- Why Live Stream Church Services?
- What Does A PTZ Camera Look Like In An Actual Church?
- Practical Considerations When Choosing The Best PTZ Camera For Your Church.
- Overview Of These PTZ Cameras For Churches
- Final Thoughts On These PTZ Cameras For Church
Recently I embarked on a journey of setting up a live streaming system for my church. In that journey, I stumbled upon a type of camera called PTZ cameras. PTZ stands for pan/tilt/zoom. I had already purchased our camera for our church so I didn’t get an HD PTZ camera for church immediately but it is on my to-do list.
I am sure that once you see what can be accomplished with these ptz cameras, you will want one for your church as well because it will add a new dimension to your church live stream.
Why Live Stream Church Services?
The guys over at PTZ Optics have a great video you should listen to about this subject.
Key takeaways from the video
- 33% of all people say that the internet was the first place they learned about their current church.
- 3,000 churches in 57 countries use the livestream.com platform to broadcast their services.
- 46% of churchgoers say that the church website is an integral part of their decision-making process when choosing a church.
What Does A PTZ Camera Look Like In An Actual Church?
I found a video of some guys installing a ptz camera system for a local church. Take a look at what it looks like and how it works with just one ptz camera.
As you can see, using ptz cameras in your church makes much sense. Not only are the cameras non-obtrusive, but they can do much more than take a single church video shot. They can be pre-programmed to different settings and positions so, at just the click of a button, they switch angles, views, and zoom.
Practical Considerations When Choosing The Best PTZ Camera For Your Church.
Before you run off and launch your first church live stream, there are some practical considerations you will want to consider before you find out what you purchased is not going to meet your needs.
The first thing you need to consider is the optical zoom. There are some basic recommendations for optical zoom in reference to the distance of the video camera from the subject you are trying to video in your church production or live stream.
For smaller chapels, I recommend using a 12x optical zoom for distances of up to 45 feet. I recommend using a 20x optical zoom for distances up to 60 feet. For really large sanctuaries, use a 30x optical zoom for anything over 60′. Personally, I try to get churches to just go with the 30x optical zoom in case they grow, or expand their meeting area. They are prepared for growth.
Whatever you do, do not use digital zoom with your church live streaming. It will end up being grainy and not what you want.
The second thing you are going to need to consider is how far you are going to mount your cameras from your camera control and the computer that is running your video production software.
For short runs of less than 25 feet from your camera control and church production booth, you can get away with USB or HDMI cabling. If you need to go further than 25′ then I recommend either SDI, DVI, or NDI. You have less signal loss with those formats and you will not need a signal booster to make them work nearly as often.
These cameras give you a wide array of options to record services. The HuddleCamHD camera would be best used in video conferencing or recording a small Sunday school class. The Logitech camera would be economical in recording a worship service located in a small chapel or meeting hall. While the PTZOptics camera would be best in a medium to a large auditorium.
If you want to do more than live streaming, engage in video production, or have a much greater video quality, I recommend the PTZOPtics camera.
Not only do you have greater flexibility, but you have the option of using a joystick controller to control the shots the PTZOptics camera takes.
Using a joystick controller also cuts down on the number of volunteers you need for your video production. Instead of having a single camera operator at each camera, you only need a single camera operator running up to 10 cameras for multiple shots. This is a better use of your volunteers in your production.
Once you have planned out your cameras and camera control placements, you will be ready to start your first church live stream or video production.
Overview Of These PTZ Cameras For Churches
As I do with all my reviews, I try not to get too technical about all the cameras. Instead, I focus on letting you know the basics and how they are working for people. As a non-techie person, I like to get down to the bottom line.
Here is a little more about PTZOptics and their PTZ cameras for churches.
The guys at PTZ Optics have done a great job understanding the needs of houses of worship when it comes to live streaming worship services. In fact, they have even taken the time to provide a complete class on church live streaming for free on Udemy.
I have included a couple of their cameras in this list. Yes, they are on the high side of the ptz cameras spectrum, but the quality is well worth the price. They have many more, including one that will follow your pastor or worship leader automatically, but they come at a steeper price point.
Buy From Us At Church Technology Superstore
Best For Smaller Church Buildings and Chapels
Better For Medium and Larger Church Sanctuaries
We have SDI and NDI compatible PTZOptics cameras available as well.
The two PTZ Optics cameras I have chosen for you to consider are the same except the zoom. One is 20x, and one is 12x. If you are a smaller church with a smaller sanctuary, then the 12x will suit you fine, but if you are zooming 100′ or more, then you might want to consider the 20x. Both of them come with an HDMI output.
As with all high dollar and low volume products on Amazon, the reviews are sparse. However the one verified purchase review, (Don’t trust unverified purchase reviews . They are usually placed by competitors especially if they are short and negative.) loves the ptz camera. A discussion over at B&H says that both the 20x and the 12x ptz cameras has an excellent lens, skin tones, image quality.
Here is a little more about the HuddleCamHD
The great people at HuddleCam make a good product for the money. The only drawback that I see is that the zoom is limited. However, the amount of control they give you is quite impressive. So, if you can position this camera nearer to the platform or front of your church, these cameras might make a good option for you.
Only buy the wide angle model if you are planning on doing some crowd shots or shots of your entire worship team. If you are going to use it to focus on one person, you don’t need this feature. I wouldn’t recommend the wide angle if this is going to be your only camera feed.
Something to note, the HuddleCam 3x can send a signal to a USB-2 port but not at HD quality. USB-2 doesn’t handle the amount of information. It is better to use a USB-3 cable and input on your computer.
Logitech PTZ Pro
Here is a little bit about the Logitech Ptz Pro.
- Premium USB PTZ video camera: Delivers professional video quality to a conference room or event space
- Ideal for custom integration: Flexibility to use multiple mounting options and three camera presets
- HD 1080p video quality at 30 frames per second: Brilliantly sharp video resolution and outstanding color reproduction
- H264 SVC video compression: Processes video within the camera for smoother video streaming using less bandwidth
- 90 Degree field of view, mechanical 260-degree pan, 130-degree tilt: Wide field of view and versatile controls make it easy to see everyone in the room
- 10X lossless full HD zoom: Zoom wide or zero in on people, whiteboard content and other details. Intuitive remote: Easily control camera pan, tilt, zoom and more
- Plug-and-play compatibility: USB connectivity to Windows PC, Mac, Google Chromebook; compatible with most web conferencing applications such as Skype for Business and Lync
Logitech is a well-known brand in the computer camera market. They have a few offerings in the ptz camera niche. I chose the Logitech ptz pro camera because of its 10x zoom and great customer reviews.
I believe this ptz camera is the best one on the market at this price point. If you can afford double the price then, by all means, go with PTZ Optics, but if money is a consideration, which for most small and medium-size churches it is, then I suggest the Logitech Ptz Pro.
It has enough optical zoom to do what most small to medium size churches need and decent live video quality. The only complaint that was listed as it struggles in low light, so if you turn off the lights during worship it might be a problem, but otherwise it should work for you.
Final Thoughts On These PTZ Cameras For Church
We all have different needs and different price points we can afford. I have tried to give you some options that are reasonable and able to accomplish what you want to achieve. Please understand that I have given you the best ptz cameras along with some lesser priced options. The lesser-priced options are not as good as the PTZOptics ptz cameras.
It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your video production.
Video Production Software
There are a lot of options available for video production software. I have personally used two of the options and can recommend both of them for your video production ministry. They are vMix and OBS (Open Broadcaster Software). Both of them will work with almost all of the video cameras on the market. They are the most widely used video production software on the market.
I am waiting until we can afford the PTZ Optics ptz camera. They are just that much better.
Let me know what you decide for your HD PTZ camera for church live streaming. I want to know and if this helped you at all.