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Video on a budget
A camera, like the Canon EOS Rebel T6i, with a camera top mic, would serve you well in doing your video productions.

Video On A Budget: A String, Some Brisket or Your Soul

Depending on what you have available in the budget, there are an array of options to get into video that will certainly allow your church to get into well-produced content.

So, your leadership team is finally convinced that this video culture thing is not just a fad.

In fact, they are pretty excited at what can be accomplished through social media, live streaming or even documentary-style productions. That’s great! Only one catch, they’ve given you a budget of, well, not nearly enough.

No need to cry in the baptistry.

Take a look at three video budget packages that will get you up and running, with a professional look without breaking the bank – you have options!

You can go with a string, some brisket or your Soul…

The Shoe String

Assuming you have access to a newish smartphone, this option is great for quick social media updates, video announcements and even some of those fun church skits that are so popular!  (Tread lightly with the skit thing – I’m sort of kidding.)

Making great videos is not so dependent on expensive gear and more about creativity, let’s get you started with some no-brainers.

Smartphone ($0): Most phones are shooting in some version of HD (720, 1080, 4k). And in most cases, the auto settings will really work just fine. Point and shoot! Why is it listed at $0? Because you should already own a smart phone – seriously. The future happened while you were watching old episodes of M.A.S.H.

Gimbal Stabilizer ($140): This is a must have for any new video producer on a shoestring. The DJI Osmo Mobile 2 comes in under $150 and gives you an immediate bump up in quality from your unsteady hand held operation.

Monopod ($40): At some point, you’ll want to stabilize more often and even set up a shot where you are the talent. A simple monopod with a tripod base does the trick. You can spend much more, but it’s usually unnecessary.

Good Audio ($200): If you and I have hung out before, you know that I believe good video is found in amazingly clear and full sounding audio tracks. Don’t skimp on this one. A simple portable recorder, like the Tascam DR10L, will give great results. Yes, you’ll need to learn how to sync up the file in your video editor, but it’s worth it!  

Editing Software. ($40): Honestly, programs like iMovie or Movie Maker will really give you most of the tools you need to cut together some great gems. You don’t need all the latest effects to tell a good story. If you can cut and dissolve shots, you have most of what you need!

If you are on a shoestring budget, for under $450, you can be the next Ron Howard! (Not really, but his Masterclass looks pretty cool.)

The Brisket Budget

I see you coming. You are hungry for more – right?

You’ve been around the production block a few times and all the neighbors’ backyards are smelling sorta tasty. Well, with just a little bit of slow cooking and some DYI shows, this package option could be for you.

Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T6i w/EF 50mm f/1.8 lens ($674)

Camera top mic: Rode Video Pro Plus ($299) And you don’t even have to sync the audio!

Tripod or DSLR Gimbal: EC1 Beholder ($350)

Editing Software: Sony Vegas Movie Studio 16 ($100)

For under $1,500, you’ll have the power to produce nice promos, short documentaries and so much more!

The Kia Soul

In for a penny, in for a pound – right? Actually, I’m not really sure what that means, but I’ll go with it. The point is, while you still may be on a tight “budget,” with the right casting of vision to your leadership, many churches will free up some funds to get you a much more versatile setup – and much further down the road. 

Slide into this little number and buckle up, baby.

Camera: Sony PXW-Z150 ($2,800)

Microphone: Rode NTG3 ($600)

Tripod: Manfrotto Fluid Head ($250)

Editing Software: Vegas Pro ($400) or…

You may be ready to put on some big kid producer pants! While you may be fine with something like a Vegas Pro, you may want to start looking into what Adobe Creative Cloud (Adobe Premiere) or Avid Media Composer has to offer on a monthly or yearly subscription that will actually be more cost effective than constantly paying for new programs or upgrades. You’ll now have access to more advanced features that will open doors to multi-camera productions, excellent color balancing and contemporary effects. Vroom. Vroom.

While the equipment combination here may certainly not be right for every situation, the camera, mic and tripod choices can give you the best of HD field recording while giving you all the professional audio and hook ups to produce studio quality recordings as well as live- streaming your services! A $4,000 investment puts you in the driver seat of a pretty “suite” ride.

OK, I’m done with the bad puns.

No matter if you’re on a shoestring budget, have a hankering for some brisket or ready for that brand-new Kia, hopefully this will get you moving in the right direction.

And you didn’t even have to sell your Soul.

OK, so I lied.   

God bless, friends.

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