Video is increasingly becoming the go-to medium for churches, to get their message out to their congregation, the community and the world.
Remember that what you want and what you can actually spend, will be two very different numbers.
Video allows for a user to feel a presence and connection to a church, while not physically being there. This connection, when used appropriately, can transform hearts and lives to Christ. For many churches, though, getting started in video can feel like a daunting and financially draining proposition.
One of the key decisions when deciding on video is to determine whether or not to stream your video live, or to record first, then process, after which you would make it available afterwards. While both ways are great to get your message out, they have very different financial implications and technical details that need to be accounted for.
For starters, a critical, but often overlooked aspect of doing video is lighting. Without the speaker being properly lit, you end up having a video that people will only end up listening to, not actually watch. As a result of the poor lighting, it will not hold their interest for as long, and the point of the message will get lost.
No matter what type of camera you’re using, be sure that wherever your subject is, that you can see them properly. This may mean that the first part of doing video, doesn’t have anything to do with cameras or switchers or software, but instead a lighting upgrade in your sanctuary. This really can be quite simple and just require a few spotlights, focused on illuminating the person delivering the message.
Several websites exist where one can purchase used lighting gear, such as usedlighting.com, that not only will allow you to get quality products, but get them at a price that won’t break your budget.
Another potential lower-cost method, even if it will require more work, is to enhance the video post-process. While this won’t work for a church thinking of doing livestreaming, it will allow you to still get your message out, without having an extensive lighting knowledge or budget.
The next aspect of doing video on a budget, is to consider the right camera for your needs. While everyone wants a 4K UHD camera, one that will show things in vivid detail, keep in mind that most people will probably be watching your videos on a 5- or 6-inch screen, where the difference between 720p and 4K, isn’t highly noticeable.
Recognize that you don’t need TV studio-grade equipment, in order to get your video production rolling.
While your VHS camcorder may not cut it to capture your video, your new smartphone could, especially with the improvements with video capture in recent years. One really good option, if you’re unsure what to do in terms of a camera, is to rent a few and try out some different options. See what may work good in your space, and how easy it will be to use each of the potential camera choices. Sites like borrowlenses.com can save you the headache of making an expensive purchase, one that you may even regret, if you hadn’t really given a new camera a test run in the first place.
Audio is another major factor when working to create your video on a budget. If the speaker cannot be heard appropriately, your message will again be lost.
The most practical way to make sure to have quality audio as part of your video, is to feed your audio from your soundboard directly to your camera or switcher. If you’re using something like a smartphone, getting the proper cabling can sometimes be costly, and is often overlooked.
Keep in mind that the proper adapters and cables, in some cases, for not only phones, but even cameras can be several hundred dollars. Especially when livestreaming, understand the difference between live sound in the room, and live sound on a device.
Streaming costs are another factor that you may or may not want to consider. Certain companies offer plans and equipment that will simplify your streaming experience but can add between $600 and $1,800 a year to your cost. Other options such as OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) provide a free software solution that can provide great quality but will require a little bit more setup.
Also realize that if you are streaming worship, you will need to consider your licensing, and be sure your CCLI license covers your right to broadcast that worship. While the cost is generally minimal, it is one additional thing to consider, to avoid potential litigation costs down the road.
Remember that what you want and what you can actually spend, will be two very different numbers. Start from the top down. Get your lighting right and a proper camera and your message will be seen well. When you add in the audio you’re getting to a point where God’s word can now resonate well beyond your four walls.
Let the message your church is sharing be seen and heard throughout the world.