Doing Video on a Budget: Buy What You Need To Get Going, Start With A Plan

If you are still capturing video in SD, and are looking to jump to HD (1280 by 720 pixels) or even Full HD (1920 by 1080 pixels), know you'll likely have to change out most of your cables, screens, and cameras.

Doing Video on a Budget: Buy What You Need To Get Going, Start With A Plan
At West Asheville Baptist, our current system began with three used video cameras. The process began after a company had upgraded a church, after which we bought the church's old equipment. The vast array of equipment we purchased ended up costing $25,000, but that included all of the gear and the installation, including cameras, cables, recorders, computers, monitors, and other associated equipment.

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There are many choices for microphones, and you don’t need to spend a fortune, but get the best that you can afford.

Next, you will need to know some things about the room. Those details would include size, how many people will be in it, and how far away from the pastor and worship leaders they will be. Take all of that room information and recording device information to someone who sells microphones, to get their feedback on what they believe would be the best choice.

Do not cut corners on finding the right microphones.

In the beginning, you will have a lot of choices.

Start with a budget.

Once you have chosen a microphone, select a camera, and then a secondary way to record sound and video, such as to a computer, CD, DVD or video recorder. 

The reason for these additional items is that sooner than later, something will go wrong with your sound or video, and having a backup source will be crucial.

The next thing to account for is, what do you want to do with the video? Are you going to make DVDs, livestream, or broadcast the service on television?

Deciding what camera(s) to use will have a lot to do with what you plan to do with your video.

Keep in mind having the cost of building a system around the cameras and microphones. If you are livestreaming, you may only need to send the audio and video to a capture device on a computer, after which it can be uploaded to Facebook, YouTube, or a streaming service.

If you are recording for broadcast, cable, or recording for DVDs, you will need a lot more gear, such as cables, monitors, switchers, spare recorders, amplifiers, etc.

When trying to figure what next step should be taken for your video needs, note that there are a lot of used video cameras on the market. In the next year or two, at West Asheville, we will be upgrading to HD and new cameras, but for the last ten years we have been using the Canon XL1S professional camcorder. This camera captures video in SD, and is more than 20 years old.

But it works. as We have five of them, streaming live and recording for cable broadcast. Today, one could get a single XL1S in good condition for about $500, as you don’t need five.


More About Ralph Hicks
Ralph Hicks is the Tech Director for the West Asheville Baptist Church, based in Asheville, N.C. He started serving in church when he was seven and has been a part of the volunteer staff ever since. After singing in church and running sound for 20 years, he moved behind the camera where he spent several years. He was the church's Front of House Engineer, before becoming the Technical Director six years ago.
Get in Touch: rhicks@westashevillebaptist.org    More by Ralph Hicks

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Article Topics

Technology · Video · Team Management · Budgeting · Team Development · Cameras · Equipment · Facebook · Livestream · Microphones · Screens · All Topics

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