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Hoe to Do Pre-recorded Service Online

At ECAV Žilina, we are currently pre-recording a slightly modified Sunday service at our church, which I then edit, and we share on Sunday at 9:00, which is our normal Sunday service time. The following are steps you can take to do a pre-recording:

Planning

Our pastor does most of the planning, every week he prays so God would show him the text from the Bible he will preach on. He creates the outline, what parts will the online Sunday service have. When he has the text for his sermon, he gives our worship leader some ideas for songs to play and then our worship leader chooses how many the pastor says. It’s usually two for now. We have a Messenger group chat where we discuss the ideas for a given Sunday and there we also discuss what day we are going to record the entire program. So far we recorded two online Sunday services, last week on Friday and this week on Thursday. It took the whole day to edit. So, I would say Thursday is the best option, at least for us, it really depends on what goes into the final video. If you only record the sermon, it’s ok to record it on Saturday afternoon.

Recording

For recording, I’m the main tech guy, so I get to church an hour in advance, prepare the sound console, prepare my computer for multitrack recording and start setting up the cameras. Then when the recording starts (we start at 10AM) we first record the sermon and everything that is spoken word, and then we record the band.

People:

  • sound guy
  • camera operator
  • pastor
  • pastor’s wife, elder, etc.
  • MC
  • worship team/band

For sound recording, we have our Behringer X32 digital sound console at church with an X-USB extension card (comes with the console). So I have my USB stick plugged into the board where I record the master output from the board (.wav format) and then I also have the console connected to my computer via USB cable. On my computer, I use a program called Reaper for a multitrack recording of the band. For spoken word, I record direct input (PreFader) to the USB stick and for the worship band, I record the master output from the console to the USB stick and the multitrack on my computer at the same time.

I use headphones to mix the worship “live” as I am recording, so the master out mix is as good as it can be because I use some effects, which would take me a long time to do the same in Reaper in the multitrack recording. So I tried to mix the worship as well as I can so I can use the master out recording and I don’t have to deal with the multitrack recording. So the multitrack is just a backup. For the band, we have one or two vocals, acoustic guitar, and an upright piano.

Gear:

  • Behringer X32 (sound console)
  • MacBook Pro (multitrack recording)

Microphones:

  • 2xShure SM58 (vocals)
  • Shure SM57 (acoustic guitar)
  • 2xAKG C1000s (upright piano)
  • Audio Technica ATW 3110B (spoken word)
  • D.I.Box (guitar)

For the video recording, we have 4 cameras and 4 tripods. We set up the cameras from 4 different angles and leave them the same for all of the spoken words, then change it for the band. Before we start recording, I check every camera if it’s in focus, if it’s not over or underexposed and if all of the cameras have the same settings. When we start recording we press record on all of the cameras one by one and then we clap, so it’s easier to synchronize all of the cameras and the audio in post-production. We usually do just one take for every spoken word, but if someone makes a mistake, we do more. For the band, we do at least three takes for every song. The third take is almost always the best.

Cameras and lenses:

  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k + 18-135mm
  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera + 50mm
  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera + 14-42mm
  • Canon 600D + 55-250mm

Specs:

  • Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Codec: Apple ProRes Proxy (H.264 on Canon)
  • Framerate: 25fps

However, you don’t need all of this equipment, you can still make great content with just your iPhone. You can even set up multiple iPhones, for more angles. As for audio, an external microphone would be the best option, but if you don’t have one, you can either borrow one from a friend or use another iPhone for just the audio recording and then synchronize the audio with the video in post.

Content

So far we did two recordings and the content varies, here are the programs for the last two weeks:

 

 

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