Hi! I work at a county museum in Sweden. Every year we hold between 20-30 evening seminars for the public. Sadly not everyone can make it, and the seminar room is frequently filled to capacity. For this reason we've decided to record the seminars and upload them to Youtube or similar.
I've been put in charge of setting up this test. My idea is to set up two cameras, one of them covering the podium and the other covering the stage (for when the speaker inevitably moves out of frame). Still frames from Powerpoint should be no problem adding in editing. The room is already equipped with Sennheiser Freeport wireless microphones plugged into a JDM ZA-1120A amplifier and a line out to a Univox DLS-380 induction loop amplifier for hearing aids. If possible, the existing equipment should be used for recording audio. Getting better equipment for cleaner audio is not out of the question, though, as long as it works with the Univox system.
My suggestion is to use DV cameras and the existing sound equipment and plug all three into a computer acting as an NVR. This should be simple enough to be used by the evening staff, ideally requiring only the push of one button to start recording both cameras and audio. The camera streams should be saved as separate video files for editing the day after.
The cameras would have to be placed at the back of the room, which means 10-15 metre long cables to the NVR, being placed in a room behind the stage where the sound system is today. Sadly, there is no other option, and this means extenders would have to be used for any HDMI or USB cables. The finished product should have decent video quality and be at least 720 px wide (preferrably 1080) with crisp audio for this to be worth doing.
The finished solutions I've found are either geared towards security cameras or streaming, both of which have features we will not need in the forseeable future.
The following questions come to mind:
- What hardware is needed in the NVR?
- What NVR software would be best suited to our needs?
- What cameras would be good enough?
- Is the existing audio equipment good enough?
- Any suggestions for a better solution?
Grateful for any answers!
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An alternative, forget the NVR for a moment. You can mount 2 or 3 or more small HD camcorders discreetly around the room and record directly to SD cards. Record your audio from the room feed to a computer or external audio recorder. (I use this method all the time with two set cameras and a 3rd human-operated one.)
Load the cards into your NLE the next day, Premiere Pro is a good choice because it can sync the cameras and audio by waveform automatically -- do your multicam edit and you're good to go.
Any 1-button solution is going to require robust (expensive) cameras that can basically be left on all day without "saving" power and shutting down when you least expect it.
I've considered the approach you're suggesting, but I think it increases the number of things that can go wrong and given the planned camera locations it would be somewhat of a hassle. Of course, you're right in saying it's probably far easier, and perhaps I should revisit the idea. We've got Premiere so that's what I'll be using.
What cameras do you use? Keeping in mind the room will be somewhat poorly lit when showing Powerpoint presentations, will the cheaper camcorder models cut it?
Go with camcorders that have the ability to manually control exposure, focus and white balance all at the same time. This eliminates the absolute cheapest, but still does not need to be very expensive. Again, if you want a completely set-it-and-forget-it solution, NVR or not, you need more robust, professional gear.
Also forgot to mention, the powerpoint can be problematic. Either record the stream that is being fed to the projector, or you have to break out the individual slides and images and reinsert them manually on the timeline. (Frequently I find myself changing the timing for better rhythm either way.) Older powerpoints can be cracked with unzipping utilities such as 7-zip, but newer ones tend to be more "secure" by default and harder to access
My vote also goes for smrpix´s idea. Also I don´t understand why the cameras´placement would represent a hassle since you´d be putting them there anyway and with recording cameras, you even eliminate the cables from the cams to the control room.
Thanks a lot for the suggestions! I'll try the method you've suggested.