Need Recommendations on Gear for Live Church Recording/Broadcast.

Mar 21, 2010
Reaction score
So what I am looking for is some recommendations into what kind of gear I need for what I want. Here is my dream setup:

Record video to the Mac, while broadcasting to the basement TV. (FCP?)
Record audio to the Mac, while broadcasting to the basement TV and speakers in the ceiling. (GarageB? Logic?)
Present the Pastors notes and Worship Teams Lyrics to a projector using Keynote/powerpoint.
Post produce audio formats easily - CD's / MP3's as well Tape Cassette.
Post produce video formats for iPods/Computers and Discs (DVD and in the future Blu-Ray) with Keynote slides in PIP.
From time to time display video's on the projector screen.
Far fetched - But Broadcast live on the internet (ustream?) so those from our church can watch our service.
Bring in skype/ichat video conversations to the projector so we can hear from those from around the world serving.
Play soundtracks through sound system

Can all this be done using one Mac? or would a separate Mac for Keynote and media be a good idea?

I assume Final Cut Studio would be the best option for most of this but is it needed? can this be accomplished with the bundled iLife apps?

All I need to do is run an output of all the audio to a audio-in on the Mac no?
Or can I run each individual source to the Mac for control there?

Gear we have already:
Sony Stereo Cassette Deck TC WE305
Sony Disc Player CDP-CE305
Telex BK 1642 Stereo Mixer 16 Channel
Altec Lansing Power Amp 94448 (Someone tell me what this is for?)

Mic's and Speakers to capture and produce sound.

The simple setup I have in my head is...
Run the camcorder with a HDMI out to the TV downstairs, (long HDMI cable, or wireless)
Run USB or Firewire from the Camcorder to the Mac for on the fly capture, gives me no need for the process to import video after the fact.
Run audio-in from the Stereo Mixers "out" to the Mac to record audio for later CD burning + MP3 encode.
Run DVI-out from the Mac to the Projector
Let the pastor control the Keynote with a remote. (need some kind of IR blaster?)
Control all the sound manually with the gear there.

It seems to me that there is some kind of Box out there that I could plug everything into and then output it in a digital firewire or usb to the mac.

Thanks for taking the time to read and think! Greatly appreciated!
Feb 24, 2010
Reaction score
Your Mac's Specs
15" MBP 2.5Ghz C2D 4GB 500GB Seagate 7200RPM / 15" Powerbook G4 1.5Ghz 2GB 160GB Seagate 5400rpm
I'll help out with what I can, and hopefully some others will post up and help out.

First, I am pretty sure that you can accomplish your video and audio recording needs with one computer depending on how intense of an audio setup you require. I think it would be wise to get a second computer to run keynote/Skype/iChat for many reasons, but someone else jump in here.

You've already got a 16 channel mixer that is going to handle the mixing of your audio, so it would just be two stereo channels going back into the camcorder. I'm assuming you have a (or are purchasing) at least a prosumer cam like the Canon XH or something similar to accomplish this.

This is where your Altec Lansing poweramp comes in. All of your audio coming in from the mics goes to the mixer. The mixer has two groups of outs - Mains and Subs. You route and mix all audio to two sources:

1 - To the main outs which feeds your poweramp which feeds your live speakers.
2 - To the sub outs which will feed into the camcorder XLR ins for recording and broadcast.

From there your camcorder will route all video and audio directly to the Mac via firewire using iMovie/Final Cut to control and capture video on the fly. It sounds like you have a camera in mind that has both firewire and HDMI, and you are correct that HDMI should be used as the display out. Remember though, that after 50ft there is a noticeable loss in signal quality with HDMI. Don't know how long your cable run to the basement is, but you might want to look into wireless options.

iMovie would be able to do most everything you need to do, with the possible exception of the PIP keynote slides. I would think you would need FCE for that.

You can extract your audio tracks for later burning to CD, iPod format, etc... with iMovie or FC. Either will work well for that.

As far as broadcasting to the internet, that's been going on for a long time with much slower computers than we have today. I'm sure someone will chime in with a suggestion on that, but it shouldn't be too hard to do a live broadcast with what is coming into the Mac. I am just not the person to ask about that.

Hope that helps at least a bit, and hopefully someone else will post up on the rest or anything I may have misspoken on.

Mar 21, 2010
Reaction score
Very helpful post Chud!

Yes we are looking to purchase a camcorder, at least I assume we would. You recommend a camcorder with XLR inputs, from what I know that puts me into a fairly high end camcorder! Would a "handycam" with a 1/4 mic input jack still do the trick? What is the advantage of the XLRs? Going from the mixer to the camcorder, I would only be able to record audio that is driectly from a mic/pickup. So could I use some kind of shotgun mic along with the XLR inputs. To pick up ambient sounds like the drums and congregational singing?

My plan is to also record to tape (MiniDV in the camcorder) as a back up, along with direct record to the mac. Would this 'hitch' the feed of the video considering all the demand on the processing power, or is that why I should get a high end camera?

I like the idea of feeding all the audio to the camcorder and then through firewire to the mac. If the church didn't opt for video or didn't need it all the time and just went strait audio only for some services. I would need some kind of "XLR to Firewire" box? Or I might as well use a camcorder as that "box/processor" and use it every time? If it was only audio that I needed to record then I could just use the line-in on my mac no?
(I hope my 16 channel mixer has XLR audio out.. I know it has RCA out)

From what I gather as I read and write this. It seems to me that I need a higher end camcorder to handle all the inputs and outputs I demand. Something along the lines of a Canon GL2 (but in HD). I think Sony has one in the FX line that has XLRs... So a $900 HD camcorder with HDMI / Firewire / and some Kind of Mic input won't cut it? The church isn't in a real need for this 'grand' setup but I would like to set it and forget it, and would like it to last a long time.

On the Mac side of things. Almost any Mac would do not? Since they don't have any computer yet I don't see the cost savings of a Mac Mini. So I might as well go with an iMac (do I need the power of a MacPro?). And for the keynote slides/media to the projector, a Macbook (pro) would do fine I think.

For post production I would like to avoid as much capture after-the-fact as I can. So once the service is over I have everything on my Mac in a "raw" uncompressed format in both Video and Audio ready to be compressed for distribution. The setup that we seem to be creating looks like it would work very well.

So all I seem to need is:
Prosumer camera with XLR-ins and HDMI-out
Mac with firewire-in
Another mac for projector display
HDTV for downstairs Broadcast
and some cables to connect everything

And I shouldn't have to touch any of the gear there, just add to it this digital setup.

I'm thinking Final Cut Express is the best option for capture.

Also.. this whole setup may be run by me alone. Is there any kind of tripod out there that I can control mechanically so I can easily pan/zoom? doesn't have to be motorized, I'm imagining a ipod click wheel device that is within easy reach (near the sound mixer) that I can control the pan of the tripod.

Thanks Chud for all your time and insight! I love this stuff!

Shop Amazon

Shop for your Apple, Mac, iPhone and other computer products on Amazon.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.