Opening new avenues of communication is the mission of Fellowship Hi-Crest Church’s Studio 104.
Worship Pastor Briel Watson, at the church at 455 SE Golf Park Blvd. Responsible for booking a video and audio recording studio at the said church, his goal is to help Topekans share their stories.
“We say that our mission as a church is to walk with other communities in the power of Jesus Christ.”
“Video is the most consumed form of communication in the world today,” Watson said. “We want to help the entrepreneurs in our community, the artists in our area, and the individuals who can use those skills to get better jobs, through their work and through their nature.”
More: Three people in recovery from addiction share how Topeka’s Oxford House is helping them on their journey.
Studio is about to launch a program to educate young people digitally.
Watson said the church is asking for help to launch the program to teach young people about life skills and digital literacy.
“There are now 6,800 jobs in the state of Kansas that require digital literacy,” Watson said. “Within a 10-minute drive of Hi-Crest, 23% of households don’t even have Internet access.”
“It is important to have these types of tools so that our young people have the ability to enter work,” the director said.
The public can use the studio for $75 for two hours, which Watson says is a steal for a studio of this quality.
More: SENT raises hope in Hi-Crest
The studio is equipped with the latest in digital production
Most of what the studio does is done on a MacBook Pro.
“This is the brain of the studio,” Watson said. “So you can record directly to that laptop computer.
“You can also edit your video or your voice,” he said. “If you make an audio podcast, you can edit it there. If you make a video podcast, you can edit the videos there.
“And there’s also a big screen Panasonic TV that you can put the laptop screen through, so you have a big screen for editing and things of that nature.”
Everything is digital now, says Watson.
“And everything is fast,” he said. “You don’t need real tape anymore. You don’t need to cut it. You get it all in the data, like what they call DOC, the digital audio format.
“You have everything you need right there, and you just do everything on the computer.”
The studio looks professional
“There’s a black background that you put RGB lights on,” so red, green, and blue are different to produce thousands of colors. “There’s a green screen background so you can project any image you want in the background onto a video.”
Savage said the paper, a gray background, is absorbent and changes appearance when different colors are lit.
Those who use the studio can record geometric patterns on the soundproof brick wall. That’s what Dara Watson chose for the video for his first song, “Community.”
Braille Watson’s work reflects his life
In that song, Watson reflects on his life in Topeka. He collaborated with Chen Ron, who lives in Israel.
“We met on the Internet — actually on Instagram,” Watson said. “He makes amazing music, he likes the music I make and he asked me about working with him.”
Ron shared the instrumentals he had been creating, and Watson provided lyrics.
Everything was done digitally, by Ron at Israel and Watson at Studio 401.
“Israel shot from his side and told me the details he wanted,” Watson said. “We can actually wait until[Ron]is done to shoot the episode live and shoot it right there in Studio 1.”
In the finished product, Ron plays piano and synthesizer keyboards.
The facility doubles as an office and voice training studio
Watson, a voice fitness coach, can do everything he needs in one place.
“The studio is basically my office,” Watson said. “So I go out of the studio and give voice lessons, and when people come to me for voice lessons, I record their warm-ups in the studio so they can go home with a recording of what I want them to practice.”
Caroline Angatia, alto in the church’s praise and worship team, takes voice lessons at the studio.
“What I do is to bring it to perfection,” Angathia said. “I’m taking the lessons to be better than where I am now.”
“She’s a strong singer,” Watson said. “I’ve never seen someone improve as quickly as she did.”
‘Work in Progress’ is Watson’s next project.
When not performing his other tasks, Watson is working on a new work called “work in progress”.
“I’m actually working on a lot of my own history and mental health…including when the epidemics happen.” “I believe that my music is about expressing what people are going through in life and giving them a way to go through that process.”
In this project, Watson is focusing on the joys of life, the sorrows of life and the confusion of life.
“I’ve been involving a lot of people from our community in different parts of that album,” he said.
If that, and his family, aren’t enough to keep him busy, Watson has another long-term project to pursue.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work around a project called the Ford Center, which is a new community center we’re building in the community,” Watson said.