The SimplTrack2: An Auto-Tracking Camera for Your Church
In this video, you can see how Shiloh Ministries in Mercer, Pennsylvania has set up and optimized the SimplTrack2 auto-tracking camera inside of their house of worship. The SimplTrack2 is an auto-tracking camera that is ideal for large spaces because it features a 20X optical zoom with the ability to automatically track a subject on stage. This allows you to mount the SimplTrack2 up to 55 feet away from the stage and still capture close up views of your pastor during live-streamed services.
When you are setting up a SimplTrack2, you have a couple video options to consider. First of all, you can connect the auto-tracking camera directly to any computer using a USB 3.0 port. This is ideal for Zoom meetings where your pastor wants to stay connected with an online audience. You can also use the USB connection for simple streams using a software like OBS for example, to live stream a sermon to Facebook. The SimplTrack2 also features an SDI connection which is better for long cable runs back to a video production area. SDI cables generally require a SDI to USB capture card or hardware video switcher to use with a live streaming software like OBS, Wirecast or vMix so that you can connect to Facebook Live, YouTube or Zoom. The camera also features a DVI/HDMI video output of the camera that can be used with HDMI based video switchers. Many churches like to use the HDMI output with a confidence monitor so that the pastor can see where the camera is at all times. The DVI output can easily be converted to HDMI and used with hardware video production systems like the ATEM which include a USB output that you can connect to your computer for live streaming and video recording.
Most churches wall mount the SimplTrack2 on a wall that is out of the way like this one here. The SimplTrack2 can be powered with the included power supply or a PoE injector, like this one from PoE Texas. Once installed, you should also connect the camera to ethernet. The ethernet connection allows you to control the camera remotely. Once everything is set up, you can easily setup the SimplTrack2 to work in your church so that you have a camera man 24/7 whenever you want to record a video to produce a live stream.
Back at your computer, you can run the HuddleCamHD SimplTrack2 software to set up the auto-tracking parameters. This is a once and done set up process, but it’s helpful to have your pastor present so you can tweak the tracking speeds to their presentation style. For example, if your pastor likes to walk around a lot, you may want to dial in the tracking sensitivity and pan speeds. When you first set up the SimplTrack2, you need to set up the tracking zone. This is used to tell the auto-tracking camera where your pastor will be walking around. If there is a projector or television on stage, you can use the blocking zones to remove those areas from the tracking area.
While you are in the software, consider the framing you would like for your camera. You can have the camera track your pastor with a close up head and shoulder shot or you can use a full body shot showing head to toes. To do this, you need to set preset 0 as your entire stage and preset 1 for your close up framing. Once this is all done, you can click the track button, and you’re all set.
Now your media volunteers can leverage an auto-tracking camera that will always follow the pastor during services. This makes video creation and live streaming easier to operate but also more engaging for viewers.