Choosing a camera for a church's first foray into video
Our pastor approached me a while back about helping to find a single camera for the sanctuary. He was not interested in recording or broadcasting videos of the service. He simply wanted a camera that could be used to let the nursery workers see when the service was coming to a close. If you've worked the nursery, you know it takes a little time to gather all the gear that came in with little Suzie and her parents don't like to wait while you finish gathering little Johnny's stuff first. Running audio for them didn't work because the audio added to the noise back there and the workers turned it down. He thought a video screen would be more helpful because they could see where the service was whether the sound was up or not.
When the issue was revisited with another tech guy, the thought had progressed to "well maybe we could record it too" thought that is still purely an additional benefit.
I don't want to recommend a $$$$ camera if we aren't seriously interested in a video ministry yet, but I also don't want to say this $ camera will do and then have him be forced to upgrade when his desire to record a better final product is stronger.
My former church started a video ministry with a single VHS camcorder, then we expanded to 3 camcorders and one good quality Panasonic PTZ security camera all going to a Videonics switcher. They've progressed beyond that gear now.
I like the idea of using a PTZ camera because it provides flexibility with (what I deem to be) acceptable video quality, and the controllers can manage more than one camera. However, just getting one Panasonic PTX camera and controller will run us into the $3,000+ range immediately.
Can anyone recommend a viable alternative that will let us grow from single camera to more later without a major capital outlay?
I can only say what has worked for us. Having said that i also did A LOT of research and recomended the purchase of a Canon Vixia HF M41. It fits the bill very well. i will let you decide for yourself, but with the pro-CMOS capabilities usually found on high end pro cameras, the ability to shoot true HD video, great sound reproduction, the ability to record while sending a HD signal via HDMI answered the question for me. we have used it for 6 months now and have done everything from everyday recording to using the HD capabilities for DVD small group guides. check out the link and i think you will see just what the canons can do. take a couple of days and look at it's features as a base, and then compare with other camers and make your choice. i got ours for 500.00 last year. let us know what you decided on
The Panasonic AG HMC-80 is a good option. It would allow you to do the video feed, archive sermons, and it can still be used for recording interviews or other video purposes. The best feature is that its full HD and records to SD cards. It has a 3 CCD chip that allows for professional quality video, not the grainy pixelated look found on consumer cameras.
To run your video feed you could use a Kramer TP-104 HD to send the signal over Cat5 cable to a Kramer TP-120.
It is possible you made need the Kramer TP-120 to scale the image from the camera.
Last edited by stephen_can_man; 04-21-2012 at 03:10 PM.
Reason: additional info
I guess I should have read your post to its entirety. If you are really concerned about adding cameras to your setup, the only reason I can think that you would want to do this is for IMAG or a very good recording of your service...beyond archiving. Is this correct? If IMAG is a future option then using the motorized camera is a good starting place, so long as you don't need it for recording outside of the weekend service.