A church-planter is a strange creature and the job description is somewhat crazy. The number of jobs that you have to perform well is so widely varied. Becoming a better communicator is right at the top of the list.
In today's western society pounded by both sight and sound, gaining and holding interest is almost an art form. Church-planter, you must either acquire the skillset or find someone with the ability to make your content visually exciting.
Here are some of the tools that I personally use presently. This edition will only cover the photo/video hardware.
The camera of choice is a Canon 7D. Love it. Seriously. I cannot heap enough praise on this camera. You will be able to acquire great photos, but even better, you will shoot HD video. A CF chip will be ready available at cheap prices, so grab a couple so that you can keep shooting.
Downside to the unit is the audio. Although it does record - and does a pretty good job for the webblog stuff - it is not up-to-par for serious videography. That is where I use the Zoom H4N. This digital stereo recorder allows you to plug in microphones - even 48+ phantom mikes. It will give you the versatility to use.
When recording with the two together, I push record on both units, then clap my hands before any take. That audio spike is then used to sync to the clap in the video - basically what Hollywood uses with the clapboard.
The advantage that this camera has over the betacams that we use at church is portability and great depth of field (DOF). Using a variety of lenses - mostly primes, not zoom lenses - gives good DOF. Primes are a little easier to find with a wide F-Stop - meaning that you can get good shots even at low lighting levels.
My favorite lens in the bag is a Sigma 24mm. It opens to an incredible f 1.8, so I never have to use powerful lighting to capture images. I will acquire additional lenses; ones that are modern and constructed well for the newer DSLR generations. I had a number of lenses from a Minolta 35mm camera set and were not being used, so they accompany me for now. Downside to them is no autofocus and all settings are manual. That is not everyman's taste. It works for now.
Here is the overview of what is in the bag:
- Canon 7d
- Lenses: Sigma 24mm, Minolta 50mm (with adapter), Minolta 135mm, Tamron 24-80mm (sent with the camera, not my favorite).
- Audio: Zoom H4N
- Mike: Beyerdynamic MCE10
- Memory: Transcend CF 16gb - a couple of these
- Batteries - a couple of rechargable Canon batteries. I will always change these out during a shoot. Also, I carry extra batteries for the Zoom recorder.
- Extra: One tennis sock. I have never invested in a windscreen for the recorder - I gotta do that someday. The sock is my alternative right now.
With the first grandchild on the way (due in August 2011), I am glad that I already have my camera and video needs filled.