Churches face unique struggles when installing audio visual equipment such as cameras in worship spaces. Wherever cameras are installed, customers usually want clean, unobtrusive installations. But churches can be even more demanding. Sanctuaries are considered sacred spaces. Often a lot of time, energy, and money go into creating the perfect atmosphere for worship activities. Cameras that are in the way or the worshippers’ line of sight can be distracting and an especially hard sell for churches hesitant about embracing new technology. Fortunately, there are solutions, and many of them involve PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) cameras.
One of the greatest things about PTZ cameras for use in the church is their versatility when it comes to mounting. Large camcorders and professional studio cameras nearly always require mounting on a tripod. This takes floor space, which is usually at a premium inside a church. Smaller camcorders may have some flexibility when it comes to mounting, but there is nothing as flexible as a PTZ camera, which can be mounted on a wall, pole, or even the ceiling.
Ceiling mounts are often helpful in church camera installations since, in the right setting, they are barely noticeable. Ceiling mounting a PTZ also offers the most flexibility in terms of panning since they are unobstructed on all sides. They also provide the height to avoid any attendees from blocking a shot. PTZ wall mounts can be mounted directly to any wood or drywall ceiling or attached to an electrical gang box. Many churches and other buildings have ceilings that are perfect for placing a camera that will be set up to zoom in on the stage. Once you mount your PTZ camera to the ceiling you can invert the image in your video production software such as OBS, xSplit, Wirecast or vMix. Another advantage of ceiling mounting your camera is that you actually have a better view than mounting the camera upright in many scenarios. This is because the camera can pan all the way down when mounted upside down which it cannot do when mounted upright.
When affixing a PTZ camera to the ceiling, there are situations when it is more suitable for the camera to be closer to the ground. This is especially true with high ceilings or when it is preferable to have less of an angle. For these applications, a PTZ camera pole mount may be best. PTZ camera pole mounts allow you to install a camera using a 1″ NPT pipe attached to the ceiling. The pipe can be cut to any length, and the mount is secured to the pipe. Pole mounting is an excellent solution due to the fact that all required cabling can be run through the pipe for a clean looking installation. Churches will vaulted ceilings, for example, maybe way too high to ceiling mount a camera to. Many vaulted ceilings are supported by strong wooden beam that are the perfect place to mount a pole which can reach down safely 10′-15′ from the ceiling. Using a pole like this will help your church place cameras that are completely out of the way. Many churches are used to pole mounting equipment like projectors to be shown on their projection screens.
PTZ wall mounts are also great for the discreet installation of PTZ cameras in churches. Wall mounting can keep cameras out of sight while providing excellent angles for capturing church services. Cable access ports are available on the wall-side of the mount so that cables can be run into the wall and out of the way. Wall mounts can place PTZ cameras on drywall surfaces, wood, and even hard surfaces such as masonry. You can choose to use anchors to secure the mounting screws securely to most wall surfaces. If your wall mounting area is higher than eye level consider mounting the camera upside down. This is ideal for capturing wider angle camera views from higher locations like a ceiling mount.
The best thing about all of these mounting options is that you don’t need to choose only one. For churches live streaming or recording services using multiple cameras, multiple installation angles may be appropriate. It is possible to have a wide, high-angle shot set up with a PTZ on a ceiling mount. Perhaps a straight-on close up can be captured from a PTZ camera using a pole mount. An additional angle can be added using a PTZ camera on a wall mount. Whichever mounting method you use, you can install your cameras exactly where they are needed to create high-quality video while keeping the church sanctuary looking great.