Over the last week, I have gotten a lot of requests about technology and software to help churches, ministries, and individuals continue to survive and thrive during this time of social distancing. It doesn’t seem as if Covid-19 is going anywhere soon, so it’s time to move those tools and “best practices” off the back-burner and to start doing what you probably should have been doing for awhile now.
I am an audio producer so most of my expertise is in that area. But I’m a “generalist dabbler” in things like video production, design, and software platforms, so I have a folder full of book-marked websites that may lower the learning curve for anyone who is feeling a little overwhelmed. Here are a few easy tips and tricks.
Get a good web camera and frame yourself well.
No one looks good from the strange upward angle of the camera that’s built into your computer. Use a tripod if necessary. I use this camera. It is sold out in a lot of places because everyone is buying them, but it will give you a sense of what works. It has a clear picture and a wide field of view. If you’re using this for digital meetings, it will work great. That said…
Good audio is more important than good video
If you can’t get your video to the level you want, know that it is more important to have good audio. Most people will do something else while listening to you anyway. You can get a USB mic like this one that will plug right into your computer. It will improve the quality of your recordings markedly over the built in mic on your computer. There are cheaper options on Amazon and if you have any questions about a particular mic, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Digital Church does not replicate what happens on a typical Sunday. Don’t try.
You need to approach sermons and worship differently now. Good, engaging audio content is more than recording your sermon and slapping it onto a webpage. Listening to a podcast is a more intimate experience than a sermon delivered to a group. It is closer to sitting around a kitchen table with friends. So it needs to be approached differently. This includes writing, delivery and may even require that you clean up and produce your audio. Audacity is a free software with basic (and some advanced) editing capability. Download it and hop over to YouTube to learn how to use it.
Know your rights. And the rights of musicians and artists.
Your church has probably broken copyright law either intentionally or unintentionally. This could be in regards to music or graphics. Once you start sharing your material online you risk being flagged (and shut down) for misuse. You can get free images at Unsplash or Pixabay. You can use Canva to edit them. Be careful with music. Share playlists, but I would advise against using music. Even if you have a license for your Sunday services, it may not cover, for example, use on a YouTube video.
Making a Podcast is easy. Getting your podcast out can be trickier.
A podcast is essentially an audio file. You can create an audio file with the “voice memo” feature on your phone. However, getting your podcast hosted, edited, mixed, then distributed to places like Apple Podcasts or Spotify or Google Play (or the hundred other platforms) is a little more tricky.
Words of Hope wants to offer your church our production expertise. We want to help you understand what it takes to use audio well in your ministry. For a free consultation about creating a podcast for your church, contact me (Adam Navis) at firstname.lastname@example.org