On my way home from our Production Core retreat, our conversation turned to the topic of how we shoot for broadcast and IMAG. We were referencing a video link we saw on Twitter that a TD from another church had posted. They took a shot of the audience that struck us as odd. A perfect example of a distraction that pulls us out of a moment. It lead to us talking about how we shot our Christmas service; particularly our candle-lighting moment…
I said something at some point that struck a coworker in such a way as he finally caught a glimpse of what I mean when I say, "use production to help tell the story."
The short version of the conversation is, I think there can be a legitimate place for taking shots of the audience - at least for broadcast. If the audience is on the side screens, it can take them out of the moment (similar to the Heisenberg effect) - Anyway, I was saying how it would be better to live on (spend longer time with the same shot of) a well composed shot of the lead singer (or the guitar player if he's playing a lead line that is carrying the moment) then to show a shot of the audience or background vocal if they are not engaged in the music and having unexpressive smile to go along with their singing. If a backing musician or section of the crowd is visibly engaged in the moment, then take the shot; if not, then definitely don't.
Furthermore, I'd encourage our Producer and leadership to step in to the leadership moment with any person on stage who isn't practicing the discipline of being visibly engaged in the moment.