Church Video Podcast Workflow

I'm going to use this post to show you my current church video podcast production workflow.

Every sunday service of ours is video recorded and it is the aim of the church media team to have the video podcast availble for download on our website and via iTunes by the following morning. Please note that with the right video equipment and resources (human, computer and internet connections) it is possible to have a church service podcast uploaded by the time the congregation is dismissed, so this workflow of mine is what we use within our current constraints.

First of all let me tell you what equipment we are using to record our church services.

2 Sony PD170 video cameras.
A cheap 2 channel video mixer for switching between the 2 prosumer camcorders connected via S-Video cables for the best quality standard definition picture.
A 160GB HDD DVD video recorder to record the program output from the mixer. We record to the hard drive and transfer to DVD later.
One Apple MacBook pro for video editing and podcast production.
Various video editing software including Final Cut Express, MPEG streamclip, Spinexpress.

Now to the church video podcast production process.

After the service is finished we have to dismantle our equipment as we currently don't have our own church building, and put them in storage.
I take home the DVD recorder and MacBook pro laptop in order to complete the podcast production.

At home the first task is to create a DVD from the video recorded on the hard drive, this might involve spliting the file as we also record Praise and Worship and any other special functions such as baby dedications, baptisms, etc.
Once the day's service DVD is made, I then put the DVD into the church laptop and use MPEG streamclip to create a quicktime MOV file that can be edited in Final cut express (1 hour).

With final cut express, I edit praise and worship down to about 15 minutes, and any part of the pastor's sermon (if necessary, not a frequent requirement), add our church logo as an overlay and then render the edited project (rendering can take up to 1 hour), before exporting this to a movie file (full SD resolution).

MPEG streamclip is once again put into action to create the MP4 podcast video file that will be uploaded to internet (1 hour).

Finally the compressed quicktime video podcast file is uploaded to BLIP.TV, a link enclosure is created on our website which has been registered in iTunes, and subscribers will then be able to download the service directly to their computers, iPods or get email alerts sent to them.

This workflow can be shortened if we had the facility to record directly to a final cut compatible format either using a HDD recorders such as the Datavideo DN400 or capturng directly on to a high specification desktop computer.

If my Apple MacBook was powerful enough, with a compatible firewire interface, I could use software like Boinxtv to produce the video podcast file live as the service takes place (it even has the features to add overlays such as scriptures text, lower thirds and graphic illustrations or logos).

To be able to load the file to the internet during service, I would obviously need a suitable fast internet broadband connection.

Update July 2010: We have now replaced the DVD recorder with the Datavideo DN-200 digital recorder, so I no longer need to produce a DVD, but can edit the files directly from the HDD of the digital recorder.

More Reading
Recording church services with digital video recorder.
Church video streaming on the internet.


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