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Worship Video Production, Part 1

Aug 5, 2010 10:52 AM, With Bennett Liles

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As most churches do, and that always presents a challenge because the churches have, as you well know, have gotten very sophisticated in their video production. At the same time, using volunteers you can’t always count on having continuity, the same people. So what all do you do there technically on that side of things to make it, well, you might say, make the production set up as easy as you can for volunteers?
Right, well part of the reason that we did go with the For-A as well was to bring standardization and continuity to all of our campuses. We had, pretty much, a wide variety of equipment everywhere and as things were starting to age out and we replaced them, it was a great time to bring everything under one manufacturer, so to speak, and this way we can bring a volunteer from one campus to another if we have that kind of need. But we’ve tried to make the set up as easy as possible. Everything is very well labeled. We’ve minimized the hook ups by having so much of it contained within the road cases that it’s a connection to the projector, it’s a couple of computer connections, couple of audio connections here and there, and they’re pretty much up and ready to roll. [Timestamp: 7:12]

And of course, another thing you can do with those switchers is save set ups and just in case something happens you can get back to where you were.
That is correct. We have a default setting built into the switcher, so that if they get out in left field somewhere and don’t know how to get back, they just hit that default button and they’re right back where they started from. [Timestamp: 7:29]

Well, you obviously had to do some training on that and people tend to learn in different ways. How did it go with that? Did the crew take to it pretty well? What’s the learning curve on the For-A switchers?
It’s not real high. With volunteers that we’ve already had in place, it was just a matter of teaching a different style, more of a traditional style, of video switching. Some were more accustomed to a boardroom-style switcher—just push a button and it was there—whereas these were more of your traditional production-style switchers. But everybody really embraced it. Training was not hard. Typically when we start a campus, a local campus, I’ll go and spend anywhere from four to six weeks—it just depends with that campus and with their teams and just holding their hand, getting them accustomed to the systems, and then I release that training then to their leaders and they pretty much take it from there. And we have not run into any significant issues with training on the For-A. It’s very straight forward, easy to understand, easy to implement. Obviously there’s features in it that we don’t show people because it’s not necessary to their job experience, some of the set ups and things. But general, everyday operations is very simple for the volunteer—another reason we picked the For-A. One of the biggest challenges that we’ve had was keying graphics over video and being able to have those settings preprogrammed and just hit one button has proved to be beautiful experience for some of the volunteers because it’s just so easy. [Timestamp: 9:14]

Yeah, you always have in every group of volunteers a few that are just like totally afraid of it and then some who just want to pick every opportunity they can get to come in there and just play around with it and see what they can make it do.
That’s correct.

So when you had to do all this, I would think that the bigger challenge, rather than having them learn how to operate the switcher, would be training people how to do IMAG on the cameras because you’ve got a live audience for that and you really have to stay on top of things.
That’s correct.

So, I mean, holding focus and wondering around, depending on how animated the pastor is. So you’ve got projectors up there. You mentioned you send HD-SDI to those. What kind of projectors are you using up there?
We use Barco, Christie, and Sanyo primarily in all of our main auditoriums. [Timestamp: 10:07]

I guess that’s front projection. What kind of distance are we talking about?
Actually, for the most part, we’re totally rear-projection. Projectors live on the stage. Occasionally in our main campus we will do front projection, but that’s because of our main facility we’ve got a little more flexibility, but at the campuses, we’re almost exclusively rear projection. [Timestamp: 10:27]

All right, and there are a lot of advantages to that where you can get at the projectors and you don’t have them out in public view, and I guess maintenance is a little bit easier with that kind of thing too.

Plenty of advantages to rear projection

Jeff, I very much appreciate your being here for part one and giving us the technical layout for Kensington Community Church. In part two I’d like to get into that JVC camera they’re using at one of the locations and I’d like you to tell us a little bit more about some of your future plans. I understand there’s a national campus in the works.
That is correct.

Thanks again for being here and we’ll see you in part two.
All right. Thank you very much.

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