Video Production Starting Point; Recording Basics
Understand the recording basics in recording a sermon and producing it for viewer audiences.
If all goes well, you will have everything you need to properly edit a service for DVD or broadcast.
So, you want to video record your service, but don’t know where to begin.
First things first: you will need a camera (at least one), lights, a way to record sounds, volunteers, a program, and computer with editing software. These are the basics and all you need to get things started.
CHOOSING A CAMERA
Things to keep in mind as you choose a camera are cost, quality of the lens/picture, and standard vs. high definition. Remote control is another consideration.
LOCATING YOUR CAMERA
Now that you have a camera (or multiple cameras), you need to decide where to put it. If you have just one, the obvious choice is straight on, in front of the subject. You can add angles as you add cameras.
LIGHTING THE SCENE
After you have the camera in place, you will need to set up lighting. A minimum of three lights per camera is necessary. If your subject will remain relatively stable (in one area on the stage), the minimum will suffice. As your subject moves, however, you will need additional lights to cover them.
The basic three-light setup will place two in front of the subject at 45-degree angles and one behind or above to give your subject depth. A great way to determine whether you have light everywhere you need it is to open your hand in front of you when you are in the center of the lights and then walking to each side of the lit stage, watching you’re the shadow of your hand. Overlap the lights until there is consistency in light intensity.
ADJUSTING THE SOUND
The next thing to consider is the sound. You will need an output from the mixing board into a recording device. For cameras and sound, you need to record with at least two sources for redundancy in case something goes wrong. Bad sound (or, worse, no sound) is the fastest way to ruin your edit. Lights can be bad, someone can walk out of the frame, but if there is no sound, you have nothing.
Once you have a source (microphone, amp, instruments, etc.), you need to be able to do something with it. It is helpful to have someone sitting at the mixing board to balance the sound. If you are lucky enough to have the budget for it, set up a computer to capture the sound from each source. Then, you can mix this separately. Remember: the sound that you hear on the recording will be different from what you hear in the sanctuary. This has to do with the acoustics in the building. Unless you have the ability to capture the sound separately, you will have to do some editing of the sound in post.
RECORDING & EDITING THE VIDEO
A good edit begins with a good plan. The person in charge should have a copy of the program and should also have talked to the pastor and the choir director prior to the recording. The morning of the service, the leader should go over the program with everyone involved so they know what to expect. Give a program to each station and to each camera operator. The key is that everyone knows what is going to happen next so you do not miss anything — you can’t edit what you don’t have.
Before each service have a checklist. Are the cameras white-balanced? Do the cameras work properly? Are the lights ready? Have we talked to our volunteers? Is the recording gear on and working properly? If all goes well, you will have everything you need to properly edit a service for DVD or broadcast.
It is good to add an opening sequence to your video, with music and a title. If you have the ability to record the pastor (or someone else), create an introduction to the program. Pick out the songs you like and edit the lights color and sound. Then, place the intro at the beginning of the video. Then comes the sermon, and end with an invitation. You may also want to insert a message into the sermon if you have the need. If the pastor has a short sermon, you can end with a song and then use the title sequence from the beginning to end.
RALPH HICKS is Technical Director of Asheville, NC-based West Asheville Baptist Church.