Technology and Worship
Are you considering getting started podcasting? Here are some issues to consider:
What kind of recorder do you want? A recent discussion on the email list of the Unitarian Universalist Musician's Network (UUMN) generated the following list of handheld digital recorders currently being used by music directors in our congregations. From the discussion, a favorite emerged—the Zoom H2 Portable 2-Track SD Recorder. It is considered to make professional quality recordings yet be relatively easy to use and moderately priced. The company's own website, and Amazon's customer reviews, can provide more information. (Other recorders mentioned were the Olympus ws-300m, the Olympus D-30, and the Neuros (packback version).)
Increasing numbers of congregations are beginning to project images during the course of a Sunday service. These may be the words and/or music for the hymns, the images from a storybook being read during the Story for All Ages, or a photo-montage to accompany a meditation or prayer. Some preachers are using short video clips in place of a reading, or even incorporating PowerPoint presentations into their sermons.
The basic requirements for projecting images are a laptop computer, a LCD projector, and a wall (or screen) onto which you can project the image. (For things to consider when looking to buy an LCD projector, try ChurchMultiMedia's page "How to Buy An LCD Projector.")
Where to find images? One free source of specifically religious imagery is Wikipedia Commons' Religion in Art collection of open source images. There is also a vast array of images on Flickr under creative commons license that you may use.
Images are one way to increase the multicultural awareness and exposure of a congregation, as long as there is sensitivity to issues of misappropriation.
Copyright issues become more complicated when you begin to use more media. The nuances we parse on Copyright Issues Related to Worship can be summed up this way: you need permission for any materials you send out of your worship space (via podcasts or video, for instance), and for many of the things you bring into your worship space (video clips and photos for your PowerPoint presentations, for example).