We know buying a new HD video camera isn’t easy, so we’ve created a quick list of ten things every church should consider before buying a new HD video camera. From price to quality, we’ve done the research for you in order to help you make the best decision when purchasing a new HD video camera.
Facilitate a small group Bible study? Easy. Lead in congregational prayer? No problem. Research and purchase the best HD video camera for your church? Umm… help please!
Top 10 Things To Look For When Buying An HD Video Camera
Don’t worry, if the thought of picking out a new camera for your ministry seems more difficult than parsing Greek words, we’re here to help. We know this isn’t always the easiest task so we’ve compiled a quick list of a 10 things that every church should consider before clicking the “Submit Order” button towards the bottom of an online shopping cart.
#1 – Cable Length
Every church video setup is different. If your camera can be placed within 10 to 15 feet of your capture device, then HDMI will do the trick nicely. If you need to run cabling to your camera that exceeds 15 feet, a camera that is compatible with SDI cabling will be much more optimal for your setup.
#2 – More Money, More Problems
In general, more expensive cameras are more advanced and often require moderately trained and skilled camera people to operate effectively. In comparison, lower priced cameras (generally under the $1,500 range) include more automated features which are much easier to use, especially if your video production team is made up of volunteers or folks who are new to video.
#3 – Lighting is a Cheat Code
One of the easiest ways to improve the quality of your video ministry and get the most out of a camera is to invest in a small lighting upgrade. Rather than spending an extra $500 or $1,000 on a camera, perhaps consider re-allocating those funds to a few lighting upgrades. You’ll quickly find that such a strategic move is totally worth it.
#4 – Camera Audio? Nah…
If the primary application of your video ministry is to record content within your sanctuary, you’re going to want to marry your new fancy HD camera’s video with the audio coming from your soundboard. For this reason, you probably won’t need to invest in expensive camera audio upgrades or attachments.
#5 – Lense Flexibility
If your budget is sizeable and you’re looking to dive deep into capturing excellent video then you might want to look for cameras that have the capability to interchange multiple lenses for different shots that you might want to capture. Lense flexibility is more for pro users but something to weigh and consider, regardless.
#6 – Define Your Purpose
What are you purchasing your camera for? Live Video? Staged and produced promotional videos? Event photography? Before you start your research make a short list of all of the specific contexts that you want to use your camera for. This will narrow your focus and shorten your research time before you even begin.
#7 – What’s Your Output?
Though cable converters and adaptors exist, they can sometimes be expensive. Take a look at your encoder, capture card, or switcher to see what your optimal video input is and try to find a camera that can output into that workflow directly.
#8 – Big & Heavy?
In the world of parenting I’ve learned that holding a 15 pound baby for a while can be exhausting. The same can be said about holding a 10 pound camera for an hour or so. If you ever need to use your camera without a tripod something as simple as finding a camera that isn’t too big or bulky will make a big difference. Something to pay attention to, for sure.
#9 – HD is HD…
Sure, there’s a difference between 720p, 1080p, and 4K HD. Though different, however, each resolution is fantastic in their own right and will likely do the trick for your video ministry. For instance, you might not have known this but nearly every Facebook Live broadcast is capped out at 720p high definition. At the end of the day, HD is HD and at this point in the history of video cameras they’re pretty much all good if not great. So perhaps consider purchasing the lower priced camera even if it might not be capable of capturing 4K.
#10 – Ditch Your Assumptions on Cost
If you’ve never purchased a camera or if it’s been a number of years since you’ve done it, it’s likely that you might subconsciously worried that a good camera might be out of your budget or just too expensive to be practical for your solution. The reality, however, is that with every year that passes by good cameras are becoming more and more affordable.
You can find a good starter camera for $199 or a 2nd tier pro-sumer solution for well under $1,000. So take heart and put away any fears that you might before you start looking. The perfect camera doesn’t have to cost you thousands, in fact, most churches are getting up and started for much less than the cost of the average smartphone costs these days.