Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


I had worked with Father Allison for over 20 years and sadly today I filmed his funeral. He was a lovely human being, a real gentleman and I am proud to have known him. This is only my second video funeral in 25 years and hopefully my last.

In 2008 I got a call from Father to film a few events for his 50th year in the priesthood, this led to a trip to Donegal in Ireland and the weather was fantastic not to mention the people. I was filming with a Sony PMW-EX3 at that time and the pictures were great.


Father Allison was from Letterkenny the largest town in County Donegal and this trip was a culmination of a year of celebrations with a DVD of all the various events. The DVD grew arms and legs and had to finally be produced onto a dual layer DVD because Father wanted as much of his year’s events as possible.


Father came down to my house a few times to watch the edit and give his opinions, he was such a humble man and no one he ever met had a bad word to say about him.

Sadly I got a phone call yesterday to tell me Father had passed away and his funeral was today (Monday) at 11.30 up at St Anthony’s Church. Could I film the funeral and provide a link to the over spill hall at the side of the church ?

I gave them 3 options, an SD feed, an HD feed and an HD wireless feed, they preferred the wireless feed. I had looked into an HD video 5GHz sender that claimed “interference FREE pictures” at 50m with a 720 picture. I bought the beast and as usual the claims were soon dispelled, I could not get an interference free picture at 25 feet let alone 50m !

I bought a 100m drum of RG59 video cable and spent 2 hours on Sunday afternoon running in the feed which took 75m of cable. I crimped two BNC connectors either end and took a 720p feed out of the JVC GY-HM650 into a Sony EX30, then via an HDMI cable out into the 50″ Panasonic TV…didn’t work…then I had a brain wave what if I took the signal into my Sony 740 monitor and loop out into the EX30…it worked.


It’s the first 720 HD video feed I have been asked to produce and it looked cracking as you can tell from the resolution of the photograph.

me-cam-JVC650 Scott-Sony-EX3

I have the GY-HM650 on loan from JVC and the Sony was also on loan from my friend Alastair to compare the two camcorders side by side, the JVC was the HD video feed and the Sony was for cutaways as we have been asked to produce a DVD of the ceremony. My only problem with today’s shoot is that the main camera was filming for live viewing and not for editing, so shots like the congregation singing are non existent from my camera.

The one thing this exercise taught me was never be without a conventional video camcorder as I can assure you my Canon C300 would have been useless in this set-up. I was almost convinced to go for a C100 as a second camera but once again useless without an expensive servo zoom for live situations.

So how did the 1/3″ JVC stand up against the 1/2″ Sony…

In a nutshell the Sony is still better in low light and the quality of the 14x constant aperture lens is sharper on a wide shot, the JVC still gave a good account of itself with a clean picture at both 0 and 3dBs, the lens was stopping down as I zoomed in and had to compensate with a 3dB lift.

I have not seen the pictures side by side but the colours look very close which surprised me as the JVC still has the punchier more natural picture.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

6 thoughts on “1 Day to set up an HD 720p live link for a funeral

  1. This article is the type of personalized professional experience that makes your blog compelling reading.

  2. Sad post for the most. on the other hand great post. Thank you for the detail on how you made the feed work even after your original plans didn’t work. only and experience professional can have a brain wave and make it work.

    I curious to know which HD Video Sender you tried out.

  3. I would also like to know which sender you were using, their are a few on the market at £900 to £1600 that claim they will transmit up-to 300feet.

  4. Hi Philip,

    Sorry to be a pain I intend buying a sender this week and would like to know which one you used on your shoot!

    It was an el-chepo from Maplin, I happened to see it when I was looking for BNC connectors so I bought it to try it out and it was crap …as I expected.(Got a full refund).
    The one I have seen working very well is the CAM-WAVE from IDX.

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