The Romsey Abbey Video Team (RAVT) has evolved over the last few years from the desire to allow the congregation in the side aisles and transepts to be able to see what is happening during major festival services.
By experimenting with various ways of relaying live images of the service into the side aisles, we have developed a system that provides high-quality images to those with a restricted view. It uses a series of manually- and remotely-operated cameras cabled to a mixing desk and out again through a series of cables to projectors and screens.
Our team has grown to around 10 volunteers sharing the duties of camera operators, directing and mixing, prompting, kit and cable-making and ‘roadie’.
Not only has the team developed a strong fellowship within itself, but the provision of screens has helped with witness and outreach to those attending services – the feedback from regular and non-regular churchgoers has been very positive, helping them to feel very much part of the service no matter where they sit.
Last Easter, when the team relayed images from the South Garth back into the Abbey during the Palm Sunday Service, we realised the importance of this work when those members of the congregation remaining inside held their crosses up to the screen for the blessing.
The use of the video relay has expanded to include not only the major services at Easter and Christmas, along with Christmas services for most of the local schools, but also for concerts and organ recitals throughout the year.
During an open day for the bell tower, we were able to provide a live relay of the bells ringing, visible both in the ringing chamber and also at ground level for those not able to climb the narrow stairs. Thus from the Abbey transept it was possible to watch both the bells and the ringers.
The Video Team have been in discussion with a number of other churches to provide a relay service for their special events as well as providing advice to those considering setting up their own system.
The Video Team is always looking for volunteers, so if you would like to get involved or learn more about what we can do, please email David Newman.