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


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Old June 10th, 2005, 02:00 PM   #1
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Equipment Setup

Hello All:

At my church I videotape the church services. We edit and later make DVDs. We are in the process of trying to tape delay broadcast our services on a local cable network.

We already have one GL2 and are in the process of getting another one.

I am attempting to have one camera on the main floor near the pulpit area. The other camera is located in the sound room (elevated). Our church is rectangular in shape. The distance between the camera upstair to the camera on the floor is approximately 60-70 feet.

We are looking at getting a switcher where we can switch shots on the fly to limit the amount of post-editing. We have closed classrooms along the outside of the congregation where monitors, switcher, and audio mixers can go. Or should I have everything in the sound room,except the one floor camera. Because of the distance between the cameras in either location, how would I be able to maintain a quality signal? Would I need something to "boost" the signal to cover the distance? What cables and associated equipment is needed and where can I find it.

I'm putting together a proposal for my Pastor. We will be adding other cameras and equipment as we grow and move into a new facility. We are on a budget, but looking for items of quality and that will have compatibility with existing/future equipment.

Any help with this manner is greatly appreciated. If I need to clarify anything mentioned above
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Old June 12th, 2005, 08:04 AM   #2
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Do you need to switch in realtime? Ie switch and have what you are "editing"
written to some output format at the same time? It is usually far easier to
record with each camera and just preview it somewhere else, since you can
do that wireless.

I believe switchers are mainly analog, meaning you will loose the advantage
of digital and with such a long run of cables that may be a problem.

If you just want to record and edit later I would just have the camera's
record. If you really need to edit on the fly with both camera's you will
need some professional setup (unknown to me what exactly).

I hope others will give you some better advice.

Good luck!
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Old June 12th, 2005, 03:09 PM   #3
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Thanks Rob,

Wasn't aware that switchers are analog. For now, I guess I will take your advice and just preview the material on the two cameras and edit later. We will eventually look to have a switcher and other associated equipment.

I do have a question for you or others. I know you can slave another camera to the GL2. What purpose does this serve? Is it for time code purposes. For what I am trying to do, is this something I should consider. Be mindful that the cameras will be separated by at least 50-60 feet.

No rush on the responses because this is obvious a work in progress with limited funds to do it with.

Thanks again!!!!
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Old June 12th, 2005, 09:16 PM   #4
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I was in the booth just last week as a local high school's video production club recorded a concert in its auditorium. Four cameras were depoyed, a GL2 at the rear, Sony TRV38's on each side toward the front and elevated, and another TRV38 on the floor near the stage.

The runs to the (analog) video switcher were via composite cables for several cameras and svhs for the others. Four small (4-5 inch) B&W monitors displayed the four camera angles. The switcher fed a DVD recorder. The audio feed to the recorder was from the house mixer. The DVD recorder had the capablity to enter chapter markers on the fly, via a remote controller. Two small (19" or so) color monitors were used also, one from the switcher to show the selected camera angle and one from the recorder for verification.

The DVD that came out of the recorder at the end of the performance was the finished product for their purposes. ready for duplication and distribution.

I was told that the switcher was only about $800 and the recorder less than $500.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 10:24 AM   #5
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I have also been involved with a live switcher event with the use of gl1's. It again was a high school media class doing a football game and they would use up to 200 foot runs of composite cable from the field to a production trailer that housed the switcher, small crt monitors for the four camera's, an audio board, and they even had an intercom unit set up for proper direction from the trailer. They were also daisy chained two cheap four channel analog mixers that sent a main signal out to a miniDV deck to record the master and another feed to a hard drive capture device. They would have tapes in each of the four camera's for later editing if need be. Again we're talking a high school media class and they also didn't have a lot of dough, and made do with a lot of recycled gear. Not a bad little set up and they keep upgrading and adding to it after they sell some ads on thier broadcasts.

One thing they did was get in good with a local cable TV station who let them have a romp through thier surplus equipment locker, that led to a lot of cables, headsets, audio snakes, even some camera lenses. You know with a little bit of soldering work, alot of that suplus gear fired up and worked great.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 11:58 AM   #6
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You might try E-Bay for an old Videonics MX-1 mixer ( usually around $400). Run S-video cables from the cameras to the mixer, then output via S-Video to the inputs of a digital deck or camera. Get good s-video cables to avoid loss on the run. I have run 100' without problem. The resolution will be much higher than using the composite cables, but not quite as high as a DV signal. You will, however, have a DV master to do further editing on. Run tape in all the cameras as a backup.

There are digital mixers available in the $2500+ range, but I think you will not notice much difference in quality.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 02:40 PM   #7
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I would definitely encourage you to at least use s-video and not composite if you are going to chose analog switching. Keep in mind, though, that if you want to have the best quality, you will want to do your switching in post. It shouldn't be that difficult or time consuming and will ensure full resolution digital quality. You can still do some directing from the floor if you have a PL system to communicate. Then, you can edit the shots you have directed in your NLE.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 03:20 PM   #8
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Fred, Jamie, Mike, & Adam,

Thank you tremendously for comments. Since my first thread, I had come to the conclusion, through looking at cables, that the S-Video cables would be the best option. I found out that the media/library organization in my church, which is what the audio/video ministry falls under has around $3K still left in the budget. I will be getting another GL2 soon.

While I have your attention, so to speak, where is a good reputable site/company to purchase the cables, switcher, headsets, and monitors?

I would also like your opinions on purchasing another soundboard for just the video side of the house. We currently use a 32 channel Mackie soundboard for the house and run XLR to a traveling soundboard to the mic-adapter to the GL2. It works good other than the 5 lead singers are all grouped on one channel. The problem is that due to poor monitors, some of the singers over compensate singing because they can't hear themselves which makes the even louder. Now I know the first remedy is to have a audio person bring the gain down on the singer, but we don't have experience people to do that. We are using our youth which is good, but we lack consistency. By having another 24 or 32 channel board, I would be able to have control over what is being recorded versus the house sound. As mentioned earlier, I'm really trying to save money so avoiding purchasing another board would be great. Is my plan "crazy"? If so, what would you recommend to resolve this issue.

I will be traveling for military duty over the next few days, so if I don't respond, please understand. I truly appreciate the help that all of you have been providing. This is a learning process and your help has been tremendous.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 04:41 PM   #9
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what i would do for audio is this:
i'd place two small condenser mics to cover the whole choir. i'd do a stereo mic placement a few feet back from the choir. (positioning will partly depend on the choir's size.) you can do an x-y mic setup where the mics just go on a single stand, thereby not blocking the view too much. a stereo pair like this would be very nice:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=368367&is=REG
i'd ignore the choir's pa mics all together for your purposes. they're probably not that great anyhow. and in my opinion, with a choir, you want the sound of the choir, with some of the resonance that occurs in the church, rather than the totally clean individual sound of each singer. and an overall stereo mic setup will tame the peaks from the "overcompensating" vocalists.

then, i'd get a mic splitter like this:
http://www.music123.com/Pro-Co-MS2--...r-i76447.music
and use it to split the minister's mic into two. one feeds the pa, and the other runs up to you. then, i'd place another small condenser, somewhere in the room, for room ambience, the congregation singing and clapping etc. (this last part depends alot on what type of church we're talking about. if yours is the kind of church where the congregation doesn't make much noise, you might not need this.) this mic could probably be up above near the sound room. again i'd use a small diaphragm cardioid condenser. (like the choir ones i pasted in.) all of these feeds (4 total,) will run back to your control booth. this way, you can get away with a smaller mixer, like a mackie 1202, and save a lot of money. better yet, get a smaller soundcraft spirit mixer. (they sound a little better, and a "spirit" seems more appropriate in this situation.) use the pan controls on the mixer to pan the stereo choir mics to left and right, and pan the "room" mic and the pulpit mic to center. if you feel a bit more extravagant you could do a stereo setup on the room mic too. the stereo mics on the choir (and the room if you want) will create a nice sense of the space. another option if you get some extra money together would be a compressor, which would keep the stereo output from the mixer at a nice consistent level. this is the nicest compressor in the world for the money, though it's mono so you'd need two.
http://www.fmraudio.com/RNC1773.htm
you can find cheaper ones, and stereo compressors if need be. there is a pretty mediocre alesis stereo compressor called the 3630 you can find on ebay for about $75. these guys will take it and make it sound MUCH better for under $200.
http://www.blacklionaudio.com/alesis...ifications.htm
or you could probably just use the alesis as is and consider the upgrade down the road.

i don't know how many other mics you're using for the p.a. in your church, but i've covered evrything that comes to mind. at any rate, you shouldn't need a whole bunch of channels.

video switchers do exist that switch firewire (digital,) but you'll never get signal over a long run of firewire like that. the s-video should be fine, and if need be, you can get a small line amplifier to boost the s-video output for the pulpit-cam.

i like panasonic's less expensive video switchers for this kind of thing. there are probably one or two in use at your local cable station. you might even be able to get them to consider donating you one. get a good dv deck to record your master to. in you can, you should look into one that takes the large-size tapes since the minis can only record an hour. (you shouldn't use the 80 minute mini tapes and you shouldn't use lp recording unless you really really need to.) i wouldn't record to a dvd-r deck like some do because this would be a pain if you have to do further editing down the road. the dvd solution seems ok if you know for sure that you don't want to edit.

i buy all my stuff from b&h in new york.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com
these guys in ca have a good rep.
http://www.evsonline.com/

also order a catalog from markertek and comprehensive to get a sense of what's out there. however, it would probably make sense for you to find a local dealer for what you're trying to do. it might cost you a couple more bucks, but having local support for a pretty major setup like this can be a lifesaver. that way, if stuff needs to be returned, etc, they know they're dealing with people who've given them a lot of business and will continue to do so. also, it's always good to support local business, keep the money in the community, all that.

anyhow, that's my 2 cents for now. i know i've gone over your budget probably, but you can do this in small steps. (start with a mono mic for the room and the cheap compressor, for example...) good equipment in small steps is almost always better than a bunch of cheap stuff. i wouldn't skinp on the choir mics, for example. best of luck.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 08:37 AM   #10
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In my case a lot of the cabling came from the donation of the local cable TV station, as with the headsets (needed a little soldering, but they now work) and other small pieces of equipment that quickly become surplus at a cable company.

As far as your audio problem, I too have run into this issue as well and depending on the number of channels they actually use on that mackie board there is another workaround that might be a little cheaper for you but will take a little experimenting with the sound guy to make sure it dosn't disrupt services. If your church only uses 8-10 inputs then you can get the previously mentioned soundcraft spirit or makie mixer, a 8-10 channel trs snake, and some stereo (trs) to mono (ts) adaptors (female trs to male ts). Take the adapters and plug them into the inserts channels on the main mixer, this will shunt the send-return circuit in the insert and allow you to pull a direct feed off the preamp (pre-fader) without affecting the church's audio. then run the snake into your little mixer and set it appropriately send it out the stereo outs to your camera or other recorder and mix to your liking later. Like I said make sure you test this a day that there isn't a service so that you don't accidently panic and bring down the whole audio system. You can get a reasonable snake and mixer at Sweetwater, BSW, or Musician Friends and the adaptors (dare I say it) at Radio Shack. Then in the future you can get a computer interface and record special music to a program like Garage Band (mac) and mix a CD for fun.

If they use more than eight channels then your best bet is to purchase a couple of small diaphram condensers and a mixer and place a stereo pair in the congregation and get your sound that way. I know I've been long in my explanation, so Good luck man.
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Old June 18th, 2005, 05:41 PM   #11
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Nate & Jamie,

Thanks a million. Just got back from Tampa doing military training, and I will definitely look into your inputs. I will make sure I let you know how everything turns out. Obviously it will take a few weeks maybe months, but thats for the advice!!!!
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Old June 23rd, 2005, 03:06 PM   #12
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Ryan,
I'm curious how things are coming together for you. My parents' church is doing something very similar but with primarily Digital8 equipment and the above-mentioned MX-1 mixer (I think). The 8mm tape is recorded via S-Video off of the mixer and is later captured into Premiere (offsite) and edited to fit a one-hour slot on a local public cable channel.

I'd like to eventually put together a video system similar to yours for my church, probably starting with the GL2 I currently own. Did you go with the 2nd mixer or stereo mic setup for audio? Video mixing live or post?

Jamie, I've used that insert trick for feeding my multitrack audio interface off of a mixer. It's a great method since you often get a signal that's right off the mixer's preamp (pre-mute button, pre-EQ, pre-fader). I built my own 8-channel snake with custom-wired 1/4" TRS connectors for the insert jack end.

Nate, I'm hoping to try something similar with a pair of ADK condenser mics I've got. 'Not sure how it'll work out since the school auditorium we're currently meeting in is basically a big concrete box with sloped seating.
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Old June 28th, 2005, 01:52 PM   #13
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Jeremy,

Things are moving quite well. We should have received the second GL2 yesterday or today. As far as the audio, our soundman rearranged the monitors and the singers are no longer over compensating, at least the last two Sundays they haven't.

No being a technical person, I have had my soundman read the threads to translate some of the greek. He looked into some of the microphones and we are definitely going to have to wait until next years budget unless we get some donations. We use a mini-travel mixer/soundboard that we run the audio directly from the Mackie 32 channel to the mini-board. I have 8 channels on the mini board to adjust the audio going into the GL2. The jury is still out on where or not to get a 24 Channel, which is the minimal we could go with, or another 32 channel without all the reverb and other stuff like the 32 channel has for the house sound.

I'm not sure if our soundman has had a chance to read all of the threads to advise me on which way we should go for cost and for quality. Getting another mackie 24 or 32 channel would allow me to adjust the singers independently from the soundman for the house. Some of our singers like to have their mic a certain way so they can hear themselves and a particular volume. It is find and they can get away with it for the house sound, but for the video recordings some people stand out when they shouldn't.

Editing wise, I have Video Vegas 6 and haven't had much time to play with it yet. I'm in contact with a local cable provider who has Vegas 6 who has graciously helped tutor me. Because we don't have a switcher all editing will be done post. I hope to get a switcher through next years budget which will greatly decrease the work load on myself.

I know you mentioned you are considering do this at your church. We currently use our youth to operate the equipment. You will experience some growing pains, but it gets them involved once they get the hang of it. Because I have never done anything like this before, this site has been of trememdous help. I have a vision for what I want, but I don't have all of the technical fire/brain power to propel this vision. All in all we are doing well if you like I can keep you updated on our progress. You can also reach me by e-mail, Cab13@knology.net. Let me know how things work on your end once you get started. What little knowledge I have I am more than willing to share.
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Old June 29th, 2005, 08:42 AM   #14
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I do the video stuff at my church too, but we are already all digital, which sounds like the direction your church wants to go. We use two cams, a JVC 500U with a 19:1 fujinon lens(updating that cam soon) on a nice bogen tripod in the back on the ground level and a robo cam mounted up near the sound booth on the top level about 100-150 feet away from the stage. We run lines from both of these through premade wall connections into a video room we have under the left wing of our main sanctuary. We run both lines (sometimes we have a third cam/another 500U) but usually we just run the two of them) into Newtek's Video Toaster on a custom built PC (dual 2.9Ghz Xeon, 2 GB ram, 1.2TB scsi) and we have a DV tape deck and DVD recorder hooked up to that to record services. We also have a G5 for editing purposes. We plan on going HD in the near future so we will be upgrading all of our equipment and go hardware based with physical video switchers and title generators(so much better that way) and we will be using all the equipment we have now into another room for other services to use.

As far as audio we just have a line into Video Toaster from our soundboard
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Old June 29th, 2005, 09:55 PM   #15
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Noah,

Could you tell me more about the Newtek's Video Toaster. I will search on google, but it is always good to hear from people using different equipment. I'm also not familiar with G5, please explain.

We are looking at using an external hard drive to record the feed into. I'm doing this to take the audio/video home to do the editing there since I don't have the luxury of doing it at church without greatly sacrificing family time. We will probably get one with at least 250 GB of space. Any particular brand that you use for your DVD tape deck and recorder? Also where did you purchase it if you don't mind me asking.

Thanks again for the insight and information.
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