TNB131017 — Using Skype in Your Church Services

TNoB-iTunes2013 On today’s Tech, No Babel: Using Skype in Your Church Services

Why would you use skype in your worship service? How would you use it? What if something goes wrong? We’ll talk about oall these questions and more.

What if you had a missionary abroad that you wanted to talk to during church or what about a ministry from your church that had taken a group to camp? What if your pastor was on vacation when a natural disaster struck, wouldn’t it be great to have a live report in real-time?

In order to make sure you don’t get feedback or have the person on the other end unable to communicate because of an echo, you’d need to send them audio from a submix on your audio console. That audio should be everything EXCEPT their audio. In television, we called it “mix-minus” because it was the mix minus the person’s mic. You’d also want to mute the interviewer’s mic when they’re not talking so that there’s not an echo. Encourage the person on the remote end to use headphones and a good microphone as well.

From a video stand point, you’d want to use a dual monitor setup. Put the remote person on one monitor and the interface plus local video on the other. Ideally, you’d have a dedicated video feed of the interviewer that the remote person could see so that they don’t see themselves.

If you don’t have a dedicated camera, it’s possible to put a laptop on the podium with a webcam and just run audio to and from it to the sound board.

Should you have trouble, always have a prerecorded video as a backup that you can play. Don’t lie and say it’s live, but don’t make a big deal of the fact that it’s your backup plan.

If they don’t have enough bandwidth for a video call, you could also do a “phoner.” Put a graphic of a map on the screen of where they are with a picture of the “caller” on top. Remember, you can still use skype for audio only and getting it into the house system via a computer is likely easier than doing so with a telephone, so it’s still a good choice.

Other systems that might work in lieu of Skype are Apple’s Facetime and Google Hangouts, although the “hangouts on air” interface isn’t great for live because of latency between a live interviewer and the remote person.

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