If we can do it, you can too!

Welcome to our Online VBS page. If you are reading this page, you’re probably looking for a way to continue children ministry during these times;  you want a VBS or other events but can’t because of the stay-at-home conditions.  We are not a large church so any church can have some form of event for the children and youth.

Our church has just recently completed a successful virtual VBS!  It had lots of challenges and unknown factors but through God’s grace, we were able to have awesome time.

We wanted to share our experience, knowledge, and mistakes on this page in hopes that other churches may be encouraged to have an online event for youth and the children.  If your church also did an event during these unique times, please share your knowledge with us!  We’ll update this page accordingly.

 

NOTE: Let’s start by clearing this up. The VBS material based our’s on was Rocky Railway by https://www.group.com. You will see we modified it quite heavily but even so, all the logos and other creative materials that relate to Rocky Railway belong to them.  We are using them as a non-commercial reference on this site and to the best of our knowledge legal to use on this page.  We recommend Rocky Railway Modified which has all the content you need to start streaming VBS from your church.  Including music, body motions, craft, snacks, lessons, etc.

COVID19 PROCEDURES: We wore masks whenever we were within 6 feet even when they were onscreen.  Hand sanitizer practices were implemented.  However, the staff voluntarily took COVID19 tests and we all tested negative during the busy weeks before the VBS date.  You will see some pictures without masks on, it is likely during this time.  The entire VBS was isolated to two rooms of the church.  We also tried to reduce as much man power as possible to a skeleton crew.

Children photos on this website: The parents of the children have given us verbal consent to use the images/videos for the slideshow, this site’s purpose and none other.  So we are allowed to use it for the slideshow and this site but no one else is allowed.  Please respect the family’s privacy. Thank you!

General Overview

We divided our content into three different types.  Live, Green, and Recorded. 

  • Live – This is the main room.  We called it the “Master” feed.  It has an entire room designated to it.  The Master feed room also is where our main operation was.  We’ll get more into this later.
  • Green – This is also Live content room but specifically for green screen use.  Please note that this separate room is not necessary unless you want to utilize a green screen.
  • Recorded – Pretty self-explanatory but any video recorded file.  This was run from the Master room. This content includes Rocky Railway and other contents we recorded ourselves.  

We’ll explain each room and content type in detail…

Master Room

This room is basically home base.  Nearly all things were done in this space.  It consisted of the following:

  •  Master feed set – One corner of the room had a backdrop, which we clamped onto the light in the ceiling.  It had a small table for props.  It had a camera.  Part of the set feature was that we have a big screen 4K TV so the host can see the kids and interact with them.  Of course, it does not have to be a large screen TV.  The feed was from a separate PC designated just for that screen.  It has a wireless mouse and keyboard.
  • Behind the backdrop was the Master computer station which was used to control the feed from the Master camera and play recorded videos.
  • An iMac was stationed near the screen, camera, and host.  This iMac is the Zoom Host.  The one that controls the Zoom meeting and creates the room.  It is for the “Stage Manager” who will call the shots.  More on this later.
  • Finally, there were two MacBooks stationed pretty far from both (social distancing).  This is for audio for Master, and what we call the “observer.”  More on this role later.

 

Secondary Room (aka, green-screen room)

This room is basically home base.  Nearly all things were done in this space.  It consisted of the following:

  • Across the hallway is where we set up our green screen.
  • The set consists of a green screen backdrop, some lighting, a boom mic, camera, an audio interface and a table for props.
  • This room was used to both record and do livestreaming.
  • Computer work station in the room was responsible for streaming the LIVE green screen content only. It does not control the overall feed to zoom.  That’s the Master computer.  Don’t worry, more on this later. 

 

Click a topic below to learn more

Worship

Puppet Show

Craft
(Imagination Station)

Game

Snack

Sermon
(Bible Adventure)

Pre-K

Misc. Graphics

How to get started!

Sample Run-through

All about the Tech

FAQ & TIPS

Why did you choose Livestreaming rather than recording and uploading?

During our early meetings, it became clear that Live on an interactive conference-style was what we wanted.  Though uploading a recording or Livestreaming on Youtube would have been easier, our church already uploads a pre-recorded sermons on Sundays and even does Livestreaming.  We wanted the kids to experience interactivity during this pandemic.  Zoom was chosen as the platform.  Something that made VBS different from other digital platforms we were using.

Use point system to get them engaged!

We realized after the first day that point systems will get kids more excited and participating.  The point systems were simple and designed so everyone can win certain prizes.  The prizes were bags of chips.

We used 3 categories.  1) participation (basically is their camera on), 2) attitude, 3) trivia questions.  The bible trivia also gave opportunities to earn point for the team members.  

Throughout the VBS, the host/teacher will ask trivia questions based on what they have learned so far.  Observer and the SM will keep track of the points and unmute the person as necessary.

 

Language Barriers

On the first day of our VBS, we realized that some students did not speak English well.  One of our teachers tried talking in both English and Korean and the kids who didn’t speak English lit up like a Christmas tree.  So for the second day, we implemented both languages in key areas.  The Rocky Railway videos and worship, obviously, were in English.  But in any point-based significant areas, we used both English and Korean.  Our Bible Trivia game, you will notice we added a co-host.  The main host will say the question in English while the co-host translates them in Korean.  The translators have been given the questions ahead of time so they can be ready.

Use LAN instead of Wifi. Disconnect all Wifi devices.

Upload speed is always significantly lower than download speed.  So when it comes to Livestreaming, uninterrupted signal as much as possible is important.  We noticed that when our StreamLab computers are on wifi, the lag and choppiness is considerably higher than if we used wired LAN.  So we recommend using LAN for the two computers with StreamLab.  See “All about the Tech” for StreamLab details.

Also, if possible, use hotspots to keep the Wifi free if the devices are using wifi to communicate with each other.  Or if a computer has no choice but to use wifi.  All cell phones and tablet devices should be on airplane mode or Wifi off and using LTE instead.

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