We used this video at our last retreat. Great video to introduce rules like… don’t throw your paper on the ground!!! WARNING: this will get stuck in your head!
Archives For Jeremy
I use my iPhone almost as much as I use my hands. It is a key part of how a live in the world, and the following is a short list of my goto apps. Though many of the developers have their own site, all of the links below are the iTunes preview page for the sake of consistency.
MapQuest (free) – About four years ago we got a deal on a dash mounted GPS with audible turn by turn directions for about $400. This is free and the only issue I have is it does not have a good HUD for when I’m driving. The voices are a bit mechanical, but who cares IT’S FREE!
Kayak (free) – Amazing implementation of travel shopping/search on a mobile device.
Tripit (free) – This is magical. Whenever I get a confirmation email from a hotel, airfare site, rental car, etc. I forward it to [email protected] and it scrapes the important information from the emails and presents it all in one app organized by trips (automatically detected trips). There is a pay version, but it is hard to imagine what else it could do.
Vlingo (Free & $9.99 for email and SMS) – This is one of many voice recognition apps. It is accurate and will text message, update my facebook status and send emails.
Keynote Remote ($0.99) – I use keynote for all my presentations, and this controls them with a simple flick. Either portrait with notes at the bottom or landscape with the current slide and the upcoming slide side-by-side. It works over wifi, so it has a GIANT range.
PixelPipe (free) – This is probably the single most used app I have. I set up any imaginable storage/hosting platform from MobileMe to blogs to flicker to Facebook to youtube… you name it. After deciding which locations to send as a default, I simply upload the media once and it goes to all of the places. The best part is, it uploads full quality photos and video.
Color Splash ($0.99) – This app is just fun to play with. It takes a photo and allows you to paint (with incredible accuracy by zooming) which parts are color and which are black and white. It takes a good picture and makes it great.
Remember the Milk (Free & $24.99/yr Pro) – We use this to share todo lists which means when I ask someone to do something, I can put it on their todo list. It has really helped communication between staff as it helps us remember to do what we said we would do.
Geocaching ($9.99) – This app makes Geocaching even easier. Geocaching is a global scavenger hunt using GPS coordinates. There are definitely some close by you. I love geocaching because it gets me active without having to join a team or gym and love this app because it means I can geocache whenever wherever.
Flixster (Free) – Perfect app to help you decide which movie to go see where. Gives you percentage positive and negative of critics reviews and user reviews as well as showtimes, trailers, etc.
Tozzle ($1.99) – My 3 year old loves this game. It is basically a virtual puzzle with 35 puzzles of varying difficulty. You can try two puzzles for free.
… Continued from Part One. As I mentioned, I have been working on a youth ministry training podcast, 10-Minute Training, and after publishing about a dozen, feel ready to share the process here. This post wil look at the recording process itself, and the final post in the series will cover editing and publishing.
Now that you’ve got your gear set and scheduled some recording time, you’re ready to go! I am a mac guy, so I use the great multi-track recording software that comes bundled with every mac: GarageBand. If you aren’t a mac fanboy, you can opt for a great free open source option: Audacity.
The way it works with my setup is I open wiretap and select my inputs: Shure X2u to record my voice and Skype audio to record its audio. It then creates a virtual audio card with four channels that can be selected in the audio preferences of GarageBand. After doing that, I select which audio goes to which track and I’m ready to test the audio levels. The one thing that I dislike about GarageBand is its audio meters. They are small and not extremely accurate. Instead of trusting them, I test record audio from both sources a couple of times until they are as loud as possible without distorting.
The reason for doing all this work to get the different audio sources on different tracks is simple. Though I want to be able to get a podcast that is pretty much ready to chop into 10-minute pieces and publish, I want to be able to go back and fix problems like if the audio levels are too different, the guest wants to edit something out , or if a cell phone goes off in the guest’s office, etc.
A cheaper, but more time consuming, solution for this is to buy Call Recorder from Ecamm. With this method, you record the skype call in one file and your audio in another. After it’s all over you import the two files into the editor and move them around until they are synced (tip: make a loud noise at the beginning that can be heard in both audio files… then you match those sounds together… much faster!)
I generally shoot for recording about 30-45 minutes of audio in each interview that I can then chop down into three episodes after it’s all over. While doing the interview, I watch the clock and when we come to a stopping point at about ten minutes, I make a break and start over as if it was a new episode (which it will be).
After it’s recorded, I go through the effects to get a good sound on the voices, I generally use male narrator for both the Skype audio and my own. I save the file, open another and get my next guest on the line. Over and over again until they are all recorded and saved!
A while back I began an interview-style youth ministry podcast called 10-Minute Training. Now that I have published about a dozen, I feel ready to share the process here. Keep in mind that there are many ways to do this. Mine is focused on making the least amount of work for me without giving up the ability to edit the podcast afterwards.
I am sure I don’t need to give you ideas on using a podcst in your ministry, but just in case, here are a couple:
- Daily/weekly devotion or thought for students
- Daily/weekly Bible memory verse
- Rebroadcast of your message
- Youth volunteer training/tip
- Parent update
This will be a series of posts. Part one will focus on describing the gear and basic schedule, part two will look at the setup and actual recording, and part three the publishing.
I don’t have the kind of time every other week to devote to recording, editing, and publishing the podcast. So in order to limit the weekly work, I schedule a couple of half days of recording every six months. I schedule the interviewees a couple of weeks before the recording date and get a basic outline of their training piece via email. Usually, I am able to get about 30 minutes of content in each one-hour session which is three podcasts. By doing it this way I cut the weekly work down to about 10-30 minutes depending on how much editing is required. If you end up doing it this way, I will give some tips for things you can do while recording that will make the editing easier months down the road.
I say work with what you’ve got. If you are starting, you may not need to buy anything, but I found a couple of purchases that streamline the process for me and bring the quality up a bit as well.
- Shure X2u ($99 on Amazon) – I reviewed this in an earlier post. This alows me to take any mic I have and turn it into a USB mic that can be recorded in my audio recording program. Though your built-in mic will work, this will make you sound professional without spending a fortune.
- Skype (Free) – This is what I use to get the audio from the interviewees. I also pay for a Skypein number so that people who do not have Skype can use a regular phone to call me on Skype. The cost for that is about $18 a quarter.
- Garage Band (Free with Mac) – I have access to high-end audio software like sountrack Pro, but have found that this is simple and quick to record and edit something as simple as a two person interview. It also has built in EQ and Compressors for podcasting that makes the mic and Skype audio sound a lot better. If you are on the Windows side of things, Audacity is a great free option.
- Wiretap Anywhere ($129) – This is a bit of a splurge, but worth it if you can swing it. Wiretap anywhere will take audio from any program or hardware device on your computer and convert it into a virtual sound card that allows you to record those pieces of audio on separate tracks. I tried several methods to get this working when I was researching and found this to be WAY above everything else in reliability and usability. This gets it all into Garage band live eliminating any later steps/synchronization.
- Squarespace ($10+ per month) – This is a content management system/hosting solution that I use for our youth site. It makes publishing the podcast content and feed as simple as posting to your blog. Pricey if you are only using it for your podcast, but worth it if you are shopping around for web hosting/authoring.
- Macbook ($999+) Even the most basic macbook will do the job. I will hold back my fanboyness here, but I think that for most youth ministers the ease, quality, and price of creative tools (most need no more than those included with every mac) along with stability makes it a no-brainer.
My advice with this sort of gear is to go as cheap as possible at the beginning. If the podcast does well, you can always add sound quality later. As far as I am concerned, the audio quality cannot make up for poor content, but great content can go a long way towards overcoming less-than-professional audio quality.
iShowU HD is the swiss army knife of video capture applications. Basically, any portion of anything on your screen can be captured and turned into a movie as well as allowing the program to simply follow your mouse from one area to another.
Say you are working in some online application that requires an internet connection to play back its content but the camp you are going to does not have an internet connection in the facility you are renting. Either you can run a 300 yard ethernet cable from the camp office to the meeting room on the other side of the lake with the cross on the other side, or you can draw a box around the portion of your screen that you wanted to show to the students, press record, do your thing, and stop the recording. That is all it takes to get that content off the internet and onto your hard drive.
On top of that, iShowU HD automatically formats those movies for YouTube, Vimeo, Blip, Viddler, iMovie, Final Cut, as well as giving you total access to the settings to output just what you want. You can try a demo (limited to 30 second clips) or download the full version (mac only) for $29.95 from the Shiny White Box site. No longer will you be trying to figure out how to download online visual content to use when you aren’t connected to the internet, and that to me is worth every penny of the inexpensive price.
Today Facebook held an event where they announced a update to their current group structure. Looks like it will make it much easier to use. Creating groups, adding people to the group, privacy, all are getting upgrades. The biggest improvement that I see it to chat. I think it could be a great improvement for people using it in ministry. I could totally see a small group creating a closed group and using the chat.
But don’t go looking for it yet, it will be rolling out over the next few weeks.
(Image from TechCrunch)
Read the whole story over on TechCrunch.com.
Ever wonder if you have an unidentified proclivity for eschatological global domination? Simply type your name(s) into the name box on this site and it will let you know if there is a way to make your name add up to 666.
I got bad news… my last name contains 666. If you put 100 for A, 101 for B and so on, it will add up to a total of 666. It’s good to know I’m not alone. Other names with 666:
Youth ministry blogs are as common as youth ministers. Actually, they are probably more common since the people I follow contribute to multiple blogs. They are also all incredibly similar: one youth pastor sitting up late at night giving you a taste on just exactly what he thinks needs to happen in the church, or what her newest great game has been, or a great way to use technology in your ministry. That’s the formula: 1Youth Minister + 1 topic + 1ironic illustration= Blog post of <500 words. That is not Slant33.com
I think that the best way to describe Slant33 is an evolution (or maybe a next iteration) of a youth ministry blog. Each week, three contributors respond to a single question with depth that is usually absent from this type of communication.
The depth of these articles flows from the depth of the contributors. To call these individual veterans is an understatement. You have seminary professors, youth ministry corporation CEOs, publishers, trainers and , of course, authors galore.
What I love about Slant33 is the ability to look at multiple, well-thought-out perspectives. Being able to see overlap and distinction among contributors is not only helpful but quite engaging. The best way to explain it is just to tell you to read this week’s Slant and experience it for yourself.
Youth ministries have a bad reputation for being underfunded and understaffed because they often are. That probably translates into you needing to do everything from fix the hole in the wall that happened during a wild game of pin the pool stick on the Jr Higher last week to installing a new hard drive in the Pentium II youth machine. If you don’t know how to do everything, you will at some point need to use MonkeySee.
MonkeySee is an online repository of free how-to videos that range from how to select home theatre system speakers to how to apply a french manicure tip. So, next time you have to install a new dishwasher after trying to clean the uncleanable after a youth event, go to MonkeySee.com.