How Your Church Can Create Short Videos

How Your Church Can Create Short Videos

December 11, 2013 by

Photos are powerful. Audio can be moving. But video is compelling. It is this collision of audio, visuals and emotion all in one package. Short videos are making all the viral rounds and are being encouraged by tools like Vine and Instragram

Chances are you don’t need to be convinced of this. You’ve probably seen a moving video and thought to yourself, “That was great. But we could never do that.”

That may have been true 20 years ago, but not today.

Today’s technology has leveled the playing field for under-resourced churches. You may not start producing such involved, layered and detailed videos as this Hillsong creation, but you can still create something powerful. Let’s get started with some basics in producing short videos:

1. The Idea
We’re not even talking about the nerdy part of video yet. It’s the idea that makes video compelling. Everyone says, “Content is king,” and they’re right. So what is it you have to say that is important for everyone to hear, see or feel? Now come up an idea to deliver that message.

Example: The leadership at my church wanted the congregation to give financially to support the purchase of a back-up generator (we lose power at least twice a week where we are). Instead of just getting on camera and asking people to give us money, we wanted to tell a story. Watch what I shot and edited in about an hour.

2. The Inspiration
This one’s easy. In fact, we made it even easier by putting together some samples from a couple other churches:

And here are a few very short and sweet videos I have produced for Whitewater Crossing:

There are a lot of other inspiring examples out there. Just ask. If you’ve got some examples, post ’em in the comments. We especially like these quick and dirty (but effective) videos created for local churches by the Creative Missions team.

Disclaimer: While the above videos were simple, they were mostly shot with a DSLR camera and edited in video software. We use Adobe stuff. You could use Windows Movie Maker. Looking for an even simpler option? Keep reading.

3.  The Equipment
You are probably holding your video equipment in your pocket right now. If you don’t have a phone that can capture video, there is probably someone on your team who does. And now with a nifty little app called Vine, you have the power of editing together multiple clips right on your smartphone. The best part is that it forces you to be brief (six seconds!). You can be as simple or creative as you like. Here are some examples:

4. The Network
Twenty years ago video wasn’t a real possibility for your congregation because you had no delivery network. You might be able to show a video in person, but that’s the best you could do. The changing times are definitely a benefit to video. Now you can easily reach your audience with a vast network. YouTube is the number two search engine. People respond to video on social media. And it’s an engaging addition to your website.

Let’s Go
So now that you have the idea, inspiration, equipment and network, what are you waiting for? You don’t have to be a video nerd, artist, film-maker, techie or even a fan of social networking. I hope and pray God will empower the church to go into the world with the most compelling message of all time in the most compelling medium—short videos.

Photo by Raymond Larose.
Post By:

Joe Porter

Joe Porter is the communications director at Whitewater Crossing in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area in addition to maintaining his photo and video business.
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10 Responses to “How Your Church Can Create Short Videos”

  • Kevin D. Hendricks
    December 11, 2013

    Love this video Steve Fogg shared created using Instagram pics. It really is about the idea.

    We’ve also recently shared 8 creative ways to use Instagram video (also from Steve Fogg) and how to edit Instagram video from Hillsong.

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  • Great video. Too many churches have excuses. Money isn’t one of them anymore. Most recent smart phones have much better cameras than professionals had just a decade ago (except for the manual feature in pro cams).

    The church needs to take art back. We need to quit assuming only Hollywood can do this because there’s nothing but excuses stopping us from doing something amazing.

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  • Bryan
    December 12, 2013

    Incredible timing for me as I was just preparing for using “homegrown” videos in January. One question: Any advice on a “hosting” platform…YouTube vs. Vimeo? Any major advantages or disadvantages to one or the other?

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    • brad
      December 12, 2013

      Bryan, I much prefer Vimeo. There are fewer distractions (esp. regarding what videos are suggested next, which is no small thing!), better operator controls, and more consistent controls for the user.

      YouTube has more social interaction stuff, but if you’re just embedding the video into a website, those features won’t matter much. And YouTube comments are notoriously unpleasant, so the social element can quickly turn into a downside.

      Hope that helps!

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    • Kevin D. Hendricks
      December 13, 2013

      General consensus is that Vimeo is much nicer looking, but YouTube is where the people are (good and bad). YouTube is the number two search engine on the Internet, so it’s probably a good place to be.

      You can always do both.

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    • Joe Porter
      January 15, 2014

      Great question Bryan. Things are changing all the time, but here is how we use each one:

      Youtube Pros
      – Great for posting to Facebook because it will play without linking out of FB
      – Better for browser search results and SEO

      Vimeo Pros
      – Better custom imbed options for your website
      – Great traffic and analytics
      – Cleaner design

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  • the Old Adam
    December 13, 2013

    Great article!

    We are going to try it!

    (someday – I hope)

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  • Intelligent Design
    December 14, 2013

    I am working on some short videos for my church right now. lost are animated as my pastor prefers not to be on video, but Im having my wife read script he wrote. 1 minute of video and I am doing it in about a day. God gave me skills. I use them. I am sure every church has someone like me in the congregation. I also offer free graphic design for churches and ministries.

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  • Kevin D. Hendricks
    December 19, 2013

    Evan Courntey shares how he created a series trailer in five minutes.

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  • Brenda Donnelly
    August 27, 2014

    Love the article. I did my first Vine video when I worked for Ginghamsburg Church the first week Vine was up. I love experimenting with new apps, but hold true to YouTube. I’m at a smaller church now with way fewer bells and whistles, but still LOVE video. Here’s a video I shot for worship.

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