Tapeless Church Video Recording

If you are just starting a church video ministry or have a young media department, then probably all of the people working there will be volunteers who don't get paid, and the time they will be committing to things like field video production, doing interview and filming projects in the community will all be their spare time. It therefore makes sense to think of using tapeless video cameras or VTRs for your church video production. The time saved by not having to wait hours capturing raw footage to the non-linear editing system will really make for happy media department members.

So let's look at some of the tapeless church video equipment out there that you could use for recording or field video production.

Sony HVR-Z5 HDV Camcorder

I'm not going to review the Sony HVR-Z5 camera, as there are many websites with reviews and videos of this prosumer camcorder on the internet, and a quick search should lead you to them.
This camera records in either HDV, DVCAM and DV so is a good starting point for new ministries, has all the features required in a semi-professional kit, with the addition of a generous x20 zoom lens, and the all important ability to record tapless on Compact Flash solid-state memory cards in addition to also using MiniDV tapes (which can be used for additional backup or ISO recording of important events). You will however have to buy the optional Sony HVRMRC1K Memory Recording Unit to enable recordings unto cards instead of or in addition to tape (yes you can use both at the same time, and can even mix the modes used to record).
Those on a limited church budget can buy the camera initially, and then add the tapeless function later.

Sony HVR-Z7 Camera

The sony HVR-Z7 camcorder is the next step up from the Z5, though there are some important differences between the 2 video cameras. The Z7 supports interchangeable lenses, and while the supplied lens only sports a x12 zoom facility, the infinity focus ring has been replaced with a professional focus ring that stops and the zoom has also been upgraded. It comes with the HVRMRC1K recording unit as standard, so you can record tapeless out of the box, these added functions means it is more expensive, but I'm sure there will be those who need this camera as opposed to the Sony HVR-Z5 especially if they are thinking of using them in a studio function.

Sony PMWEX XDCAM tapeless Cameras

For those looking for broadcast quality HD church video cameras, then you would need to consider either the Sony PMW-EX1 or PMW-EX3 the latter featuring a semi-should mount and interchangeable lenses, both cameras recording with the higher quality XDCAM broadcast format and thus prefered by ministries who have a big TV budget.

As you can see there are quite a few different options available to suit various budgets, and as I've mentioned in the past on this blog, I'm biased towards sony church video equipment so these are not the cheapest around, if you are looking for a cheaper tapeless camcorder, how about the Panasonic AG-HMC70.


Anonymous said...

hi, I have a media department at my church and we're using two sony HDR-fx7 which are in need of repair from i think miss use.. I've only been at the church for 3 years and wasn't around when the department started.. I'm thinking of changing the media equipment and I've taken note of some of your suggestions, but I was wondering setup three cameras for recording wirelessly instead of running cables from each camera to the video mixer??

Shola said...

I wouldn't go for a wireless setup especially if you have a church building of your own. First of all they are more expensive, secondly there is always an issue of intererence with signals, not to talk of the need to compress the video signal for transmission.

If you have the money to spend, I would spend it on cameras, mixer, training and associated exquipment.

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