This Tech for Doing Online Sunday School and Worship topic was started during the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak and is in the process of expanding!
Share your information, links, questions, and most importantly -- your experiences!
Video, Streaming, and Facebook Live "production values" anybody can achieve without any tech experience and with a small budget:
- Keep it short and energetic.
- Use a Bluetooth wireless headset wirelessly connected to your cellphone or laptop (if it has Bluetooth capabilities) to make your voice sound "close" and clear when recording, instead of distant or "canned." Keep in mind that most built-in cellphone microphones have a "cancelling" feature you can switch on/off that may cancel or muffle sound it thinks the sound is extraneous (far away).
- Make sure the lighting is bright by supplementing it with extra lamps positioned to the sides of the camera.
- Make sure what's in the frame and background is colorful and visually interesting.
- Stabilize your video by using a tripod and having someone else shoot it other than yourself.
- Make sure the speaker/leader is not also running the equipment. Get an assistant to do this for you.
- Practice! And if you're going to record your video for later use, do multiple versions and pick the best one.
- Make sure your links to your video work and are prominently featured in several places (webpages, FB pages, and emails).
- The latest iPhone and Android smartphones have cameras rivaling most low-end video cameras. Put them on a tripod and plug in an external microphone and you're up and running. OTHERWISE, to do "live" video you'll want to get a videocamera that can plug into your computer laptop to interface your software (such as Facebook or Zoom) and internet connection. You'll also want to connect your microphone to your computer. Frankly, this is why it's easier and cheaper just to use a late-model iPhone so that you can use Bluetooth headsets as your mikes and the video feeds straight to your internet connection from the phone.
We only get one chance to make a first impression, and people do judge books by their covers. Our members are used to decent-looking online presentations. These seven suggestions will help you meet their expectations and keep their eyeballs.
Cost? A good tripod will set you back $20 on Amazon. An inexpensive Bluetooth headset will run you $35 (more if you want better quality). Clam lamps are $10 as the hardware. These are standard equipment here in the 21st Century. Lots of uses in our teaching and future programming.
If you're going to keep doing online media and outreach, then consider investing in a good video camera and portable wireless microphone system designed to send the speaker's audio right into the video recording (no more "recording the room" and hoping you camera microphone does a good job of recording the leaders). Just keep in mind that it doesn't have to be expensive. And if your production values are going to be beige and stiff, don't bother spending the money.
More About Audio: Do not expect your camera or cellphone's microphone to make you sound good if you are more than 3 feet away from it when you speak. In fact, many cellphone microphones are designed to CANCEL OUT noise that it deems "in the background." If you want space between your camera and the people speaking, and they want to be able to move around, connect a GOOD Bluetooth headset with built-in microphone to your cellphone and you have an "instant wireless mic." Note: There are good Bluetooth headsets and mediocre ones. Read your reviews and don't cheap it out unless you have to.