St Andrew’s United Reformed Church, Cheam
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St Andrew’s • Cheam
UNITED REFORMED CHURCH

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 Zoom, 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 video facilities in the church use a 16:9 aspect ratio, so ideally any video material should be in that ratio. The video scaler we use will cope with legacy 4:3 aspect ratios, but the picture will appear letterboxed - smaller and with a black band left and right.

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 two fixed pan and zoom cameras and will, on advance request, record an event and stream it to our YouTube channel for immediate or delayed viewing. We can also burn it to DVD. There is an HDMI socket to connect a third camera at the front of the church, but we do not currently have such a camera, or it can be used for a second laptop.

Preparing images

The projector at St Andrew’s uses a 16:9 aspect ratio (ie the height is 56% of the width).

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 60pt - which gives 6 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:

bad

... but try this:

better

or even this:

best

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 is an HDMI input at the front of the church if the presenter wishes to use their own device.