CHICAGO — The past year has challenged Houses of Worship (HOW) and the individuals managing the facilities, requiring congregations and religious leaders to adopt new ways of engagement. To address these changes and openly discuss best practices for running a smooth event, Shure recently hosted a Tech Talk Series with audio industry professionals.
Beckie Campbell, founder of B4 Media Productions, and Samantha Potter, ProSoundWeb Senior Contributing Editor & Worship Tech Liaison, served as panelists discussing how to manage multiple HOW services across several buildings and related topics. Shure’s Laura Davidson and Jenn Liang-Chaboud led the engaging discussion where attendees heard from Campbell and Potter on the necessity of connecting HOW campuses, the technology behind livestreaming, and working with volunteers for seamless sessions – no matter how big or how small the congregation may be.
The Value and Importance of Connecting Your Campuses
It is safe to say that most Houses of Worship were headed toward the concept of connected campuses due to congregation growth. The need for these sorts of facilities, physical or virtual, grew significantly with COVID-19. Some churches were forced to adapt to holding outdoor and virtual formats for main services, and virtual ministries to serve different members of the congregation.
Connecting various campuses isn’t only about plugging in the right equipment at the right time. It’s ensuring that the audio and visuals are uniquely balanced at each location and throughout each site. During sound check, make sure to walk the entire location of each campus to check volume levels and make certain that the audio is properly balanced from the front of the room, all the way to the very back of the building.
Technology Behind Livestreaming Sessions
The technical leap between in-person and virtual sessions has historically come with a significant price tag. Over time, and as technology became more accessible, it became easier and more affordable to implement. An important first step to coordinating a livestream for a congregation is buying a tripod to connect and stabilize a smartphone – it can be this simple to get started. Churches may wish to expand the visual and audio quality through camera upgrades, mixing on a soundboard, and more.
Beyond the equipment, it’s essential to stream on platforms that members can easily access. Don’t overlook checking backend analytics to see where viewers are watching: YouTube, Facebook, your website, or elsewhere. After the most active platform is identified, work with the team to ensure it has the best quality audio and visuals as well.
Working with Volunteers
Having an extra set of hands and ears can be extremely helpful when connecting campuses and planning virtual livestreams. That said, coordinating new volunteers every week can be cumbersome at times. When training, take the time to slow down and invest in skill development, which can help the audio team in the long run. Group training is an easy way to inspire one another, as volunteers may have similar questions or needs. When it comes to recruitment, consider tapping into local high schools that require volunteer hours; college internship programs may be another way to find people willing to put in the time and effort to support the larger team.
A 20-year veteran in the music industry, Campbell has helped mentor and train teams across live events and Houses of Worship. She is a FOH, Monitor Engineer, and Owner of B4Media Production. Potter is an audio engineer, host of Church Sound Podcast, and editor for ProSoundWeb with a passion for mixing and educating. She began developing audio and production curricula for House of Worship technology teams and their leaders with a diverse background of live sound disciplines. Both women are exemplary leaders in the House of Worship audio space and excellent resources to the professional live sound community.