A/V Video for Church

Training People in the Age of Live Streaming


COVID has forced churches around the world online. While we previously were happy meeting in person, we were suddenly forced (by law) to provide content for Wenty Anglican online.

So, phone calls, Zoom meetings, pre-recorded sermons and live streams became normal. All in the space of a few weeks in 2020.

Now the COVID threat is slowly dissipating, we’ve decided to continue live streaming church. (Zoom, on the other hand, is significantly less popular and no one is rushing to keep it)!

I’m pretty technical and learned “the new normal” quickly. And, being the go-to technical guy at Wenty Anglican, I had to implement live streaming in late 2020. I’ve learned a lot about OBS Studio, how unreliable WiFi can be, YouTube copyright and video cameras in very short time!

Now, I’m trying to train others to run our church live streams to a reasonable level of quality.

New People and New Tricks

My main goal is to train new people how to do A/V work in general, and also to train existing people how to run our Sunday meeting live streams.

The way we’ve always done this kind of training is ad-hoc and “on the job”. That is, the person who knows how it’s done (me) tells the people rostered on particular roles how to do their job on Sunday morning. Usually that means there’s one day they’ll watch me do it, then next time (which might be 2-4 weeks later) I put them in the driving seat while I supervise.

This has a number of draw backs, including a) there’s a limited time for people to prepare for our church meeting (30-45 minutes) and that doesn’t allow much time for training. b) Most people want to have some level of training before hand, so they know what they’re up against.

Some changes we made to our meetings for COVID purposes meant our morning meetings were “tech heavy” - many people were already trained for A/V duties. While our evening meetings were “tech light” - only a handful of people were trained and had to be rostered on pretty much every week. We want to transfer those skills around so more people can do more A/V roles.


The first step was to work out very clearly in my mind what needed to be done, and how best to do it. This involved things like configuring OBS Studio for the very simple scenes we needed. And then acquiring and installing the required hardware (a camera with accessories and HDMI to USB converters).

We’ve been streaming since November 2020, and I wasn’t doing all the work myself along the way. There was plenty of on-the-job training. But only recently I completed all the changes I wanted for the minimum level of quality I was aiming for.

To get training to people in bulk, I recorded a number of training videos and screen casts. These demonstrated what people needed to do each Sunday. I won’t comment about those videos here, you can watch them yourself if you want.

Then we conducted a “training day”, which was basically a few hours where people could practise, experiment and do what they need to do on a Sunday. Some of that was ad-hoc experimenting and learning. Some was more structured - following a runsheet for a regular Sunday church meeting.

Just not on a Sunday. And in an environment where there was no pressure to get it right.

OK, it wasn’t just practise, there was a little bit of theory as well:

  • Always hit your cues. That is, keep concentrating and don’t miss things.
  • Anyone can fix things, even if you aren’t rostered on a particular task. That is, multi-skilling people.
  • Keep improving. That is, always try to do better.


The equipment and software I used for creating these videos was pretty much the same as the start of COVID.

  • Video recordings were done on my Nexus 5X. It’s certainly not the newest phone, but it is fit for purpose (although the battery isn’t holding charge like it used to).
  • Screencasts were recorded using OBS Studio. Occasionally, I used TightVNC to show the actual computers at church while recording from home.
  • Editing with the stock Microsoft “Video Editor” app. I’ve figured out most of it’s limitations and can work around them well enough.
  • Re-encoding was done with Handbrake. Nothing much more to say here.
  • Finally, the videos were distributed on my personal web server. They are static content, and I use UUIDs to keep the files mostly private (although I’ve just shared these ones with the world)!


Training people for A/V takes time. And it works best if you teach in different ways - theory, demonstrations and practical.

Most of all, you need to be clear what you are teaching. Otherwise people will learn nothing.

My aim is that our church will have a good number of technically trained people, so we can live stream at a reasonable quality on into the future.