Posted in education on June 13, 2016 3:58 pm EDT

Designing Systems for Content Creation

Five systems necessary to help church content creation teams -- your clients -- function productively and efficiently.

Image by IQoncept.











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TAGS: avl design, consultation, content creation, integration, systems design,


By Alex Schwindt

Thanks to emerging technologies, church technical artists can now share the Gospel through short films, photography, graphic design and audio expressions, allowing them to begin truly competing in the arena of ideas.

One of the most exciting ministry developments over the past several years has been the way churches have begun to embrace original media as a means of connecting with a much wider audience than has ever been possible. Thanks to emerging technologies, church technical artists can now share the Gospel through short films, photography, graphic design and audio expressions, allowing them to begin truly competing in the arena of ideas. With the rise of social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, ministries now have a pipeline to deliver their messages directly to devices carried right in people’s pockets.

Original media has the power to share the story, mission and passion of a local congregation, and churches wanting to embrace it will need to understand the systems and infrastructures that sustain long-term creativity and effectiveness. Here are five systems necessary to ensure that content creation teams can function productively and efficiently.

1. Planning Tools

When it comes to creating compelling media, success or failure is often determined in the planning and pre-production phases. Fortunately there are a number of great hardware and software tools on the market today that facilitate free-flowing collaboration in this crucial early stage. On the hardware side, newer tablet computers such as the iPad Pro and the Windows Surface Pro offer a great mix of power and input functionality, helping artists explore and visualize thoughts and ideas. There are also a number of great project management apps available, including the industry-standard Basecamp. No matter what tools you choose to incorporate, it’s crucial to plan your work then work your plan.

2. Acquisition Equipment

Once a church media team has a solid plan in place, it is important that they have the right tools for acquiring raw media assets. For film teams, having a professional digital cinema camera with dedicated audio inputs is a must. They will also need essential audio capture gear such as wireless lav mics and headphones. Still image cameras, whether DSLRs or mirrorless, will be an indispensable tool for graphic designers and social media artists. Both filmmakers and photographers will need support gear such as tripods, monopods and sliders to capture high quality footage and stills seamlessly.

3. Creation Through Software

Now that all of the necessary assets have been assembled it’s time to bring them together in the post-production phase. While many personal computers are more than powerful enough to handle word processing, spreadsheets and Internet browsing, it takes an entirely different class of workstation to handle film and animation projects running well into the gigabytes in size. While it can be tempting to try and set up a team with middle-of-the-road machines you find at Best Buy, what a church tech team gains in short-term savings they'll lose a hundred times over in squandered productivity time. So do the right thing by your media team clients and advise them on the necessity of setting up workstations that move at the speed of their creativity.

On the bright side of budgeting, professional creative software has never been more affordable than it is today. Software suites from industry-leading Adobe that used to run thousands of dollars per machine can now be leased on a month-by-month basis, eliminating the enormous upfront costs. For graphic designers, Adobe’s Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign are absolutely essential (and are included in their Creative Cloud suite). On the filmmaking side, while Adobe’s Premiere and After Effects are extremely popular options among churches, Apple’s Final Cut Pro X and Avid’s Media Composer are also powerful, affordable alternatives. For audio engineers, Pro Tools is still the go-to default program, and is available from Avid on a pay-as-you-go plan, as well.  continued >>