11 September 2006

So you want to start recording services on CD (or other Digital)?

The era of the analog tape has ended. We now live in a digital age and to a certain extent churches are doing their best to get caught up. It is hard to find a household or car that doesn’t have a CD player and many people have stopped using their cassettes altogether. The major duplication companies (e.g. Telex) have completely stopped making tape duplicators. In fact, the cost of buying blank tapes has pushed many churches into looking at CD duplication. The CD has become the standard by which people expect recorded material to be distributed on.

Advantages to consider:
- Maximum 80 minutes of audio per disc
- Digital. Quality is better than analog cassette tape and CDs can be copied over and over without any generation loss.
- Most discs are made to label or write on

Frequently Asked Questions.

Q: Our service is longer than 80 min. What do you suggest?
A: Most churches have realized that what people really want to “take home” is the sermon. Rarely will people want to hear the worship time, announcements, offering etc. There are some exceptions to this – mostly relating to shut-ins and people that were not in attendance. A CD with the sermon only usually meets the needs of the congregation.

Q: We want to record more than the sermon. What else works?
A: Many churches have also found success by choosing to only record a few songs of worship or pause the CD recorder during some portions of the service.
There are also CD burners that will record starting on one disc and continue to the second. But keep in mind that now 2 CDs will have to be distributed.

Q: Can we continue to record on tape as well as add a CD recorder?
A: Yes the record signal from the console can be split and run to both machines.

Q: Can we record to a computer (or other device) and then edit to fit a CD?
A: Yes you can. But keep in mind that it becomes a task to edit before the file can be burned to a CD. It is one more job that must be done by a member of the congregation. Also a good computer and proper sound card are necessary to properly record audio.

Q: We currently have a computer for displaying songs (PowerPoint etc) Can we use the same computer to record the services?
A: Yes and No. Graphical programs and Audio programs both use a great deal of system resources and it might load down most computers. A very new computer with a lot of processing power might be able to handle it. But use caution.
Also, keep in mind that Video and Audio usually have separate operators, who now are both trying to share one computer to do their tasks.

Q: What are the duplication options when recording to CD?
A: CD duplication units are available for all sizes of distribution. Starting with simple “1 to 1” units ranging to the “1 to 16” tower units. No matter what the size these units are very simple to operate and come in variety of bay sizes to meet the individual needs of your church.

Q: In the past we dubbed tapes one at a time. Is that possible with CDs?
A: Yes there are two bay CD recorders that can dub bay to bay. Also the “play” bay can be used during the service to play any program material.

Q: Can we make multiple CD copies (duplicate) ?
A: Yes you can. The advantage of duplicators is that they are designed for that task. It is as simple as put the master copy in and start the duplicator. Windows XP machines do make the process quite easy and it is ultimately an issue of how much time is required to make copies on the computer vs. a high-speed duplication machine

Q: Is there a way to label or print on these CDs?
A: Of course there is always the reliable “Sharpie” marker. But, yes there are a variety of options for printing. For small batches, many churches will just buy labels and print off as many as necessary on a standard office printer. Beyond that there are Disc printers that actually print directly to printable discs, Also, there are “Publishing” duplicators that will do the job of both burning and printing to each copy of the disc and can work in volumes over 100 discs at a time.

Here are some Pros and Cons of the various formats available with the approximate cost of each option.

CD Recording:

- Standard household format.
- Easy to use. (Just hit record)
- Digital format that is easy to copy
- Limited to the 80 Minute CD format

Approximate Cost: $750 - $1200 (CAD)

Wav/Mp3 (Device) Recording

- Digital format – easy to import to edit software
- Length of recording time of up to 8 hours depending on quality.
- Must be Edited to fit on 80 min CD format
- Small equipment size (Single space rackmount)
- Must be copied to computer and edited to burn to CD

Approximate Cost: $1350 - $1500 (CAD)
(Recorder and 2 Gig compact flash card – not including editing computer)

Software Based Recording

- Ability to edit recorded material
- Length of recording only limited by physical memory of computer
- Someone MUST edit to fit on 80 min CD format
- A computer with proper system requirements and a quality (usually external) sound card are necessary
- Can be a slow turn around time for distribution
- Above average ability (or some training) required.
- Must be recorded onto media for hard copy distribution.

Approximate Cost: $1800 –? (Varies by quality of computer) (CAD)

There are various good “freeware” audio-editing programs that are available for public use. One we would recommend is Audacity http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

7 September 2006

A change of direction

What is a blog?

For some people it is pouring out their soul about the stuff that is happening in life
That not for me.
For some people it is a bunch of links without any real context
Tried that , but what is the really point when for the most part I am just lifting them all from other place
For some it is a deep spiritual statment - with the goal of starting converstaion.
I like to read those, but I get bogged down tring to create the content myself

So for over a month I've not bothered to post.

Today in searching for a bass line to "Hungry" I came across a blog started by the artist behind the song Katherine Scott (and also the name of her blog). She has written a number of small articles about her experience on worship etc.

To be honest it inspired me to look at putting some of my experience down for others to come across. To write articles from the technical (and I guess the bass) side of worship, church and life. Maybe at the least it will inspire some other techie to do something.

So hopefully this is the start of little more consistent blogging. I don't promise every day, but I'll do my best to offer what I've got