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Record and Evaluate Everything – Worship Leader Wednesday

Worship Leader Wednesday is a series where we give you quick tips that you can put into practice today to become a better worship leader

Why you should record (almost) everything

Watching yourself lead worship from a third person perspective can be a powerful thing. We see things that we would have never seen otherwise. We can made decisions on how to become better that we would have never otherwise made.

In our church, we record and evaluate a lot. The main things we record are:

  • Worship services
  • New band member and vocalist auditions
  • Rehearsals (sometimes)

What to look for when you evaluate

  1. Execution (songs, transitions, spiritual direction, etc)
  2. Stage presence
  3. Pitch (for vocalists) and musicianship (for band members)
  4. How well the words on the screen lined up with the song – especially timing
  5. How dependent musicians are on things like music stands and confidence monitors

What do I need to record? The equipment list.

You probably don’t need to spend any money in order to start recording things. Remember – this is for internal use only – you’re not trying to get the highest possible quality. You just need to be able to see and hear what is happening.

Use the stuff you probably already have:

  • Any laptop with a camera. Simply turn it around and start recording. You can use any of the built-in software to record audio and video from the camera and microphone.
  • Any phone or mobile device with a camera. Again – set it up in the back of the room and push the red button. You may want to invest in a phone tripod mount like this.

Want to take it up a notch? If you have a board with an extra output bus, connect the board to your computer (or whatever you’re using to record audio) and send the FOH mix out that bus to your recording device.

Dedicated cameras – inexpensive

These dedicated cameras will give you better audio and video than something like a laptop webcam.

  • Logitech C920 webcam (under $100). This webcam needs a computer to record to, but it gets you decent audio and video.
  • GoPro Hero5 Session (~$200). Most of the modern GoPro products will work.
  • Zoom Q4n Video Recorder (~$250). This all-in-one will do a great job capturing video and audio to internal media.
  • Zoom Q8 (~$350). This recorder will do what the Q4n will do, but you get more options. It has a pair of XLR inputs so you could run audio in from your sound board (while also recording the room mic’s).

Go big or go home

If you really want to do high quality/fidelity, the options are pretty much endless, but you’ll have to shell out some money. Here is an example:

  • Camera: Sony a6500 (~$1200) – you can do it cheaper, but these little cameras are a great sweet spot between quality and price.
  • Lens: Sony 20mm f/2.8 pancake lens (~$330). You could use a kit lens which would be a bit cheaper, but you need something fast for lower high scenarios. This one does the trick at f/2.8, but you’ll need to make sure you’re pretty far back, as it’s a 35mm equivalent focal length.
  • Audio Interface: Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 interface ($150). You’ll need a computer (and recording software) to get this up and running, but it’s a solid interface for a great price.
  • Microphones: Here the possibilities are endless (and can get expensive for a good room mic). If you can get the audio out of your board into your interface, that’s the best way.

You can see here that we’re closing in on $2000 for this setup, when in reality, the Zoom Q8 will get the job done well. Plus you’re looking at one piece of gear vs a whole system of stuff (plus cables, power, etc). If you want to post things for public consumption – you might wan to go with a more expensive setup, but for internal evaluation, the all-in-one recorders are great.

Where to post the videos?

Once you’ve got a system in place, you may want to post the videos to share with your worship team or other staff. Most of the video hosting platforms offer private options where the videos can only been seen if a user has the specific link, or they’re password protected, etc.

Vimeo has the most options – you can make things private, unlisted, password protected, etc. Youtube is great as well, but you get less options for keeping things private and share-able internally.

You can also export the videos and host them places like Dropbox or Google Drive. Most of the online storage solutions will convert your video file into a stream-able video when someone sees it online.

Final thoughts

Remember this: Straight up room recordings are extremely unforgiving. Unless you (and your band and production teams) are absolute pros, you’ll hear and see pitchy vocals, botched transitions, dim dingy looking lighting, bad audio mixes, etc. Be graceful with yourself (and your team), and use these recordings as a tool to become better.


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One Response to Record and Evaluate Everything – Worship Leader Wednesday

  1. Best ever B Dec 20, 2017 at 7:22 am #

    Hi there,
    I read this article and i’m fully agree with this “you should record (almost) everything”. Totally right in my reviews!

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