In this article I want to talk about setting up the main camera, it is usually refered to by the video switching or mixing director as camera 1, and is the most important camera when conducting a live recording event in this case the church service, but it could be a concert, conference or even drama production.
Camera 1 should be placed in front of the main stage. platform or centre of action and should be placed close enough to get a good closeup of the Pastor, preacher, guest minister or worship leader. An example of a typical shot from the main camera is shown below.
The distance from the platform that your tripod on which your church camera is mounted should be placed will depend on the optical lens installed, and while I could give you a formula that you could use, the simplest method is just place the camera in a position, and zoom in till you get a shot size similar to the one shown above. If once you've zoomed in competely, your subject is too small, move the camera forward.
Your church Pastor or Bishop should have made the congregation aware of the new media department, as the presence of cameras can cause a bit of intimidation for church members until they get used to the new equipment, especially as you'll need a platform in the middle of the sanctuary on which to place the main camera tripod to be able to shoot over the heads and hands of church members.
Once you've decided on the tripod position, there are still a few things you need to do before your camera is ready to be used in a live switching environment.
Church Lighting settings
Not every church will be able to afford a proper TV lighting rig when starting a video recording department so you need to make do with whatever light sources you already have in the sanctuary and set your camera accordindly to work with it.
Depending on the church camera you have chosen, there are 2 places where you adjust how bright the images shot on your camera look. The first is Iris control, and the second is the gain control, and having read your video equipments manual, you should get your camera setup to give you a picture that you are happy with, and is not dark on your video mixer monitors. Remember you should not use the automatic controls for the functions of your camcorder if that is what you are using.
White Balance your Camera
The purpose of white balancing a camera is to make sure that the camera reproduces images just as faithfully as the eye does, and the easiest way to confirm this is to make sure that white clothes appear white and no other color. You would think that this would always be so, but if you used your camera outside to shoot a short interview or church video annoucement for example, if you don't do a white balance before using it in the church santaury where the main source of lighting is incandescent bulbs, then your white shirt will appear yellow!
Check your focus
It will be necessary for you to keep your main subject matter in camera focus, and this should also be switched to manual control, as you don't want to rely on a computer generated algorithm working out if the Pastor looks sharp or not while preaching during the sunday service.
These are some of the camera functions that need to be checked during setup before every service recording, but are particularly very important for camera 1 your main shot when recording your church service for video, TV, internet streaming or cable broadcasting.