The TV Ministry bridges the distance between the action on stage and those seated in the first to the very last row in the service hall.
Contributed By Amanda Jayne Lee
Each weekend, City Harvest Church’s TV Ministry performs a pivotal role in ensuring that every attendee is able to see and follow everything that transpires on stage, from praise and worship to the preaching of the Word.
The TV Ministry comprises three teams. The technical team, is in charge of organizing each setup and teardown. It also ensures that video recordings such as Harvest Highlights are properly broadcast.
The video camera crew forms the bulk of the ministry: they are the ones stationed in the hall, either swiveling the long arm of the video camera cranes above the congregation or scurrying around to capture
the best shots. Most of the video camera crew have little to no experience working with cameras, but pick up skills as they go along. Volunteers are given training by the trainers and coordinators.
Finally there are the producers and directors, “the brains of the ministry.” They are the ones who guide the camera crew and select the best shots to be shown on the screen. “It’s a very on-the-go position where split-second decisions have to be made,” explains ministry leader Danielle Ho. The groundwork entails much personal preparation and creatively visualizing how the shots are to be sequenced to enhance the service. “They also help lay the vision of TVM before the crew—to capture what God is doing during a service, and inspire them to capture moments that help build the atmosphere during services.”
CHARTING NEW MILESTONES
They may not be seen but they have a crucial job to do. Standard operating procedures include ensuring that all equipment is serviced and in excellent working condition, and that all potential overflow areas are covered. During big-day events, rehearsals can run up to a full week, as the crew familiarize themselves with every single cue. Sometimes, rehearsals start from 6 a.m. and last all the way till past midnight.
Plus, the members support various other services. “The TVM supports all the different ministries that could be having their own big day concurrently,” says Ho. “This means that many TVM volunteers serve in multiple services for one big-day event.”
In 2008, at the inaugural Asia Conference, the Ministry made the big leap to High Definition television. The operational overhaul, which included setup, training and hands-on trials, took less than a month.
Last year, the TV Ministry started an all-youth team with members under age 25. This succession plan was necessitated by its older members having family and career commitments
It also set up its first ever Chinese Church team last year. “It was a challenge because many of us are not strong in Mandarin, more so when we have to speak in technical terms.” Much training over the past 14 months, however, has allowed the members serving Chinese Church members to successfully anchor their own services. Today, they not only serve at their own services but also support the operations during English services.
Amazingly enough, most of the members of the TV Ministry started out with no experience at all, except for an interest to be part of the team. For them, a job well done “is when people watching the services are blessed. The right kinds of shots at the right time can help build faith in the viewers,” says Ho. And that, ultimately, is the aim of the TV Ministry.
Whatcha Lookin’ At?
Working hand-in-hand with the TV Ministry is the Visual Communications Ministry, which is in charge of what the congregation sees on the screen: worship lyrics, video graphics, announcements, and sermon pointers. This ministry exists to present relevant, visually arresting, and on cue content to enhance the churchgoer’s experience in City Harvest Church.
From the days of overhead projectors, this ministry (formerly known as the Chorus Board Ministry) has progressed and expanded to include video graphics and visual effects that add a “wow” factor to what everyone is watching.
Seems like an easy job but the ministry is 60-strong and requires three teams: the live production crew ensures the timely delivery of information on screen. The pre-production crew produces the content and graphics. And the technical crew maintain and upkeep the ministry equipment.
Sometimes 60 isn’t even enough. “During big-scale events such as Asia Conference, many volunteers would come and help us. Some would take leave from their jobs to serve at the event, enduring long hours of technical runs and rehearsals in order to master every sequence of the various programs. Their flexibility and willingness to serve is what makes this ministry a joy to serve in and be a part of,” says ministry leader Juslin Guo.