Tech Tip: How to get a better video image out of your existing cameras.

Using video to communicate is a reality in many churches today. Whether you are producing a video to promote an upcoming event or if you are multisite church where video is at the core of how you deliver teaching … many pastors find themselves thinking about how to make great looking video projects. They sure didn’t teach this in seminary!

One reality of people who lead technology stuff at all the churches I’ve interacted with is they all want to buy new gear … now! This comes from a good place because they want to generate the best product they can and often you need better tools to get better results. But as church leaders our job is to discern when is the right time to acquire the tech gear we need to push the mission forward. Today I wanted to share a quick tip to help you think through when to buy new cameras for your church.

When it comes to getting great looking video there is a dance between the camera and the lighting. Generally speaking … when you get more light on whatever you are trying to shoot with a camera it will look better. Rather than spending on new fancy cameras you should consider upgrading your lighting to help the video out. We went through this last year where we made an update to the lighting rig at our “production” campus that results we’re fantastic! We kept the same cameras that we’ve had for almost 7 years but we got a much better image out of them. Take a look at this picture and compare the how the skin tones look more natural, the lighting is more even and it just looks better!



All we did was upgrade the lighting and kept the same cameras … changing out the lighting is more economical way to improve your video quality than just swapping out the cameras. The effect is even more dramatic when you watch videos from before and after the lighting change. 

We’re still working on how to improve the video image that we generate every week at our church. We’re a multisite church where more people watch our teaching pastor on video than “live” and so we want to make sure we do the best we can to generate a great looking image. In December we rented cameras that would cost about $30k a piece to purchase … we set up our seven year old cameras that we paid $3.5k for at the time to see how it would look. Below is a side by side comparison of the two cameras … on the left is the $30k camera and on the right is our existing camera. (Ignore the “striping” around the outside of Tim … a rendering issue pulling caused be these two image types together.) You’ll notice the skin tones aren’t as good on the newer camera – probably caused by us not being able to tweak them enough at set up – but over all the image isn’t 10x better with the much more expensive camera. Spending more on cameras doesn’t automatically equate to a better image!

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I’d love your feedback! What have you learned about generating great videos for your church over the years?

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.