Using video content to promote your church
Mikey Lynch - 21st February, 2016
Increasingly video is a large part of how people consume stuff online and so it is very important for how we plan our church promotions these days.
Our bottom line answer is:
It's pretty hard to get reliable and adequate quality video work done for free, especially for public promotions. It is far easy and more reliable to pay for it. Let us know if you would like the names of a few Christian-run media companies who could do you a good rate.
However for more informal and indirect promotions stuff, the amateur 'You Tube' video can be very effective and is a great way to start building video content.
But here's a bit more detailed advice:
- Promotional videos are hard to do well: best option is to pay someone to do it
- Video is a very very hard format to do well: if it's done well it's amazing, if it's done even just not-super-well it can be painful.
- By far the best path to go down is to pay a media company to do this for you. Vision 100 IT knows a few Christian media companies who would be willing to do the work at a cheaper price (perhaps $500-1000 for 60 seconds, to give you an idea).
- This might sound like a lot, but a really really good promotional video will be used for a long time and have a great impact in multiple contexts, so it's a real investment.
- Going down this path still requires work from the ministry requesting the video: you need to plan the content, the angle, the words that will be said, the setting, etc. I would think a 6 week lead time would be generously realistic.
- I recommend avoiding a straight 'talk to camera' video, as these are hard to watch. I also recommend not much longer than 60 seconds, absolutely no more than 3 minutes.
- An example of this kind of thing is here: https://vimeo.com/83813991
- A lot of work goes into this kind of thing, so it's rare to find someone who will do it for free, and if they do you run the risk of the job getting delayed as the rest of their life gets busy
- You can do a more lo-fi video work with a few tweaks
You CAN get an amateur to make videos, but you need to be really careful and confident they are capable. Lots of little things need to be right, even on an amateur video, for it not to be inadequate:
- good lighting
- very good sound
- still camera
- smooth editing
There are a few things that you can do that can make a more amateur video work, with someone who has basic video skills:
- inserting background music
- insert well designed text to appear on screen
- insert an opening and closing panel
- As a result, this really still requires significant expertise and time... so it's unlikely to find someone who will reliably do it for free, I'm afraid. It's a 'big ask' :-)
- More lo-fi talk-to-camera videos is an easy baseline for occasional promotional stuff
- I think the great thing is we can embrace the 'youtube' format to get away with a lower quality that still works. This means the videos can be ok and people realise what the genre is.
- Again, these are best if they are short, and not too talky. I don't think these are so great for generic promotion, because they are by nature more casual and informal... rather than formal.
- The videos we've made the last few years with students talking to camera fit into this format - and they've always been well received on Facebook (https://vimeo.com/ufcutas/videos)
- A variation of this could be an interview format...I found these old videos I did for Vision 100 about 5 years ago with David Jones (https://vimeo.com/12885751) and Brian Vaatstra (https://vimeo.com/11711056) that show how that can work alrightish.