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Robo-Cams for Auditoriums?

Discussion in 'Multimedia, Projection, and Show Control' started by Chris Chapman, May 15, 2009.

  1. Chris Chapman

    Chris Chapman Active Member

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    Does anyone have any experience with dedicated robotic/automated cameras or their venues? I see systems like the Vaddio Wallmount systems that spec Sony Robotic cameras. The cameras seem to be single CCD's.

    They push them for house of worship and conference room settings, and lecture halls. COuld they provide decent video for concert settings?

    We have in house video that is horrifically setup and mismanaged, and we are toying with the idea of one of these systems as a replacement.

    THoughts?
     
  2. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    At my church in Arizona, we had a robotic camera set-up as a feed for those people sitting in back that couldn't necessarily see the alter. We also used it for recording special events/weddings. It was a replacement for a studio camera that used to fill that role. Was it worthwhile? It took a lot less training for the volunteers to be able to use it effectively. You can pre-program specific moves/positions to make it easy for someone to use while doing something else (sound op in our case).

    So depending on what you want to use it for, and what quality you want on the other end, this is a viable system. I have even seen it used by AV crews in the corporate world for large conferences where they didn't want to eat up floor space for a studio camera and operator.

    Currently, the show I work on uses a few of these for the stage managers, orchestra (for those in the pit) and stage crew (automations and rigging). They are not used to show anything to the audience nor are they used for archival recordings (but they could if anyone changed their minds).

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Chris Chapman

    Chris Chapman Active Member

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    So the final video quality from the Cams is decent? Some of them are now HD 1080p cams, so I'm hopeful about the quality.
     
  4. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    It really depends on the camera itself and how it is used. There are aftermarket robotic systems that are for use with basic security cameras and there are custom built broadcast quality systems. Part of the quality of your image is in how the system is set up and who your controller is. The reason that they are targeted at the HOW and webcast/conference markets is that the cameras are not usually dealing with dynamic lighting. If you are looking for something for monitoring what is happening on stage (for stage management, etc.), or you are looking for a simple system for archival video, or are not in need of broadcast quality for a lobby feed, you can't go wrong with a robotic system. Let me qualify my last statement. The cameras can perform broadcast quality video depending on the model of camera, but most importantly the experience of the operator. In a dynamic environment of the theater, generic settings can tend to look awful, even with auto-everything. Consider this, if you have a digital camera and are snapping candids during the daytime, pretty much any shmoe can do that. If you start getting into low-light situations, the average shmoe will probably underexpose or get blurry photos, where the pro with the same equipment will be able to get a much better shot.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2009
  5. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    We've installed a half dozen of the Sony EVI D70 cameras in churches so far this year with excellent results. We also sell quite a few to DJ's. Here's a screen shot from one of my mobile customers. The camera is centered on the truss and the plasmas show the image.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    "Robotic" cameras can cover quite a range, I've seen professional TV studios that don't have any camera operators in the room, they use broadcast cameras on broadcast quality robotic pedestals that can elevate, pan, tilt, zoom, etc,. all remotely. So about anything can be done it all depends on what you want to do and how much you want to spend.

    As ruin noted, robotic cameras can make operation easier for many uses. But many of the more affordable ones are not ideal for applications with lots of movement while live, in those cases I typically try to have one fixed 'cover shot' that you can switch to while moving the other cameras.

    I have several clients who have been very happy with the Sony and Panasonic three chip integrated camera and pan/tilt packages, they make a nice transition between the single chip conferencing type units and broadcast quality systems.
     

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