Frugal Sermon Podcasting
I am a volunteer Technical Director of a small to medium size church with an average attendance of 250 at our main service. Our area has also been hit badly by the economic downturn. You might can identify, but needless to say, money is tight. I’m still a stickler for doing things as professionally as possible, so I am constantly on the lookout for quality ways to do things cheap.
When I assumed responsibility for our audio media ministry a CD recorder had just been purchased to make the move from recording to cassette. That process required ripping the recorded CD to the computer, editing the head and tail of the sermon track in Soundforge and then uploading via ftp to our church website. The whole process was a little more time consuming than I, as a volunteer, could keep up with at times. Not to mention the cost of CDs, labels, and cases – two per week.
We have since turned off the CD recorder and send the post fade auxiliary feed directly to the computer – the same computer we use to project from EasyWorship during the service. So far our Dell Dimension 9200 has had no problem recording and sending audio/video out. I purchased an M-audio Transit external sound card for about $80 to handle the dual I/O delivery, and it works like a charm. However this purchase is not necessary to the overall process.
Our program for recording is the free, but powerful Audacity. I used Mike Sessler’s tips on recording & processing to create a smaller file for podcasting. Usually the PC operator for the service runs the compression process then exports the Audacity file to mp3 and closes everything out. Later, I open the mp3 file in MP3DirectCut, which is also free, to clean up the head and tail of the recording.
MP3DirectCut is a simple mp3 editing tool that doesn’t have to convert to its own format. It’s convenient for us since I usually do my little bit of editing after the recording has been saved and Audacity has been closed out. Most audio editors save an editable file in its own extention which creates another file on the computer. For us we would have both the .mp3 and .aud audio files for each recording taking up space on the computer. By using MP3DirectCut we never save a .aud file. We only work with the mp3.
Next in the process is uploading files to our free account on sermon.net. Their Sermon Studio allows uploading of graphics, notes, scripture references, and audio file. You get your own sermon.net page where an archive of sermons is available for listening. Plus their sermon player is an embeddable gadget for your website with a built-in Bible for following along with the message. Sermon.net provides an RSS feed to iTunes as well.
Over the last couple of years we have developed a pretty streamlined process of recording and podcasting that now makes it possible to have our Sunday morning sermon available to the world by the time I sit down to lunch, and the only cost is a few minutes time.
Great summary! AT the last church I was involved with, we used pretty much the same process. You can’t beat Audacity and sermon.net for simplicity and features. The RSS feed and embeddable player make it so easy, even for those that are less web savvy.
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