St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, Cheam
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St Andrew’s • Cheam

Audio-visual facilities

Playing audio or video material in the church

We can play material in a broad range of audio and video formats, listed on this page. We can cope with CD, DVD, SD memory card and most USB plug-in drives We can take audio via a 3.5mm jack from a phone, tablet, laptop etc, video via VGA output from a computer and combined audio and video on an HDMI feed.

We can play YouTube video either live or download it for replay, and can play from most other video hosting websites. We can live stream from the internet using Skype, or given notice, any other such app that runs on Windows 10.

We can’t play anything that requires proprietary Apple physical interfaces, or any Apple software (eg Facetime) that isn’t supported on Windows 10. We don’t have a Blu-ray disc player.

The screen in the church has a 4x3 aspect ratio, so ideally any video should be in that ratio. The video scaler we use will cope with widescreen aspect ratios, but the picture will appear letterboxed - smaller and with a black band top and bottom.

We have a CCLI Church Video Licence and access to Screenvue which allows us to play much - but not all - commercially copyrighted video material.

The internet connection to the church is reasonably, but not 100%, reliable, so when possible we prefer to have material downloaded before the service.

Recording or broadcasting events in the church

We have a fixed pan and zoom camera and will, on advance request, record an event and subsequently burn it to DVD. This can include all the speech elements of the event, but we cannot usually include the music (for both technical and copyright reasons). There is a socket to connect another camera at the front of the church, but we do not currently have such a camera.

We do not have the technology to live stream out from the church. There is wifi in the church and it is likely that someone using a smartphone could live stream the event using Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime etc. However, the broadband service to the church is asymmetric - ie much faster for download than upload, so the quality of the sent video may be poor or variable. The 4G phone signal in the church on most networks is marginal, so that is not likely to be a better alternative.

Preparing images

The main screen at St Andrew’s has a 4:3 aspect ratio (ie the height is ¾ of the width). The projector will handle widescreen (usually 16:9) slides or video, but they will be shown smaller and with a black band top and bottom ('letterboxed').

There are forward-facing video screens on either side of the church so that the presenter can see what is on the main screen.

Preparing images with text

If slides containing text are to be shown in the church during daylight it is best to use:

  • high contrast light text on dark background - eg yellow on blue - or vice versa
  • font size no less than 40pt - which gives 8-9 lines per slide
  • sans-serif (eg Arial/Helvetica or Calibri) font

The church is a large building and although the screen is 8ft wide it still appears quite small to those sitting towards the back, so if you are showing pictures,

don’t do this:


... but try this:


or even this:


Alternatively, show the picture and say the words.

For best results with pictures it often helps to increase the brightness and contrast using any photo-editing tool. If you take it just up to the point where it seems unnatural on your screen, that is about the optimum for the projector screen. However, it's a lot of work to do that if you have many slides.

Showing slide presentations

If you are showing several images it may be more convenient to put them into a presentation format such as Powerpoint or Impress.

In most versions of Powerpoint you can change the aspect ratio (see above) in Design → Page setup and in Impress it’s under Slide → Properties.

The projection software we use will preserve animation, embedded sound and slide timings in Powerpoint or Impress files.

The presenter can use a remote control to control the progression of slides, or it can done by the sound desk operator on cue. Alternatively, there are video (VGA) and audio (XLR, or 3.5mm/6.35mm jack) inputs at the front of the church if the presenter wishes to use their own device.