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valdasta's avatar

What kind of video camera should I get to record our church services?

Asked by valdasta (2144points) August 16th, 2014

I want to purchase a camera for my church so we can record our services. We have people who used to attend our church but are no longer in our area (a few are over seas). I would like to record the services and upload them on YouTube so they may see the services (maybe even live stream). I just don’t want to make a rash purchase, I want to have high quality videos that they will not have to “endure” but enjoy. I know some of that depends on lighting and so on. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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6 Answers

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

Cameras these days are ridiculously good compared to even 10 years ago, and ridiculously forgiving. I’d recommend you buy a decent webcam (if you have a laptop or other computer handy to run it) or a cheap Android phone (if you don’t.) You don’t have to get service for the phone- the camera and such will all still work, and you can connect it to a computer via USB cable to transfer the video. You can get one of these things for US $50 or so. An advantage of an Android phone is that, if you have service, you can upload to Youtube directly from the phone. You might be surprised at the high quality of today’s cheap cameras, but if it’s not enough for you (almost any phone camera these days can record at a higher quality than YouTube can display) then you can always buy a fancier unit later.

One thing you must have is a tripod. You don’t want to stand around holding a phone to record an entire service, and your viewers don’t want to get seasick from shaky-cam. Image stabilizing programs exist, but using a tripod will make their job that much easier. Tripods are cheap. Get a good one and learn to use it. If you have a good tripod while you’re messing around with recording your church services, you’ll still be able to use it if and when you move up to a more expensive video camera and/or higher-end videography. Yes, that means you should spend more on your tripod than on your first camera.

Lighting is very important, but it’s also somewhat dependent on the space in which the services take place. If your church has a “stage manager” or someone similar who sets up the lighting and sound reinforcement for the services, talk to that person and get their advice. I’ll mention two things: avoid lights shining directly into the camera, and avoid sudden, dramatic changes in lighting.

Also, don’t rely on your camera to record the sound of the event. It will probably do a fine job, but I recommend you have at least two other recordings to work from. If your church has a mixing-board for the PA, you might want to record separate tracks from its channels to ensure you can make a clean mix later for the video.

valdasta's avatar

thank you for the quick and thoughtful response.

dabbler's avatar

@rexacoracofalipitorius‘s advice to get a tripod is spot on. That’s the one biggest quality choice you can make. Depending on how much you expect the subject to move around you may want a tripod that has some damping built in to smooth out your panning movements.
Also good advice about the sound. Consider a highly directional microphone that can mount on the flash shoe (assuming you get a camera with a flash shoe).

If the budget permits it, consider a decent DSLR, because the lens on that will be superior to any point-and-shoot. The Canon Rebel t4si is very good for the price. A DSLR is likely to have better low-light sensitivity than point-and-shoot, too. You will have more control on an SLR lens over focus and zoom.

tobycrabtree's avatar

Well I preder Sony 32GB HDR-PJ540E/B with Projector & Wi-Fi/NFC Full HD Camcorder Camera

RocketGuy's avatar

A camera with a remote would be nicer to use. My old Sony MiniDV camera has one, and I have put the remote to use many times. You can put the camera on a tripod in a convenient location and operate it from a more comfortable location.

Battousai87's avatar

If all you’re intending to do is film your church services then you don’t really need much. Actually you could probably easily use a laptop and a webcam and live stream it with littler or no problem.

However if you want to get a camera, which could serve your church in more ways than just posting the services, I highly recommend a Cannon VIXIA HF R800. You can pick one up for $250 at best buy, plus a SanDisk Extreme 64GB SDXC UHS-I Card from amazon for $30, and a tripod for another $20.

I’ve used the camera to shoot a few documentaries, and it was more than enough. It does very well in low light for a consumer camera, which is something you’ll probably need in your church. The on board microphone is also very good. If you want to go all out you can pick up a Mini Zoom Video Camera Shotgun Microphone For Canon from amazon for another $30 and you’ll have exceptional sound.

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