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Church News at St. Faith’s – Part 2

June 27, 2014 | In Church, Production

This post continues after the first post on Church News where we discuss why we’re doing it. If you haven’t read that, I’d recommend you go back and read it before you read on!
Church News Part 2

How we do Church News

There’s a lot of different aspects to the how of planning, shooting, editing and distributing Church News. I’ll try and summarise the important things and do more detailed posts on some of the following topics in the future.

As you’ll quickly discover, it takes a lot of people to make this happen monthly. If you’re interested in attempting to do this at your church, make sure you gather a team of people around you. We certainly wouldn’t be able to do it without the great people we have behind the camera as well as in front.

We shoot once a month and capture content for each of the weeks for the following month. Each month we’ll have different talent in front of the camera, who will do all of the notices or introduce or tail promotional videos for events that have them.

Planning

We’re fortunate enough to have someone in our young adults community who’s just finished a degree in film production. Nick is responsible for liasing with Ben (our pastor responsible for our family and night congregations) and collating a list of events that are coming up in the two months ahead and then developing a script. We try and do this in the week before we shoot.

Ben is also responsible for finding and co-ordinating the talent. We typically try and switch out the type of person we get each month, in age, gender, congregation and personality. This has helped, I think, to keep things fresh – but we’re looking at experimenting with having two people in front of the camera in future months to mix things up further.

Shooting

Church News Shooting

A typical Church News shoot setup during the first few months

Production for the whole month’s worth of video typically takes about two hours including setup, the shoot and pack down. However, we’ve been able to build up a ‘set’ that involves minimal setup more recently, which cuts about 45 minutes off this time (more about our setup in a future post). Ideally, we’ll have the talent plus two behind the scenes team members – one to look after the technical side, and the other to ensure we’re covering all the content.

We use a two point lighting system, one light at 45 degrees either side of the subject, typically one as a soft fill, and then one as a slightly more directional key. We’d like to do some key lighting from behind, but haven’t been able to source the equipment to do that well, yet. For audio, we’ve been using a highly directional mic on a boom, but since the shoot for May we’ve switched to a lapel mic. We’ve found that in the room we shoot, we get a lot of ambient noise (reflections off the hard surfaces in the room) which hasn’t been helpful in making the speech tracks clear to understand which we’re able to minimise by using a lapel mic. It doesn’t look as nice, but makes the whole process much easier.

Editing

I’m responsible for piecing together the video segments, animations and anything else together. I use Final Cut Pro for editing, and Motion for doing our “mid segment” graphics. We’re also fortunate to have another young adult at church, Dan, who’s great at motion graphics who did all our intro, and transition, animations. Typically, it will take me an hour or two to prepare all the segments for the month, which involves syncing the audio and video (we usually record these separately), cleaning up the audio and colour correcting the video, where necessary.

A couple of helpful tips when it comes to being efficient at editing:

  1. Make sure as much of your video content is in the same format and frame rate as your primary source. In our case, any videos I source from external parties (promos for events etc) I’ll run through MPEGStreamClip and export out at ProRes 422, at 25 frames/sec. This avoids having to re-render the video after every edit in Final Cut. I probably lost a few hours of time waiting for content to render over the first few months!
  2. Create a template for the month – that you can use for all the weeks. For me, this involves embedding the intro animation, audio bed track (and automating the volume so it sits below the segments). This saves about 5-10 minutes per week (so around 20 minutes total)

Here’s a video screen capture which I’ve sped up, of editing church news for May. (We recorded audio straight in to the 5D or this month, so you won’t see the process of syncing the audio to the video.). I’ll post some more detailed notes about the whole process that’s in this screen capture in a future blog post.

 

Distribution

Once the edit’s finished, I’ll send it to Compressor and use a custom droplet that I created based off Vimeo’s settings for HD video uploads. It works well, and usually results in a file that’s around 100MB. I’ll export it straight to my public Dropbox folder, and then email the public link to our ministry staff (so they can review the video and make sure it’s all OK), and to an email account we have dedicated for the computer that does vision at church – so that the operators can grab the file.

You can download our Compressor settings for distribution via Dropbox and Vimeo here.

As I’ve hinted at a couple of times, once we’ve refined our process a little more, I’ll post some more detailed posts on specifics of some of the stages of the process we go through. We’re still trying to figure much of this out, and trying to streamline the process as much as possible. Now we’re in our 6th month, it finally feels like we’re getting the hang of it! Feel free to hit me up with any questions you’ve got in the comments!

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