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Best PTZ camera for live music acts?

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Paul Campbell
Best PTZ camera for live music acts?
on Jun 3, 2010 at 7:00:17 pm

Hi, everyone. If I may describe the scene: A small club that holds maybe 200 people will host scaled-down "unplugged" versions of music acts. The stage is big enough for about 5 performers, typically acoustic guitars and fiddles. The venue has two other rooms of similar size with video monitors hanging on all of the walls, but are not in direct line of sight with the stage as the first room is.

I'd like to know if there's a decent, affordable way for me to mount a camera in the ceiling of the first room and feed this video signal (hopefully 1080) into some kind of video distribution amp that would thusly feed all of the monitors at the venue. I figure doing this would sorta make it so that there's not a bad seat anywhere in the house. I'm not concerned with audio here, but it would be nice if the camera had a fairly wide angle lens and was controllable from a remote laptop.

I've got this huge B&H catalog open in front of me, but this thing is information overload. There's tons of stuff in here, so I'm a little dazed with choices. If anyone's done something similar, I'd love to hear about it. What camera would you recommend, etc? Thanks so much!


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Chuck Pullen
Re: Best PTZ camera for live music acts?
on Jun 4, 2010 at 1:21:31 pm

If you have the funds, I'm looking at the Panasonic PTZ cameras that can be operated by a Panasonic 400 switcher. Also I have worked with several groups using Sony and other brands. There are a lot of systems out there, I think $$$ is going to be your deciding factor. Watch E-bay maybe you'll find a package cheap?

Chuck


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Paul Campbell
Re: Best PTZ camera for live music acts?
on Jun 4, 2010 at 8:31:51 pm

I just found a bunch of Sony PTZ cameras in this catalog, along with a couple of their switchers. There's a Telemetrics switcher, and another RM-BR300, neither of which I've ever used. All of them are claiming to have a 2mega-pixel sensor. Does this seem rather low? Even the cameras on iPhones are 3MP...or is this apples and oranges?


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Chuck Pullen
Re: Best PTZ camera for live music acts?
on Jun 4, 2010 at 9:42:05 pm

I think the sensors won't really be an issue, but someone else may want to chime in on that. I would say to start by finding a camera in your price range with the features you are looking for and start building a system based around that? If you are having trouble see if Sony and Panasonic have a "Compare models" feature on their site, and that should at the very least help you start narrowing down your search.

Chuck


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Paul Campbell
Re: Best PTZ camera for live music acts?
on Jun 7, 2010 at 5:26:04 pm

I find that at moment like this, my biggest handicap is just not knowing what kind of picture quality to expect from any of these cameras. Some of them are a little pricey too, so it makes me all the more hesitant to just run out and buy something.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Best PTZ camera for live music acts?
on Jun 7, 2010 at 5:48:08 pm

[Paul Campbell] "A small club that holds maybe 200 people will host scaled-down "unplugged" versions of music acts. The stage is big enough for about 5 performers, typically acoustic guitars and fiddles. The venue has two other rooms of similar size with video monitors hanging on all of the walls, but are not in direct line of sight with the stage as the first room is."

What's the lighting like? I would imagine that this will have the biggest impact on image quality.

[Paul Campbell] "All of them are claiming to have a 2mega-pixel sensor. Does this seem rather low? Even the cameras on iPhones are 3MP...or is this apples and oranges?"

Apples and oranges. 1920 * 1080 = 2,073,600 pixels. I'd guess this is where the 2 megapixel number comes from, and you don't need anything higher to get an HD image. Raw pixel count is a greater concern for a still camera than a video camera.

[Paul Campbell] "I find that at moment like this, my biggest handicap is just not knowing what kind of picture quality to expect from any of these cameras. Some of them are a little pricey too, so it makes me all the more hesitant to just run out and buy something."

You might call around to distributors or VARs for the cameras you're interested in and discuss your needs with them. They might have done similar installs and offer some guidance. Perhaps you could even rent one before you buy.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Chuck Pullen
Re: Best PTZ camera for live music acts?
on Jun 8, 2010 at 2:04:48 pm

In addition to Walter’s advice, I have found that if you try and find a local rep. for the larger companies (Sony, Panasonic, etc…) you might be able to get an in-house demo, visit a local dealer showroom for a demo session, or maybe even visit a club or church that has a similar installation and get some first hand information. I still say budget first…Nothing worse than finding the “perfect” camera, only to find out it’s out of your price range.


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