Interested in how the team at Faithelement work? Here’s a look at our processes and the equipment/software services we use.
Scope & Sequence
Scope & Sequence is curriculum-speak for “what is studied on what dates”. Faithelement and Nurturing Faith share a common scope and sequence, drawn from the Revised Common Lectionary text options. We don’t promise to always stick rigidly to their texts, and sometimes choose to broaden or use fewer verses, depending on what we think works best for a given session.
Scope and sequence for the next year is usually set by the Fall, and the entire next year posted at one time.
Video: Everything begins with the Bible Background Video. Nikki Hardeman grabs the text for the week, does research, and writes up a script for the video. We try to keep the video 5-7 minutes in length, and she knows how many words that typically takes. Once written, the script is loaded to a Basecamp online project area for Faithelement writers. They view the script to see the approach Nikki is taking for the session, and then write their session pages and post them to that Basecamp project. Nikki and David meet every other Tuesday (adjusted for travels) in a small upstairs studio in the Nurturing Faith offices.
Our studio setup is simple, but gives us reliable, clean results. We use 3 white-balanced lights behind diffusing umbrellas to light Nikki. There’s also a small LED panel that sits atop one of the cameras to provide extra light on her face.
We use two cameras to record each video. That allows us to set one for a tighter composition, and the other a wider shot. The main camera is a Canon XHA1 video camera. It provides XRL microphone inputs to which we connect a Shure lapel microphone to capture Nikki’s voice. The second camera is a Sony A57, using a prime 50mm lens. An iPad mounted on a stand just beneath the camera’s runs an app called Teleprompt+ serves as Nikki’s teleprompter (we load her text files via Dropbox).
We often film two videos in one session, which is why you’ll often see Nikki wearing the same outfit for two weeks in a row on the video.
After the shoot, the footage is moved to a 27 inch iMac via SD cards, and loaded into Final Cut Pro for editing. Final Cut allows us to easily sync the footage from the two cameras, choose sound from the camera with the microphone attached, and switch between the cameras at will during editing. We edit the footage for color, sound and to add text overlays and the beginning and ending animations and music. The final file is rendered out as a hi-def mp4 file, and uploaded to our Vimeo account.
We have terrific writers creating new session page content each week. Drawing focus from Nikki’s video script comments, the writers come at the same text from the perspective of the particular page type they write (mind, media, youth, mystic, current). They upload their writing to the Basecamp site, and then their work is edited, posted as webpages, and PDFs generated. Sometimes the writers dialogue among themselves about the text or theme, or ideas they have that may help with others’ writing.
The podcast is typically recorded on a Thursday evening. We usually try to record two in a row, so we can gather around microphones every other week or so.
The podcast personalities are scattered around the country, so we use GoToMeeting to video chat during the podcast. This helps with dialogue, since we can see each other during the podcast recording (even though only audio is posted). Ahead of podcast recordings, a Google Doc is setup and shared for each episode. There, we post ideas for discussion during the recording, and also catch references that can go into the show notes.
The GoToMeeting audio feed is rather low-quality, so we use it only as a backup or reference. For higher quality sound, we each record our personal microphone on our local computer’s hard drive, and then upload the finished file to a shared Dropbox folder. The various audio files are then synced and edited, removing gaps, odd noises and helping pace the conversation. The final file is rendered out as an MP3 file, and uploaded to our hosting account at Blubrry. Our WordPress website (faithelement.net) uses the Powerpress plugin to connect with Blubrry, and to feed our podcasts to our channel on iTunes.