Technology Q&A

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New Features in Facebook Live and WhatsApp

Facebook and WhatsApp announced two new features in their social media applications that can enhance your ministry offerings during this time of physical distancing.

Facebook Live: Now offers a Call in Number feature that allows your church to offer a phone number to people without access to video they can call to listen to your church Facebook Live broadcast. Step by step instructions on how to set this new feature can be found, here.

NEW Facebook Rooms: Facebook Messenger Rooms is a new video chat room where you can use link sharing to connect to more people. Depending on your room settings, participants won’t need to download, log in to or connect on Messenger to join your call. Excellent tool for online small group gatherings during and beyond COVID19. More information can be found, here.

WhatsApp: Now offers Group Video Chats for up to eight persons, ideal for small group gatherings. Just upgrade for free to latest app version. Learn how to use WhatsApp Group Video Call feature, here.

Facebook Video Chat

  1. Click message button at the top right of the screen.
  2. Open a conversation with the person or people you want to video chat with.
  3. Click video camera in the top right corner of the chat window.
  4. Now you are connected as a group!

Facebook for Media Solutions and Trainings

Zoom Meeting

Zoom offers 40-minute meetings for free.

  1. The group leader begins with signing up for a free Zoom account here.
  2. Go to www.zoom.us to set up a meeting, here is a video to guide you.
  3. Or, you can download an app for your computer or phone. Zoom offers app instructions here.
  4. Send your participants a link to join by computer or a number to dial into. Participants do not need to have a computer or a Zoom account in order to join the meeting. Your meeting can be a mix of people joining by computer and phone video as well as those dialing in.

When meeting virtually, you might need to change your planned curriculum. The best practice for virtual small groups is simplicity.

Two Ways to Secure Your ZOOM Meeting:

When scheduling ZOOM Conferences:

  • Enable “Require Meeting Password”: ZOOM will generate a random password for entrance. This will help reduce the possibility of unwanted users entering the meeting.
  • Enable Waiting Room: This feature will automatically place participants on hold so you can approve or deny access to the meeting.

Zoom Video Tutorials
Zoom offers excellent video tutorials on everything from how to join a meeting, scheduling meetings, integrating with your Goggle or Outlook calendar, scheduling a webinar and much more. Click here for a list of video tutorials.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp provides fast, simple secure, private messaging and calling for free. The messaging feature allows for groups of up to 250 persons, each. The app also allows for transfer of pictures, and pdf documents (ideal for sharing worship orders and bible studies materials). The video calling feature provides for an easy to use and secure one on one video conferencing, ideal for pastoral care. The App is free and is available for android and iPhones. There is also a PC/Mac Desktop App so that administrators and regular users can text/video conference directly from their PC/Mac.

Some possible groups for a local church, include:

  • General Announcements
  • Prayer Requests
  • Inspirational Messages
  • Team Messaging.

Download WhatsApp to your smart phone or your computer, by going to whatsapp.com.

PhoneInvite.com

PhoneInvite.com provides automated call services for churches looking to communicate with church members though voice messaging. Record custom messages and schedule delivery from your web browser for .04 cents per call.

UMCOM Online Courses and Technical Trainings

United Methodist Communications is offering smaller, focused learning opportunities for fast track learning. Topic areas will continue to roll out as completed with all sessions available by the end of May. For more information on online courses and trainings by United Methodist Communications, click here.

Post-Production Editing

Video editing is the process of taking raw footage from your smartphone or other camera and formatting it for your viewers. This training will help you learn how to use iMovie to edit your videos and format them for popular platforms like Facebook and YouTube. | Click here to find out more about iMovie.

Looking to take your live worship to the next level?

Below is a list of suggested equipment for churches who are live streaming worship and looking to take their quality and experience to the next level.

Device Stabilization for iPhone or iPad:

  • iPhone Tripod Stand: A expandable selfie stick tripod with Bluetooth remote
    Costs: $24.99 + s/h | Click here to purchase
  • iPad Tripod Stand: A expandable stand with a 360° rotating holder for iPad/Tablet
    Costs: $39.99 + s/h | Click here to purchase

Device Stabilization for laptop computer:

  • Laptop Tripod Stand: A horizontal base for stability with an adjustment height up to 55 inches
    Costs: 48.99 + s/h | Click here to purchase

Lighting for iPhone, iPad or laptop computers:

Audio for iPhone or iPad:

Audio for laptop computers:

Multi-Camera Video Production and Live-streaming:

  • Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro: Is a low cost, multi-camera video production switcher and live-stream encoder with advanced broadcast features. Simply connect the ATEM Mini with up to four (4) HDMI video camera inputs for dramatically better image quality. Or connect a computer input for ProPresenter or PowerPoint slides and graphics.
    Cost: $595.00 + s/h | Click here to purchase | Click here for product details | Click here for YouTube tutorial | Click here for YouTube demo
  • Sony HDR-CX405 HD Handycam: Features an Exmor R CMOS sensor and a wide-angle Carl Zeiss zoom lens with 30x optical zoom. The CX-405 captures Full HD 1920 x 1080 video at 60p and 9.2MP still images to optional Memory Stick Micro and microSD/SDHC/SDXC media cards. The Sony HDR-CX405 HD Handycam offers good image quality at an inexpensive price point.
    Cost: $198.00 + s/h | Click here to purchase | Click here for product details
  • Panasonic HC-V770K Full HD Camcorder: By pairing the HC-V770 with your smartphone you can record two camera angles at once. A main image from the HC-V770’s sensor in full HD and a secondary picture-in-picture image from your phone’s camera. But the HC-V770 works by itself, too. It features a 20x optical zoom lens – giving you a wide angle when zoomed out, and a substantial amount of telephoto when zoomed in. Able to record slow-motion in Full HD at up to 120 fps. The Panasonic HC-V770K Full HD Camcorder offers good image quality, features and versatility.
    Cost: $597.97 + s/h | Click here to purchase | Click here for product details