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Our church wants to install a video camera to record services and sermons, nothing fancy - here's what I'm thinking:

  1. Mount a remote-control pan/tilt head on the wall or railing of the balcony
  2. During the service, attach a video camera that has remote-control zoom/start/stop control
  3. Have software that lets the operator hit buttons that say "pan/tilt/zoom so the camera is pointing at the pulpit" or "pan/tilt/zoom so the camera shows the entire altar area".

The challenge, of course, is that we don't have $5000 to spend on one of the fancy commercial systems (nor do we need something that sophisticated).

We have a Canon VIXIA HF-R52 that you can control remotely (zoom/start/stop), and I'm considering the Panasonic CTR-1 Remote Pan Tilt Cradle, what I can't tell is whether the controls for either let you say "go to zoom level 8.3, pan 20 degrees from center and 30 degrees down from horizontal" (which is what I would need, in order to give the operator a button for "pan/tilt/zoom to the altar".

BTW, I don't want the system that follows motion, or requires everyone to carry a special tag that the PT head detects and follows.

Is there a low-cost solution that gives me what I need?

I saw this question: Remote pan/tilt/zoom cameras that aren't expensive which is similar, but didn't go far enough. As far as I can tell, the low-end pan/tilt heads let you say "pan to the left" but they don't let you say "pan to 30 degrees left" which is what I am looking for.

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What you look for is probably a combination of the Bescor / Hague MP360 motorized pan tilt head with the CamRanger controller. CamRanger are selling the combo under their label, you can see some nice video explanations at their web site. If you don't need the extra pizzaz then you can look at just the MP360, or even the lower-end MP101 which is a great product too.

Note that these heads have a tilt limit of 30deg, so, depending on your setting, you may have to throw in a correction plate.

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