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Imaginate
12-26-2009, 10:50 AM
I'm looking for a strategy for a church that wants to video tape their Sunday services:

* final output would probably be a DVD or online video that could be downloaded from youtube or some similar service.

* A system that could be operated by one person
* 3 Remote cameras with a switcher
* Some kind of unit to add titles
* SD cameras would be find unless someone had a really good reason for shooting in HD?

Has anyone had any experience in church or commercial installations similar to this? Any advice?

Captain Pierce
12-27-2009, 06:44 AM
Take a look at Vaddio (http://www.vaddio.com/). Three of their PTZ cameras (the ones based on the Sony EVI-D70 are a good basic model) and their ProductionView FX switcher/camera controller make a nice system.

Richard Crowley
12-27-2009, 11:02 AM
It would be very helpful to have some kind of ballpark budget so you would at least know what category of equipment to look at. How big is the church (both physically and number of members)? Consider also a modular approach where they could start with a decent switcher and one or two cameras, and develop a support-base for the project to expand the number of cameras, etc.

I would strongly urge HD unless they are really ultra-low-budget. SD is a dying breed and HD will "future-proof" their investment. Several consumer HD camcorders produce pictures as good as previous generations of pro equipment (assuming decent lighting).

And speaking of lighting: Be sure to set aside a decent part of the budget for lighting. Most churches are rather poorly lit and likely most of them need some augmentation for decent video. In many cases an equal amount of $$$ will produce better results on screen when spent on lighting vs. on cameras.

Captain Pierce
12-27-2009, 07:06 PM
In my experience, most churches are what I would call "ultra low budget." And please understand that I don't mean that as an insult; it's just a combination of their non-profit status and the heavily committee-based acquisition process. The more people involved in making the decision, the less money they're likely to spend... (again, in my experience, your mileage may vary :) )

As an example, the last time I was involved in a church video system upgrade, I recommended just exactly what I did here. The church elected to go with the Vaddio D70-based PTZ systems, but decided against the switcher/controller in favor of some Xantech IR extenders for control and their existing WJ-MX50 switcher. Then, about a month after the install, the MX50 died, and (again) they went the cheaper route, replacing it with an Edirol V-4 (since they'd just bought the IR extenders).

Also, you have to consider the audience for the product. I'm as much in favor of future-proofing as anyone, but... look, churches tend to make their DVD's for elderly parishioners who can't make it to church; given that it's unlikely that this audience is going to have Blu-Ray players (or even HD-capable TV's unless their old SD set dies and they have no choice but to upgrade), your average church just isn't going to see any benefit from "future-proofing" for a lot of years.

Captain Pierce
12-28-2009, 11:08 AM
Having just said all that :D, it looks like Vaddio's new ProductionView HD switcher/controller has a built-in "Lower Graphics System," taking graphics from PowerPoint on a PC or something called "Keynote" on Mac and inserting them in various areas of the screen and with varying levels of transparency, so that might be worth a look since they're looking for titles... it's a big price upgrade from the ProductionView FX, though...