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Amen Corner: Streaming Services
Posted Jul 26, 2007 Print Version     Page 1of 1

At the beginning of the year, I asked readers of this column to provide videotapes of their local house of worship showcasing both the type of worship service and also the equipment used for video and audio recording. My intent in sending out this request was to give us all a chance to learn how readers around the country are using their production skills to bring video to their local house of worship.

One reader who has sent in a tape is Buckwheat Johnson, who owns BJ Video Productions in Windom, Minnesota. Located just off Interstate 90, about 135 miles southwest of Minneapolis, Windom is a small city of about 4,500 people.

Johnson’s video service provides the typical services offered by most EventDV readers, videotaping weddings, graduations, and sporting events. He uses streaming video as a way to show off his portfolio and—in some instances such as a recent international wedding—he has been able to use live streaming to allow those who weren’t able to attend in person to observe the festivities as they happen.

Johnson also serves as the church videographer for the First Baptist Church in Windom, Minnesota, bringing experience and longevity to one particular house of worship that shows how churches across the country have progressed from audio to video—and in some instances, to streaming.

“When the church was rewired for audio several years ago, it was also rewired for video,” Johnson recalls. “Workers in the nursery and even the little children now have an opportunity to participate in parts of the service by at least watching and hearing the service. In addition, the library is equipped in the same fashion, and for those situations where a young mother and baby cannot enjoy the service in the sanctuary, the option of listening and watching from a quiet place is available to them as well.”

The progression of wiring for building-wide audio—and the interest in adding video to the service—prompted Johnson and First Baptist to consider expanding their services beyond the building. “The church thought it could be a ministry to the people in the community,” Johnson reflects. “The city of Windom owns a cable TV franchise and has a community access channel. I take a VHS tape down to them and they put it on at a specific time each week. This allows community members and those from the church who can’t make it to a particular service to join in.” Johnson says they are now learning how to stream a church service onto the web, expanding the reach of their video ministry even further.

These same concepts of streaming services and events in real time can be used in other community events as well, Johnson says, so his knowledge and use of streaming in both his business and his chosen house of worship may prove beneficial to Windom as it seeks to differentiate itself in economic development and to increase citizens’ quality of life.

One piece of technical advice that Johnson gives to readers—particularly those doing worship video in a church setting—is to be careful to pay attention to the audio during the shoot. While the tendency is to focus on the video, Johnson says he has learned from experience to monitor all sound from the audio board as it is mixed live for the church video that he is producing.

Because of a hum from the local radio station that bleeds over onto his wireless microphones, Johnson says First Baptist has invested in a “hum eliminator,” the Ebtech HE-8 Hum Eliminator. The HE-8 is an eight-channel rackmount unit designed to eliminate 60-cycle hum caused by ground loops. In addition to eliminating hums, the HE-8 is also designed to convert unbalanced lines to true balanced lines, since unbalanced lines are more susceptible to picking up electrical noise and RF interference.

Many of the capabilities that Johnson uses for his house of worship also serve him well in his day-to-day video production work. Along with his wife, Sonya, Johnson does work that in some instances takes him to far-off places. A long way from Windom, Johnson was involved in streaming a wedding to Kigali, Rwanda, situated in East Africa. He streamed the wedding so that those unable to attend could join in the celebration.

Closer to home, Johnson’s work is praised by his customers. “The video was incredible,” says one testimonial on his site. “It made us cry, laugh, and love each other even more. The creativity was tremendous. We are totally impressed by your professionalism and your caring for the bride and groom.”

Join me in congratulating Johnson on a job well done—both for his customers and for his chosen house of worship. And keep those tapes coming.

Tim Siglin, co-founder of Transitions Inc., is a contributing editor to Streaming Media. He has 18 years of film and video experience and heads a digital media business consultancy in Kingsport, Tennessee.

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