utilizing video in your worship services

You might not be ready for this setup yet, but you can find affordable equipment that rivals the images this camera produces.
You might not be ready for this setup yet, but you can find affordable equipment that rivals the images this camera produces.

Today your church can reach beyond it's walls in numerous ways. One of the easiest ways to reach a broader audience is by recording your services and posting them online. Years ago sermon audio was a big deal, today everyone is recording their services in HD. Believe it or not you can record your sermons in HD for less than $2200. Our church uses a tripod that cost $200, a camera that cost $1850, and a zoom controller that cost $100. Let's talk about how to go about getting your ministry set up to record in HD for as little as possible.

Things you need to already have in place:

good lighting your auditorium is lit by something, but what about the stage? Do you have stage lights? If so, are they pretty bright? A camera is much more sensitive than our eyes. It takes a lot of light to brighten an image on an HD camcorder. To ensure your lighting is adequate, try taping a service, then look at the results. If the image is grainy or washed out, you may need to adjust your lighting.

good sound system This is crucial. It doesn't need to be a $10k system. It just needs to be good quality. We use a $400 board and a $400 wireless mic for the pastor. Here is the most important part. You need a way to take the sound from the board and put it into the camera. No on-board mic is going to get you the sound you need for a good video, not even a shotgun mic. Run a 1/4 inch line from the mixing board and run it either into a 1/8 or xlr for your camera (our camera takes xlr, which is the best). Now your camera is recording straight from the mic your pastor is speaking into.

great volunteers Teachability is the greatest ability. If your group is willing to learn new stuff, your product will go a long way. You will need someone to man the camera. You may want a rotation of volunteers in case someone is out one Sunday.

Let's get started. You have the basics now let's get the equipment. The most important piece is the camera. Here is what you want in a good camera. It should be HD, sensitive even in low lighting, and have a way to connect audio into it. We use the Canon XA-10. It has great light sensitivity, is HD, and has XLR inputs which can be balanced. All this for only $1850 at www.bhphoto.com You can check out our sermon videos on our website www.crosspointesuffolk.com Every camera needs a UV lens protector. This protects the lens and also keeps glare out of the picture.

The next piece to buy is a great tripod. You want a tripod with a fluid head. This means it will turn smooth as you pan the shot. Another great feature to look for is a tripod with two handles. We use the Davis and Sanford Prolift with FM18 head. It was $200 at www.bhphoto.com We also added a Varizoom LANC for $100 which allows you to zoom from the handle of the tripod, not the camera.

The last thing you will need is a way to edit those sermons. We use Pinnacle (www.pinnaclesys.com). It is the easiest to learn and most powerful system I have ever seen. However, many good products are out there. Just find what you are comfortable with as far as price and usability.

Now you have the right equipment and you've started taping the services. You even edited them down to the length you need. But where do you post them? How do you put the on your website? Today you have tons of options. Years ago we started using www.Vimeo.com because it was the only site that allowed you to upload videos an hour long. Today www.youtube.com has started allowing you to upload long videos as well. Once you upload your videos to these sites, you can embed them on your website. Now your church has a website with sermons shutins and sick can watch from the comfort of their home.

Be sure to check out our blog www.neppl.wordpress.com

also check out 25 ways the church can reach people.

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