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Permanent Camera Set-Up for Theater

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Ryan BurkePermanent Camera Set-Up for Theater
by on Mar 27, 2015 at 7:30:24 pm

(sorry if this isn't in the appropriate forum - wasn't sure which one it fit best)

Hello! I've been trying to find a suitable solution for my desired setup, but am having trouble, so I thought I'd turn to some experts.

I work with a local theater, and we're trying to put together a permanent filming set-up. We want the product to look something like this, but with higher quality audio. -

Here's what we're looking for:
-On stage mic. We're thinking something along the lines of this:
-A permanently-mounted tethered camera. We have shows 6 nights a week, several times a night, so we need something with minimal user interaction.
-User-friendly way to initiate recordings. We'd like to have the audio and video running to the computer, and be able to simply press "record" to capture both feeds. Due to the large volume of shows, it would need to record directly to a hard drive to avoid having to frequently dump an SD card

Is such a setup possible? This seems like it would have been done before, but I'm having trouble finding any information about a similar setup. Any camera recommendations? Since we essentially want it always-on, we've been considering an hd security cam or webcam w/ zoom.

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Noah KadnerRe: Permanent Camera Set-Up for Theater
by on Mar 30, 2015 at 4:49:40 am

Comes down to budget and what you want to do with the footage. Web cam/security are fine for surveillance but otherwise are fairly low image quality. If it's rock bottom price- get an old dv camera with a remote control.


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Ryan BurkeRe: Permanent Camera Set-Up for Theater
by on Mar 30, 2015 at 5:15:43 am
Last Edited By Ryan Burke on Mar 30, 2015 at 5:18:39 am

I'd rather take budget out of the equation for the moment, and just get recommendations on what an ideal setup would be.

As for what we're doing with it, we'd like to have quality recordings of the shows available to sell to those who are interested. Again, the video I posted is good enough quality, so we're looking for something like that.

I suppose if we set up a DV camera, we could have this workflow - xlr audio input to camera, camera audio & video to pc. Turn on camera at beginning of night, record directly to pc. However, I'm having trouble finding a camera that can shoot in 1080p, accept xlr audio input and record directly to pc.

EDIT: I should clarify that xlr audio into the camera isn't necessary, as long as we can get that audio into the feed somehow. It can be piped into the pc separately, but ideally, only one recording would need to be initiated to capture both the video and the audio

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Mark SuszkoRe: Permanent Camera Set-Up for Theater
by on Mar 30, 2015 at 3:11:40 pm

Well, the audio's never going to be as good as if all the players wore wireless lavs. The floor mics should be a step up, though. They are more or less omnidirectional, so, it might help to place little flat barriers next to them that block some of the crowd noise. If I had the budget, I'd try supplementing the floor mics with 2 or 3 choral lav type mics, suspended from above, something like this:

or maybe this:

If you can only choose one or the other, I think I'd use the hanging mics, just because they'd be out of the way without any chance of someone kicking them or tripping on them, and they'd pick up less floor noise. Two of these, feeding a mixer, might cover that small stage pretty well.

If the camera is only ever to be a locked-off wide shot, you have a lot of options. You could ask this again in the Live and Stage forum of the COW and maybe get a different or better answer. I'd probably go with something like this:

which takes power from the same ethernet cable that controls it. What's cool about these is that being IP controlled, they can be remotely controlled from anywhere, sometimes, even with something as simple as a smartphone. The ethernet cable from this cam can go into a laptop with DVR recording software, or, thru a converter, a stand-alone DVR or DVD live recorder.

If the budget is too thin for that, you can scale down to a cheaper camera and feed a standard def signal into a DVD recorder, which is only about 90 bucks, and can record single performances or the whole night 2,4,6, up to 8 hours, at progressively lower overall resolution), very inexpensively. The DVD's then can be quickly dubbed. Stand-alone dubbers can make five to ten at a time, while you wait (about ten minutes) for about 2 grand. Figuring that out is all about the budget, demand, and the time you have.

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