Staying Connected As A Church Through Video & Online Resources

Updated: May 3

By Garry M. Spotts, M.Div.


During this time of social distancing and force hiatuses from communal worship gatherings because of the Covid-19 Pandemic connecting the community of believers is critical. Helping the members of your community hold on and continue to grow in a time where faith is greatly needed is important.


Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

One solution is to create an online fellowship experience that allows members to connect and hear from their pastor and the leaders of the local congregation. Below is a simplified solution to address the needs of the community. One caveat, don’t allow the size of the task overwhelm you. You can put together a great system in as little a 2-3 days.


Below is an outline of the steps needed to get started followed by a brief explanation of each of the points in the outline. Finally, there are some product and services needed that I will recommend.


1.) A Recording Device

a. Tablet (Android or iPad)

b. Smart Phone

c. Digital Camera

d. Desktop or laptop HD Webcam


2.) Recorder Audio Input

a. Wired Microphone

b. Lapel

c. Microphone Stand

d. Device Dependent Microphone


3.) The appropriate setting for the video shoot


4.) Lighting


5.) Video Editing Software (Optional)


6.) Video Hosting

a. Facebook

b. Church Website

c. YouTube Channel

d. Church’s Native App (Android or IOS)

e. Progressive Web App


7.) Streaming Service

a. LiveStream

b. BoxCast

c. Vimeo

d. YouTube

e. Sermon.net


8.) Sufficient Native or Cloud Storage


A Programming Plan Release Schedule and Interaction


1.) Content is King

a. Create a publishing schedule

b. Create a series

2.) Release Dates and Times (Sunday 9:30 a.m | Tuesday 12 noon | Thursday 6:30 p.m.)


3.) Written | Downloadable material


4.) Create Points of Discussion and Accept and Respond to Questions Request Topics of Interest The Audience Would like to Have addressed


Recording Device


Your recorder should record at a minimum of 1080p and should have an audio input port 3.5mm jack input port. Any of the following devices should work:


a. Tablet (Android or iPad)

b. Smart Phone

c. Digital Camera

d. Desktop or laptop HD Webcam

Most webcams can only record audio with the built-in microphone.


The Recorder Audio Input


A wired microphone is typically the best option since the speaker will not move around much or wander very far from the video recorder. There are wireless microphone systems, but they require a more significant financial investment than a wired microphone.


Choose an appropriate setting for the video shoot


Sitting at your desk or a table works just fine. You can record standing up as well. It is a good idea to vary the shooting setting. There is no reason that you can’t record outside, especially in low wind settings. Windy environments may cause “wind noise” in the microphone, though most microphones come with a windshield.


Lighting


A video is only as good as the lighting used to light the set. Poor lighting can cause viewers to abandon the video. Lighting has a direct impact on “production value,” in other words, the quality of the end product. Indirect and diffused sunlight is a great lighting source. The unfortunate reality is that you don’t have any control over the Sun. In order to control lighting, you will want to create a three 3-point lighting system.


Video Editing Software (optional)


Because no one completes a video take flawlessly, you may need to edit the video in some way. At the very least, you will need to trim the beginning and the end of the recorded video. Once all editing to complete, the file will need to be exported to a common video format, preferably Mp4.


Video Hosting and Streaming Services


Once the video is edited and converted to the compressed streaming format Mp4 the file will have to be added to a host or a streaming service. Video can eat up loads of space on your server or computer. Ten minutes of 1080p (HD) Video compressed as Mp4 will require approximately 500mbs of storage. Two 10-minute videos can be approximately 1gigabyte.


Here are a few hosting solutions:


a. Facebook

b. Church Website

c. YouTube Channel

d. Church’s Native App (Android or IOS)

e. Progressive Web App


Here are a few streaming solutions:


a. LiveStream

b. BoxCast

c. Vimeo

d. YouTube

e. Sermon.net


Video Storage Options and Capacity


Your videos will have to be saved to some type of storage. You may save them to your local hard drive or a cloud storage service. It will not take long to fill up a hard drive in your office.

Here are a few options for cloud or local storage:

a. Google Drive

b. Dropbox

c. Terabyte external drives.


Create a Programming Plan, Release Schedule and Audience Interaction


Creating a programming plan simply means identifying and planning the subject and content of each broadcast. Keeping the Videos between 3-10 minutes in length requires clear and simple messaging. Discuss one point per video. If your video requires more than the 5 minutes, break it multiple sections.

Once you have created a programming plan, then schedule your releases three videos per week and two written meditations, devotions, or studies on the days between the videos.

Here is a list of affordable products that can be used to get started.

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