Julfest Service, First Covenant Church Seattle

First Covenant Church in Seattle held their 58th annual Julfest celebration on December 4, 2016. Julfest is a Scandinavian-style Advent service, featuring a full evening of Christmas music and a traditional St. Lucia procession.

I have played in the StringBand, or sung in the Choir, or both, on about 1/6th of those 58 services. This year it was both. Some years I’ve managed to shoot short segments of video, in between my musical duties. It’s mostly been footage of children singing and dancing, destined for the church’s website.

Streaming Services

This year we wanted to capture the entire Julfest service from start to finish, as a proof of concept for exploring the possibility of streaming special services in the future. So I filmed the entire service with one stationary GoPro camera, mounted on the brass railing of the balcony as centered as I could get it without drilling holes in anything. After I’d set the camera up and tested it out, filming was simply a matter of turning on the camera just before the service, and hoping no one knocked it off it’s perch onto unsuspecting heads below. I was free to go play and sing to my heart’s content, which was quite lovely.

Using House Sound

Suffice it to say, everything worked perfectly. The camera’s low-light capabilities aren’t great, but this was a zero-budget experiment, and I knew the camera’s limitations before starting. It was the only camera I own that I was willing to leave unattended for 2 hours that could also handle recording a multi-hour service. Had I been sitting at the camera and actually operating it, I’d have opted for something else, but my duties were many that day and operating a camera wasn’t one of them.

The GoPro’s audio isn’t stellar either, but the plan there is to swap out my sound with the mix from the church soundboard – eventually. For now, I’ve cut the 90-minute service into 6 sections using the GoPro’s audio, and uploaded them to YouTube, so I’d have a way to quickly display them on the First Covenant Website. Once I have the new audio in place, I’ll export the entire 90-minute service to Vimeo as our primary target. For now, the first clip is on this page. The rest of the clips are all together on the First Covenant Church, Seattle website, or by following the links to YouTube below.

Julfest Service, First Covenant Church Seattle on YouTube: