DSLR for video

Conversations around originating a webcast for conference, including cameras and mixers.
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DSLR for video

Postby dean8554 » Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:00 pm

Has anyone explored using a DSLR camera for meetinghouse broadcasts? I just finished my first stake conference this weekend and noticed that the systems greatest weakness appeared to be video. Both in resolution and in actual image quality. I moonlight as a photographer, and couldn't help but be disappointed at the image quality and depth of field problems that consumer video cameras give. So I thought to myself that I should try a pro style video capable digital SLR. I used my Nikon D700 just as a test and was extremely pleased with the white balance, shallow depth of field, focus, and overall control it gave me in Live View mode.
My D700 is not really a solution because I don't have a full-time AC power adapter and the live view mode has overlays that don't go away. I am contemplating the use of something like a Nikon D7000 with full-time video focus and a long low aperture lens, like a 70-200 f2.8. Has anyone ever tried this, and if so what has worked for you?


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Postby russellhltn » Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:15 pm

While such cameras can do video, I can't imagine that they would do it better then a dedicated video camera in the same price range. As a friend of mine likes to say "the right tool for the right job". While the power adapter could be overcome, the overlays is probably a show stopper.

One issue I'd be wary about is if the camera can reliably run for hours at a time. It sticks in my mind that some sensors can suffer from thermal problems.
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Postby jdrusse-p40 » Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:22 pm

I'd think that would be a great choice. A lot of professional videographers are shooting with DSLR's nowadays. A lot of the Mormon Messages are shot with a Canon 5D Mark II.

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Postby Aczlan » Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:17 pm

What make and model camera is currently being used?

Before going to a DSLR there are a few things that I would suggest thinking about:
1. If you are released, move, etc is there anyone who can take over using this camera?
2a. Would it be worthwhile to get this Nikon D7000 over the recommended Sony DCR-HC52 or EVDI-D70?
2b. Will the picture quality make up for the lack of remote control? I have been to conferences where the camera is remotely controlled and I MUCH prefer not having to look around a cameraman to see what is happening. it is just less distracting.
3. Will the body and lens take the abuse that they will be subjected to after you leave, or if someone else has to use them?

My wife has a DSLR and while I LOVE using it, for a system at church where I don't know who may be using it in the future I would recommend following the KISS principle.

My $0.02

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Postby jdlessley » Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:43 pm

The quality of a meetinghouse webcast is dependent on several interdependent technologies. While the camera is just one aspect of the quality, a significant aspect is the internet connection speeds at both the sending a receiving locations. Take a look at the Broadband Internet section of the Meetinghouse Webcast requirements wiki page as a starting point for information.

It would not hurt to have a high quality camera in your webcast setup to eliminate video quality issues at that point of the overall scheme of the system. Just remember there are a number of other points where video quality can be degraded along the way.
JD Lessley
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Postby russellhltn » Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:53 pm

Do any DSLRs have "power zoom" for controlled zooming, or is the only option available the manual zoom?
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Postby JamesAnderson » Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:44 pm

Usually a DSLR is just like a standard film SLR camera in that its lenses are limited to the focal lengths that they are made, such as one I used when I shot film that said it was 50-210mm. Some point-and-shoots give you more latitude, up to 30x zoom from a baseline focal length of 24mm to 36mm. The number of times zoom is based on the baseline focal length that model is for. The baseline focal length, or minimum, varies from camera to camera. 55mm is considered 'normal', lower than that is wide-angle, higher is good for closeups or distant shots, you would want some zooming to ensure a good shot of the speaker or choir and good photo composition.

Another aspect is the number of megapixels. Cellphone cameras are around 3 megapixels although recent smartphones are coming online with 5 megapixel cameras. Most DSLRs and point-and-shoots are coming in at a minimum of 10 megapixels with some higher-priced ones having from 16 megapixels on up. You can however get good 14 megapixel cameras rather cheaply now.

DSLRs, like the aforementioned Canon 5D Mark II, are probably overkill for the average stake application, today's point and shoots often have wider latitude in lens focal length given the zooming capabilities, and many have good white balance options as well for those matters. You can run the sound through the camera or run the audio to a sound board then out. I've worked film shots where both were done mainly for syncing purposes in post production, but how you would do it depends on your setup and other factors.

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