Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New feature on the website!

For several months now I've been working on getting a place on the Gospel Chapel website to host Pastor Henry's sermons. It seems pretty straight forward. Other churches put sermons on the web, so we should be able to do it.

First of all, Pastor Henry's sermons are taped on a cassette tape. The cassette tape has to be played in real time through an inline cable into a computer set up with an audio editing program. We are using Audacity, a free open source program. It worked very well with this project, taking the cassette input and creating a raw stereo audio file.

Audacity allowed me to remove all silences and pauses, edit out loud, distracting noises, and check the sound quality.

Learning to use the program with my Windows 7 computer took me, novice as I am, from 2pm on Sunday afternoon until 8pm, at which time I realized I had no sound on my computer except through the program. What? Then another couple hours trouble shooting to find out that somehow my speakers had been made nondefault -- no speakers! That was fixed.

Then the web page was edited to put the audio file "Zechariah sermon" on it. It was exported as an mp3 file. Then the 39 mb file was uploaded. Well it wasn't really. The server timed out in the middle of the upload 4 times. So an hour and a half later we were no further ahead.

The problem was solved by splitting the sermon into two parts -- another 3 hours of editing to break it at just the right spot -- won't take so long next time now that I've figured it out -- and another 50 minutes to upload and we are successful! Yes!

Ok, after all that effort was it worth it? Yes, the sound quality is great. Listen for yourself. -- well, except for the place that they turned the cassette over to record on the other side. No we don't plan to spend 6 hours every Sunday afternoon editing and uploading the sermon.

A new piece of sound equipment will capture the sermon in a WAV file for editing. We just need to wait patiently while the right piece of equipment is found. Then it will just be a matter of uploading the file, doing an hour of editing. Splitting the file into two parts at a logical junction, and then uploading two files. The editing and upload will probably take 2 or 3 hours a week.

Pastor Henry's sermon notes will also be available for download with the sermon, once the feature if fully functional.

If you've missed Henry's series on the Old Testament, the cassette tapes are available in the Church library. Its was a great series -- like an Old Testament Survey course. The New Testament begins with the book of Matthew in two weeks.

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