"Can you film our Unity Service," was about all we had to go on at the start of this project. We get requests like this one all the time - "Can you film our XYZ event?" It's a fairly common request but one that leaves quite a bit of ambiguity in the air in terms of expected deliverables. We don't like guesswork, so we kicked off this job by trying to figure out what the story was behind this event to help us formulate a game plan.
It turns out, a couple of UPCI Waukesha County, Wisconsin-based pastors sat down for breakfast one morning and discussed the idea of combining their assemblies for a Sunday morning service. Special event multi-congregational gatherings are not that uncommon in many denominations. But this was the first time we had ever heard of three pastors canceling their regularly scheduled Sunday morning service, traditionally their most bountiful service of the week, and directing their congregants to a fourth assembly.
GETTING THE STORY STRAIGHT
Figuring there would be no better storytellers for this short than the pastors themselves, we set out to interview all four and get the story straight from the proverbial horses' mouths. With lights, cameras, and audio in tow, we met with each of the four pastors that Saturday prior and collected some outstanding insight and expectations regarding the next morning's special service. That was the easy part.
FILMING THE SERVICE
Possessing little more than a rough outline of the service's scheduled list of events and certainly not knowing what to expect, we knew we would have to capture all audio from the worship service and all speaking dialogue to give us the necessary elements with which to build a compelling story in post production. So we split the hosting facility's mics and instrument lines, added several mics from our mic locker to fill in the gaps, and worked up separate stereo instrumentation and stereo backing vocal submixes on two of our digital mixers. We then tracked those four outputs, separate from the MC mic and our stereo audience/ambience mics, into our portable eight track digital recorder.
BUILDING THE MESSAGE
Heading into post, we had accumulated over 10 hours of media footage and 22 total audio tracks, all of which needed to be synchronized and sorted on the timeline in order to build a DVD that would be distributed to every UPCI-affiliated church in Wisconsin. A promotional edit that would serve to draw greater engagement with congregants throughout the state was also requested. After about 60 hours of storyboarding, mixing, editing, color grading, finalizing, and rendering, two distributable assets emerged. We also designed all artwork associated with the DVD jacket and disc face. Although we are unable to display the DVD video due to licensing restrictions, the promotional edit is presented above.