For years I was a Canon guy. I had my 5D Mk II and a bag full of lenses and accessories. I had other cameras gear from different brands but Canon was my go to hardware, and I expounded on how amazing it was every chance I got. Then, my house was broken into, and all of my Canon gear was taken. Left behind was my Olympus OMD EM-1, lenses and accessories that were in a different camera bag.
I had a photo shoot the following week and no time to replace what had been taken, so I decided to do the shoot with my Olympus and hope for the best. I say that because like so many I had become a slave to the brand. Canon was my go-to choice because I had bought into the idea that no other DSLR at this price point or lower could match the quality and features of my 5D Mk II.
I was wrong. The Olympus did a stellar job. It was so good in fact, that I never replaced the Canon and continue to shoot with Olympus gear 6 years later.
The point of this is you can never tell what is going to work for you unless you are willing to look at different products and technologies. I try to do this on a regular basis now, especially when it comes to camera gear be it video or still. There is just so much good stuff available, and available for brands that you don’t normally think of when evaluating new gear for a project.
Recently I was asked to evaluate PTZ cameras for a medium-sized project. The requirements were pretty straight forward. The space was a large house of worship that would need 4 to 6 PTZ cameras. The cameras needed to have solid low light performance, shoot and record in HD, connect to a control unit and offer a decent amount of optical and digital zoom.
Like most people, I looked at the big players in the market. Sony, Panasonic, Honeywell, Vaddio, etc. Sony and Panasonic being the big players that so many recommend. And while there is nothing wrong with any of those brands, one company that wasn’t really on my radar for PTZ camera gear stood out. JVC. Yes, JVC. I didn’t even know that they made PTZ cameras, and had no idea how sophisticated their offering is.
When I began to go through the spec list on the JVC KY-PZ100 I was more than impressed.
The house of worship that I was specifying gear for has a congregation of about 700 people attending 3 services each Sunday. The church pastors wanted to improve the online presentation with multiple cameras but did not want the church to feel like a TV production studio. I suggested PTZ cameras, but the pastors and communications director were a bit skeptical. A primary concern was the ability of the camera to track individuals. It turns out that a couple of the pastors are pacers and walk quite a bit in front of the congregation. They needed a system that would pan and zoom smoothly and could be controlled from a remote location. Another concern was that a PTZ camera would deliver poor quality video similar to that of a security camera.
After going through the requirements list and checking out various camera options I settled in on not a Sony, or Panasonic, but the JVC KY-PZ100s and JVC’s RM-LP100 remote Camera controller. I gave the pastors and director of communications a demo of the system and they were sold.
After a week of rehearsal, the new system debuted on Easter Sunday. They now have a six-camera setup, with the KY-PZ100s mounted in the back and on the side of the sanctuary, and four unmanned cameras locked down to capture shots of the choir and band.
The control room is a raised open-air booth at the back of the church where an audio engineer and the director of communications run audio and cameras for each service. the director of communications runs a Grass Valley Director which was purchased to handle switching duties for a multi-camera production, and a third staff member adjusts the KY-PZ100 cameras using the RM-LP100 remote Camera controller. During performances by the choir, lyrics are presented at the bottom of the screen using ProPresenter. All additional graphics were predesigned by the church’s graphic designer and loaded to the GV Director for easy retrieval and display on the fly.
On each Sunday, the second service is recorded and then made available to about 500 members of the congregation that are unable to attend a service in person. Thanks to the quality of the camera footage, and the production value obtained through the controller, and the GV Director, the recording looks as solid as the live service.
Available in black and white housings, the KY-PZ100 features a 1/2.8-inch CMOS sensor and 30x optical zoom lens, and its f/1.6-4.7 maximum aperture delivers excellent low-light performance. It streams up to 1080p/60 video at a variety of bit rates and supports onboard HD recording at up to 50 Mbps to a MicroSDHC/SDXC media card. The RM-LP100 provides IP control of up to 100 cameras, with a joystick and zoom rocker for smooth and precise camera movements. Its seven-inch touchscreen panel provides control of camera groups, presets, and PTZ speed, as well as white balance, shading, iris, and other camera settings.
Gear used for this House of Worship setup
6 JVC KY-PZ100 Cameras in Black
6 WMPZ100B Wall mount mounting brackets
1 JVC’s RM-LP100 remote Camera controller
1 JVC Kenwood Mobile Access Point
1 JVC ProHD Broadcaster
1 JVC ProHD Decoder
1 Grass Valley Director
Grass Valley Edius Software
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