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Howdy Greg! Let’s see if we can’t give you some ideas 😉
I’ve been working with video in churches for several years now… primarily as an editor but in the past few years I’ve improved my filming a bit. I edit with Final Cut HD (but not actually in HD) and have been using a Canon GL1 camera.
Interesting history. I was quite the opposite. I started out on one of the cameras, and workd my way into the editing suite.
Anyway… long story short and where I need your advice, I am starting a new job at a new church and being asked to begin creating original videos for worship. I’m not talking about broadcasting our services, more along the lines of either short skit type videos or else highlight reel type stuff of things that have happened in the church.
My budget will be in the 10-15k range to start out…
That sounds incredible. A church that’s willing to put that much into that sort of ministry has a lot of potential. I’ve always believed that a strong media ministry can make or break a church in several ways.
I need help in what to get. Here is my list and I would love to have ANY suggestions on these things and also things I might be forgetting.
Computer / Edit system (probably mac G5 tower w/ final cut studio)
Camera – (leaning towards XL1)
Tripod – (can’t spend a fortune, but would like a good one)
Lighting – (need a fairly basic, easy to use setup)
Mics – (wireless lapel / handheld… what are some good ones?)
Edit desk – (I have no idea where to find these)
Green screen – (portable? paint a wall? what’s the best option?)
Okay… that’s my short list… I’d love any help with advice you guys could give. I’m pretty good with editing once it’s shot but the filming of it is something I’m still learning.
Okay, the one thing I have to ask is what does the church already have? I can advise you on cameras, tripods, mics, etc, but without knowing what the camera has, and what plans the church has for it’s Audio/Video in the future, I can’t say with any certainty "go buy this or that".
For the editing computer, if you learned editing on a Mac, you might as well stick with it. If you want to save some money though, PC’s are cheaper. Of course, compatibility isn’t an issue anymore, since Macs can run Windows software, but keep in mind that you’ll have to drop an extra couple hundred bucks on a copy of Windows if you go that route.
For a Camera, the XL-1 is a nice camera (though not as nice as the new XL2), but for your needs, do you really need that much camera? If you want to stick to Canon cameras, you could buy 2 GL-2’s for a fair price, which would serve your needs. Plus, having two cameras would mean that you wouldn’t have to reshoot a scene to get differnt camera angles. I will always recommend at least two cameras. In a wedding I’m doing this upcoming weekend, I’m bringing four. Admittedly, recording in a studio versus a live event are two totally different animals, but even in the studio, the more cameras you have means the less takes you’ll need to make.
As far as tripods go, get yourself a good Fluid head and a nice set of sticks. And if you have to comprimise on one of them, do so on the legs. The Bogen 503 is a great affordable fluid head. If you can afford the Bogen 516, it’s super sweet. I got to play with one, and even though I love the 503, If I can ever afford it, the 516 will enter my collection.
Something people sometimes forget in ordering tripods is that your camera controls will still be on the camera, not the tripod. To solve that, Bogen makes a wired remote, "521" that mounts to the pan/tilt arm on their tripod head. It has all the basic features you’d need. Of course, you could use the wireless remote that comes with the camera, but because cameras can "see" infared light (i.e. remote control lights), you might notice blinking on your subjects when you hit the buttons, caused by the remotes transmitter. I’ve seen this in closed quarters especially.
On lighting, your studio space really will determine what you need. Large stage, or small closet? Good ambient lighting, or terrible, shadowy room? What you’ve got, as with the rest of this, determines what you need. I once took a job where I was to turn an old stage into a video studio. The room had good enough lighting already that all I had to do was switch a couple of the existing lights around and add a few difussers, and I got the lighting done for under $150.
But if you are just looking for a simple lighting solution, I’ve seen kits with 2 lights, stands, and difussers for under $800.
Mics. This is where I really shine, because I’ve been doing sound a lot longer than I’ve been in video. I am a Shure fanatic. I love them. I desire them. I would rather have a beat up used shure mic than a brand new anything else. But because Shure mics are expensive, I’ve sold my sould in the past to save money. Once again, what your church already has along with what you’re doing will determine what you need.
If you’re filming studio stuff, you won’t want wireless lapel mics, becaue they are very visible on camera. We use them for filming weddings because having a boom mic operator dangling a mic over the pastor would get me killed by almost every bride I’ve worked for, but this is really an ideal setup. A nice shotgun mic or something you can mount on a boom pole would be the way to go, so you can get good sound and not have to look at microphone heads on the talents’ clothing in the final video.
A couple notes – most pro mics use XLR jacks. Because of this, you’ll need to buy Canon’s MA-300 to use them with your canon camera. If they use a cardioid setup that requires phantom power, the MA-300 won’t cut it, and you’ll need (in addition to the MA-300) a sound mixer or an adapter to apply phantom power to the line.
You asked about an Edit Desk. Honestly, An old door placed atop two short filing cabinets would work ;). I don’t use a special desk personally, just the regular ol’ Wal Mart $99 special. If you want to buy a nice desk, I saw a neat desk designed for editing at Office Depot. It had a built in port hole that had firewire and usb connectors on it, which was a neat feature. Of course, this desk is smaller than my Wal Mart desk (I think it’s actually made by Sauder), but it costs about $200, if I recall correctly.
Green Screen – Again, what are your needs and limitations? If you want to be able to film in several locations, they make collapsable screens. You can just paint a wall if you have a studio, but you need to make sure that your wall is super duper smooth. I mean like smooth as a car’s finish smooth. The texture and bumps found on most walls can throw off the key index in your editor. I’ve painted a wall green before and it worked okay for the project, but then, you’re stuck with a green wall.
Remember that you shoul have a 12 foot tall room for chroma key application, and if your subject can be at least 5 feet away from the screen, you’ll get less washout and a better picture.
I’m interested in this project. Feel free to shoot me a PM with more details, and I can help you more, or you can just post here and you’ll get hte help of several othr helpful people too.
By the way, for future reference, this forum has a whole section just for folks who use Video for church application. It’s the "Video for Worship" forum, towards the bottom of the page. There are a lot of great comments down there, too! 🙂