When the speaker is the real director

Kevin the cinematographer is relieved: “New Year’s address is in the bag…” he posts on Facebook. But his work as an editor is only just beginning. How the video with the annual motto for 2020 comes into being:

It is not as though Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider has never been confronted by a camera before. After all, he conducts two or more dozen services each year that are transmitted by video to many congregations. However, such an address for the New Year is definitely a different matter.

Teamwork at headquarters

For two hours, the communications team has taken over direction of the Chief Apostle’s office at the Zurich headquarters of the New Apostolic Church International. The same building is also home to the head office of the New Apostolic Church Switzerland. This makes teamwork easier—not only in daily life, but also for these video recordings.

The two cameras—both of them with 4K resolution, which is quite high—have been provided by the Swiss office to the team surrounding Church spokesman Peter Johanning, complete with tripods, wireless microphones and box loads of other accessories. The transmission team from the Bischoff Publishers has contributed a second teleprompter. But the technology has its quirks.

When the text is upside down

Teleprompters are devices that project the running text in front of the camera in such a way that the person being filmed can read from them without viewers being able to see. No less than two of these devices are in action this time—namely to bring some variety to the images. In order for this to work, however, both teleprompters must be perfectly synchronised. And that is precisely where the problem lies.

The first issue is with the hardware: a special distribution connector fails, and one of the laptops is only sending to one channel. A Notebook from cameraman Kevin Glor-Ockert finally does the trick. The next challenge is with the software: on one of the two screens, the text is either always displayed upside-down or backwards. But here too, a solution is quickly found.

New Year’s address—take six

The door is closed, the telephone is on mute. Now the Chief Apostle speaks. And he does so in three languages. He is in a good mood. French, English, and German—each in two rounds of shooting—are in the bag in no time at all. The recording has never gone so smoothly before. There is only one spot that so consistently trips him up that he hardly manages to suppress a grin when it finally works.

This is the sixth such recording for Jean-Luc Schneider. It was on 1 January 2015 that he first addressed the Church’s membership around the world by video to convey his best wishes and introduce the motto for the year. “Joy in Christ” was the appeal for this first ever address. This was followed by the mottos: “Victory with Christ”, “Glory to God, our Father”, “and Faithful to Christ”, along with this year’s motto: “Rich in Christ”.

Broadcast on several channels

Every year, hundreds of thousands of our members see the New Year’s address—and tens of thousands already see it in the first few hours after its publication. The internet is just one channel of several. In South East Asia, for example, the video message is often shown right after the first divine service. And the New Apostolic Church of Southern Africa has firmly incorporated this message into the programming of its own television channel, known as NAC TV.

The Chief Apostle stands up from his desk in satisfaction. His part is now complete. But for the rest of the team, the effort of dismantling the cameras is only the beginning of their work: they still have to pick out the best passages, choose the appropriate sections, cut the material together, create the introduction and captions, and much more.

The results will be available for viewing here at nac.today, on Facebook, and YouTube as of 1 January 2020.

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Andreas Rother
Chief Apostle, New Year's Day, Media