Studio and live production

“ICF productions rely almost exclusively on volunteers, and the team members supporting these are constantly changing. The solution, therefore, has to be simple to set up and easy to use,” explains ICF technical director Marco Rychlik. “The existing ecosystem has been successfully used since 2017, so Blackmagic products were a natural choice for the latest upgrade. Its solutions are also easily scalable, and new components can be added anytime.”

The ICF, which purchased most of the camera equipment, is financed by donations. “That’s why they were looking for a solution that offered good value for money,” Rychlik confirms. “But since other event organizers can also rent those systems out, anything we recommended had to be versatile enough to support both studio and live production.”

“While standard and high end productions differ in their budgets, they are typically fulfilled using similar equipment,” reveals Bachofen. “For example, a television studio rented the space recently for a show and utilized the same production systems used by the ICF, underlining the solutions’ versatility.”

ICF’s Sunday service named the “Celebration” is not only streamed on the church’s own YouTube channel, but it also broadcast on television.

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