What Equipment Should We Buy?

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Every ministry is different! Different budgets. Different needs. Different workflows. But one thing is universally welcome. A GOOD DEAL! The problem many ministries run into is that at the moment they decide it’s time to “pull the trigger” on new media equipment, the “techy guy” spends the next few days catching up on all the new gadgets in the market that he hasn't been able to keep up with.

Every ministry is different! Different budgets. Different needs. Different workflows. But one thing is universally welcome. A GOOD DEAL!


The problem many ministries run into is that at the moment they decide it’s time to “pull the trigger” on new media equipment, the “techy guy” spends the next few days catching up on all the new gadgets in the market that he hasn’t been able to keep up with.

We’ve all been there, so it’s not nothing to be ashamed of, but don’t you wish there was someone you could call who, 1. is already up to date with what’s going on in the A/V world and 2. someone who understands how churches work when it comes to budget, working with volunteers and all the other idiosyncrasies involved in ministry work?

Well there is! Christian Media International takes the time to stay up to date on new technology, what’s happening in the technology world, what technology is helping churches and ministries, where to find good deals and a whole lot of other stuff that your grandparents won’t understand.

So, here’s a quick list of the items we see ministries using as well as some we wish you’d consider on your next buy. They are in no level of importance or necessity.

  1. Blackmagic Atem TV Studio (Video Switcher) – The Atem TVS is a video switcher that is controlled by a Mac or PC of your choosing. When the Atem TVS made it’s debut the first time, it was a big hit, but Blackmagic quickly realized it needed some upgrades. They were being sent back so often, that Blackmagic finally pulled it off the market. The one you can buy now is the latest and greatest. It has buttons on the front for when your computer is acting up. They scaled back a few of the features that continued messing up, and added a few features that people wanted and needed so bad, such as an Auxiliary output. If this beast can hold up to the Blackmagic name, and we think it can, it is definitely the way to go for a small ministry looking to step into video. For $1,000, it’s absolutely something to keep your eye on.
  2. Behringer X Air XR18 (Audio Mixer) – The XR18 is a small box that has 18 audio inputs. At first appearance one might wonder how to even use such a device. It’s not until you take a look at it’s iPad App that you realize the capabilities of this little thing. It comes complete with 6 auxiliary outputs, 2 main outputs, software controlled compressor, EQ manipulation and tons of other features you’d expect to see on a digital mixer. We’ve suggested this on several occasions for churches that are looking to minimize the sound booth and go with a wireless operation. At $600, you can’t go wrong with this new fangled technology.
  3. Behringer X32 Compact (Audio Mixer) – Not to be confused with the X32 or the X32 Producer. Those are different! The X32 Compact is like the mother of the XR18. It is not the full width of the X32, but unlike the X32 Producer, it has all the features. There are certainly pros and cons to this little board, but for the money, you get an amazing sounding digital board that has incredible features at your fingertips, without needing an iPad…unless you want to use your iPad. It does that too. They run about $1,500 and we recommend them to anyone wanting to move into the 21st century without breaking the bank. For an entire list of features…Google “Behringer X32 Compact”.
  4. JVC GY-HM620 (Camcorder (Yes, that’s still a word)) – Recently, JVC did away with their GY-HM600U. It was a sad day. But, it wasn’t because they weren’t good cameras. In fact, some dealers said it was one of their “best selling cameras”. CMI uses these cameras for everything. We love them. But anyway, JVC discontinued it because they wanted people to buy the better version and knew that wouldn’t happen unless they got rid of the old version. So they pulled the trigger, and came out with the GY-HM620. CMI has never used this camera, but once again, we have used it’s older brother in everything from studio recording to traveling the world. It has a long optical zoom and a great picture. It shoots 1080/59.94i which Blackmagic equipment loves, and it records MOV which our Macs love. All in all, these cameras are amazing. There were cons on it’s older version, such as not being incredible in low light, fairly unintuitive menu system, etc, but overall, for $2,600, you need a couple of these in your church. There, I said it. You need this camera.
  5. Projectors – Alright, look guys. I’m not going to do all the work for you here, but I will point you in the right direction. If you go to Amazon and type “NEC Short Throw Projector” you will see a list of 3k lumen projectors pop up. These things are SO KOOL! At about 8’ from the wall they project about 12’ wide. And yes, we use them in churches all the time. They are bright, they have good color and they are reliable. Downsides: have you ever tried to make a projector that’s 12’ away from the screen project perfectly into a 16’ wide square? If you are OCD, just move along slowly. This will be the death of you. If you are like me and you just won’t quit until it’s perfect, this is my fair warning: you don’t want a short throw. However, it is possible to get perfect and we use them quite a bit. “What about longer throw projectors, Mr. Matthew?” Ok, once again…DISCLAIMER, do not continue reading this if you are wanting a projector for your big day coming up at the end of next week. Move along! HDProjectorWorld is a company, in China I believe, that sells HD projectors at an incredible price. The issue is, it is highly unlikely that they will send you the right one the first time. In fact, you are more likely to end up with 3 projectors than you are to get the correct one. But look at the bright side. Couldn’t you find a home for 3 projectors? Seriously though, they have some great products, but I know children that could do a better job at customer service. Buy early, check it out quickly, hope you never need to call them. All that being said, we have bought probably close to a dozen projectors from them and they are all great. If you have the option, buy the extra bulb. Sometimes they even come with a ceiling mount that you can put in the drawer next to the other stuff you will never touch again. Buy a different mount! Here is the projector that we buy a lot——>       http://www.hdprojectorworld.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=1843

I hope this list has been helpful to you. If you have questions about any of these products, or questions about other products, or questions about anything else that has nothing to do with this blog, feel free to email us at info@sharecmi.com

If you are looking to take your ministry to the next level in media, we often help churches come up with the best solution for them. We would be happy to talk with you and figure out how we can work together to help reach more people with the Gospel.

We also provide training to churches, ministries and even local businesses that would like to attend. Our next Christian Media Workshop is going to be at Mokena Baptist Church in Modena, IL on March 13, 2017. Check out https://sharecmi.com/event/chicago-amplify-workshop/ to learn more about that.

If you are interested in being a part of reaching the world with the Gospel, using media, in our generation, make sure you reach out to us.

-Matthew Blackstock

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