PTZ Camera for Theatre


I have a couple of shows coming up with no in person audience and the theater would like to livestream the productions. The budget for the setup is about 30k we're looking for a four camera setup: One left, right, center, and a non-PTZ for roving shots. Has anyone had any success using a PTZ with theatrical lighting? Additionally, is there a specific control surface offering smoother operation of the remote cams? At a different theater I used three AW-HE60SN along with the associated switcher and controller, but the cameras really struggled in the low light. Unfortunately the three main cameras need to be PTZ for this project. Thanks for any helpful advice!


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Find my video/lighting designer friend

Tláloc López-Watermann​

He does theater, opera, and corporate.


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We've had a lot of success with PTZ Optics line of NDI-HX cameras. The zoom is great, and they handle stage lights well.
I've only used these for corporate events. Is the exposure worse as you zoom in? Like does the fstop increase and you need to compensate with high ISO and it gets grainy?

Since you have a budget and would potentially use these cameras in the future, I'd recommend automation from edelkrone and Blackmagic cameras.

While PTZ optics and all of the networkable PTZ cameras are good at what they are, what they aren't is cinematic. You can't smoothly move the camera while watching it, it's not smooth enough. You can't get incredible depth of field, beautiful color or high dynamic range.

Since you have the budget to make great video, I'd recommend against cameras that are integrated. Buy a nice camera and head and rent an incredible lens.


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I don't disagree with any of that, and when my boss recommended them I had all of those same arguments. However, I was surprised at the performance these things manage. I included a link of them in action, both cameras are mounted toward the rear of the space and are shooting approximately 70'ish feet.
It manages to stay pretty clear as it zooms, these are 30x and we are able to stay in the middle of the range for most of the time. They have decent controls as far as color correction, exposure, and white balancing goes. All in all, I've been very surprised by the performance. Our other venue uses Blackmagic PCC 4k's and one of our volunteers has the new 6k pro variant that they just released. We've shot with the Blackmagic cameras in the space with the PTZ Optics and they hold their own.

If you've got room in the budget, obviously you would want to go with something like the BMPCC because of the feature set being so expansive, but I have plug how well the PTZ Optics have performed for us.



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From my friend Jef at Pizazz Production... "If you want something that works every time you boot it up and has a great picture quality, Panasonic. If you are fine with monkeying around and tinkering with updates and promised features, then BirdDog."

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