Posts

Getting Into Vlogging – Part 2

In Part One of the series on vlogging I shared a recommendation for a camera: the Sony ZV-1. Obviously this is the centerpiece of any vlogging configuration. Getting good clear video is important. However, a great case could be made that the audio of a vlog is of equal importance…perhaps even more important. Viewers will quickly move on from a video they can’t hear clearly. While the Sony ZV-1 has a good microphone, it will vary depending on conditions (wind, background noise, ventilation, etc.). The best way to insure the cleanest audio capture is through a dedicated microphone, and in the world of vlogging, that means a wireless microphone. The good news is there are a lot of excellent choices out there at various price points.

Microphone Kit

Goal

To have a microphone setup that is easy to use, captures audio at the source (i.e. very close to the speakers mouth), and is wireless to allow disconnected movement. The battery life should be sufficient for at least an hour of uninterrupted use, send audio to the video source, but also record it as a standalone mp3 file.

RODE Wireless Go II (my recommendation)

The RODE Wireless Go II is a dual channel wireless microphone system. It comes with one receiver that can be attached to the hot/cold shoe mount on the Sony ZV-1, and two transmitters with wind screens which can be clipped to a shirt collar. It’s key features (from their website) include:

  • Dual channel wireless microphone system for recording two sound sources simultaneously
  • Series IV 2.4GHz digital transmission, 128-bit encryption – crystal-clear audio at up to 200m (line of sight), optimized for extremely stable operation in dense RF environments
  • 3.5mm TRS analog output, USB-C and iOS digital output – universal compatibility with cameras, mobile devices and computers
  • On-board recording – over 40 hours of internal memory
  • Option to record each channel separately or combine them for ultimate flexibility in post-production
  • In-built rechargeable lithium-ion battery – up to 7 hours battery life

After using the product for a little while now, I’d note the following pluses and minuses:

Positives:
  1. Very small and compact. It can be carried in a pocket or purse.
  2. Great audio quality, especially when paired with a Lavalier mic. I’d suggest the RODE SmartLav
  3. Having the audio sent back to receiver and recorded on the transmitter as well is a real life saver and allows you to get out of range of the receiver and still capture audio.
  4. There is a “safety channel” which records at -20dB in case you main audio clips, so you have a usable recording despite the wrong gain on capture.
  5. Can be used with most cameras and even smart phones with the write adapters.
Negatives:
  1. A little pricey. Currently about $300 on Adorama.
  2. When clipping on a shirt collar it is very obvious, especially with the windscreen. It also has rather bright status lights on the front, making it even more obvious.
  3. Uses micro usb to charge. A small nit pick, but it would be nice it if had USB-C.

All in all, this is an excellent solution for anybody who wants to regularly vlog and capture consistently great audio.

Watch for a video review soon.

Next time we’ll address post production video software options.

camera

Getting Into Vlogging – Part 1

Vlogging is the act of creating and adding content to a “vlog” or “video blog” (think YouTube). Vlogging a term often used by content creators on YouTube, or “YouTubers” when talking about their craft. The advent of good quality video cameras on phones, like the iPhone, has launched a generation of videographers eager to use the internet to get their message out there. At last count nearly 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube EVERY MINUTE!

Just for fun, here are few more fun facts about YouTube:

  • There are 2.3 billion YouTube users world-wide
  • 79% of all internet users say they have a YouTube account
  • YouTube viewers watch over 1 billion hours of video each day
  • 62% of US-based businesses use YouTube to post video content
  • 70% of YouTube views come on mobile devices
  • 90% of people say they discovered new products or brands on YouTube

It is a compelling platform that millions use either to consume video or the subject of this blog post — to create it.

Today it’s becoming very common to find those in ministry (pastors, teachers, staff ministers, lay leaders) using vlogs to deliver their content, whether that be a devotion, lesson or other ministry-related content. Pastors might want to “vlog” shorter devotions, mini Bible studies, congregational reports, sermon “extras”, topical counseling tips, flipped catechism lessons, and, well you get the idea. Teachers have just as many vlogging opportunities. The obvious application are flipped classroom lessons, but others include parent updates, educational or how-to videos for colleagues, individual instruction for virtual students or those with specific needs, and even recordings for assessments and personal growth.

There are many use cases for getting into vlogging. Just think of all the written content you produce and ask, “Would creating a video enhance this content in some way, or increase its likelihood of being “seen?” When it comes to communications, those are the two big questions: how to amplify it and how to increase its useful viewership.

For those of you who have decided to get started, you probably are starting with using your smart phone to capture audio and video, and then uploading to YouTube or your ministries web site. You try to find a pleasing background and a space without too much competing light or especially noise. Great. But this series of blog posts, and subsequent vlogs will outline how to up that game a little bit with techniques and equipment. Why? Mostly because we now are publishing content in a world full of high production quality video. We don’t want, nor could we match, them, but it is important to recognize the gap between what people watch on YouTube, and our stuff. So things we can reasonably do to improve quality will be worth it —  balancing cost, complexity and results of course.

Today I’ll start by sharing just a baseline camera setup for vlogging created by Brian Urbanek of GoldWing Productions LLC. This recommendation was created for WELS Special Ministries “Gospel Hands” — a video signing project for the deaf and hard of hearing. Here is part of the recommendation’s introduction:

Because the intent is for the equipment to be operated by volunteers, the highest consideration went into the ease of use for each piece of equipment, while still being able to achieve a certain level of quality. Ideally, all of the gear should be operable by a single person, should they need to carry this work out alone.

Camera Kit

Goal

To have a camera that can shoot 4K and have as professional of a look as possible, for the lowest cost possible. These cameras are all very popular among vloggers and YouTube content creators, as they have been created specifically for that demographic. They all feature a pop-out screen to be able to see yourself before and during filming.

Sony ZV-1 (my recommendation)

Cost: $778 @ Adorama

  • This kit comes with an included 64 GB SD card, extra battery, and battery charger
  • PRO: Digital bokeh (more of a mirrorless camera look)
  • PRO: 4K up to 30fps
  • PRO: f/1.8 lens
  • PRO: great out of focus background

Other options: Canon G7X II or III, Canon M50, Sony a6400

Note: If purchasing after August 31, 2021 you may want to consider the newer model (Sony ZV-E10)

Final camera recommendation

The Sony ZV-1 camera is a favorite among YouTube content creators. It shoots at 4K video and has great autofocus capabilities, allowing the subject to always be in focus. It’s capable of creating a slightly blurry background, mimicking a slightly more cinematic look compared to the other two Canons on the list.

– above recommendation by Brian Urbanek

If you are interested in this camera I recorded a brief review of it myself below using the actual unit.

As you can see it records clear and color accurate video. There is no distortion, and it truly is a dream to operate.

Next time we’ll address lighting and backdrop recommendations.


Credits: Featured image courtesy of Jonathan Cutrer

587 – Streaming

It’s WELSTech time, so get ready for your weekly dose of tech-in-ministry goodness. This week we share tips for setting up live streaming, and we celebrate the Chinese New Year with prayer. We also visit the Free Bible Images web site and share community feedback related to optimizing Facebook posts. Wait no longer for WELSTech!

The interview and discussion:

Get started streaming – Philip Wels, lay member of Peace in North Mankato, MN joins Martin and Sallie to share his expertise in live streaming worship.

News in tech:

Plans to integrate Facebook Messenger, What’s App and Instagram messages

WELS now:

Picks of the week:

Ministry resource:

Free Bible Images

Community feedback:

Featured video:

Check out the live streaming and sermon video archive from Peace Lutheran Church (ELS) in North Mankato, MN, mentioned during the interview today as a congregation using Philip’s recommended setup. Watch the sermon video from Sunday, February 3, 2019.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 588 – Our “Let’s Build an Intranet” series continues with a practical look at how to build a church intranet using Google Sites.  Release date: Wednesday, February 13.

Get involved:

547 – MLC Day!

Celebrate MLC Day with WELSTech! Martin and Sallie talk with creatives from Martin Luther College who are using social channels and multi-media to spark this special day. Straighten up, enhance your productivity with the picks of the week, and use OneNote to design a digital Escape Room. Tune in for this plus news, feedback, and events!

The interview & discussion:

Martin Luther College Director of Public Relations Bill Pekrul and Videographer Jon Witte give Martin and Sallie behind-the-scenes details of the activities planned for MLC Day on May 2, 2018. There’s a new MLC YouTube channel plus a brand new jiggle written by the talented interviewees. Check out the online media kit for lots of ways you can celebrate MLC!

News in tech:

Google Redesigns Gmail – Here’s a List of Amazing New Features

WELS now:

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Create a Digital Escape Room with OneNote [YouTube playlist]

Community feedback:

Featured video:

Enjoy the MLC Day Jingle.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 548 – Seminary senior Bill Schubert shares insights from his senior theses into ministering to Generation Z. Release date: Wednesday, May 9.

Get involved:

523 – Fortified Networks

This week on WELSTech, we bring in the network security experts from our own WELS Technology team for an overview of the why, what, and how of network security, cloud security, firewalls, and VPNs. There’s also an exciting conference announcement, royalty-free Christmas images and videos, and a mobile app that’s really great at social media marketing.

The interview and discussion:

Networks – Networks are everywhere. Chances are you have one at home and work. How safe is it? How about your information that lives in it? We are joined by two synod employees whose job it is to keep bad guys out and help users practice safe computing. Dan Rebers and Rob Benson help us all think smartly about fortifying our networks.

News in tech:

iPhone X is here

WELS now:

  • Mark your calendars! WELS EdTechLead19, (our next WELSTech + Education & Leadership conference) is scheduled for June 25-27, 2019 at Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI
  • Visit WELS Campus Ministry (wels.net/campus-ministry) to connect college students with WELS congregations and resources

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Ripl – A Marketing Team in Your Pocket

Community feedback:

Reach out to local media with tech in ministry topics – Shepherd of the Lakes, Fairmont, MN

Featured video:

Check out new daily video devotions from Your Time of Grace. The current series is title “Joy in Hard Places.” Watch Joy in Humility.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 524 – Security month continues as we discuss phishing and virus defense with Martin Luther College Network Services personnel. Release date: Wednesday, November 22.

Wartburg image attribution: By Ingersoll – Self-photographed, Public Domain, Link

Get involved:

521 – Reformation 500!

Video month concludes on WELSTech in style with guest host Jason Schmidt and a celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, including great ministry resources for the occasion. Jason does a deep dive on his school district’s use of WeVideo, something any Chromebook enabled school might be interested in.

The discussion:

Student video production – Jason Schmidt, a long-time WELSTech friend, shares the hosting responsibilities on this edtech focused show as we discuss video creation in the classroom – content, software, pricing, and more.

News in tech:

WELS now:

  • Interactive Faith online Bible Study – Luther’s Lasting Impact – Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Prof. Joel Otto leads the study on Wednesday’s now through November 8 at 6 pm and 8 pm (central).
  • Join the conversation at the Gospel Outreach with Media (gowm.org) online conference, now through November 13

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Reformation Resources Roundup

Community feedback:

Featured video:

500 years ago, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to a door. 500 years later, Lutheran leaders from the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference developed a new set of 95 theses for the 21st century.

Also, tune in for the archived Reformation 500 service at Martin Luther College (service folder).

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 522 – The November WELSTech security focus kicks off with a discussion on password safety. Release date: Wednesday, November 8.

Get involved:

520 – Video Tips from the Pros

WELSTech continues a month-long focus on video for church and school as we add Steve & Beth Zambo to the conversation. They share helpful ideas about storytelling, interview techniques, “B” roll footage and more. Martin encourages you to clean up your computer desktop while Sallie is all in for Reformation 500. Plus, we are excited to play some audio encouragement regarding video from our friend Philip Wels!

The interview and discussion:

Reunited – The Zambos (Steve & Beth) join the show to offer video tips and tricks. Steve is the president of Salty Earth Pictures and Professor of Digital Cinema & Media at Wisconsin Lutheran College, while Beth works for WELS Christian Aid & Relief. Their years of experience will help the rest of us up our video game and perhaps encourage us to make video a bigger part of our ministries.

News in tech:

WELS now:

  • Interactive Faith online Bible Study – Luther’s Lasting Impact – Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Prof. Joel Otto will lead the study on Wednesday’s now through November 8 at 6 pm and 8 pm (central).
  • Join the conversation at the Gospel Outreach with Media (gowm.org) online conference, now through November 13

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

More Favorite Productivity Tips: Cleaning Up Your Desktop

Community feedback:

Featured video:

Sallie’s going all in with the Reformation theme and two new Presentation/Teaching videos. First up is The Story of Martin Luther (Playmobil Animation).

And then, the companion Behind the Scenes of the Martin Luther Playmobil Animation, for those interested in making a video along these lines.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 521 – Join us for a WELSTech Reformation 500 celebration and a bit of sunshine from our friend Jason Schmidt as we discuss school video production. Release date: Wednesday, November 1.

Get involved:

519 – Back to the Future

The WELSTech discussion this week focuses on video, the next media frontier. Your social media feeds are dominated by them, and YouTube “channels” have become yesterday’s websites. How will your ministry respond to the video generation? Join Martin and Sallie as they discuss video, channels and how reaching out today seems to mean getting smarter at video creation, curation and presentation.

The discussion:

Video channels – Martin and Sallie consider time travel and decide there’s no time like the present to get serious about beefing up your video channels!

News in tech:

WELS now:

Interactive Faith online Bible Study – Luther’s Lasting Impact – Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Prof. Joel Otto will lead the study on Wednesday’s now through November 8 at 6 pm and 8 pm (central).

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Reformation Fun

Community feedback:

Featured video:

Community feedback spills into our weekly featured video selection thanks to Michael Vlieger from Risen Savior, Mankato, MN. He shared the Explaining Computers YouTube channel and two great videos. First, check out a demo of DaVinci Resolve in DaVinci Resolve 14 Free Video Editor.

And then, get your maker hat on as you watch an overview of Raspberry Pi Google AIY Voice Kit. You can learn more about the kit from the Google AIY site and purchase it from MicroCenter and other retailers.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 520 – Filmmakers Steve and Beth Zambo join the conversation to discuss planning, production, and distribution of video. Release date: Wednesday, October 25.

Get involved:

518 – Video Tech

This week on WELSTech, as part of our month of video for ministry focus, we look at all the many tools available for editing video. For us geeks the tech behind video is as much fun as seeing the content spring to life. There are tools for beginners and pros, those who use PCs and Macs, those who prefer working on tablets or Chromebooks. Martin shares his favorite productivity tip of all time! And Sallie gets serious about security.

The discussion:

Editing & streaming video – Martin and Sallie focus on software and resources around editing video as well as live streaming. Plus, stock video sites are thrown in the mix for good measure!

News in tech:

Visit the Google Store to learn about Google’s latest product announcement, including something for the Trekkie in all of us!

WELS now:

New Interactive Faith online Bible Study – Luther’s Lasting Impact – Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Prof. Joel Otto will lead the study on Wednesday’s now through November 8 at 6 pm and 8 pm (central).

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

My Favorite Productivity Tip!

Community feedback:

How to Make a Video (Part 2) from TechSmith

Featured video:

The newest addition to the WELSTech Product Demos YouTube channel is the Google Pixel 2 event in 19 minutes.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 519 – Learn the ins and outs of creating video channels on next week’s WELSTech. Release date: Wednesday, October 18.

Get involved:

517 – Taming YouTube Live Streaming

It’s a new month and a new focus for WELSTech. October is all about video month. Your ministry may be missing out if it doesn’t have a video strategy. All month we’ll consider content, tools, and video platforms. Sallie takes her first swing at setting up live streaming on YouTube. It’s easier than you think!

The discussion:

October is for video – Martin and Sallie break the ice on this month’s WELSTech discussion focus, video. Why should congregations and schools consider video for communication? What type of content is appropriate for video delivery?

News in tech:

WELS now:

New Interactive Faith online Bible Study – Luther’s Lasting Impact – starts October 4. Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Prof. Joel Otto will lead the study on Wednesday’s October 4 to November 8 at 6 pm and 8 pm (central).

Picks of the week:

Ministry resources:

Getting Started with YouTube Live

Community feedback:

Featured video:

Replay the recent Festival of Hymns by Dr. Martin Luther (service folder), part of the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Symposium on Reformation 500.

Coming up on WELSTech:

Episode 518 – Next week we continue the video discussion, looking at the technology of creating video. Release date: Wednesday, October 10.

Get involved: