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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old April 16th, 2012, 08:10 AM   #1
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need 3/4 camera and switcher recommendations

I generally do one camera production work but picked up a weekly event that requires 3 or 4 fixed cameras fed to a switcher so I can do a live edit.

Does anyone have camera and switcher recommendations. Of course HD would be preferred but I'm concerned that equipment and running cables for 100 feet plus will get expensive??? The final event is going on the internet.

Also would like a p/t zoom controller as well.

The cameras will be set on tripods and the event is both indoors and sometimes outdoors. I set up next to a sound board and get my audio from them.

The shoot will be recorded to a deck with no post production editing planned.

Your help is appreciated...
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Old April 19th, 2012, 08:20 PM   #2
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Re: need 3/4 camera and switcher recommendations

When I had my switcher, I used to have the Datavideo SE 800. We used to run firewire cable from the camera to the switcher. However, new generations of switchers have emerged, now you need to find the one that best fits your budget and needs. They can run about $1000 up to $12,000.
If you have a bigger budget, you could also consider Newtek's Tricaster, I think it was about $8000, but you'll need all the monitor and cables for it.
NewTek Tricaster Studio Live Production TS000000-0101 B&H Photo

As for PZT controller, this looks decent. There are cheaper ones, but they don't work well at all.
Datavideo RMC-180 PTZ Camera Control Unit RMC-180 B&H Photo
You'll also need to find PZT cameras, which generally arent that cheap. Watch the resolution on your cameras, you'll need at least 720 lines if SD. HD is much more expensive.
Vaddio AV-HE100 HD PTZ Camera-Pan/Tilt/Zoom and Auto HD Monitor

Going full PZT production works great for talking heads, but NOT for anything like a wedding or a stage play. I've tried it on a wedding once, and gave up that idea after only one try! The problem is that things happen too quickly. It's not possible to pan and focus 2 or 3 cameras simultaneously, which is what you really need if your subject moves. If you're just switching wide shot to wide shot, which is what you'll end up with if you use PZT, it won't look good.

My suggestion? Go with 3 or 4 cameras with live cameramen, but with no switcher. You'll be able to cut perfectly in post, and re-cut again if you make a mistake. With a switcher, if you cut to a wrong camera, you'll have to fix it in post anyway. Doing live switching with PZT cameras is not as easy as you think, unless it's just a talking head show.
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Old April 19th, 2012, 09:19 PM   #3
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Re: need 3/4 camera and switcher recommendations

Hey there,

I have absolutely no experience with switchers but have been looking to purchase one to take on some corporate work. Here is one that is HD and inexpensive and seems to do the job. It's from a reputable company and I haven't read a whole lot of negative feedback. I'm not sure what type of cameras you will be running, but the good thing about this one is that it takes the hdmi feed from a consumer camera. This is good because you can start off with some cheaper cameras and upgrade as necessary. You don't have to buy $5,000 cameras with sdi out. Also, the youtube link shows one in action too, looks good. I think I'm going to invest in this system later this year.

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Old April 19th, 2012, 11:36 PM   #4
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Re: need 3/4 camera and switcher recommendations

The newtek switcher is good - the small one is fine if you are doing simple stuff and dont need a lot of graphics control. For weddings you could easily get away with the basic switcher like this guy: TriCaster LC-11 | NewTek

The one I used the most was this one and it really worked well for sports broadcasting and in-house productions with constantly changing graphics, which would probably be overkill in your case: TriCaster 455 Control Surface | NewTek
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Old April 19th, 2012, 11:58 PM   #5
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Re: need 3/4 camera and switcher recommendations

You do realize that what you linked to are not the actual switchers, just the keyboards? The first one is $2,000 and the second is $5,000... just for the keyboard alone. The switchers themselves run from $8,000 extra (SD only) to $40,000 for the TriCaster 8000.
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