Non-linear Workflow: Church Sermon Video to the Internet

Digital media has forever changed the way we send and receive information. In the old days before the Internet you had to wait to receive a letter in the mail; and you could only watch a particular episode of a TV show once, then wait for reruns or syndication on other networks. But with YouTube, Vimeo, hulu, Netflix, and many other video distributors, you can see the same production sometimes only moments after its debut.

Thanks to these savvy web developers, our churches have a higher standard to live up to.

Any church with a video ministry can record to a DVD with a single camera and pump out many DVDs before the end of the invitation, but what about getting that video onto the Internet? In my experience, people see our cameramen in action in the morning, and expect to see what they did online the next day, that night, or even that afternoon! The evident benefit is getting the message of the Gospel to the unsaved as quickly as possible. They may not attend a service, but they can see what the morning’s sermon was, and the Holy Spirit can work in them at any time, day or night.

How do you get your pastor’s message from a DVD to a video distributor? Well, forget about doing it if you don’t have an account somewhere out there! Something I learned was to have a distributor handle all of my video rather than me storing it and losing all my disk space. YouTube is great for short clips, promos, and other specials, while other hosts like Vimeo are better for longer presentations, such as the topic today, a pastor’s message. If you upload your video to their servers, they handle the distribution better than the one in your office closet.

Our Pastors’ messages are uploaded to Vimeo after the first AM service. (I’m actually doing that as I type). But I don’t take the DVD and click some magical upload button to get it there. It starts with ripping the DVD.

There are plenty of choices when it comes to ripping a DVD. The best choice I found is called MPEG Streamclip. It is free to convert some file formats, and works similarly like QuickTime Pro. But to get the DVD ripping function, you need to purchase a QuickTime (QT) plugin from Apple ($20). I rip the message portion only to a .mov QT format with DVCPro compression. That makes a large file, roughly 8GB, but it is compatible with Adobe Premiere CS3. Plenty of time has been spent discovering that.

Once it finishes the rip, the QT is put in the “pre-packaged” timeline with intro, greeting from Pastor, lower-3rds, and outro contained already. I make the appropriate edit for the in and out of the message to cross-dissolve with the “packaged contents,” adjust for the lower-3rds, and export, again, as a .mov QT with DVCPro, another 8GB file for DVD duplication. I would make it as a MPEG-2, but I prefer to let the DVD authoring program do that for me.

But that still isn’t the end. After the “packaged” video is complete, I run it through QT Pro to make it web ready. QT Pro is not free, you have to pay a fair price for it, for what it is capable of. Vimeo has some restrictions to prevent sync issues, (such as having a total bitrate of 2000kbps) so QT Pro gives me enough options to keep that from happening. I resize the video image, and compress it as a .mp4 with H.264 compression. The video image size is about half (320×240) at 1872kbps with mp3 audio, 44.1kHz at 128kbps. It sounds just fine and the video looks good with the exception of how small it has to be. Finally, I upload it to Vimeo with the right tags and naming convention.

After that, I leave it up to our web guy to embed it on our site.

Using Vimeo works great for putting longer videos onto your site. YouTube is free, though, and is good for shorter clips upwards of 15 minutes and 1GB in size.

If you post video online and aren’t sure how to upload it, or even need an organized way to get it online, feel free to try some of my settings out, even if you don’t understand it all.

The purpose is to get the message out quickly, proficiently and correctly. If you’re going to put video online weekly, you need a method to get it there consistently. My method may change, it does have many steps, but this is working for us for now.

This is the 21st century after all, I know there’ll be a faster way. If you know one, feel free to share. Enjoy the Lord’s day.

Sent from my wife’s iPad

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2 thoughts on “Non-linear Workflow: Church Sermon Video to the Internet

  1. Great ideas for posting the day’s sermon same day! I’ll let our videographer know about this!

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