K. So if you are on the hunt to be the next hollywood church and your budget is less than $500 then you might need to manage your expectations of what kind of video camera to get, but what I’m trying to help you with today is determining what are the most important features and then how to choose the right one.
Right off the bat you want to consider how you will be using your church’s video camera. Do you want to stream live across the internet or to IMAG (that means putting it up on the projector)? Are you just wanting this to be for podcasting only or did you want to be able to use it for video announcements? All in all, the more functions you want it to have, the more difficult it is to keep your cost low while still producing high quality. So let’s jump right in.
If you are just looking to record your sermons and then put them on your website and iTunes at the end of the day then you don’t need a whole lot. We recommend anything in the Canon XA series which range from $1299 for the XA10 all the way to $2299 for the XA35. All of the XA cameras record in 1080p HD and have built-in wifi functionality which is very helpful if you want your files to automatically upload to your server or computer for editing. The depth of field on these is fairly poor so this is really an ideal camera for events and not recommended for recording announcements or producing creative videos for your website or Facebook. If you want a better description on the breakdown between the different XA Series cameras, click here.
Podcasting & Creative Hybrid
This hybrid is not always recommended for a variety of reasons, not the least being that you are constantly changing settings on it as you move from place to place so you can’t always guarantee the same quality as the previous week when it comes to podcasts. But if you are looking for a good, versatile camera, then you might check out the Canon 6D which retails for roughly $1,399 plus lenses (an additional $2,000+). Be sure to get at least a 50mm f1.4, a 70-300mm f2.8, and a 24-105mm f4 Rokinon to be able to capture all the necessary footage depending on the style of video you are creating.
Creative Cinematic Camera
If you are looking to add a camera to your list of depreciable assets that you can make really high quality films with, first things first, make sure you have someone who knows how to use it otherwise the quality won’t be noticeable. Second, you have a wide range depending on your budget. Personally I would recommend going with a Sony FS5 or a Canon C100. The FS5 retails for $5,499 without any lenses so just know that when you calculate it all up you will be looking at a $7,000 to $8,000 price point before it is all said and done. If you are looking for a little less than that then you can go for the Canon C100 which is an incredible camera for cinematic footage, but just remember if you don’t have a good camera operator AND colorist, then the footage you shoot will be lower quality than what you could get with a Canon XA series camera.
Do I Need 4K?
Great question. People were asking the same thing back in the 2000s about HD. Do you need it? No. Would it be nice to have if you could get it? Yes! But one thing to be sure is that there aren’t enough ways for people to view 4K any differently than they view HD so it is a little overkill. By 2017 4K will be much more accessible though so if you are planning more than a year out, definitely go with 4K so long as you understand that most budget cameras do not shoot 4K or they don’t shoot it very well.
How Much Should I Pay for the Highest Quality?
As a church, should you spend $4500 on a camera or should you spend $3500? There comes a point where you start measuring the benefits and the more money you spend, the less benefits you get. If you want the highest quality camera on a budget then you should look for the camera body ranging between $2,000 and $4,000.