Whether you are directing the video production for a 50,000 seat mega-church or a local congregation of 500, having a quality video production is vital to your growth and survival. Your production is one of the highest profile, tangible things that visitors will be able to see and engage with, as it often encapsulates the entire service in which they are participating. Given how important it is, having excellent production is important.
Unless you have virtually unlimited funds, you probably are training up camera operators and directors from within your congregation. Everyone has different backgrounds and skill levels, and though consistent training can sometimes be tricky, there’s a major key that every good director needs to learn.
Here’s a common scenario. A new director has been training for a while. They’ve been directing low-key portions of the services for months, partnering with an experienced director as their technical director, and are now ready for their first service flying solo. They’ve done their research, made the decisions of what they want everyone to do, and have clearly explained the plan to the entire team. The service starts and everything going great, but like so many new directors they fall into the trap of relying on their camera people to get the shots.
So what’s the solution?
First off, before I explain why you don’t want this, let me assure everyone that this is totally normal. You have to start off somewhere, and this is typically where directors start off while they figure out how to juggle and communicate with multiple cameras. TOTALLY OK. Just don’t stay there…
Secondly, while it’s ok to start off with this method, you don’t want to stay with it in the long run. You, as the director, need to be seeing the whole picture and responding to it. Camera operators are responsible for just their camera, and can’t see everything thats going on. But YOU, as the director, need to be feeling out the service, giving clear direction to camera operators on what to do next, and anticipating what’s coming so that you can prepare for it. The ways the Holy Spirit moves aren’t always predictable, though songs often are. You need to be listening to what the band is playing, think ahead to where they are going, and begin to setup shots well in advance so that when the worship swells to a crescendo you are ready to capture it. For those moments when God begins moving and you aren’t sure whats going to happen next, plan ahead and make sure you have cameras ready to capture what might happen.
Good directing takes time, patience and practice. No one can move from beginner to advanced without making mistakes. Don’t let them get you down. Learn from your experiences and keep working on your skill. Before you know it, you’ll be coaching the next batch of volunteers eager to capture a move of God.