We’re a few weeks into the season of Pentecost but it was only a few days ago that I came across a live broadcast from the BBC that was shown on Pentecost Sunday. It came from Kingsgate Community Church in Peterborough, and was so good it even had Chris Moyles glowing about it 🙂
I was involved in an episode of Songs of Praise a few months back (by ‘involved’ I mean ‘missed the rehearsal, slipped in near the back for the recording but was dragged to the front to fill an empty seat’) and I think it’s safe to say that by the time it was over most of us were well and truly knackered, and the fact that many of us still had smiles on our faces in the finished broadcast was a miracle of grace. The reason? One camera. One camera to take every single shot – the ‘swooping down from the ceiling’ shot, the ‘gentle entrance past ivy-entwisted candlesticks’ shot, the ‘please don’t laugh, please don’t laugh, I know my face is filling 37-inch screens across the nation’ shot, and the ‘wide-angle, everybody’s in it so it doesn’t matter quite so much if I get the words wrong’ shot. And a few more. We sang the same three songs over and over for five hours.
So it didn’t come as much of a surprise to me that, despite the huge amount of work invested by the Dean, Cathedral staff and the choir, the programme felt a little flat. Contrast our Songs of Praise experience to the Pentecost service from Peterborough, and I was blown away. The service was live, but had numerous shots and angles. I’m guessing that being live made a difference to the atmosphere, and every little thing had been thought about to make it a delightful audio-visual encounter with God, inviting people into worship rather than simply the singing of songs. It must have taken months to prepare, and a lot of money, but it was worth it.
What do you think?