We're called to "go into all the world" with our message. And when you look around, the world is online. People are browsing the internet and looking for something. Are you going to engage them in their search? Videos can help!
Having videos and sharing them online is a powerful way to extend your church's reach. Whether it's a greeting from your pastor, a touching story, or a full-length sermon, video is priceless.
The good news is you don't need an elaborate Hollywood set-up to produce quality videos.
Here are 8 quick tips for creating a compelling video whether you have simple equipment or the latest and greatest tech available.
- Be prepared.
Before you even power up the camera, have a plan for your video. Ask yourself the following questions: What's the purpose of this video? Who is your audience? Where should you shoot? Whom should you interview?
If you're filming a sermon, ask the questions: what camera angles are we using? Which cameras should I look at?
The ultimate aim is to figuratively “set the stage” for the video and to envision precisely what your video should be like, the emotions it should evoke, and whether it is valuable enough to be viewed. Once you have the vision in mind, then the logistics of filming can come.
- No sudden movements.
Often what makes the difference between an amateur and professional video is the way the camera is operated. A sense of stability with the camera will both give you a more refined look and keep the viewer from getting a bit sea sick.
You can give your video a professional edge by avoiding unnecessary fast, jerky shots and zooms. Keep it simple by focusing on the subject in front of the camera.
A great way to obtain this stability is by not relying on an unsteady source to capture a shot. You can use a tripod or gimbal, or if needed, you brace your elbow with your non-shooting hand during movements.
- Lighten up.
Lighting makes a world of difference in videos. If a shot is extremely dark it will often make the resulting video quality dip down a bit and not be as sharp.
Avoid high-contrast settings as much as possible. Put your subjects in even light to avoid distracting shadows. If possible, you can even use natural light to your advantage and give your video a more organic feel.
- The windows should never be behind you.
Beware of windows or any other light source being behind you. If there's too much backlight, your camera will set the exposure to the light behind you. And then your face is going to be left in the shadows.
So if you need to close the curtains and turn off other lights, then do it. Put the effort in because your viewers deserve it!
On the flip side, if you want to utilize some natural lighting indoors, you can have your subject face and window to bring a bit more brightness to their appearance.
- Pay special attention to the background.
If you press record, that doesn't mean everything falls magically into place. There's some set-up involved.
Do you see an ugly, overflowing garbage can in the corner? Maybe a distracting sign? Possibly even a rogue water bottle on the ground.
It's best to choose a wall with a solid color and try to avoid plain white. You also have the option to invest in video backdrops to establish a nice solid background. You can even play with lights to bring a bit of colorful back lighting to the shot.
- Record in the right direction.
Smartphones have made vertical videos more popular, and the size is great for sharing on an Instagram story. But horizontal videos are a better fit for Facebook, YouTube, or sharing them on a website.
Think about where this video will go and who will be watching it before you press record. The rule of thumb should be for your video to best utilize the screen space it will be played on.
- Framing is everything.
Just like framing a picture, a well-framed video looks and feels right to the viewer; it seems natural.
Use wide shots to show your location or setting. Then, get close-ups to make your viewers feel like they're right there. For interviews, use close-up shots, but set your camera so that your subject doesn't completely fill the frame. This will allow viewers to get a sense of the background.
This is where you can have a lot of fun in your video creation. You can add countless creative elements to really change the feel of the video and make it interesting to your viewers.
- Quiet on the set.
Try to avoid noisy backgrounds for filming videos. We know that's not always possible. So if you can't escape the noise, show its source in the background of the shot. Your viewers will be much more understanding of the distraction.
The best way to cut down on background noise is to utilize a lavalier microphone to pick up the sound of just the speaker. However, a pair of wireless headphones such as AirPods can do the trick just fine!
Check out this video from St. Matthew church to see a great example of a simplistic video that is compelling and impactful
Keeping in mind these above hacks will help you take your amateur video to the next level. You don’t need to be a professional videographer to produce videos, all you need are a vision and a few simple elements to make great videos happen!