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DVD and Internet Tools Broaden Church Video Reach

Sep 7, 2006 8:00 AM


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“With the TiVo generation, people are getting used to shifting times and watching things when they want,” says David McDaniel, a partner in Truthcasting Media Group, Plano, Texas. Truthcasting is launching a new service designed to help churches meet congregants’ demands for more flexibility in viewing sermons and other video content.

Subscribers to Truthcasting download a media client to their computers and can then receive free downloads of sermons and other church messages over the Internet.

McDaniel stresses the service is easy for both churches and subscribers, relying on familiar web interfaces and commonly available hardware like DVD recorders.

“This is an easy way for churches to get the most valuable thing they do every week—their sermon—out and available to the masses,” he says. “There are only a couple of ways to do that now.”

According to McDaniel, churches can opt to produce their own TV broadcasts, with all the expense and complexity that entails. Or they can distribute DVDs in quantity, which presents its own challenges. The third choice, he says, is contracting with a service like Truthcasting, which receives file uploads from the church and makes them easily available to subscribers.

“We see very few churches providing DVDs,” McDaniel says, “just because of the time and expense. But a lot of churches have cameras and produce their sermons. They record it and put it on a shelf, never to be seen again.”

Simply by inserting “a cheap DVD recorder” to record content routed from cameras to IMAG screens, churches can capture a complete, high-quality recorded sermon, McDaniel says.

“Increasing user-friendliness is also reducing the complexity of producing and duplicating DVDs, with the result that more and more people are going in that direction,” says Aaron Pratt, marketing and communications manager at Microboards.

“Authoring a DVD can be more complex than [authoring] a CD,” Pratt says, “because in addition to sourcing and encoding the content, there is an added step that creates navigability, menu structures, etc. But hardware and software providers have stepped up to simplify that process so that event recording and other mid-level applications can quickly and easily produce a DVD.”

Microboards has seen increasing interest in iPod distribution, but according to Pratt, “[This trend] has not slowed the consumption of CD and DVD in the market. To the contrary, the availability of more content and more distribution seems to be driving increased consumption. While two years ago, most DVD duplicators were still being used to duplicate CDs, now the increased demand for video has driven video ministry in the church, and we are seeing more and more DVD media go to feed those machines.”

Such tasks as producing durable DVD labels are also becoming easier, Pratt says.

Whether serving simply to capture video, or as a medium for more ambitious productions, DVDs are becoming much more common in worship settings. “Everything today is Internet-driven or digitally based,” McDaniel says, and “a lot of folks are providing some form of video.”



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