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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old September 18th, 2004, 09:16 PM   #1
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Remote control cams w/ laptop for weddings

This must be very expensive if it exists.

Someone told me he know of a guy who shoots weddings with 4 cameras remote controled by his laptop. He sits in the back of the church with a laptop showing 4 video screens of each camera. He records each cam in the computer at the same time and can zoom in pan and tilt each camera - with his laptop.

This sounds like tom foolery. Or is it really possilbe and how much? What software?

Anybody?
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Old September 18th, 2004, 09:21 PM   #2
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Huh?

I don't even think the CIA could do that. You would have to use a terabyte HDD!
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Old September 19th, 2004, 07:03 AM   #3
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in fact that is really easy.
you buy 4 cheap (less than 100$ each) lcd screen to monitor the picture.
The you choose a way to link to you camera (wireless or cable or both). Knowing that church are rarely huge, a cheap 2.4 Ghz system (less than 100$ each for emitter/receiver) is ok.
Remember it is just for monitoring purpose, so no problem if there is few drops, the picture is taped directly on the cam.
Then the remote control (pan/tilt/zoom at minimum, pause, stop, rec are optional). Several company make this for more or less cheap. Some are wired other a wireless, some use analog signal, serial RS232, other digital, or ethernet. the best product you can find is the powerpod, coming in several flavor.
see www.trackercam.com.
Frankly i am not sure this is the best way to tape weddings as remote tripod can hardly move by themselves and even with 4 cams you should be very lucky to have set them at the right place.
If you need several backup views, it is easier to buy two cheap small handycam and some hardware to make sure you can fix them anywhere, recording all the wedding.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 08:40 PM   #4
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Re: Remote control cams w/ laptop for weddings

<<<-- Originally posted by Tyson Persall : This must be very expensive if it exists.

Someone told me he know of a guy who shoots weddings with 4 cameras remote controled by his laptop. He sits in the back of the church with a laptop showing 4 video screens of each camera. He records each cam in the computer at the same time and can zoom in pan and tilt each camera - with his laptop.

This sounds like tom foolery. Or is it really possilbe and how much? What software?

Anybody? -->>>

The major TV studios do total camera control all the time with their computer-controlled robot cameras on pedestals. But it isn't cheap.

As for recording, it would take one very very hot laptop with significant drive capability to record 4 streams of video.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 11:26 AM   #5
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Maybe the laptop wouldn't have to be responsible for recording. Each camera could be capturing to tape and the Laptop can be used to control and monitor the cameras only.
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 12:00 PM   #6
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4 cameras remotely

I bought the powerpod and I am going to test it tonight. I will post my review tomorrow.

I am basically looking for something I can use for Wedding Videography. Most of the time the chuches I work in DO NOT allow a videographer to video in the front or 3/4 of the way from the back of the chuch. It makes it really hard to get good shots of the B&G walking down the isle.

Some expensive options are in the 2k+ range, which is too much in my opinon. I wanted to try a cheap route first, considering I don't need a fluid pan and tilt as much as a rough pan and a good zoom.

Here are some links to products I found.

http://www.video-direct.com/accessories/other/wcck.html $370
http://www.trackercam.com $169


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Old November 23rd, 2004, 12:47 PM   #7
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PowerPod

It works, I can move the camera from my Laptop via USB and Firewire.

The main limitation is that Firewire can only go 15' with out an extender.

This is crazy, but it's what I did and it works.

I used (2) laptops with 802.11G(54MB) wireless cards, a RF Video Sender and receiver and LCD Monitor.

I set up one laptop with the Powerpod(supports camera up to 3lbs), 1 Canon GL-2 and tri-pod. The laptop connects to the PowerPod with both USB and Firewire. I connect the RF Transmitter to the AV out on the GL-2.

Then I set up my laptop about 300ft away and used PCANYWHERE to connect the two computers via Wireless TCPIP. I could then control the camera and view it with the LCD Monitor with a RF Reciever.

I calibrated the Powerpod to move in 1 degree incriments which makes for a some what jerky/fluid motion.

Later this week or so I going to set it up in a church and try to track people as they walk down the isle. My main objective with this project is to set up a camera to get shots of the bride, groom and guests during the wedding when we are not permitted to stand behind the minister.

I will post video of the setup, motion of the camera while on the Powerpod and video of me tracking people as they move around.

For me, the only new cost was the powerpod. I already have the rest of the equipment, otherwise this would be a very expensive project.


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