Directing IMAG and Television Part II
Anthony D. Coppedge, CTS
Church Media Hotlist
November 2003, Vol. 1, No. 5
A newsletter produced by Anthony Coppedge Consulting

switcher board     In the last issue, we talked about the roles of IMAG and Broadcast directors, and how shared resources (cameras and VTRs) require clear communication to enable both to function seamlessly.

    In this second and final installment, we'll talk more about the role of the Director and learn how to be consistent in your church video productions.

    Many of the church ministries I've worked with have some staff that handle the weekly editing and producing of the content. And most of these ministries use large volunteer groups to handle the weekend services. This is my personal method of producing a weekend program, as it allows members of the church to utilize their gifts in the Media Ministry on the crew.

    I do want to be clear to say that if it's at all possible, a paid staff member should be the final decision maker over the volunteers. I further suggest that this person be the "producer" for the weekend services, overseeing and making decisions for the volunteer crew. This type of accountability will help ensure consistency in the quality of your productions.

    Many of the crew positions can be filled with people willing to spend some time learning a task. Camera operators, video shaders, worship software operators and the like are fairly easy to train on these jobs. But one of the toughest spots to fill on a video crew is the Director.

    I've had friends who work at local news stations tell me "Anyone can direct a talking head", meaning that, in the context of a church, following a Pastor around is usually pretty easy to do. The timing of the cuts, looking for the best camera angle and generally just paying attention are tasks that nearly any of your volunteers could handle.

    The difficulty comes in when music is added to the mix. Directing music, I believe, is an art form more than it is a technical

excercise. I can teach anyone to listen for the beat, look for solos, pay attention to instrumental breaks and generally think about the shot that's needed. The trick is that it's happening very quickly and, more importantly, the style of the shot selection is based more on feeling than it is on understanding syncopation.

    Make sure you try out prospective Directors during weekly rehearsals, when mistakes don't matter. Find out if they can keep up with the flow of information and dole out short, concise commands and "feel" the right shot during musical segments.

    Yet another issue arises when there are several directors who rotate time in the position. The camera operators and crew need to have a "system" down that creates consistency.

The difficulty comes in when music is added to the mix.
  To that end, requiring your Directors to use the same verbal commands will help tremendously in raising the bar on your camera shot selection, as the operators know exactly what the Director is asking them to accomplish when the same verbiage is used by all Directors.

    To help your church develop this consistency, I've created the Video Director Commands Quick Guide. Your church will have new commands to add to this list, as each Sanctuary has unique aspects that can be used as visual reference cues for your video production.

    I hope you find the Quick Guide beneficial and that your church takes IMAG and Broadcast video to the next level.

 • Video Director Commands Quick Guide. You will need Acrobat Reader® to view it.

 • Go back and read Part I of this article.


Anthony Coppedge is a church media consultant with Anthony Coppedge Consulting, Inc.