Multi-Site – Message Is King

12 08 2011

As the multi-site movement continues to grow I often get asked, what are the most critical technical aspects of having a successful multi-site venue.  Since the thing that sets the Christian Church apart from other religious services, concerts and other events is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I believe the most critical technical aspect centers around ensuring the message is delivered just as well in the multi-site venues as it is in the main.  Effectiveness in the message at multi-site venues relies on three key components, the capturing of the message, the recording of the message and the play back of the message.

These days you can’t escape the letters H and D when it comes to video cameras.  In fact most video cameras you can purchase at Best Buy shoot in HD.  That means after a quick trip to your local electronics store you can beautifully capture your sermon with HD cameras, right?  When it comes to cameras, the old adage “you get what you pay for” absolutely applies.  The cheaper the camera, the worse it will handle low light, the less clean your image will be and the less you’ll be able to zoom in on your speaker, meaning your multi-site will watch poor quality video of the sermon.  In order to successfully engage an audience with a message delivered on video, please make sure you have adequate cameras to meet your needs.   You need a camera solution that is right for the size of your room, the lighting you have, level of control you want and the final output resolution desired.  There are many variables to consider and the team at CCI Solutions is ready and willing to work with you to determine the right cameras for your specific needs.

You have many options in recording video these days, a simple solution being a DVD recorder with more complicated solutions including direct to hard drive recorders or recording it directly into your editor of choice.  Regardless of your preference, I believe it’s critical to pick a proven method that fits your work flow and have redundancy in your recording.  I won’t make a case for memory based recorders over tape based methods versus live delivery here as I believe all of these methods can be a good solution for where they make sense.  If you need help selecting one or simply need to talk through the options, our team is available to help you determine what is right for your needs.  Ultimately though, the ability of the multi-site congregants to hear the message depends on the system you choose working, so research and choose your medium wisely.  In addition, if possible, choose two methods (or one method twice).  One of the worst things that can happen with multi-site venues when the recording fails is to have your site lead scrambling to figure out how to preach someone else’s message to cover.  The message is too critical to not have redundancy.

What is obvious here is that your playback device must be able to handle the media your recording is on.  If you record to DVD, you will need a solid DVD player.  If you’re doing it live, you’ll need something that receives the feed.  What may not be obvious are two recommendations I have.  First, give yourself some flexibility with the ability to start the message when it’s time, either because you hit play or you have a buffer on the live playback (like a DVR).  Look, stuff happens.  Worship or announcements go long in one of the venues, the worship leader decides to skip a song or whatever.   If you’ve got the ability to simply play the message back with the time comes, you have a much higher potential of avoiding awkward moments waiting for the video to start or cutting off someone on stage because the video must start at a certain time.  Second, give yourself redundancy here too.  If you followed my advice in redundant recording, have two playback devices ready and start both when it’s time for the message.  If for whatever reason your main feed goes down mid playback, with a quick switch your backup source can continue the message with little to no down time or distraction.

Ultimately, the idea of multi-site venues is taking the message of the Gospel to where people are.  In order to do that effectively, you must successfully transport the actual message from the main venue to the multi-site venues.  If you cover these three topics effectively, I believe you will have a successful venue where people focus on and are affected by the message, not bad video.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: