Video On A Budget: Account for Strengths, Weaknesses of Gear

A mentor once told me that it’s not hard to get Hollywood results on a Hollywood budget. It’s much harder to deliver on limited resources, but it is not impossible.

Video On A Budget: Account for Strengths, Weaknesses of Gear
When using video cameras, such as this Canon camera, placing the camera at an appropriate focal length from the subject to avoid digital zoom can really improve the overall picture.
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I’ve been selling professional video services for almost 16 years, and when I’m dealing with a customer new to media production, I sometimes hear a comment like, “I just need it really simple and cheap; just 60 seconds. How expensive can that be?”

For many churches, a new camera or editing computer needs to last several years.

If I’m feeling playful, I’ll turn my head toward them in a moment of thoughtful reflection, thinking hard for just a moment, before saying “$8 million.”

Sometimes they laugh, sometimes it’s a pause and a shocked look, but they almost always respond, “You can’t be serious?”

“$8 million is what the most expensive 60-second Super Bowl ad cost this year. I understand you don’t want to spend that much, but a lot can go into 60 seconds of finished video.” (That ad was for Jaguar, by the way.)

As I told my pastor long ago, a media budget can be a pit without a bottom. As soon as you think you have finally achieved state-of-the-art, the state-of-the-art changes, and you suddenly find that you have what now seems like old junk, that needs to be replaced.

Unless you really are working with Hollywood budgets, it’s just not possible to get the new, hot camera every year.

For many churches, a new camera or editing computer needs to last several years. And yes, sometimes we must make do for a while with what might be seen as an old system.

In my church, Crossroads Community Church, new camera equipment has been an ongoing discussion item over the past four years. Our current camera is nearing 10 years old. It’s a DV tape camera and is HD, but was released in that awkward phase before HDMI had become standard.

Practically, that camera has always been a good camera, but the workflow has become increasingly challenging as the years have gone by. Also, it has good optics and looks great when the lighting is under control, but if used in either sunlit or low light conditions, it doesn’t translate color very well, at least compared to current standards.

But we do have a great video program, despite this being our only camera. You can return great results on a budget.

There is a three-phase process that can refocus your thinking on results. It mirrors the normal production process of writing, shooting and editing.

Let’s call it CAM: Care, Aim and Maximize.


More About Adrian Gates
Adrian Gates is the Media Director for Crossroads Community Church in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. In his 16 years as a media professional, Adrian has served many different roles, including music producer, web master, videographer, consultant, social media “expert,” sound guy, lighting guy, stage hand, and roadie. His clients have included some of the largest tech companies in the world, New England churches looking to modernize, and dedicated weekend warriors. Adrian is a graduate of the New England Institute of Art and Communications.
Get in Touch: mediaservices@crossroadsconnects.com    More by Adrian Gates

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The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.


Article Topics

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