How Much Should You Be Paid, Best Microphones & Video Recording Warnings | #AskBrady Episode 45

The #AskBrady Show is a weekly Q&A show answering questions submitted by members of Pro Church Nation. New episodes drop every Friday.

December 8th, 2017

On this 45th episode of the #AskBrady show we discuss the creating new positions in churches and what these positions should be paid.

What’s In This Episode?

  • I’m about to be hired as the director of media and communications for my church but neither of us really know what to charge. How does one go about figuring out the numbers? (0:59)
  • Do you have mic recommendations for announcements or interview videos? (5:24)
  • Do you think it’s necessary to post signs throughout your building that video/audio recording will be going on in the service? (12:53)
  • How often do you change your church profile and cover photos? (17:13)

Show Notes & Resources Mentioned

The Full Transcript

Brady: Today, on the Ask Brady Show, we talk about church salaries for communicators. How much should you be paid?

Well, hey there.

Roxanne: Well, hey there.

Brady: Welcome to the Ask Brady Show, episode number 45. We’ve got four great questions from the people of Pro Church Nation, and I’m joined, as always, to my left, your right, it’s Roxanne.

Roxanne: It’s true.

Brady: True, it is. Behind the camera, the editing wizard himself, JoNex.

JoNex: Ba-ba-ba-bang.

Brady: Ba-ba-ba-bang.

Roxanne: Ba-ba-ba-bang.

Brady: The man with the cam, Alex Mills.

Alex: Thanks. It’s not really as special as it sounds because I work here, but I’m here.

Brady: Roxanne, take us away, please, with the first question.

Roxanne: All right. First question’s a video question.

Questioner 1: Well, hey there Pro Church Tools family. How’s it goin’ Roxanne? Hey Brady, how are you guys doin’? Thank you so much for all that you do. Heres my question, guys. I’ve been given the opportunity of a lifetime to be the director of media and communications for my favorite church with my favorite pastor of all time in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s a church with about 350 members and an online presence on weekends of about 3,000. Now, I’ve never been a paid employee or a staff member that receives compensation in this capacity for working for a church. As far as working out numbers and things like this, I have no idea how to do it. And this is a position that is new to the church as well because they are identifying the need for digital presence and they want to have that presence there, they want to bring me on. But neither of us really knows what to charge. How does one go about figuring out the numbers? Please help! Thank you guys.

Brady: And thank you for the question. I remember when I was first hired by a church, and I had that exact same feeling where for the longest time you’ve been volunteering at a church, you’ve been serving in your free time. I remember in high school I would go to church every single week before youth group I would leave straight from high school, walk sometimes, like the 5 kilometers to get to the church. And then from like 3 pm to midnight be at church. And it was the greatest thing ever! I was 100% free and then I remember in bible college my pastor coming to me and saying, “Hey we’d like to hire you”. And I was like, “Money? You’re going to give me money to do this? Yes, I am on board.”

And if this helps at all, when I got first hired I had zero experience and I was working at a church plant of like, fifty. And they gave me $1200 per month and I did 20 hours a week so I don’t know what that worked out, when it comes to hourly. It was half an internship half a practicum. I was getting all my practicum hours at my school but I was also getting paid, so that was a pretty sweet set up.

But what I did for this question was I went to the data because there have been several salary polls that have been taken in the Facebook groups that so many of us are a part of. So I tracked them down. The first one comes from the church communications Facebook group run by our good friends Katie Allred and Darrel Girardier and they got about 700 respondents here. If you want to see the full infographic that they put together, I wasn’t able to track it on their website churchcommunications.com but if you join the Facebook group Church Communications or if you’re a part of it already and you search “salary” its the first thing that came up for me and the post is by Katie Allred.

So like I said, they had about 700 respondents and the average range of salary was between $30,000 and $50,000. That was where the big bulk of the curve was. There was obviously people, individuals that were making less and a good amount that were making more. But really the most chunky part of the curve came between 30 and 50k. That also included for the majority of people: medical insurance. Naturally because 90%+ of the respondents were from America. Vacation and paid holidays that were on top of that salary as well.

I checked a second salary poll and this one came from a different Facebook group. I think I tracked this down inside of the visual church media Facebook group which is run by our good friends over at Church Motion Graphics, Kendall Connor and of course Jeff Macintosh. And this salary poll wasn’t put on by them but it was posted within the group. And this was specific for church AV/ tech people. So this is probably the sound engineer, the person that’s in the sound booth, running all that. Similar, but not precise. But I wanted to add a secondary poll just to add more data. This one had about 400 responses, average range was again 30 – 60k in this respect. The bulk 20% of the respondents were in the 40 – 50k range.

So to answer this question, sounds like the best place to start is to first look at what other churches are paying. And if you want to do a deeper dive into this data, both of these salary polls and infographics were broken down into the size of the church, how many attenders, part time, full time, paid holiday, all of those extra benefits on top of it. If you search in either of those groups for “salary”. You’ll be able to track down some great stuff. Average range: $40 – $50k with some extra benefits on top of that. And that’s about 1000 responses, so I think looking at what other churches are paying is especially helpful and that’s a great place to start.

Roxanne: Yeah. That sounds good. Alright, second question comes from James and he says, “Do you have mic recommendations for announcement or interview videos?”

Brady: Well thanks for the question James. First thing I will say is that, before we get into the specific brand and manufacturer and item of microphone that the manufacturer sells, the precise one, you wanna make sure you’re getting the right type of microphone. And for announcement videos, for talking head, what you wanna do is you wanna get a shotgun mic. You wanna get the type of microphone that is long and really thin, looks like a really skinny, longer hotdog sort of thing. I don’t know if there’s a better analogy for that. Likely not.

So lets go with really long, skinny hotdog. I think that’s the type of mic that you want and the reason is, what it does is … its very directional. So if the mic is above you, out of frame, and pointing down on you or down your talent, just above the frame pointing at his or her mouth. What it’s gonna do is it’s gonna capture the audio, the noise that’s being emitted from that person’s mouth. And then cut out all of the ambient noise or as much of the ambient noise surrounding that as possible. And this is especially helpful because that’s all you’re trying to capture when it comes to the noise. All you’re trying to capture is the sound of the person talking. You want to cut out the room noise, the reverb, the natural acoustics that may be good are probably not good where you’re shooting. We’ve found that these mics work tremendously well. We’ve shot outdoors and haven’t had a problem at all. Perhaps more impressively we’ve shot in our office which is highly, highly reverberatory. If that’s a word.

Roxanne: I don’t think that’s a word.

Brady: The acoustic-atory, reverberatory, and balances of the room-itory is just poor-itory. And we’ve been able to capture great sound with those microphones.

Let’s talk about specific brands and exact mics. The first one that we ever got was perhaps the cheapest shotgun mic that you could ever get. Its the Vidpro XM-55. Its a $100 mic. And that’s not all, Roxanne because it comes as a full kit. It comes with a shock mount. It comes with an XLR cable. I think it comes with one of those foam things, kinda like the one on this mic, that goes on top to cut out any wind if you’re shooting outdoors. That was the first one that I ever owned and I used it for video announcements all my talking head videos. If you go back to the earliest videos that we published at Pro Church Tools its likely that the mic capturing the audio of me talking was the Vidpro XM-55. You can get it from B&H like I said its $99 dollars for the kit. Or right around there it might’ve gone up ten bucks or down ten bucks depending on sales or price increases.

From there I would recommend upgrading to the mic that we use almost exclusively here for shotguns now, is the Audio-Technica at (which stands for Audio-Technica) 8035. It is actually called that: the Audio-Technica Audio-Technica … goodness … 8 0 …

Roxanne: So good you have to say it twice.

Brady: Well yeah the AT AT 8035. Basically its a Star-Wars reference if you think about it.

But! 8035 that’s the one that we use now. We use it for our video announcements in the studio, we use it when we’re recording videos just in the office of me talking. And its only like a $300 mic. We own mics that are way more expensive. One time, I can’t remember the brand name but we bought like the best of the best shotgun mic. Like the one that’s used in all of the big movie productions. I remember looking it up and being like, “We need a better microphone.” And I ended up buying this one, oh I think it starts with an “s” – Oh yeah its the Shh – everyone calls it something differently. It is spelt “S-C-H-O-E-P-S”. So its either “Shepps”, I think “shepps” is the way most people pronounce it, but I think sometimes its pronounced “shoaps” which sounds ridiculous. So let’s go with the Schoeps. And we have one of those microphones and it was like a $3000 mic, just for the mic. And you could change different cartridges or whatever its called to change the pick up pattern of the mic depending if you were –

Roxanne: Right.

Brady: Indoors, outdoors indoors in a small room, indoors in a big room, there were so many more advanced things that you can do. We tested them side by side and the difference was pretty negligible, I found. And it came down to your preference. The Schoeps captures a really dry, minimal sound. And this is perfect for big budget productions because it gives them the most neutral sounding voice that they can possibly get and then they can color it with their expertise, how they see fit. Whereas the AT8035, not as high quality, it’s adding a bit of its own sounds to the mic that aren’t as neutral. So then its baked into the sound, which sounded good to me so it was fine. Truthfully, I’m not a crazy audiophile. And I remember going for weeks on end working on our video announcement studio. We’ve been in this office for close to a year now, so about a year ago this time I remember we’re trying to set up the audio in this new studio –

Roxanne: Yeah.

Brady: And I was like losing my mind because I’m trying to create presets that remove reverberatory sounds, remove reverb. But also work for a female speaker, a male speaker, you know Rylan Frank who works here and his voice frequency is unlike any other human. If he laughed right now we’d have to restart this recording because it’d cut through the brick walls and nothing could stop that frequency. I live with this man. Sometimes a laugh, like trying to scare my daughter and like my soul on the inside cripples because I’m like “whahHAH” Like that’s the sound I make on the inside.

Roxanne: I did hear that he made your daughter cry the other day.

Brady: Probably because of his vocal frequency

Roxanne: Because he scared her.

Brady: Yes. So, I was trying to create a preset that works kind of for everyone, that maximized the sound. And worked well with music beds underneath. Anyway a lot of it was just trial and error so I don’t want to pretend that I’m some kind of audio expert but

Roxanne: Okay

Brady: AT8035, it’s about a $300 mic, we compared that with the Schoeps, that beast of a mic, it was pretty negligible.

But that gets to really the most important part of the answer to this question, which is: The microphone that you use is really only one part of your audio set up, because the microphone itself isn’t capturing audio. It’s the receiver of the audio. But where are you capturing that? We right now are using the Sound Devices 702, which is by far the best audio capturing device that we’ve ever owned. And it’s about $2000, it’s a beast. But for the longest time we used the Taskcam DR60D, which is about 1/10th of that price, about $200, because people overlook this all the time.

First, I’m glad that James asked this question because when people are creating videos they overlook audio way too much. Audio’s the most important part of your overall video when it comes to the quality. But from there, you’ve gotta consider the two elements: the receiver itself, the mic, but also what’s recording and capturing the audio and storing it. You don’t wanna plug your microphone into your camera. For the most part.

Now some cameras if they have XLR inputs like the Ursa Mini. The pre amps in there are pretty good, like they’re passable. We can get away with them. But if you’re using a DSLR and you gotta convert your XLR into like, an eighth inch and you’re putti – The pre amps in there are gonna be so bad. The settings and controls you’re gonna have are not gonna be great. You can get adapters like we have one of these adapters that allows you to plug the XLR into this adapter that then goes into an eighth inch out into the camera and the pre amps are built into this adapter so it’s pretty good. But even that costs about $300 so you might as well go with something like the Taskcam DR60D XLR inputs, good enough pre amps. Nothing special but good enough. Way better than what’s in your camera.

And then if you’re looking for something above that the Sound Device’s 702. If you’re gonna make a leap that’s the leap that I would make. Go from like good to like great. Its been absolutely phenomenal for us.

Roxanne: Perfect. Alright, third question comes from Casey and he says, “We’ve been recording our services and I’ve seen other churches post signs throughout their building that ‘video / audio recording will be going on in the service’. Do you think this is necessary or is it a preference?”

Brady: Great question Casey! This is a question that actually comes up pretty frequently so I’ll make the necessary disclaimer ahead of time that you would want to consult a lawyer because these rules and laws changes not only on country basis but also on a regional basis. So make sure you consult with a lawyer for the exact things you need.

Here’s what I can tell you. You probably don’t need to put up anything when you are recording when it comes to a legal standpoint. Its probably not necessary legally. Probably. With that being said, there is surely going to be someone in your church that’s gonna get antsy about it, complain, and cause a big chaotic mess. 99% of your church won’t care, and that once percent: CARL is gonna get upset and he’s gonna come to you and be like “I did not consent for you to put my ugly mug on the interwebs. Take it down!” And I’m like, “Carl, if I could get you to leave my church … You know this person, we all have them – Carl, if I could convince you to get saved elsewhere, I would. But you’re gonna cause a big deal.” So! What can you do?

Well I actually found a couple of examples of what other churches did online. The easiest thing to do is to post signs outside of the auditorium that basically just make the disclaimer: “Hey. We are going to be recording. You might get on camera.” Pretty much all live events do this.

I was looking recently at an NBA game, NBA tickets I looked at the back. And it said it in the disclaimer in the tiny fine print there basically being like, “Look, you are going to a game that’s broadcast nationally. It’s highly unlikely but you might be on camera, just so you know. And this, you coming to the game, is you accepting those terms.”

So you can put up something similar to that. Now that’s gonna sound pretty harsh when you walk into the auditorium and you see something that goes “Just so you know, you’re gonna be on camera, and if you don’t like it, well, you could leave.” You don’t wanna do that. So what have churches done?

Well Life Church, they’ve put together a sign. There’s a big heading on the sign that says: “Peek A Boo!” And then the text reads, “Please be advised, in an effort to ensure the safety of all of our guests, LifeChurch.tv reserves the right to search any and all bags brought onto the premises.” Part one. Part two of this sign says: “Say Cheese! Please note that photography video and recording may be in progress while you’re here and entry into the experience signifies your consent to the possibility that your image may be used by LiveChurch.tv”.

And this is James River Church, they did something similar. Big heading that says, “Smile! Please note photography and video recording may be in progress and entry onto the campus signifies your release and consent to the possibility that your image may be used by James River Church for promotional purposes.”

Now its important to note that these are much bigger churches than the average church, and so they can probably get away with this without any people pushing back because if one person pushes back they can just say, “Well, sucks for you. The other ten thousand people don’t care so you can go somewhere else.” Its highly unlikely that they’d say that but note that what they did was make it playful. They made it fun, they made it lighthearted: “say cheese” or “peek a boo” or “smile!”. Basically you want to take this legal mumbo jumbo and this what can sound harsh and turn it into something that’s friendly and lighthearted.

Now again, consult a lawyer on this. because I’m actually not sure that just by putting this up you’re safe legally 100%. You might not be. But its definitely worth putting up for the sole purpose of dealing with CARL. Its highly unlikely that legally you’re ever gonna get put in a position where you’re in big trouble. Consult with a lawyer to make sure. But putting up a disclaimer like this, practically, is great for putting people at ease knowing that you are not going to be able to be … Like if someone sends in an email and says “Why did you do this?” Be like, “well you know we have a disclaimer”. And then that’s probably gonna put an end to it.

Another thing to consider is, you probably don’t need to put anyone’s face on the livestream. If you really want to shoot somebody with their hands raised, that can get you into trouble if people are going to be like, “I didn’t expect to be in this livestream. I didn’t wanna do that.” So you can just shoot multiple angles of the stage and just omit that type of shot altogether.

Roxanne: Yep. Alright, last question comes from Joshua and says, “How often should you change your church profile and cover photos?”

Brady: Thanks for the question, Joshua. When it comes to the frequency of changing your profile photo, cover image on Facebook, really on any social media platforms, you gotta ask yourself: “What are you trying to accomplish with this photo?”

What I see a lot of churches doing is posting their sermon series artwork here, which I don’t think is the best used of space. I like to think of social media similarly to the way I approach a church’s website, which is: Look, the person I’m trying to target here is someone who’s new. Someone who’s unfamiliar with the church. And so with my Facebook cover image, I like to put up a big picture of smiling, beautiful faces from people at my church. Because at the end of the day, if we’re gonna take marketing and translate that to the church world, what we’re “selling” with our church is our community. At least that’s what I recommend that we be positioning.

You can sell your service, you can sell your experience, but I think as we move forward in the communication age that we’re in now. Living through the biggest communication shift in the last 500 years … Services, experiences are being more and more commodified, I could listen to better worship music than you can produce on Spotify Unlimited. I can listen to any pastor preach better than yours, on podcasts, for free, unlimited.

And so what is your church offering that is unique? And I know there are going to be people that disagree with me on this. So even if you don’t come to the table with that perspective on what church is trying to sell, trying to market. Think of it this way. It is scientifically proven that humans respond better to pictures, photos of other humans’ faces than any other thing that you can post.

Alex has seen this, the man with the cam, with his own church Facebook page he was mentioning this yesterday in the office. Every time he posts an image, a photo of peoples faces from his church, it drastically, disproportionately, outperforms the other types of posts on his Facebook page.

So with that being said, that is with the caveat that Alex doesn’t post very much video. And that video g- And there’s a unique nuance here, too. Video on social- specifically Facebook, performs so well because the algorithms of Facebook. Photos of people perform so well because of people. We love seeing photos of other people. Combine those two, and put your hands together, and you get a video of people’s faces, and that’s when you’re really winning.

But what you wanna do with your Facebook cover image is do the same thing. Maximize that real estate, and put in there the best, absolute thing that you can put there. Don’t put a graphic of like, your new sermon series like in January coming up called like, “Start Fresh”. Nobody cares, okay?

At least when it comes to targeting the right people, that’s what I would say. Smiling faces of real people in your church. And what’s cool about the Facebook cover real estate is that you can do some new things now. They have now a carousel feature so you can slide through different photos. So you can have kid’s ministry, you can have people worshiping. Smiling and worshiping in the sanctuary. You’ve got people having an experience of community before service in the lobby, or outside, smiling greeters welcoming people as they walk into the church, parking lot people smiling as they direct cars to the right parking spot. You can have all of those images. And now, in a matter of a couple of seconds, you’ve greatly introduced your church, your community, what you’re trying to market and share with the world to a new visitor to your Facebook page. And of course with cover images you can sort of make them, turn them into a cover video and do the same exact thing with a video a motion moving image instead of a still image.

When it comes to the frequency of changing it, when it comes to this approach, quarterly. Twice a year, even yearly is probably fine. If you really wanna get fun with it and you shoot a ton of video, do a ton of photo, you could do it monthly. Any more than that, it just doesn’t seem worth it, it would probably not be worth [inaudible 00:21:01] so …

Roxanne: Yeah.

Brady: Alright that does it for this 45th episode of the Ask Brady Show. If you want your question answered you can always send it into the email at [email protected] We got a video question sent in this week. It didn’t make it to [email protected] it made it to [email protected] Now luckily I have a catchall. So if you email [email protected] it will be sent to my email. And I’ll get it. And I’ll forward it to [email protected] not helloa though that does sound kinda elegant.

Roxanne: Or at least warmer than here.

Brady: Aloha. Heloa. So [email protected] is the email to send your question into. If you send in a video you’ll be put immediately to the top of the queue, like the individual that sent in his video question this week. And if you want your question answered just verbally, just written, you can also send that in on any social platform: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #askbrady. Thanks for watching, Pro Church Nation, we love ya! We love you so much. So much.

Roxanne: So much.

Brady: So much! We’ll be back with another episode real soon! Season 167! Talk then!