Amen Corner: Sleep in Heavenly Peace ... After the Holidays
Posted Dec 1, 2006

The holidays are upon us, and for event videographers who also volunteer at their chosen house of worship (or those who work full-time in video ministries but moonlight on the side), this is one of the busiest times of the year. I'm writing this column just as Yom Kippur completes the Jewish high holidays and as Ramadan nears its apex. Chances are you'll be reading it close to the Christian season of Christmas.
     In the intervening weeks, there are myriad video needs, starting with "judgment houses" or—in my case, as a member of a Reformed church—Reformation celebrations at the end of October, followed shortly by Thanksgiving services, and then the gearing up for Christmas cantatas, with some churches performing star-studded programs (those of you around Nashville, Los Angeles, and New York know what I'm talking about). Then there are the core services of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that mean packed houses of worship, followed by yet another large set of New Year's-related events. The non-stop preparation and execution of flawless video capture and delivery during this holiday season makes me tired just writing about it!

In the midst of it all, though—especially for those of you who volunteer at your chosen house of worship—remember that a large part of what you're doing this season is giving a gift. You give the gift of your time and effort year-round, but that gift is especially valuable during this hectic season. Yes, part of your job is to keep little Jenny's mother happy by getting the close-up as her daughter makes her two-line acting debut as an angel or a shepherd; but part of it is also to allow those in the audience to connect with the meaning of the season as told through the visuals, speeches, and songs that make up the most memorable of holiday seasons in our American calendar. Your job, done well, contributes directly to the air of wonder that your minister or worship team is attempting to convey, enhancing the emotional impact of the message.

The good news, too, is that you will probably get some rest . . . after the holiday season. But even during that hectic time, during that candlelight singing of "Silent Night," take a few seconds to pass the headset to someone else and connect with why you do what you do. Besides, it's too dark to get a good shot until all the candles are lit, so you've got at least 30 seconds to be introspective.

When you enter the new year, you'll also get a gift—courtesy of the editor of EventDV magazine. Encouraged by reader feedback, EventDV has chosen to make The Amen Corner a monthly column. Thank you for your support and interest in what we're doing. At this time of transition, let's briefly look back as we close out the introductory year of The Amen Corner, and then look forward to what next year will hold. In the first few columns, we discussed the similarities and differences between large houses of worship and small houses of worship. One of the first columns discussed a few basic guidelines, including these three bullets:

We've looked at some of the challenges facing large houses of worship, including the need to have sizeable crews with camera operators, sound techs, graphics, and directorial staff. While everyone faces the challenges of "getting the shot," those in large houses of worship are under the microscope of real-time judgment by the congregants as the images are displayed on large monitors or projection screens.

We then explored the issues faced by the mid-sized houses of worship—those who have been using video for several years but don't have the full-scale implementations of larger houses. On the other end of the spectrum, we also looked at challenges facing small churches, and in the next year we'll continue to examine the personnel and time required if a small house of worship can afford the equipment. Taking the leap from audio to video is a step that any small church or synagogue would find daunting, but in more and more cases, it's also a necessary one.

What else will 2007 hold for The Amen Corner? The plan is to address three areas: new products that are of interest to readers from all houses of worship, reader-requested topics of interest that would also be widely applicable, and a new area—case studies. To get these stories going, I'd like to ask for video overviews of your house of worship's video team, describing the ministry you provide and including a short example of the kind of video work you typically do. Give me about three to five minutes on yourself and the team and 10 to 12 minutes of typical video work. Think of it as your house of worship's demo reel or portfolio, and don't forget to include pertinent equipment lists or diagrams on paper if applicable. For mailing info, drop me a line at the email address below, or contact EventDV's editorial staff.

In the meantime, happy holidays!