from my notebook

My head is full of thoughts, and I have to write them down.

Archive for the tag “church media”

AV, Technology, & the Church – My Flipboard Magazine

Image representing Flipboard as depicted in Cr...

AV, Technology, & the Church – My Flipboard Magazine

I’m a big fan of Flipboard on the iPad. Recently they rolled out the ability to create your own magazine made up of articles you read on Flipboard, so I decided to create one with a collection of items I read pertaining to church audiovisual, IT, and other technology. It’s a mash-up of apps, software, hardware, audiovisual tips and resources, and pretty much all things church tech. So if you’re looking for some good info, check out AV, Technology, & the Church on Flipboard.

How We Handled Quick Turn Around for Photos and Video at VBS This Year

For the last few years at VBS we have taken photos throughout the sessions then projected them each night during the wrap-up at the end of the day. Normally someone on the Tech Team with a real camera does the photography. This year, in order to have more photographers, I decided we would use our iPhones and the InstaShare app. I installed the app on our Media iMac ahead of time and tested it out. It worked great. We could take pictures anywhere on the campus and upload them to the iMac immediately. Once they were on the Mac, we simply dragged the pics we wanted to use into ProPresenter, put a timer on them, and voila, a photo loop for the end of the day. We even threw a short video clip into the loop a few times.

As far as video for VBS, I usually record with my Flip camera and work on the edits and final montage at home to be shown during the closing session. This year I recorded all the video with my iPhone. I used the native camera app, 8mm, and Videon. I did some minor editing on my phone (my old eyes don’t see well enough to do much), then uploaded them via InstaShare to the iMac. I did what editing I could in iMovie, then finished up at home in Premiere Elements.

It was really fun having several people taking pictures each day. We never knew what we were going to get. And the process of getting the pics from the camera to the computer couldn’t have been easier.

 

A Tech Director’s Plea to Guest Speakers

If you ever travel and guest speak at other churches or events, this post is for you. I want to offer some advice and make a very, very big request – if you need to use PowerPoint, videos, pictures, or any kind of multimedia, please don’t walk in at the last-minute and hand it to someone, expecting them to magically make it happen. I want to try to help you understand what it does to us mentally and spiritually when you pop in with a surprise.

This is an age-old problem in church tech particularly. We want to help make your talk successful and everything you dreamed it would be, but we aren’t magicians. Tech takes planning and preparation. While some large churches may have multiple people and computers to work on your last-minute surprise, that’s not the case for us little guys. Once the service (or pre-service) is rolling, we can’t divert that same computer to doing something else.

I haven’t had this happen to me in quite a while until recently.  Just as were getting ready to roll pre-service, the guest speaker for the day came up to the booth and asked us to show a video from his website. He seemed baffled when I tried to explain that it wasn’t that simple. Then he asked us to play something from a DVD. Once again he was baffled as I tried to explain that I couldn’t set it up in ProPresenter now because it was already running audio and video, and the DVD player would override all that. Then he asked if we could project a picture, which turned out to be PDF, from his website. I did manage that one but only after downloading it and converting it to a .jpg.

I could tell he was disappointed as he left the booth. I was disappointed too, so I spent the first half of the service trying to download his video from the web on an older pc in the booth…to no avail. When I finally gave up, I realized I had missed most of the musical worship, I was totally distracted, and at the end of the day didn’t feel like had even been to church. Tech is distracting enough and requires real focus to get the job done and still be able to participate spiritually. I found myself totally out of it and disconnected, resulting in me not doing my job quite as well as I normally would have.

Normally the Pastor or I make contact with guests earlier in the week to avoid these problems, but we were both out of town all week this time and failed to do so. I’m not saying the speaker’s requests were impossible, but they were for us at that moment. We simply weren’t equipped to handle it. One of those problems I set out to rectify later that day, but the others are simply a matter of planning ahead based on our capabilities.

I’ve experienced this from the other side of the coin as well. During the several years I spent traveling with a singer/worship leader, I always checked out where we were going beforehand. Rarely ever did I walk into a church or any other venue without knowing what kind of equipment was going to be available or if I needed to carry my own in order to to do what we wanted to do.

It’s best for all concerned not to assume, walk in blindly, or surprise those trying to support you. Plan, prepare, and help us be part of the service or event as well.

Tech Leader Wannabes

Church technical ministry is a unique ministry to say the least. No where else in church work, other than maybe on stage, will a volunteer’s performance be evaluated and commented on on a regular basis. While this ministry is fun and very fulfilling, it is certainly not for everyone. Leading a tech ministry is not for just anyone either, regardless of skill and knowledge.

I’ve known some very knowledgable, very skilled, and very creative people who would be a disaster as a tech ministry leader. An effective church leader needs to have a clear vision that compliments the church’s overall vision. She, or he, should be protective and appreciative of their volunteers. Most people don’t have a clue what is involved in making a Sunday service happen, so the tech leader has to make sure the volunteers aren’t stressed and overwhelmed with unrealistic tasks and requests.

A good tech ministry leader is organized and consistent in processes, scheduling, and the like. All the technical skill in the world will still leave you with a mess if you don’t have that. And most importantly, the number one concern of a tech leader must be to get the message of Christ out to the audience.

Got anything to add to the list? Feel free to do so in the comments below.

What Church Techies Do…Continued

I saw a couple more of these last week. Each one adds its on spin. Still don’t see a magician in any of them though.

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