Religious services are more and more frequented in salons as well as in traditional places. Well-produced content can dramatically increase a church’s reach and make services, events, and activities accessible to distant audiences.
From meeting in person to logging in online
The ongoing global health emergency has acted as a giant reset for many aspects of society. Worshipers unable to attend in-person services often found their local place of worship to offer online programming of religious services and other activities. Like most viewers, these online audiences expect refined production values, easily digestible program segments, and ways to interact with content.
Producing programs for in-person and virtual congregations involves creating everything from comprehensive services to byte-sized segments. For this level of production, you need a media infrastructure that allows you to pay attention to lighting, sound, number of cameras and their positioning, staging and editing.
Recommendations from a top video engineer for a house of worship
For almost 8 years, Attic Fletcher was the engineer in charge of television operations at The Potter’s House Dallas. In that role, he was tasked with setting the direction of technical innovation and made it all work, under pressure that will be familiar to anyone involved in live streaming. The potter’s house building’s 10,000 capacity is eclipsed by the church’s 30,000, more times than social media. Essentially, The Potter’s House has a lot in common with broadcasters, except that it produces all of its own content.
EditShare asked Fletcher what advice he would give to churches large and small as they embrace television production.
The importance of planning ahead
“I would say it is crucial for churches to properly plan their systems. They have to plan what they want to do and buy the systems that support the goal. Are you just going to distribute your “classic” services? Or are you going to make the production more “theatrical”? The more complex your ambitions, the more you need to consider the hardware and software that will bring those experiences to life.
Fletcher adds, “I’ve seen organizations blame the system for their workflow issues when in reality it was lack of planning. The equipment has the potential to do what you need, but it’s the plan that enables that potential and makes your media infrastructure work for you!
The media server is at the heart of your set up system
A church typically purchases cameras, a switch, and storage space. However, it’s all about your media and what ultimately matters is how you handle that content. A production media server is more than a hard drive. It’s the heart of the whole operation that allows you to manage content and your video production workflow. If you just think of storage in terms of capacity, it’s like walking into a bookstore and saying, “I’d like a book, please.” The media server finds the right book for you and immediately puts it in your hands. You need a media server to effectively manage your media and maximize efficiency.
Technical experience is important
In addition, there is a distinction between production staff and engineers. Essentially, engineers help plan and operate technology. Engineers make it work, allowing production staff to make programs. If churches don’t have engineers on staff, there are good systems integration companies they can partner with. Experience matters when it comes to planning a system and hiring a good system integrator early on would be in your best interest.
Plan the return on investment
To get the best return on your investment, it is absolutely essential to design your system and your workflow to manufacture the type of material you have in mind, but also to do it efficiently. The more time you spend planning, the more time you will have to make good programs. So consider all the types of productions that you want to offer to your audience. Then talk to EditShare. They will help you and make sure that you are getting the right system to achieve your goals.
The power of EditShare’s integrated media production platform for religious productions
While cameras, lighting, video mixers, and audio mixers can be the most visible parts of a TV production, it’s the “back end” that makes it all work together. This back-end is the EFS of EditShare, a storage solution optimized for media. EFS connects to a high speed network and is able to move very large files quickly. It replaces tapes, external hard drives, sneakers and recording devices.
Combine EFS with FLOW, a smart media management solution, and you have an integrated platform for video production.
You can keep track of your files, always with image accuracy. You can generate “proxies” – small versions of the original files that are still high quality but easy to move even over a broadband connection, which is essential for remote work. You can convert files to several formats for distribution. The platform also allows multiple people to work on the same or different projects at the same time, keeping track of permissions so that one editor doesn’t overwrite another editor’s work.
Most importantly, EFS and FLOW take complexity away from users, and when technical administration is required, it is highly optimized and easy to learn.
All of the storage appears as one volume – one storage space, even if it is made up of potentially dozens of disks. Management software allows parts of the space to be allocated to individual users or groups. Security is built in.
With so much storage, some of it is used to provide resiliency against disk failure. If a drive fails, the whole system won’t even slow down while it’s being removed and replaced. He will certainly not lose any material.
In summary, the core of an integrated back-end video production system can:
- Ingest multiple camera streams and other files and media
- Store content centrally
- Make this content accessible to authorized users (publishers, etc.) simultaneously
- Allow editors to collaborate on stories
- Create small versions of media files (“proxies”) that can be used remotely
- Allow editors to work anywhere
- Replace portable tapes and disk drives
- Ensure the security of your content
- Store long-term media in an archive
- Use AI to research keywords and phrases, making it easy to find relevant material even years ago
- Keep this extremely advanced technology simple to use, reliable and productive in a way that would be impossible with previous generation products