Video Cameras forum


Remotely controlling on/off and record of video camera....

I'm looking for a simple solution to an issue that is plaguing our church.  We want to record the Sunday services and have mounted Handicam(s) at various locations.  This is working great, however, we have to send someone up a ladder to turn them on and press the record button before the service starts and again once everyone has left at the end of the service to end the recording.  Is there a cost-effective solution to do this remotely?

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Clarification Request
Do these have LANC controls?

In reply to: Remotely controlling on/off and record of video camera....

Many camcorders did. Also some had remotes. Let's hear what models these are.

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LANC question/response

In reply to: Do these have LANC controls?

The cameras we have now are simply (2) Sony Handycam CX190's and (1) SR68. We're not averse to replacing the cameras with whatever might do the job so long as it's not too expensive.

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Checked the CX190

In reply to: LANC question/response

No remote there. Have to run but will be back to look at the other and see what other ideas come up.

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In reply to: LANC question/response

Have you considered a wired CCTV system.

Even if you have remote control of the cameras (carried out these days using an App on a Smartphone) someone would need to switch on the cameras and pair them up with the App. Then the cameras would need to be switched off after use.

I use a Smartphone App to remotely control my Panasonic HC-V750, Start/Stop recording and Zoom control but it still requires access to the camera to switch on, set the remote control up and shut down afterwards.

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Given the old cameras look to be SD or 480p at best.

In reply to: CCTV

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Clarification Request
What is the captured recording

In reply to: Remotely controlling on/off and record of video camera....

being used for?

Possible options:
Historical record; typically not viewed by anyone but a few people;
Edited following Services and shared with whomever wants it;
Connected to another part of the Church (i.e., childcare, overflow seating, etc.) for display to those not able to watch live...

Another reason?

It sounds like the camcorders have power available, so this clearly is not a battery issue. Do they have any other connectivity needs?

Is there a desire to do anything else besides power on/off? Use of a security cam is possible, assuming the security cam can record locally (in the camera itself as is done now with the camcorders) or at least to a local server - with audio. Additional cabling may be needed.

The camcorders you listed capture standard definition video and are ~10 years old. Is there a desire to move to high definition?

Please define "cost effective".

My observations based on this thread:
LANCs were suggested. Today, wired LANC is typically available on the high-end of the consumer camcorder range ("prosumer"; start ~$1,000). Replacing the existing 3 camcorders without LANC with 3 camcorders with LANC may not meet your definition of "cost effective"

Smartphone related remote connectivity is typically designed as low power (translated "short distance") whether WiFi, Blue Tooth or other NFC (Near Field Communication) protocol. The smartphone remote apps I've used with my camcorders and action cams start losing connectivity at around 12 feet between the cam and smartphone (this is for power saving - does not matter if the devices are plugged in, the firmware always assumes battery power). We don't know how high your cameras are mounted) other than you need a ladder to power them up.

@Terfyn: How far apart can your Panny be from the smartphone remote? My guess is it starts getting flaky around 4 meters.

(And I agree with Bob, pairing each time should not be necessary. Wirelessly connecting the smartphone to the camcorder is not "pairing" - Pairing is "set up" - the first time the devices are connected and the password or QR code scan is sent from the smartphone to the camcorder. Subsequent connections between the devices should not require you to manually put in the password or scan the QR code... at least that's how it works in the US. This is the same way Blue Tooth headphones pair with a smartphone or computer, or how a smartphone connects with a vehicle's infotainment system... pair once, the first time, just connect on subsequent use.)

So... how about you let us know how the video is used, then we can suggest potential solutions with an eye toward "affordability".

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For security I think I'd get into Car Cameras.

In reply to: What is the captured recording

They power up and start recording when power is applied and I did buy my second Yi car camera after being impressed with my first one. These run $40 here on amazon. You add your choice of microSD card. I stick 32GB in them since the price is nice here.

Link to the ones I bought and can answer more questions since I own this model.

I see there's a coupon at the link today for another 5 bucks off.

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SmartPhone App

In reply to: What is the captured recording

@Terfyn: How far apart can your Panny be from the smartphone remote? My guess is it starts getting flaky around 4 meters

I have not really "pushed it" to test the distance but 6 mtr. direct line of sight held the signal. I have used the App for some nature photography but observing from a distance.

One benefit of the App is that it gives control over the Panasonic VW-CTR1 Pan/Tilt head so I can move the camera remotely as well as controlling the Zoom and Start/Stop.

Will test distance and walls etc.
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No need to test anything

In reply to: SmartPhone App

I honestly don't think a camcorder is the right tool for this application.

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Wow - so much help - greaatly appreciated.

In reply to: What is the captured recording answer the usage question: I help run a public access television station here and the church recordings will be aired on our channel. To that end, standard definition is fine, however, I would consider moving to HD for posting to the web, etc. We broadcast over Comcast and Frontier where neither of them will give us the bandwidth to push HD video - it takes up too much of their band. the fact that we are broadcasting pushes us away from cameras like GoPro or dashcams as mentioned here.  We have a professional sound system so I use a product called PluralEyes to synchronize our sound to the video recordings and this integrates with Adobe so we get great quality sound and the video is just fine for our purposes.

To the power question, I do run them with batteries, however, I purchased larger batteries which are working fine and keep the cameras running for about 2 hours.  I could have access to hard wired power by running new power to them - this would not be a huge job.  With that in mind, I'm thinking I could go with the CCTV options mentioned in the responses....I'm thinking that since they could be constantly powered on, I could be in good shape when pairing them up with an App...perhaps? 

The cameras are mounted about 15 feet high so there is no easy way to get to them on a regular basis, however, the good news is it gives me a clear path to them with a device for controlling them.

@Terfyn: Which smartphone app do you use for controlling your control my Panasonic HC-V750?  These actually look like a viable option - they meet the "reasonable" requirement [@boya84: I'm looking for cameras below the $500-$1,000 range] but alas, they don't appear to be available from anyone....Amazon & Ebay.  Additionally, the models which appear to be the replacements do not appear to even have WIFI capability.

All being said, the CCTV option does appear to be most viable - now to isolate something remote controllable.

@R.Proffitt:  the dashcam/Action Camera option brings up a whole host of other questions for me....power is (I assume) rechargeable via 12 volt USB.  This would now require my actually dismounting the cameras to plug them into a charger...?  Right?

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As to the dashcam/Action cams.

In reply to: Wow - so much help - greaatly appreciated.

The dash cam does not run for hours on internal battery. It's usual use does not call for hours of use.
Action cameras have longer battery times.

The reason I bought up the Yi is that with the app I don't have to touch the devices now. And the price is much lower than you would suspect for the video quality we see from these. There are reviews and videos on the web for both models.

But if you are producing video for the web then I think the camcorder with remote apps may be the way to go since that is more in line with your usage model.

One of the neat parts of the new carcams with WiFi is I don't have to get the memory card out to save the video. I can do that with my phone.

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Panasonic App

In reply to: Wow - so much help - greaatly appreciated.

@Terfyn: Which smartphone app do you use for controlling your control my Panasonic HC-V750? These actually look like a viable option - they meet the "reasonable" requirement

Panasonic Image App

Controls:- Start/Stop of recording, Zoom, switch from video to still, Playback and (if you have one) Panasonic's VW-CTR1 Pan/Tilt head.
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Thank you for the additional detail

In reply to: Wow - so much help - greaatly appreciated.

I think the CCTV (or "video conference cam") route is your best bet, too. This is much closer to being a "studio camera" compared to an action cam or consumer camcorder. If you think streaming live is a possible future activity, then a video switcher will be needed.

What you describe is similar to that found in a TV news studio - without all the lighting, green screen or requirement to use external graphics.

More than your requirements:
A quick stroll through online pieced together:

Camera controller:

Video switcher + recording interface:
(you need add the USB C external drive or SSD)

A couple of 21" computer monitors with HDMI input for preview and monitoring.
For streaming - connect the switcher's HDMI-out to a HDMI-composite converter... like that also has audio.

You'll probably also want an HDMI splitter that connects to the video switcher. One side of the splitter output goes to a monitor (so you can see what's being sent upstream) another goes to the HDMI-composite converter (which connects to Comcast or Frontier - however that's being done today) .

A few HDMI cables to support the connectivity from the cameras to the video switcher.
A few CAT5 or CAT6 cables to support the camera controller connectivity to the cameras.
An Ethernet switch (example: )
Probably some other bits...

I think we're under $5,500 and you have pretty much a full-fledged 3-camera, switchable, studio set up with standard definition video and audio output for Comcast or Frontier.

If you are considering power installation for camcorders so battery recharge is not needed, do that... and put the three cameras on the same circuit. The cameras are all low-power, when not needed, turn one switch off.

You can reduce $ buy eliminating 1 camera and getting a less-featured video switch. This also eliminates the HDMI and Ethernet cabling to that camera.

A laptop computer will help with set-up of some of the gear - and can also be used to provide graphics, credits, etc. It won't be doing much "computing", so fastest is unnecessary and inexpensive is OK. I just got a Lenovo ThinkPad "student edition" for less than $150 and its only task is to run a Windows-only app for my ham radio frequency database administration/maintenance. (Otherwise my employer-supplied HP laptop and personally owned Macs do actual, real, work...)

And... you can always search "house of worship video system" and see if there is a local company willing to work with you...

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Awesome resources, thanks!

In reply to: Thank you for the additional detail

This is a crazy list of help....I'm on the road but will investigate all. As you can imagine, I have access to some of these tools (switcher, etc)

All Answers

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Neither model has remote controls.

In reply to: Remotely controlling on/off and record of video camera....

Post was last edited on April 25, 2018 1:35 PM PDT

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Direct access to cameras

In reply to: Neither model has remote controls.

With any App controlled remote operation you would still need to get to the cameras to pair up the App and switch on and off.

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Not that way here?

In reply to: Direct access to cameras

Here I set it up prior to putting them in their place and there is no pairing. Just connects in Android automagically after setup and on iPhone an extra step.

This is pretty new stuff. And opens the door to other solutions for not many clams.

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