How it happens…..

I thought people might be interested in knowing what exactly goes into this ministry on a weekly basis. So here’s a quick summary of how we make this all happen:

Monday morning I send an email reminder out to the church we’ll be at the next Sunday reminding them what information we need (hymns & praise songs, scripture selections, unison and/or responsive readings, projection file, Sunday bulletin, etc.). Depending on the church, this information can start coming to us as early as Tuesday, or as late as Friday (or even Saturday!). As I receive the service information, I build it into our custom-configured Easy Worship program. Depending on the service content this takes anywhere from one to three hours. Fortunately it can be done in bits and pieces as the info is received, so a lot of it gets done on my lunch hours at work. This could also be done by another volunteer working from home if someone wanted to help “behind the scenes”.

On Saturday or early Sunday morning I send out a Tweet reminding people where we’ll be and what time the live-stream will start.


Our gear ready to load’n’go

     On Sunday morning it takes about an hour to set up our equipment, so I generally pick the team up about 90 minutes before the service is scheduled to start and we drive together. Every church is a little bit different for set-up, audio tie-in, camera placement, etc. so that hour is very hectic to get everything tied in, tested, and working. I hope eventually to have the wiring for the remote cameras pre-installed at each church to make our Sunday mornings easier. We’ll be working on that with the Property Committee at each church over the next few months.

Typical Sunday morning workstation arrangement

Typical Sunday morning workstation arrangement

To run the equipment well for the service, it takes three technicians, although we can do it with two when necessary. One runs the computer that has the Easy Worship schedule and the streaming software on it. The second runs the cameras – the primary camera is tripod-mounted beside the workstation, and the 2 remote cameras are controlled by a joystick. The third techie runs the VR5 audio/video mixer, which is pretty much the heart of the system.

Following the service, it takes about a half-hour to break down the equipment and pack it away. While this is happening the computer is churning away converting the recorded file, then importing it into Pinnacle Studio for editing. Generally this import function is running while we drive home. At home, the file is edited to create one copy of the complete service, and one copy of just the message. Each of these files is then converted to a Flash Video file for uploading to YouTube. Altogether this process takes an hour to an hour-and-a-half. Then they are uploaded to YouTube, which takes several hours, but fortunately this just works away in the computer, it doesn’t need anything other than an occasional peek to make sure it’s proceeding okay. All of the video editing could be easily taken on by a volunteer working from home if someone wanted to help in this way. All they’d need is a decent computer and a high-speed internet connection, the rest we could easily teach.

My objective every week is to get the video editing done as soon as I get home from church so the upload can start as soon as possible, with the goal being getting the Youtube videos online ready for viewing by dinnertime on Sunday. Once they’re ready I post a message on the NOW Facebook page and the NOW Twitter feed to let people know they’re available.

So that’s all there is to it!

John Bedell, NOW team leader

By Niagara Online Worship

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