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Cathedral Updates AV Setup For Papal Visit

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Ahead of Pope Francis' visit this autumn to Philadelphia-based Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, an updated video broadcast system was installed in the cathedral.

Joe Pagano, CEO and Chief Engineer at RGB Broadcast Video Services, led the project from design to implementation, making the cathedral's transition from SD to HD seamless. Built to document and share a live stream of the Pope's visit with broadcasters and worldwide satellite providers, the installation remains in operation at the cathedral for capturing, recording and archiving masses and high-profile events.

The new setup required an Apple ProRes recording device and an HDMI to HD-SDI conversion solution. Deciding to implement AJA Ki Pro Rack and the AJA HA5 Mini-Converter, Pagano said: "I use AJA gear on almost every project, especially for high profile installs like this where we can't afford any glitches; AJA develops remarkable products at a great price. The specs on the Ki Pro Rack and HA5 were particularly appealing for this install. We have also used AJA products for over 15 years with great results, so I knew we’d be happy using them on this one."

In three months, Pagano and the RGB team designed and assembled the system, installing more than 2,500 feet of new Belden HD cabling, eight robotic broadcast cameras and 50" LCD monitors throughout the sanctuary. The project presented several attachment challenges, as Pagano and the team worked to seamlessly blend in the new technology with the 200-year old building.

Wired for HD 1080i, the installation is powered by a robotic camera system comprising Panasonic broadcast-grade AW-HE130 and AW-HE870 cameras. In the upper sacristy, the master control room includes a NewTek 800 series switcher, 20 X 20 routers, 16-input multi-viewers and a Soundcraft audio board fed by 23 microphone sources. Two AJA Ki Pro Racks and four 1TB KiStor recording modules facilitate ProRes recording, while two AJA HA5 Mini-Converters linked with Paralinx receivers convert HDMI to HD-SDI.

"We need gear that works every time – no fuss, no muss. AJA products have been great over the years, because they're reliable and easy to use. The Ki Pro Rack and HA5s helped us deliver a system for the cathedral that not only maintains signal stability but also high definition 1080 HD-SDI," Pagano continued. "With every piece of AJA gear we've ever worked with, including the Ki Pro Rack and HA5, all we've had to do is take it out of the box, plug it in, and it just works. And if we have any questions, the AJA support team is always readily available to help us out."


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