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Technology: Videomaking tools for beginners

Technology: Videomaking tools for beginners

Technology: Videomaking tools for beginners

Video can help you expand your audience and enrich the worship experience, but there are several hardware components that can elevate your production. Here are some basic video tips to get you started

To reach congregations around the world, HOW facilities are more commonly integrating high-quality broadcast production, post and streaming tools into workflows. Critical to HOW productions are tools for video capture and streaming.

From recording sermons and worship band performances in house, to broadcasting and livestreaming services and events to audiences remotely in locations across the globe, HOW workflows are integrating modern production technologies to provide congregations with higher-quality content across a range of viewing platforms.

Multi-camera video capture

‘The top tool for any HOW workflow should include robust and powerful video capture solutions that can record content from a range of sources, including DSLRs, HDMI or SDI cameras,’ says Bryce Button, director of product marketing at AJA Video Systems.

‘Video solutions that enable multi-camera recording from up to four channels simultaneously in H.264, the most widely used codec and industry standard for video professionals, are ideal. For multi-camera capture from a variety of sources, there are video solutions that can enable H.264 recording at variable bit rates without the need for a black burst generator and with genlock-free inputs. HOW staff can record up to four channels simultaneously from any combination of 4x SDI and 4x HDMI inputs and also capture a backup or redundant recording to off-the-shelf USB media. Video recorders with flexible options to choose 10-bit over 8-bit and 4:2:2 over 4:2:0 colourspace also ensure that users provide audiences with a high-quality visual experience,’ adds Button.

Compress your video files

Video files take up a lot of space. More often than not, it is a good idea to compress your video content in order to distribute it. To compress a video for an IP stream, you will need a video encoder. Compressing a video file can also heavily improve sound intelligibility and consistency. To learn more about video compression, have a read of our Technology feature on p48 in the Worship AVL September–October 2018 issue.

Nail your livestreaming delivery

HOW workflows are increasingly turning to livestreaming to reach congregations around the world, as well as ageing, ill or travelling parishioners who are unable to attend regular services. For livestreaming workflows, Button suggests HOWs should opt for a portable, standalone streaming and encoding device that supports a range of video delivery platforms to simplify distribution via the chosen content delivery network.

‘An essential production tool for HOW workflows are I/O devices to assist with streamlining editorial processes, as it becomes more common for facilities to edit live recordings of services and events and make them readily available to viewers. Video and audio I/O hardware devices provide connectivity between cameras, monitors and computers, bridging incoming signals to a range of software solutions for a much more simplified postproduction chain,’ adds Button.

‘Choose a video solution that can support a wide range of delivery platforms and also provide a variety of features, including the ability to schedule recordings and streams automatically from calendar inputs,’ explains Button. ‘For production scenarios with multiple sources that require a live line cut to be distributed via streaming platforms, there are a now a range of powerful I/O devices. When paired with third-party software, like vMix or Wirecast, these devices allow for live switching between sources and graphic overlays to be fed into a livestream to the user’s delivery platform of choice.’

Your video production checklist

  1. Research your video camera options

Invest in a good camera and take the time to analyse all the features. Is DSLR sufficient? DSLR options can usually record in 1080p. Are you hoping to achieve more immersive video footage? Will you need to film in 4K? How advanced does your video camera need to be? You will need to understand its advantages and its limitations, from zoom range to autofocus and specific camera lens requirements, depending on how and what you wish to shoot and where the content is going. For more advice on camera lenses on the market, take a look at our Buying Guide on p52 in the Worship AVL May–June 2019 issue.

  1. Get a tripod

Opt for a fluid head to fully capture smoother pans. Tripods wildly vary in price and not always for good reason. Stability is key and anything otherwise will look unprofessional.

  1. Lighting is crucial

A lighting kit is crucial for most HOWs as the majority of filming will take place inside a worship venue. Depending on the architecture and age of the building, this could mean low lighting levels or harsh reflections from stained-glass windows. Understanding how to manipulate your lighting setup will pay off dividends.

  1. Focus on audio

Sound reinforcement for your worship venue is very different to audio for video. The audio in a sanctuary might be flawless in the venue but, once streamed, could suffer reverberant, reflected sounds. For more top tips on video streaming, microphones and pickup patterns and how to maintain audio quality, read our KnowHOW on p36 in the Worship AVL March–April 2019 issue.

  1. Software is your friend

There are plenty of video editing software tools to choose from that vary in complexity and price. Well-regarded editing software tools include Avid Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro, while more basic video editing packages include Vmix, iMovie and Windows Movie Maker. Some of these are free, and many with a price attached will allow you to sign up for a free trial before committing.

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