As the church and society adjust to life under extreme social distancing measures, we must seek out creative ways to help keep our communities well connected. Fortunately, there are plenty of digital solutions available that allow for this.
Whether pre-recorded or live-streamed to platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, or Church Online Platform, video is a highly effective way to conduct church services online.
Live Streaming and Video Production of Worship Services
On 3 April 2020, the Commonwealth Government determined that churches and other places of worship will be considered places of work so that services can be live-streamed to the community. This will ensure that religious services, including Easter services, remain accessible to congregations. National Cabinet agreed that providing access to services is important for a sense of continuity and social connection.
Services may be conducted and live-streamed providing only essential staff are present, the church remains closed to the public, and social distancing principles are adhered to.
Any church wishing to conduct religious services, including Easter services, must use the minimum number of participants required to deliver and live stream the service which may include a priest, attendants, organist, videographer and sound recordist.
The simplest way to make your own videos is by using the camera on your smartphone. While it might seem a daunting task for many to produce their own video, there are some easy steps you can take to ensure really good results (these tips also apply to those with access to camcorders and DSLRs).
Try as much as possible to shoot your video in brightly lit areas. Though do try to avoid standing in front of windows as this will silhouette your subject.
Making sure your camera is steady and level is important. This can be achieved by using a tripod or simply by place it on a level surface like a table, chair, music stand or desk.
The quality of your sound is more important than your video! Unfortunately, the built-in microphone in most smartphones (if not all of them) is both low quality and improperly placed. To combat this, it is advisable to shoot your video in a quiet place, preferably indoors when possible with less ambient noise.
Stay close to your subject
Keeping the phone/camera physically closer to your subject ensures better image quality, less digital noise, and better focus, as well as improving sound quality.
Make sure your phone is held horizontally or in ‘landscape’ mode
Be mindful of the way you compose or ‘frame’ your shots. Do not leave too much space above or either side of your subject.
Here’s a great example video of a church service produced by the Grace Anglican Network and uploaded to YouTube:
Copyright & Privacy
CCLI live streaming licence
Each church that intends to conduct live streaming must have its own individual CCLI Church Copyright live streaming licence. This licence allows you to stream or podcast your live-recorded worship service music on your church’s website or other streaming services. Group licences are currently not available. Further details see https://au.ccli.com/copyright-licences/
Copyright for the use of material from A Prayer Book for Australia should be acknowledged during live streaming and a graphic added to the end of any published videos.
Use of music during live streaming services
Those who are using contemporary songs will need to purchase a licence via CCLI (as noted above) but those who are using traditional hymns played live (rather than recordings) should not require permission if the music is in the public domain (which much of it is).
Choral music will need to be in the public domain otherwise a license will be required. Parishes should seek the advice of their person who usually coordinates music in their parish in this regard.
Use of video during live streaming services
Showing film scenes, videos or clips will require specific licencing to prevent against any breaches of copyright.
Privacy law should also be considered in the context of a live stream. Ensuring that you have the permission of persons appearing in your live stream will minimise the risk of a privacy breach (Australian Copyright Council, Nov 2019)
Online meeting platforms
Another solution to help our communities stay connected is by use of online meeting platforms. There are plenty of these platforms available for use via computer, tablet and smartphone, including Zoom and Google Hangouts.
These platforms are free, easy to use and are a great way for churches and groups to maintain live, face to face contact to conduct services, prayers groups, bible studies and other meetings. They’re also a fantastic way to provide support to those in your community who are feeling particular isolated and anxious at this time.
For those without the capacity to produce or facilitate their online solutions, there are plenty of churches within the diocese who’s resources you might like to make use of that we’ve listed here:
St Peter’s Cathedral
The cathedral plans to post three services/conversations a week in the form of a short video clip taken in the Cathedral and will include a Bible reading, brief message and prayer, with a link to a youtube clip of beautiful music selected by the Cathedral’s Director of Music, Ant Hunt. The plan is to post on Cathedral and Diocesan Facebook pages on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
The Trinity Church network is producing a range of English and Mandarin language services that are being broadcast at set times on Sundays. Click here for service times and more information.
Grace Anglican Network
The Grace Anglican Network are uploading services to their YouTube channel on Sundays.
Holy Innocents’ Anglican Church Belair
Holy Innocents’ have shown great creativity in using limited resources to produce a good quality product that they’ve uploaded to their Facebook page