How to Record A Church Service For Online Viewing
With the availability of inexpensive, high-quality cameras, and easy to use software, it has never been easier to create your own church service recording or church sermon recording. Whether you want to offer an entire worship service from beginning to end or just share the weekly message, there are options for every budget and technical skill level.
How to Record Church Sermon Video
Getting a sermon online starts with making a video and audio recording. If you decide to start with just the sermon instead of the entire service, things might be a little easier. You can always add the rest of the service later.
What Cameras Are Suited For Church Sermon Recording?
Finding the right camera starts with a look at your budget. The options vary from free (if you or someone you know has a smartphone you can use) all the way up to tens of thousands of dollars.
- Smartphones – In our purse or pocket, many of us carry a video camera that is higher quality than the professional models from just a few years ago. Used correctly, a relatively current iPhone or Android phone can do the job of capturing a sermon. Just be sure to purchase a mounting device and tripod to keep the image stable.
- Webcams – USB Webcams can be an excellent option for church sermon recording. They are inexpensive, portable, easy to set up, and you can record right to a computer.
- Camcorders – If you have a little more to spend, there are many reasonably priced consumer and “prosumer” camcorders available on the market. These tend to have some advantages over smartphones and webcams in the ability to zoom, focus manually, and adjust other aspects of the image. Most camcorders record directly to a memory card you can use to transfer to your computer for editing.
- PTZ Cameras – The latest trend in recording church sermon recording and the capture of entire services is the PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) Camera. These powerful cameras allow for adjustments to the positioning of the camera by remote control, allowing users to get the camera closer to the action without getting in the way.
Different Options for Full Church Service Recording
If you are opting to record a full church service rather than just the sermon portion, you may want to take that into account when choosing your camera. Smartphones and webcams work very well for “static shots.” You can set them on the preachers and leave them alone until the sermon is over. With full church service recording, you may want the ability to move the camera. For instance, you may want to move from the preacher to the musicians or liturgists. In these cases, camcorders and PTZ cameras are designed to more easily move while recording. For advanced productions, multiple cameras can be used via a physical switcher or computer interface.
What Are Some Options for Capturing Church Sermon Audio?
One aspect of church service recording that is often overlooked is capturing audio. This is really critical because if people can’t hear well, it doesn’t matter how great your video is. Your camera’s built-in microphone is not likely going to be good enough. There are three main options to capture improved audio: adding an external mic to your camera, capturing a signal from a mixing board, or using a separate field recorder.
- External Mics for Cameras – If you are using a smartphone or camcorder, there are various external microphones available to raise the quality of your audio. Included in the options are clip-on lavaliers worn by the preacher and small “shotgun” mics that pick up sound from a distance.
- Capturing a Signal from a Mixing Board – Many churches already have mixing boards to operate the in-house microphones, amplifiers, and speakers. In many cases, you can add a cable between an output of the mixing board and the input on a camera or smartphone.
- Using a Separate Field Recorder – Another option for recording high-quality audio for your church service audio is using an external digital field recorder. There are many options with built-in microphones and also some that accept higher-quality external mics. The only issue is that you will need to sync this audio to your video during the editing process.
Another step before sharing your video is editing. Editing can be as simple as trimming the beginning and the end of the video to remove any extra footage from before or after the service to as complicated as syncing audio to multiple clips from different cameras. The complexity of your editing will likely dictate the complexity of your editing software.
If you simply need to trim the beginning and end of your video or make some minor edits, you can probably use the software that came with your computer. For Windows, that is the movie editor on the Photos application. Mac users have access to a free tool called iMovie.
If you recorded your video on a smartphone, you can also now use available software to edit your footage right on your device.
When things get more complicated, you may need to consider more powerful video editing software. Packages like Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple’s Final Cut Pro are powerful enough to be used by professionals yet easy enough for the average user.
Besides simple trimming, there is a lot more you can do in the editing process to make your church service recording look and sound more professional. If you recorded your audio on an external device, you will sync the sound to the image during the editing process. The more advanced software like Premiere and Final Cut can do that automatically.
Your editing software helps you add transitions and titles to bring your video to life. There are also helpful tools to improve the color and compress the audio for a more even sound throughout.
Adding Closed Captions
There is one more step before sharing your church service recording with the world, adding closed captions. As congregations age, hearing loss becomes a more significant issue for members. This becomes a problem during in-person worship services. It can also be an issue for people who wish to participate online.
Adding closed captions means people can enjoy the service without having to turn the volume up on their TV or computer. It is also important if people are trying to watch in a space with a lot of background noise. Also, there are many times that people prefer to watch with the sound off.
Another advantage of adding subtitles is that it allows churches to easily reach new communities. Foreign subtitles can be added in any language which can open up new possibilities for reaching new people who don’t speak English as their primary language. Creating subtitles can be absolutely effortless with Rev. Just submit your videos to us, and we will return everything you need to add them to your video.
And one more thing, transcribing videos can help your church in a lot of other ways. For instance, they can help people find your church online. Transcription makes all of your video content searchable and discoverable by Google. This allows you to use the content you already have and use it to improve your search engine rankings.
Sharing Your Church Service Recording
It seems like every day there is a new service that allows for sharing video. Right now, churches are having great success with Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo. If you use these services, you will want to pay attention to the recommended video settings for each service.
What Are the Recommended Settings for Sharing Sermon Video to Major Services?
Video Codec: H.264 Audio Codec: AACFormat: MOV or MP4Resolution: 720pFrame Rate: 30 frames per second or lessAudio Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz
Video Codec: H.264Audio Codec: AACFormat: MP4Resolution: 720p or 1080p for HDFrame Rate: Should match the original recordingAudio Sample Rate: 96kHz or 48kHz
Video Codec: H.264 Audio Codec: AACFormat: MP4Resolution: 720p or 1080p for HDFrame Rate: 29.97 frames per secondAudio Sample Rate: 48 kHz
You can look at the documentation for your editing software to see how to adjust these settings. Also, note that some software will automatically configure your video to the optimum parameters for the service you are using.
Adding Your Captions or Subtitles
There is one last step before sharing your church service recording, adding those subtitles. Fortunately, this can be the easiest part. With Rev, you can just upload those videos, and we will send you what you need. It is as easy as uploading a provided SRT file from REV or use our integration features to automate the process with Vimeo or YouTube.
A Bonus Use for Your Content
Right now, Podcasting is one of the fastest-growing forms of consuming information and entertainment with nearly one in three people in the U.S. listening to at least one a month. It is extremely easy to export the audio file from your video recording and use it to start a podcast. You can make it even better by getting a transcript from REV to post to your site for more content to help your church get found online.
It may seem like there are a lot of moving pieces to sharing a church sermon recording. However, the best thing you can do is jump in and get started. The best learning tool in this realm is experience. A little trial and error, some experimentation, and you will have your videos online in no time.