Photo 2023 © Green Acres Communications Ministry

Director of video engineering and live production, Casey Hawkins, shares how Fujinon ​​lenses keep Green Acres Baptist Church connected to its members

Lights, camera, preach!

That’s typically not the phrase associated with video production. But, behind a desk in Green Acres Baptist Church sits Casey Hawkins, the ministry’s director of video engineering and live production – and he has a different view of the industry. At this Tyler, Texas church, the cameras are rolling, employing Fujinon lenses to spread the word across the country.

Much like other churches and congregations throughout the United States after the COVID-19 pandemic, Green Acres is broadcasting its sermons. However, unlike others, it was ready to go as soon as in-person services halted.

“The first week, we were full-blown live,” Casey reveals.

Fujinon lenses just work – as we need them to, as they were sold to us, and as designed.

– Casey Hawkins –

Green Acres had previously broadcast for nearly a decade on national television, but come lockdown, the church switched to internet streaming. “The service goes out to YouTube Live, Facebook Live, and our website and mobile app,” Casey announces happily. “It also goes out to our Roku channel.”

However, the COVID-19 pandemic truly tested the production and livestreaming capabilities of Green Acres. Casey describes streaming during that time as “the lifeline of the church.” Thanks to the latest imaging technology, it could connect with thousands of its members during the period when live, in-person sermons were restricted.

Photo 2023 © Green Acres Communications Ministry

The responsibility of Green Acres’ production fell on Casey’s shoulders. There was no room for error, so he knew it had to be Fujinon lenses that were used to document the church’s activities.

“I’d seen Fujinon on TV trucks – I like keeping up with broadcast. If it’s good for sports production trucks, it’s good for me,” he states. But of course, he also had another crucial factor in mind: the budget.

Casey recognized Fujinon lenses for their high-end production quality, but the pricing still managed to beat the competition. They are top-class in their field and offer a compelling value proposition. But did he receive everything he wanted within his budget?

“These lenses outperform anything I’ve used. I couldn’t ask for better,” Casey says.

Fujinon takes care in constructing its optics, down to each piece of glass. By utilizing technologies such as High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating (HT-EBC) and extra-low dispersion (ED) glass elements, Fujinon ensures every lens offers high light transmittance with decreased flaring, ghosting, and chromatic aberrations.

Photo 2023 © Green Acres Communications Ministry

Casey emphasizes the service he received during the early stages, admitting that outfitting the 3400-seat church was a challenge. the Fujinon team traveled to Tyler, Texas to help Casey and his team make the right purchase decision – a gesture Casey relays with disbelief.

“You don’t know what type or size of lens is going to work, but Fujinon are there for you. They took care of us, and it is absolutely everything we could have wanted – or more!”

Photo 2023 © Green Acres Communications Ministry

When it’s time to go live, the team at Green Acres relies on two Fujinon 55x box lenses and an assortment of portable lenses. With excitement, Casey relays how they transformed the video production process.

“We benefit from the stabilization built into the box lenses. We have a good distance between the church’s platform and our operators, and body movement becomes an issue when an operator is zoomed in beyond 50-60%. The fact that stabilization is built into the lens, to counteract that, is nice,” Casey tells us.

The stabilization Casey refers to is FUJINON Optical Stabilized Technology (OS-Tech). Fujinon lenses incorporate a system that can optically compensate for vibration, respond quickly, and maintain a natural-looking image at all times. Whether it’s operator body movement or the rumbling low notes of a church organ, OS-Tech will handle it.

Many of the camera operators in the church are not long-time broadcast professionals, but rather volunteers from the church community itself. Having equipment that’s easy to operate is essential.

– Casey Hawkins –

Photo 2023 © Green Acres Communications Ministry

What truly impresses Casey is ease of use. Many of the camera operators in the church are not long-time broadcast professionals, but rather volunteers from the church community itself. Having equipment that’s easy to operate is essential.

Casey shares that, in the past, camera operators “had trouble maintaining focus.” This is another area where Fujinon lens features proved their value. 

“We wanted handling issues resolved in this equipment upgrade – and we got that,” he proclaims. “No matter who we have running the camera, they can maintain focus throughout the service. I attribute a large part of that to Fujinon lenses and their ease of focusing.”

In addition to the easy-to-use manual focus that is benefitting Green Acres, Fujinon box lenses also offer advanced autofocus. The advanced system employs proprietary phase detection technology that allows instant focusing – no searching here. Pair that feature with in-built Breathing Compensation Technology (BCT), and you have an image that remains in focus, even while zooming.

Photo 2023 © Green Acres Communications Ministry

Just as critical as the picture produced is the ability of each lens to continue making images day after day. Casey emphasizes how there was no room for failing equipment or mistakes.

“As the person in charge of engineering, I can’t accept failing technology. When I come in on Sunday, I need to have confidence that everything will power up and function. Fujinon lenses just work – as we need them to, as they were sold to us, and as designed.”

Would Casey choose Fujinon for Green Acres Baptist Church if he had to make the decision all over again?

“I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one again, period. Purchase, install, and support after the fact were all excellent. And Fujinon still thinks of us years later,” he beams. “The entire experience was top-notch. They took care of us, a little church in Texas.

“I wouldn’t have any desire to look anywhere else.”

Learn more about Fujinon lenses and browse the full range of broadcast and cinema optics today.