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Old June 19th, 2012, 10:41 AM   #1
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Equipment List Needed For Multi-camera setup

Hi all, new on here. I've been reading the posts for a while but just decided to join; great info.

Here's my question. I'm looking for a 3 camera setup for a church setting. I'd like the flexibility of using the cameras for the service but also being mobile enough to move the cameras into a small studio for filming discussion programs on various topics or other programs that we come up with. Also, it would be nice to be able to take a camera out in the field for events. We are starting from scratch. We are initially looking at putting out DVDs, putting the programs on the web and possibly streaming. However, I'd like to be able to produce a good enough product to send to TV. We're getting ready to build a sanctuary and are laying out the infrastructure (conduit, power, etc) to support the ministry but I'm wondering what equipment to look at. In that we have many building expenses I don't foresee us having a huge budget. Probably $10-$15,000.

I recently looked at a mobile system belonging to a friend. He is using standard def. recording on a JVC camera of some sort (cant recall which one), a Canon XL1 and a Canon GL2 (I believe). All of this is routed to a switcher. Cameras are on decent tripods and he has a communication system for the operators. He makes pretty good video but I did notice that he was limited when it came to focusing the cameras and matching the pictures, quality and color.

I also recently visited a nearby sister church who have a very nice system in place. Sony cameras, stand. def. as well but like 900 pixel lines or something like that. They had CCUs running to each camera and I was impressed at their ability to match the camera pictures to each other.

I know we can't afford the latter but would like to come close on a budget if possible. I found the Sony PMW-EX3 cameras and they would be perfect with the gen lock and ccu capability but the price for 3 and the rest of the equipment would be over budget.

Are there any other cameras that offer these features but at a lower price point? Can anyone knock me out an equipment list that we could work off of? I would even like to see a list with phases with the important equipment first that would get us going as the 1st phase. We could add more equipment as the years progress such as ccu's etc.

thanks for your help.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 11:01 AM   #2
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Re: Equipment List Needed For Multi-camera setup

If you want to have proper CCU control so you can adjust the exposure and colour balance remotely, it can get expensive. Some of the more expensive cameras can have a remote that plugs into the camera, and it's a reasonable half way house. You can buy comms systems for around 100 per outstation plus headset and the only real pest is bundling all the cables together. It's a bit of a botch-potch but it works. The price jump to real CCUs is amazingly high. Cables, remotes and everything can cost as much or more than the cameras. I'm a bit confused about 'focus'? You said he was limited when it came to focussing? That's down to the cameramen, isn't it!. I've a portable production unit I use that has a mixer, monitors, audio mixer in one flightcase - I have some multicore cables that have at the camera end a breakout box that supplies power to the cameras, has a couple of audio lines, a comms line and component/composite from each camera - These work pretty well. With camera people who know what they're doing results are fine - and even novices can be talked through with comms. I don't have full control facilities and they don't have luxuries like return video, or the really important control of exposure, but I can work with it.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 01:06 PM   #3
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Re: Equipment List Needed For Multi-camera setup

It may have been the cameraman on the one camera.

What's a setup like yours cost Paul?
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Old June 19th, 2012, 01:16 PM   #4
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Re: Equipment List Needed For Multi-camera setup

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Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
If you want to have proper CCU control so you can adjust the exposure and colour balance remotely, it can get expensive. Some of the more expensive cameras can have a remote that plugs into the camera, and it's a reasonable half way house. You can buy comms systems for around 100 per outstation plus headset and the only real pest is bundling all the cables together. It's a bit of a botch-potch but it works. The price jump to real CCUs is amazingly high. Cables, remotes and everything can cost as much or more than the cameras. I'm a bit confused about 'focus'? You said he was limited when it came to focussing? That's down to the cameramen, isn't it!. I've a portable production unit I use that has a mixer, monitors, audio mixer in one flightcase - I have some multicore cables that have at the camera end a breakout box that supplies power to the cameras, has a couple of audio lines, a comms line and component/composite from each camera - These work pretty well. With camera people who know what they're doing results are fine - and even novices can be talked through with comms. I don't have full control facilities and they don't have luxuries like return video, or the really important control of exposure, but I can work with it.
What camera's would you suggest?
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Old June 19th, 2012, 06:01 PM   #5
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Re: Equipment List Needed For Multi-camera setup

with the budget constraint, I would suggest to go with SD set up and buy used equipment:
- 3 Sony DSR-500W & tripod
- Panasonic MX-70 switcher (don't need to setup the timing & genlock)
- DVCam DSR-1500 recorder
- laptop with firewire to capture live video from the switcher.

We have been using that setup for last 6 years to produce DVDs (on the same day) for the Marian Days in midwest with excellent quality.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 10:29 PM   #6
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Re: Equipment List Needed For Multi-camera setup

If you work your way from the projector:
You probably have a computer that you switch between camera with.
You need a switch that puts out something that the projector takes or uprez the switcher output to component or VGA for the projector.
If you have an SDI switcher for your cameras, and you want to switch between them and other devices like DVD, or computers, you need to convert your DVD player and computers to SDI unless your switcher also has a VGA or DVI input for the computer and CV for the DVD player. FSR makes a switcher that outputs VGA and has inputs for VGA and SDI. Marshall makes converters for many formats including CV to SD-SDI.

Black Magic makes several cards that give you SDI out directly from your computer. Your presentation software needs to support it. Propresenter is one that does.

If your switcher is all VGA, then your cameras would each need need to be converted from SDI to VGA.

The suggestion to pickup old cameras may be the only one that fits your budget. Old broadcast and studio cameras will likely be SDI. The problem there is finding 16x9 models ... 4:3 ones are easy to come by.

We use SD SDI for all our cameras and I highly recommend SDI. You can change to HD-SDI and use the same wiring. Ross makes nice SDI switchers.

Something to wrestle with is how many MLEs do you need in your switcher. The video you produce for IMAG in the room isn't necessarily the same as what you would do for web or TV delivery. For IMAG of a speaker, you usually stick with a single camera shot while you change cameras for your web and TV. Or you may be projecting graphics in the room while switching cameras for web and TV. A switcher with two MLEs lets you produce two different outputs like that. We use the Aux outputs from a Ross Synergy to get multiple outputs from a single MLE switcher.

If you post produce to DVD, it's faster if you record to disk than ingesting tape and higgher quality than if you rip a DVR recording. An SDI to Firewire format converter will let you use a computer or Firestore device. Things change when you go to HD however as not all HD formats can be transferred over Firewire.
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Old June 19th, 2012, 10:39 PM   #7
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Re: Equipment List Needed For Multi-camera setup

Audio for recording is another consideration. Typically, the acoustic mix in the room may sound great but the only thing that comes to you for recording is what went into the mics. The FOH mix isn't necessarily a good mix for recording. You need to pay attention to delays between your video and audio so things stay in sync after going through the various conversions. We find there is sometimes a slight delay caused by conversion to SDI.

Lastly, if you at all possibly can, get your control room located so there's visibility to the room. The idea that video should be hidden away is old think ... usually propagated by sound guys. But that's a different topic. :-)
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Old June 20th, 2012, 01:01 PM   #8
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Re: Equipment List Needed For Multi-camera setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
If you work your way from the projector:
You probably have a computer that you switch between camera with.
You need a switch that puts out something that the projector takes or uprez the switcher output to component or VGA for the projector.
If you have an SDI switcher for your cameras, and you want to switch between them and other devices like DVD, or computers, you need to convert your DVD player and computers to SDI unless your switcher also has a VGA or DVI input for the computer and CV for the DVD player. FSR makes a switcher that outputs VGA and has inputs for VGA and SDI. Marshall makes converters for many formats including CV to SD-SDI.

Black Magic makes several cards that give you SDI out directly from your computer. Your presentation software needs to support it. Propresenter is one that does.

If your switcher is all VGA, then your cameras would each need need to be converted from SDI to VGA.

The suggestion to pickup old cameras may be the only one that fits your budget. Old broadcast and studio cameras will likely be SDI. The problem there is finding 16x9 models ... 4:3 ones are easy to come by.

We use SD SDI for all our cameras and I highly recommend SDI. You can change to HD-SDI and use the same wiring. Ross makes nice SDI switchers.

Something to wrestle with is how many MLEs do you need in your switcher. The video you produce for IMAG in the room isn't necessarily the same as what you would do for web or TV delivery. For IMAG of a speaker, you usually stick with a single camera shot while you change cameras for your web and TV. Or you may be projecting graphics in the room while switching cameras for web and TV. A switcher with two MLEs lets you produce two different outputs like that. We use the Aux outputs from a Ross Synergy to get multiple outputs from a single MLE switcher.

If you post produce to DVD, it's faster if you record to disk than ingesting tape and higgher quality than if you rip a DVR recording. An SDI to Firewire format converter will let you use a computer or Firestore device. Things change when you go to HD however as not all HD formats can be transferred over Firewire.
Thanks for the info. I had not thought much about MLEs. We typically don't IMAG although I can see a time where we would need to do that into an overflow multipurpose room. We do send a feed to a flat screen in the mothers room, will probably begin to do the same during the service to another flat screen in the lobby and have thought about putting a TV in the kitchen area. Then of course we have the streaming that I hope to do. Initially I thought about sending the same picture to all but probably need to think through that a bit more.
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Old June 20th, 2012, 01:05 PM   #9
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Re: Equipment List Needed For Multi-camera setup

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Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
Audio for recording is another consideration. Typically, the acoustic mix in the room may sound great but the only thing that comes to you for recording is what went into the mics. The FOH mix isn't necessarily a good mix for recording. You need to pay attention to delays between your video and audio so things stay in sync after going through the various conversions. We find there is sometimes a slight delay caused by conversion to SDI.

Lastly, if you at all possibly can, get your control room located so there's visibility to the room. The idea that video should be hidden away is old think ... usually propagated by sound guys. But that's a different topic. :-)
Unfortunately, the control room does not have visibility to the room. The sound room is up on the balcony and the control room is on the same level but in a back room. We initially had a control room on the balcony as well but this ate up precious seats so it's now in a back room.
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Old June 20th, 2012, 07:17 PM   #10
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Re: Equipment List Needed For Multi-camera setup

Not having visibility is a permanent restriction on what you can achieve for the money. You are blind. Now, instead of glancing up and seeing in a second, you have to ask on the com and somebody has to tell you what's going on. You now need more cameras and more $$$ so you have a clue what's going on. Try to snag some bucks and get an inexpensive single fixed camera shot of the stage on a screen the director can see.
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Old June 20th, 2012, 08:32 PM   #11
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Re: Equipment List Needed For Multi-camera setup

Les, I used to "drive" a Synergy 1 "blind" from the loading bay of our brand new hockey arena back when I was in Winnipeg... Yup... Not easy. With good, professional operators we made it work but I always wished I had either a view or a locked off (or better yet, ROBOTIC) view camera to see the venue...

As Les says, Aux sends or an additional M/E or MLE buss makes multiple display demands easier to deal with... Your budget is pretty tight...
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Old June 20th, 2012, 10:20 PM   #12
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Re: Equipment List Needed For Multi-camera setup

I did a wedding at a mega church earlier this year and it was setup pretty well. They ran 5 or 6 Sony DXC30's including one on a boom and all were switched from the "control room" in the balconey. I've run 30s and 50s in the past and they are still to this day great cameras. The quality (yes they're SD) is great and for the money you can't go wrong. CCU, switcher and 3 or 4 DXC30s and a couple rolls of triax cabling you're in business. they're oldies but goodies. 2/3 inch chips, really good in low light. As you can tell I'm a fan of them for that type of work.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 12:50 AM   #13
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Re: Equipment List Needed For Multi-camera setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
Les, I used to "drive" a Synergy 1 "blind" from the loading bay of our brand new hockey arena back when I was in Winnipeg... Yup... Not easy. With good, professional operators we made it work but I always wished I had either a view or a locked off (or better yet, ROBOTIC) view camera to see the venue..
So, the more I think about this, the more I realize we have gotten spoiled...

OB trucks deal with not having sight lines at all, as do most TV control rooms... Good operators are what make the difference...
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Old June 21st, 2012, 12:56 AM   #14
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Re: Equipment List Needed For Multi-camera setup

Oops! I think we missed part of the original post...

The OP wants something good enough to send to TV.

Not going to happen on the budget you are talking unless you have a very understanding community station who can/will accept standard definition.
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Old June 21st, 2012, 07:24 AM   #15
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Re: Equipment List Needed For Multi-camera setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
OB trucks deal with not having sight lines at all, as do most TV control rooms... Good operators are what make the difference...
I've driven a Synergy 1 blind on 400 productions since 2005.

<soapbox on>
The point you make is one I've heard many a time. It's an argument that's made to stick Church video control rooms in a hole. There's a difference between what most Churches do and network crews do. The main ones are:
Church crews are usually (and especially nowadays) volunteers with day jobs or students.
Network Broadcast trucks and crews have more cameras (especially manned ones) and you have a better chance of coverage to get situational awareness and eyes on the action
Churches are more and more using remote cameras putting fewer camera ops in the room that provide situational awareness and can grab a shot as it unfolds without direction
Just because OB trucks are blind, doesn't mean it's the best thing for video control rooms. It's a necessity for them because they are mobile.

Making video control blind in a permanent venue is an overt decision to have a lower production quality that can only be raised by large amounts of money and/or payroll that you probably won't ever spend or hire to get. Arguably you won't attain what you could have for less money and staff. Instead, Churches put video in a hole and spend as little as possible, especially in large ticket cameras which are the very thing you need more of when blind. When it's done, after the honeymoon, you will sit there and lament some 40-60% of your shots are late or non-existant. But the other place down the road that values excellence, spent less and is kicking your butt.
<soapbox off>
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