Health and Growth

The Best Video Gear for Churches in 2020

Clark Campbell uncovers the best video gear for churches of all sizes to boost online and in-person engagement.

The Best Video Gear for Churches in 2020

We've come along way from writing church donation letters! The tech for that was a pen, some paper, and the postal system.

Now days communications happens ina much more rich and dynamic way.

One of the questions pastors and church staff ask me most often is, what kind of gear do I need?

My answer to that is usually to ask, what's your budget? And who do you have that can run that gear?

Do you have people that know photo and video? Do you need to train people?

You need to have both financial resources and personnel to do it well. 

1. Start simple

My biggest advice is don't bite off more than you can chew.

Start with something simple, even if you put an iPhone on a tripod in the back of the room and stream it to Facebook. For now, if that's what your church can do, start it there. If someone comes along and says that they can make it better then give them a couple hundred dollars to get a better camera. You do not have to start with the highest priced camera. 

I did hear recently that churches spend more money on toilet paper than they do on technology, especially on online videos like on social media. While that's funny to think about, it is slightly concerning that we are investing more in paper than we are in getting the message out. If a church says, "Oh, we just don't have the money to invest in that," I would take a hard look. Keep the toilet paper. Let's keep going with the toilet paper. But what if we invested just a little more to advance the message of the gospel further through great gear?

2. Using a phone 

You can start with an iPhone and a tripod. A middle-of-the-road gear might be a $500 camera. You need to have decent audio so go to your sound technician and make sure that you can run audio to your camera. Once you start getting nicer cameras, the quality of audio will increase. A Macbook or any type of computer probably has video editing software. You can take your video and go into that editing software to trim the beginning and the end. Then you will have something you can deliver online via live stream.

I still think using a phone where you can also plug in the audio is good enough to get started. The only thing you have to worry about with a phone is how far away the pastor is or the speaker is. When you have a phone, sometimes a long distance is hard for the lens. Now there are lenses you can buy like the Moment lens, Go to Moment, or the Google Moment iPhone lens. You can also get a telephoto lens that would help you a lot when it comes to this and it's 100 bucks maybe. That would be a great start. Again, as you increase camera quality, you're going to want to increase audio quality. Those two things usually go hand in hand.

So start with the phone. That sounds crazy, but it might be all you need if you have nothing. Don't be afraid of posting Facebook live videos of your Sunday services.As you start going up, you will need a DSLR. It's a camera that you can buy from Canon or Nikon or Fuji, and you can get some great cameras. After that, you buy a nice lens that can get further away. If your church is very deep or you don't have a good place to put a camera up front, you can get better lenses.  Again, don't forget that audio is so important to pair with great video. The great thing about phones is that they have the best quality audio of any camera out there. I don't know how, but the iPhones have unbelievable audio even as far back as 2015 or 2016. If you have a recent iPhone, you're going to get great audio in the room you're in. When you start getting nicer cameras, you need to get better audio.

3. Using a camera 

When it comes to the long distances of 50 to 100 feet you are going to want to look at a lens like a 70 to 200 lens that you can put on most any DSLR camera. A DSLR is a nicer camera that allows you to get that crisp, good look at a further distance. That's really important to think about if your church is a larger church. Now there are production and TV quality cameras you can start looking into, but then you will need to have a person on staff to manage all that. That comes with even greater resources and a greater team with a greater responsibility of maintaining the gear. You should start with an iPhone, DSLR, and then TV video-level production gear.

It's also important to try to find a camera that has HDMI output. Some cameras might have a USB cable that goes to a computer so you can live stream. HDMI is, in general, the best way to get video off of your camera and post it immediately online. You can talk to a local camera store or a video shop like Best Buy and tell them what you're trying to do. They can probably point you in the right direction. Go to YouTube or Google and search for the best DSLR camera for video at my church. I can almost guarantee you'll find something, but remember to look for that HDMI cable. 

Show Notes

Read the full blog of this episode here:

Today on Modern Church Leader, Clark Campbell uncovers the best video gear for churches of all sizes to boost online and in-person engagement.

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The Best Video Gear for Churches in 2020