IMAG is an interesting thing and lately IMAG style seems to be a hot topic lately. I thought I would explain our style a little.
First, a little about IMAG in general some churches do it cause they feel they have to some do because they actually have to, some do it because it helps artistically aid in raising the excitement in the room. For us it’s really a combination of all three.
On a little aside, I think IMAG is one of the aspects of AVL that you can cultivate a style with little dissension. In the Church AVL world audio mistakes are the most noticeable, it’s a fact. Don’t believe me go to any church large enough to have an FOH and Video Director and ask each who gets the most constructive comments at the end of the day. People feel the need to let the FOH guy know something was to loud or not loud enough all the time. Conversely almost no one hunts down the video guy to constructively criticize his work. Lighting mistakes come in number 2 on the list, mainly because it’s very noticeable if you black someone out or light them up at the wrong time. In video short of totally blowing a cue, mistakes are taken as artistic license most of the time. So IMAG is an area where you can experiment pretty safely, that said it’s not a blank check, if you do something super distracting you WILL be told.
Many churches use what I will call functional IMAG. That is they have shots that make people bigger. In this category churches focus on “safe shots” that means lots of head room, slow motions, and technically composed shots. Most of the transitions are going to be slow dissolves, so as not to jar the audience with a cut. The pace of the individual shot will be relatively slow, but will be tastefully interpreting the music. This is good and for a lot of churches it totally succeeds in the goal of bringing the people in the back of the room into the front row.
On the other side of the scale is Church On The Move. If you have never seen their stuff you need to go check it out. They do an AWESOME job!! I think what they do succeeds for a number of reasons, but mainly as you can see most of the shots are IMAG making people bigger, but they are not afraid to take lots of artistic license with it. The other reason I think it works, is because it is an accurate artistic interpretation of the worship. Artistically it makes sense, even though most IMAG rules and camera shooting rules in general are bent or flat out broken. They use a slow cinematic frame rate of 24FPS, the also teach the camera ops to zoom as far across the stage as possible, narrowing the depth of field. This creates that shallow depth of field DSLR look. They use mostly cuts as the main transition, and their shot composition in most cases is anything but safe, except on the worship leader, the have a totally safe bail shot to him.
At this point I have rambled well beyond my intended scope so I will make this a 2 part blog with the second part on our style.