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Soon to be recording church service for the first time HELP

Iluvideo's picture
Last seen: 8 years 2 months ago
Joined: 06/24/2006 - 6:54pm
I am still debating on the type of camera I will purchase.
I'm narrowing it down between
GL2
VX2100
Panasonic AG DVC30
JVC GR HD1

OKAY choosing a camera is a headache in itself. Add to that my Pastor is pretty anxious for me to get to taping. I've never taped a church service before however I'm confident I can do it. I'm just concerned because I'm gonna be all by my lonesome. I know they will be happy with anything I do since our church is very small (approximately 50). I just don't want it to be too boring with the one camera. I only have 5250 to spend and I need the camera along with everything that goes with it.
I have my heart set on Avid editing software and that I won't budge on. I also need a new PC pluc mics plus tripod. uggghhh I'm getting a headache!!! ha ha ha

I know... WHAT's the question... ha ha
I'm pretty concerned about audio. If I have wireless a mic hooked up to my Pastor will he still be able to use the handheld mic thats hooked up to our church sound system?? Or will it interfere with the wireless??

brandon0409's picture
Last seen: 8 years 3 months ago
Joined: 05/31/2006 - 12:21pm
I can't really help you on the sound, But here is my advice on the camera.

GL2 is a good camera but keep in mind that its 3 CCD's are only 1/4 inch while the VX2100 is 1/3 inch. Bigger is better when it comes to CCD's.

Low light capabilities are another major factor. The GL2 has the capability for 6 or 7 LUX while the Sony has 1 LUX. Lower is better.

There are other major differences but I am sure that most who will respond to this with say go with the Sony VX2100. That is the advice I continuously received.

I would probably equate the Panasonic AG DVC30 to the GL2.

In regards to the JVC GR HD1.
When I was looking for a new camera, I was almost duped into buying this camera with catchy price tag. That was until I read the reviews on it. Here is a fairly complete review. Read the entire thing. DOn't forget the conclusion at the end.

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/jvc_grhd1_fi_camcorder_review.htm

1st: Most importantly, this camera is only 1 CCD when the typical prosumer camera is 3 CCD's. That is VERY important.

2nd: This HD camera records to a typical Minidv tape. While this is not out of the ordinary, the format is. This camera does not capture RAW DV footage instead to Mpeg2 format which means it is losing some of its quality right off the bat just to fit it to the minidv media.

3rd: Only this camera can be used as a playback device. If you play the tape back on any other video camera HD or SD it just comes out in a jumbled mess of color and fuzz. It claims to be a true 1080i but and that may be. But... If you are going to spend the money on an HD camcorder you should either buy a canon or Sony or Panasonic. Heck at least buy a more updated version of a JVC if you are going to go that route.

Or... Wait a little longer until the format is established a little more.

This camera was one of the first HD cameras on the market. This camera was released in either late 2003 or early 2004. So that means that most of its technology is outdated. There have been many improvements and standard-alities(<- not really a work) in HD since the GR HD1's conception in 2004. Keep that in mind.

ThomW's picture
Last seen: 8 years 2 months ago
Joined: 07/02/2006 - 4:07pm
I had a freind recomend the GL2. It works great. However, I don't think I would buy another one. My biggest complant is the zoom speed is to fast. There are 3 settings but the slowest speed still doesn't allow me to crawl in or out like my consumer sony Dig8 cam. If lighting is important I have heard the VX is good however you mention sound as a concern to you. What I like about the GL2 is that it has a built in attenuator. I can bring in line level sound directly from the PA and control the audio input. The VX2100 doesn't and that means you would have to add that to your arsenal. Though SD is starting to phase out for HD I do have my eye on a PD170. A few hundred dollers more then the VX or GL models but I like Sony and it meets all my needs for now.

This industry sometimes forgets that there was a time in the not so distant past that the only time you got paid was when you woke up the next morning and went back to work. Earning royalties for something you did 20 years ago is only a recent phenomenon


compusolver's picture
Last seen: 9 years 9 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
I'd vote for either the VX2100 or PD170. To get an idea of how the VX-2100 compares to other cams that claim to be 1-Lux -
http://www.okvideoguy.com/c7-vs-2100/

I can only imagine how a 7-Lux camera would have fared. Churches are not known to be the brightest of shooting venues.

Two cameras will allow you to make much more interesting videos. You can even just have one of them stationary with a wide shot, freeing you up to scout about with the other.

You could free up the extra funds for that second cam by being flexible on the NLE.

Most UHF and even VHF wireless mic sets have several channel options that will ensure you don't conflict with the current sound system. Also, check into getting an adapter (attenuator) to plug directly into the house sound system.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that any sub-five hundred dollar tripod/head combo will do. You'll want to make smooth pans and tilts. After collecting several tripods that couldn't cut it (despite their pedigre names) I spent seven hundred dollars on a Bogen 503 head and a heavy set of legs that finally give me the results I'd been looking for.

OnaRoll's picture
Last seen: 8 years 3 months ago
Joined: 05/30/2006 - 12:13pm
Hey Iluv,
I am still debating on the type of camera I will purchase.
I'm narrowing it down between
GL2
VX2100
Panasonic AG DVC30
JVC GR HD1
Having used the VX2100 and the GL-2, I can say that you'll probably be very happy with either if you have pretty good lighting in your church. If you've got a more dimly lit church, a GL2 is going to be more grainy than the VX2100. If you're on a tight budget, the GL-2 is cheaper, but again, you'll need to keep your lighting in mind.
OKAY choosing a camera is a headache in itself. Add to that my Pastor is pretty anxious for me to get to taping. I've never taped a church service before however I'm confident I can do it.
Yep, you should be confident. I got my start filming church services. I was lucky enough to do this at a church that has a studio that's actually nicer than many local TV stations, and a $80,000 a year budget for AV. It was really nice. :-)
I'm just concerned because I'm gonna be all by my lonesome.
Nah, no worries. It would be great if you could find a couple assistants, but you can make due with what you've got.
I know they will be happy with anything I do since our church is very small (approximately 50). I just don't want it to be too boring with the one camera.
I would HIGHLY suggest that you consider a second camera. It will make your editing MUCH smoother, and give your viewers a much better experience. I know that even with the GL2, you're looking at 2/3 of your budget if you get two cameras, but again, it's well worth it for the extra footage. Even if you don't get a second pro camera, get a consumer grade camera from a pawn shop if you have to, so you at least have something for cut takes and B roll stuff.

If you absolutely refuse to heed my advice on getting two cameras, then you'll have to be creative to keep your viewers from losing their minds. Remember, most Americans are adjusted towards tv shows that stay on one shot for at most, 20 seconds. If you leave your camera on one shot for an hour long sermon, a few people will buy the tape on week one, and that will end your video production ministry at your church.

So again, if you make the unwise move of buying only one camera, here's what you're going to need to do. If your church has two services (unlikely due to the size), then the first service would be to shoot your wide shot, and during the second service, you can shoot all the other footage, e.g. congrgants reading along, different shots of the pastor, shots from other angles, etc.

If you only have one service, it might be wise to take nothing but the B roll stuff on your first sunday filming, and use that for filler on all your following videos. The obvious downside to this is that your congregants might be dressed differently, or be in different locations from week to week. So on the tape, you see the wide shot with Mrs. Briarly wearing her red hat, but then you cut to a shot of the crowd and all of a sudden Mrs. Briarly has a blue hat and is located in another part of the church. You'll have to be careful, especially with such a small crowd, if you try that one. My first church had 1200 people on the ground level at three services, so there was no reason to worry about that problem, but then, that church had 6 studio grade cameras that cost over $20,000 each, so there really wasn't a need to recycle footage too much, unless it was a REALLY bad week.
I only have 5250 to spend and I need the camera along with everything that goes with it.
I have my heart set on Avid editing software and that I won't budge on. I also need a new PC pluc mics plus tripod. uggghhh I'm getting a headache!!! ha ha ha
Here's my question for you my friend. Do you NEED avid right now, ESPECIALLY if you're considering only getting one camera (which I think is unwise)?

Right now, I'm working for a church of about 500 members, so we're talking about 10 times the size of yur church currently. Do you know what software we use on the church computer for video editing?

Windows Movie Maker. No joke. Now, admittedly, I will from time to time bring work home, where I have PP2, After Effects, and Vegas 6, so I can give a film a bit tighter edge. But movie maker, for a free utility, is actually okay.

I'm not saying don't buy Avid. What I'm saying is heed the scripture in Luke 14:
28"For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29"Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.'
If you rush out and drop a good part of your budget on Avid when you don't need it yet, it's like the builder buying the fanciest faucets and plumbing, and as a result not being able to build the walls of the house itself.

Further, I would assume that this money is from the church. If so, you're looking at each member having given you about $100 for this. Now, I firmly belive that you're accountable to God for how you use the offerings to the church, but I also believe that you have an obligation to those who have given this money. If a congregant wants to buy Avid for you out of the kindness of his heart, that's wonderful. However, if that doesn't happen, to be wise, and stick to your budget, let Avid wait until later. Be wise about this. Another camera would be a smarter buy.
I know... WHAT's the question... ha ha
I'm pretty concerned about audio. If I have wireless a mic hooked up to my Pastor will he still be able to use the handheld mic thats hooked up to our church sound system?? Or will it interfere with the wireless??
Now, having been a sound tech a lot longer than I've been a video tech (I've been running sound for big churches since I was about 14), I can say that this IS indeed a tough issue.

For audio, here's what I'd do if you buy a GL-2. Get the MA-300 adapter. It will allow you to plug two XLR ("mic jack") plugs into your camera. Then, if your church already has a house sound system, you're set. You just need to plug into the sound board. Depending on the sound board at your church, you might need to get a couple splitters from your outputs and maybe a few cables, but beyond that, you'd just plug into the MA-300, and you can adjust your audio gain on the camera directly. No reason to buy any mics at all. Neat, huh?

If you did want to add a microphone, you could, but unless you have a specific ned, why would you even want to?

If I had this budget, here's how I would divide it up:

1000 - Computer (Get the best computer you can. If you have to buy old used monitors for $20 bucks, do it. Even a good new CRT is pretty cheap anymore). For now, either live with movie maker, or ask the congregation to help you out.

3500 - Cameras. Get two GL-2's for this example

250 - MA-300 XLR adapter plus some extra for any adapters/cables you might need to tap into your existing sound board.

750 - Tripods. Get one cheap $60 tripod for the stationary camera that doesn't move, and spend the rest on a nice fluid head tripod. The Bogen 503 is a nice head for the mobile tripod, and a good sturdy set of legs will really do you wonders with that head.

250 - Unseen expenses/All the little stuff. DVD's and VHS tapes (I know a company out of Hollywood that will give you a great price if you buy videotapes in bulk). MiniDV tapes. Antacids. Extra money if you need to repair a camera. Whatever.

Which comes right up to your $5250 total.

As I said, I think holding on Avid is a good idea, especially in favor of getting two cameras. The above budget also assumes that you're happy with your church lighting, you'll be pluggin into your church sound system for sound, and you'll be plugging the cameras into a wall socket to power them (otherwise, you'll need WAY more battery power than the factory issue battery).

If you need any help, let me know. I've worked on churches from the 5,000 person mega churches al the way down to a 10 person church plant. I've been there and done that. For a while, I was the head AV tech for the Eastern Nebraska Baptist Association, which had a membership of around 50 churches.

You're blessed to have the budget that you do. Use it well. If you have any questions, PM me, and I can help you out.

Peace

compusolver's picture
Last seen: 9 years 9 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
Great advice, Jim! Except for the $3500 example netting 2 GLs. just $3700 could net two VX2100s.

OnaRoll's picture
Last seen: 8 years 3 months ago
Joined: 05/30/2006 - 12:13pm
True, and the VX2100 would be better for poor lighting conditions, which may be the case for such a small church.

Plus, doing it like this makes sure that you have the essentials now, and you can get some good stuff done while you raise funding to buy more later. Tat's why I think dropping big money on editing software right now would be a bad call. On this setup, editing can still be done with the included software, and maybe on next years budget the church could buy one more camera and and nice editing software. At that point, you'll be set for a long time.

Iluvideo's picture
Last seen: 8 years 2 months ago
Joined: 06/24/2006 - 6:54pm
Well I FINALLY made a decision. I went with the Sony PD170 over the 2100 because the 170 already has the xlr capability. I wouldve had to buy the adapter for the 2100.
I'm SOOOOO EXCITED!!! X-D I can't WAIT!!! I ordered the camera and requested it be shipped 2day so I will have it before I go on vacation to Vegas next Saturday. I plan to get some great video while there.

I have a few jobs already lined up after I get home. I LOVE VIDEO!!! ha ha

Iluvideo's picture
Last seen: 8 years 2 months ago
Joined: 06/24/2006 - 6:54pm
Thanks everyone for all of the good advice. I really appreciate all the suggestions.

First let me say this. The church and its members didn't give me ANY money towards my equipment. I am buying everything myself. I am starting my own video production business. I will be taping my churches services for them because I am able to do it and I know my pastor wants it done. I think he's an excellent teacher of the word and I feel others would benefit from hearing him. I feel like I've been given a gift by God so I want to
I plan to do many other things in addition to taping my churches services.
As far as the Avid software. I went to school and was trained on Avid. I figure once you've learned the cadillac of editing ...why go backwards?? I LOVE Avid and I know I'm probably biased. ha ha ha

However I would like to know about hooking up the audio through the sound board. I think we have a mackey sound board at church. Can I get the wire/cable from Radio Shack or Best Buy???

OnaRoll's picture
Last seen: 8 years 3 months ago
Joined: 05/30/2006 - 12:13pm
Iluv,

First off, your willingness to spend your own cash on a project to benefit your church like this is awesome, and I applaud you for it!
However I would like to know about hooking up the audio through the sound board. I think we have a mackey sound board at church. Can I get the wire/cable from Radio Shack or Best Buy???
Okay, follow these steps:

Step 1: Determine the best way to plug into your sound board.

The important question you need to know an answer to before you plug into your board is whether or not it has a built-in amplifier on the main house outputs. The easiest way to determine this is to follow the output cables from the L/R Mains on the board. If they stop at an amplifier (usually they're rackmounts), then you're fine. If the cable goes directly from the sound board itself to the main house speakers, DO NOT TAP INTO THIS LINE! In this case, the line is carrying enough charge to power a big'ol speaker. Imagine what that would do to the frail camera boards!

Another option if you don't want to (or can't) tap into the main house is to see if there's an open foldback (i.e. "monitor") channel on your board. On my little 14 channel Yamaha board I have two foldbacks, most larger boards will have more than that.

If there's an open foldback channel, you can plug into the fb out (usually a 1/4 inch jack). One thing to keep in mind: FB channels can be either prefade or postfade. Sometimes nicer boards will even let you designate which one. A prefade foldback channel means that the levels on that foldback are 100% set by the control knobs, and the fader (sliders) have no effect on them. A postfade foldback channel means that the audio level for each channel first goes through the fader, and then into the foldback channel. On a prefade foldback, you need to set the levels for every input channel uniquely, e.g. you need to balance the sound. On a postfade, you should be able to set all the dials to the same place, and the faders will control the mix. If none of that makes sense, let me know and I'll try to explain it better.

Step 2. Buy the correct cables. First, if you're tapping into the mains, you'll need a "Y" adapter, so you can have both the house sound and your camera plugged in at the same time, and you'll need a patch cable. If you're plugging into a foldback channel, you'll only need to get an adapter patch cable (XLR to 1/4", as most foldbacks use 1/4" outs on the board).

You CAN find some of these cables at Radio shack (Best Buy doesn't have much in true Pro Audio), but honestly, radio shack cables are pretty crappy. The best idea is to find a local guitar/music store and have a rep give you ideas, or look in the book for pro audio shops. You could even find the church in your area with the largest media ministry you know of and ask them where they go. In that case, you'll not only find god equipment, but also people that have earned a reputation for dealing fairly with Churches. For example, In Omaha Nebraska, the best guys out there are Midwest Sound and Lighting. In St. Cloud, MN, you'd make a mistake not to buy from Bridge of Harmony. I've worked with these shops, and they have both given years of dedicated service to churches, and the local churches in those areas all trust them. Find similar locations in your area.

The PD170 is a beautiful camera, but as I said before, you really are going to regret it if you don't have two cameras. Trust me, I've been doing live videography for about a decade. One camera is going to bore your viewers to tears, and as I said before, after the first week, your return customers won't be returning.

I use as many as 4 cameras at a live event, a VX2100, a couple GL-2's and even a GL-1. Sure, they might not be as fancy as the PD170, but the truth is that my customers aren't video experts, and all of them would rather have multiple angles over one nice camera and only one angle.

Have fun with your new camera though, and spend your vacation learning how to use it. And get youself another camera. Like I said, were I in your shoes, I would rather have two cameras and edit in Movie Maker than to have only one camera and Avid. But that's me. This is your money, so you can really do whatever you desire

compusolver's picture
Last seen: 9 years 9 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2004 - 8:16am
Great advice, Jim!

I've been dropping a lav mic or setting up a handheld in a stand about a foot from a speaker to catch soundboard sound, not wanting to tie up a cam.

I've been looking at some digital recorders like Zoom ($149), Marantz ($700) and some others. What would you recommend on the low and (somewhat) high ends? What adapters and other accessories would be recommended?

What I want to do is record on two tracks. Have one track tapped right into the sound board, the other to a wired lav dropped a foot in front of a speaker. This way, I know I'll have sound - one way or the other.

We should ask a moderator to copy these last posts to the Sound forum.

OnaRoll's picture
Last seen: 8 years 3 months ago
Joined: 05/30/2006 - 12:13pm
Hank,

I was actually turned onto Zoom products by my Dad. He's a guitarist, and a short while back, he bought their MRS1608 portable studio for recording his band. For the price (I think it was $650 or $700), I was honestly very impressed. I have a Yamaha portable studio that has a few more tracks, and the CD burner is external, unlike his which had one build in, and that sucker cost me over $2000, and it was used! I would recomend that if you have the money for Yamaha's pro stuff that you get it, because the quality is literally studio quality. But his cheaper Zoom unit still has remarkable quality for the price, and I wouldn't be ashamed to use it for what I do.

The really nice thing about using a multi-track recorder like either my Yamaha or my dad's Zoom is that with several independant recording tracks, you actually record each microphone on it's own track entirely. The really handy thing about that is that let's say you get back to your editing suite, and you find out that half way through the service, the groom's wireless mic starts popping. Instead of having to cut the levels across the entier audio recording, you simply reduce the levels in the groom mic track, and you don't lose the rest of the audio that was recorded. It's like recording live and getting a second chance at it. That saved me more than once.

When I go into an event with a digital recorder, I tend to bring every cable I could possibly need and then some. My inputs are all XLR, so I have XLR patch cables, 1/4" to XLR cables, male to male XLR's, female to female XLR's, and even a couple banana jack to XLR cables.

I also have what I call "the silver bullet", a 1/4" to XLR adapter that has a built-in balancer. They run about $25, but they're well worth it for those times when I just don't have enough XLR cables.

Of course, with any equipment, you do have to look out for quality. I'm a self-proclaimed Shure evangelist. If Shure makes a mic for it, I'll reccomend that you buy that mic. But as much as I love Shure, their "value mics" are pretty crappy, and I tend to avoid them. The same goes for companies like Zoom and Yamaha. Their pro line stuff is great, but they also make plain old cheap crap too. I think most companies are like this though. Just avoid the bottom of the line models, and they'll do ya fine.

Iluvideo's picture
Last seen: 8 years 2 months ago
Joined: 06/24/2006 - 6:54pm
You TOTALLY lost me. Will it say foldback on the soundboard?? I'm totally confused when it comes to the audio part. I REALLY need to get trained on it or something.

OnaRoll's picture
Last seen: 8 years 3 months ago
Joined: 05/30/2006 - 12:13pm
Sit down with a sound tech and poke his brain a little.

Foldbacks are typically used for the monitor channels (the speakers on stage that your musicians listen to.) Each channel is usually a row of knobs that run from left to right on every main channel on the board.

I'm heading out the door, but when I get back, I'll explain more.