Mission Gallery

Missions Gallery Update

A while back, I wrote a post about redoing our missions gallery.  The missions gallery is a funny story of how responsibility often gets assigned in an organization.  If you bring it up as an issue that needs to be dealt with, you are usually tasked with the responsibility of fixing it. As you can see from the previous post of what the mission gallery used to be, it was something that needed to be done.  It’s a prominent spot in our building, in between the two main entrances into the worship center.  So naturally it needed to be something that looked nice and really displayed what we are all about.  At Northwood Church, we are all about reaching the world around us, we are very globally minded.  At the time of the project, I had just got back from a trip to Vietnam, so we had some great pictures to work with.  We let the pictures speak for themselves, we printed them as large as we could, and the result was when people walk by, they can see a glimpse of what our church is about just by glancing at the area.  We also designed it in such a way that when the pictures need a refresh it’s quite easy to put different pictures in.  I never got around to posting a final picture of what it looked like, so here you go!

Mission Gallery

If I could change one thing, it would be the height of the bottom cedar planks.  I would also prefer to vary the color of the wood from piece to piece, but the straight cedar color matches the rest of the building quite nicely.


Using Lighting in Worship

I was able to take some pictures during our service on Sunday.  I’ve long been a fan of using lighting creatively to set the mood of our service and take people on a journey from beginning to end.  However, since I was able to take some pictures today, it occurred to me that one great way to see if your lighting is telling a story in a single service from beginning to end is to take a few pictures throughout and when you look at them all what do you see?  Do you see progression? or do you see a bunch of random lights?

100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 WorshipLighting 109

Job Performance in Church

A while back I wrote a couple posts talking bout some things I learned from this year’s seeds conference. The content from all the speakers was very insightful. Specifically, Lee Cockerell, knocked it out of the park. You can learn so much from a man who went from a military cook to Executive Vice President of Disney World. While I was re-watching it, another statement jumped out at me. He said “I’ve always wondered should I say that – can churches deal with people who don’t perform?” His answer – you have to. “If you aren’t working on the hard things every week, you are working on the wrong things.”

Camera Dolly On the Cheap

One of the newest additions to our production arsenal is a camera dolly.  You’ll see the shot 8 seconds into the video above.  This was during the passion concert we had not too long ago. When we initially looked into the idea, it was ridiculously expensive.  Budget is always a constraint for any organization, but with constraints come great opportunities to be creative and figure things out.  So we youtube’d A LOT of videos on DIY Camera Dolly Systems.  Most of the videos were for amateur videographers making movies in their garages, but surprisingly, they had a lot of well thought out ideas.  We just had to the take the best of the ideas and put it on a professional scale.



So for our camera dolly, we constructed a small platform and covered it with similar vinyl that’s on our stage.  This hides our cables and our rails.  We then fashioned a track out of thick PVC and painted it black.  Because the section we picked out for our dolly actually has a curve, we put a few screws into the PVC to give it a curved shape.  Then we took a thick piece of MDF board and made what I can only describe as a roller coaster like wheel connection.  Meaning wheels hugging two sides of each rail.  This gives us an extremely smooth ride.  To manage cables as we move, we put in a short rail at the front of the platform.  We run the cables over this rail to keep the cables from getting in the way of the track.


All in all, we have an 16 foot camera dolly rig for about $100.  Good deal? I think so!

It’s important to note that your sweeping shots will only look as good as your lighting does.  It takes A LOT of crowd light for a sweeping dolly shot to look good.  Sweeping dolly shots will not do you any good without a lot of crowd light.  Specifically for this shot, stage crowd light looks way better than house crowd light.  A way you can cheat this a little bit is to look at your front stage light levels.  If you run your front lights too bright, your camera has to compensate for that (which decreases the amount of light the camera can let in from the stage).  So the darker you can get away with your front lights, the more color will show up in your camera shots.  Just food for thought.


TelePrompter Time

We get questions from time to time about our video filming process.  Since we are like most churches in that we we desire to produce quality pieces without having enough man power to really do so on a consistent basis, we created a system that works really well for us.  This system allows us to crank out videos quite quickly and still produce quality videos.  Here’s the last video I just posted with our host Jenni, using this system (I’ll explain what I mean by system in a bit).  Click here to read the post on this video and our thoughts behind it.

Our “system” includes a few pieces, lighting, audio, camera, and teleprompter.  I’ll do a post soon on our lighting, essentially its a three point lighting system that is already in place and ready to go whenever we need to film – more on that later.  Our microphone is always on a boom ready to go, we just hook in our H4N and we are good to go for crystal clear audio.  I’ll also do a post on audio later as well.  The camera tripod and teleprompter mount are always ready to go.  Then we get to the teleprompter.


For the teleprompter, we use an iPad mini with an app called Teleprompt+.  This app is great, it connects with your google drive, or you can just copy in text from an email or text.  Typically, we email our script, copy it off the email and put it into the app.  In which case the app gives you tons of options of speed, size, color, timing, etc.  Teleprompters take a little while to get used to, but once your host is used to it, its golden.  What used to take us hours in “try again”, “lets do it again”, now only takes a matter of minutes.  In fact the video you see above was recorded in less than 10 minutes.  With a set up time of about 5 minutes, this video took about 15 minutes to record.  That’s incredible compared to what a normal video shoot takes!


Let me touch real quick on teleprompters and scripts.  There are varying opinions on whether or not they help, whether or not it looks like you are reading, whether or not its genuine, etc.  Pastors are typically the worst because they like to wing it.  I would challenge everyone whether you have a teleprompter or not, to write a script before you shoot.  This forces you to speak with intentionality.  You will never be able to make your videos short and to the point (which they need to be) if you don’t think through what you are saying before hand.  Write out your scripts, make changes, read it again, make more changes, rinse and repeat.  If you don’t already do this, this will take your videos to the next level over night.

Keep a look out for a post on our lighting/audio/camera set ups.