I am frequently asked about the various types of gear I use when engaged in evangelism. People want to know what kind of cameras (still and video), voice recorders, amplifiers, gospel tracts, and bibles I use when I hit the streets. It seems lately the questions have been coming more frequently. So, I think now is a good time to write another article about my evangelism gear.
Since I'm going to try to add more detail than in previous articles of this kind, I'm going to divide this article into several parts. "Part 1" will cover video cameras.
I've used several different video cameras throughout the years. I currently own two very good, HD video cameras (a Sony HDR-PJ710V, and a Canon Vixia HF 710A). Both were gifts to the ministry.
Both cameras are wonderful for open-air preaching, one-to-one conversations, and recording pulpit sermons. However, cameras like these are best used if you are either going to employ a tripod in a location where you can walk away from the camera (i.e. inside a church, meeting room, or studio), or in outdoor situations where you can have a person hold the camera or stand next to the tripod. I try to avoid the latter because I don't want to relegate someone to the position of "camera man" who is on the streets with me to do evangelism.
Since I am alone most of the time when I'm engaged in street evangelism, a hands-free camera is best suited for my needs. This summer, I purchased and tried a Taser Axon Body Camera. This camera was developed for law enforcement use, and I can see where it serves that purpose very well. However, while the sound and picture quality is suitable for a law enforcement application, it is sub-par for evangelism purposes.
I film my evangelism for three reasons: to enhance my personal safety and accountability; to edify and train the Body of Christ; to proclaim the gospel on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. This kind of video production demands high quality videos, especially when someone as technically inept as I am is behind the camera. People simply won't watch videos with a grainy picture and poor sound quality. The video content might be fantastic, but if the video is painful to the eyes and ears of the average viewer, no one is going to watch it.
GoPro Hero4 (Silver). When the Lord provides the funds, I plan to purchase one.
I've spoken to people who own this camera or who are professional videographers who are very familiar with it. The camera records in HD and produces a high quality image, even in lower light situations. The sound quality is also good. The camera is sturdy. It is designed for sports and other high impact activities, which makes it a good camera for street evangelism (where anything can happen).
Those with whom I have spoken about the camera recommend the Silver over the Black model, which is $100 more expensive. While the Black records in blistering fast 4K, it lacks a view screen, which is important for novice and recreational users. The Silver (retails at $399) records in 1080p60 and 720p120 HD video, which is plenty of quality for street evangelism and YouTube purposes.
Both Hero4 models include WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities, which allows for live streaming.
While all GoPro cameras are built to take more of a beating than your standard video camera, spending another $50 on a Skeleton Housing unit is recommended.
In "Part 2," I will talk about the voice recorders I recommend.