soliciting advice

tkalvey wrote on 1/16/2007, 6:20 PM
I think that I have my Minister of Music convinced that, while being easy to control and convenient, mounted PTZ cameras will not offer any flexibility and will see us spending alot of money for a joystick and a couple of less than spectacular cameras.

So, what are some suggestions for an alternate? I haven't studied this much, but have seen work from a GL2, and I'm not UN-impressed. I would be shooting from about 100 feet every week...and need a tall (6foot) tripod too.I am also looking for a suggestion for a "deck" that will eliminate the need for the camera to pull double duty.


farss wrote on 1/17/2007, 12:34 AM
For a minute the subject had me worried....

From 100 feet away you're going to need a very long lens if you need to get in tight. Worse still at that focal length you can loose a fair bit of light. Also you'll certainly need a good tripod and stable support for the tripod.
From what you're saying is the alternative a camera with remote control but in much closer?

If so it mightn't be a bad option to consider so long as it's got a good pan/tilt head (not cheap), and full remote control of the camera. The only way though to get really good image quality from a camera in this application is SDI, firewire has too much delay for live switching and anything with a SDI interface is getting expensive. Y-C (S-Video) isn't as bad as composite but over long cable runs you can get issues with Y/C offset. One way to avoid this is some of the little baluns that'll feed Y-C over Cat 5.
AlanC wrote on 1/17/2007, 2:45 AM
A good quality PTZ or high speed dome security camera will easily give excellent close up images at 100 ft. However, you would be looking at a cost in excess of £1,600 for the camera and lens plus another £600 for the keyboard joystick.

A cheaper alternative would be a good quality webcam with PTZ functions. Have a look at PTZ Webcam

It's currently 03:45 there so you will need to wait for sunrise.

The big advantage of this is that you don't need a seperate monitor, keyboard and joystick. You do it all through your PC.

AlanC wrote on 1/17/2007, 3:00 AM
Here's on in Europe where it's currently daylight. PTZ Webcam
farss wrote on 1/17/2007, 5:34 AM
Thanks for that link, was fun playing with the camera but for anything serious it's a joke.
AlanC wrote on 1/17/2007, 5:43 AM
Bob, it depends what you are trying to achieve. Controlling that camera (or any other for that matter) over the Internet is going to be slow and frustrating but controlling it locally is much much faster.

It's not the best IP camera available but for the application it's used on I think it's quite satisfactory.

farss wrote on 1/17/2007, 6:12 AM
Agreed, for THAT application it's fine.

I'm assuming what the original poster was looking for was a camera for feeding either projection screens or recording. That means he'd want a medium closeup of the minister and from 100' away and that means a pretty long lens, longer than comes on any prosummer camera. At that length of lens you need really good pan and tilt drives and none of that stuff is cheap. I'll admit I've done that sort of gig in lighting not much different to a church and with a 3 CCD 1/2" camera and a pretty expensive bit of glass on the front, it and me were struggling. And a Miller tripod was barely upto the task of avoiding jerky pans either.

Then again I could have completely misunderstood the inital post in which case my comments are way off the mark, for all I know he could simply be after a good security camera.

For a good security camera, well there's cheap ones and there's some really good ones with remarkable smear rejection using fast DSPs that aren't that expensive.... I highly recommend something that supports a motorised iris too. The Go Video CCS-GEM-I is one example.
AlanC wrote on 1/17/2007, 6:54 AM
"Then again I could have completely misunderstood the inital post in which case my comments are way off the mark, for all I know he could simply be after a good security camera."

No, I think it's me that completely misunderstood. That's my line of business (security cameras) so I jumped in both feet first.

RalphM wrote on 1/17/2007, 9:54 AM
I'm not sure the PTZ cameras are such a bad idea. They are small and can possibly be placed closer than 100 feet depending on the design of your worship space. Sony has a 3 chipper at a price, but the results are pretty impressive.

If you are line of sight, there are some moderately priced wireless solutions that may work for getting the signal where you want it.

As far as a deck - why not just use a laptop and record direct to HDD?
Bill Ravens wrote on 1/17/2007, 1:08 PM
wear a short, red dress
(forgive me, i couldn't resist)
tkalvey wrote on 1/17/2007, 3:19 PM
This is such a great forum...

All good points to consider, and I'm picking up quite a bit of info. What I am looking for is a (a couple) camera(s) to just record services and transfer to DVD and eventually start hosting on the web this spring.

I stepped of the sanctuary and the distance is more like 50' (hard to believe I ran cable for our system and couldn't remember that!)

I liked the idea of recording straight to to computer hard drive...may not need a lap top.

I wanted to stay away from the PTZ cameras due to their lack of flexibility. For the direction we are going I feel it is important to be able to do more than just record the service with this investment. We are looking for in-home interviews, music videos, ministry highlights, etc.

I think our budget right now is going to allow for one camera and a good tripod. The camera should preferably have XLR inputs, but must have sound input of some kind. Our lighting situation is not ideal, and our more seasoned members are unlikely to approve of additional lighting.

I guess the shortest way to ask the question is what camera is going to give me the most bang for my buck? I'm sure there are others out there running systems for their churches....what are you guys doing, what should I avoid?

farss wrote on 1/17/2007, 3:38 PM
Sony V1 camera with DR60 HDR would seem a very good choice and will hold you in good stead for a long time to come, IF you have enough light. Lighting doesn't have to be that intrusive. Plenty of ways to add more light in a church, think space lights, can be very cheap, even something as simple as higher wattage / more efficient lamps in existing fittings.

If your buget doesn't stretch to the V1, the PD 170 can be had very cheaply, excellent low light and better audio than the V1.