Inspiration: Church Video Announcements

Video announcements are a good way to move from the dreaded awkward moment at the beginning of service where the youth pastor or some other unlucky person at bottom of the totem pole talks about postponing the carry-in dinner for sister Midlred. Ok it is not that bad, in fact I have been to many churches who have a cool looking guy with a graphic tee and thick rimmed glasses delivers the announcements with a charisma that engages every last person in the room. Anyway announcement time is important to help get information out but can also be a tricky time in service. It can be awkward at times as well as disruptive to flow. We have moved to video announcements used right before service and have found them to be a great way to communicate creatively and effectively. If you are thinking about video announcements or are doing so now and just want some inspiration, here is a great list of some church video announcements I have come across.
The production quality is great (this is important because the church has a reputation when it comes to production quality – see reference here) they are informative and in my opinion these are among the best produced video announcements I have come across (and I have come across some bad ones – in fact we have added to the pot of terrible video announcements in the past). Enjoy the samples below.

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New Sermon Series Poster: The Jesus Way

Our new series that started this past week in entitled “The Jesus Way.”  It is a look at the counter-cultural teachings of the beatitudes.  When thinking of a poster design I ventured over to CreationSwap (formerly CreativeMYK).  I often go there for inspiration, starting places, and files to get me going.  I found a file that really just encapsulated what I was going for and with some minor tweaks it became our new series poster, bumper, and basically series brand.  Sometimes a design from scratch is great, complete originality in creativity is needed but sometimes it is beneficial to stand on the shoulders of other to get started.

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Announcement Time in Service: Friend of Foe

This is how we have moved from the dreaded awkward moment at the beginning of service where the youth pastor or some other unlucky person at bottom of the totem pole talks about postponing the carry-in dinner for sister Midlred. Ok it is not that bad, in fact I have been to many churches who have a cool looking guy with a graphic tee and thick rimmed glasses delivers the announcements with a charisma that engages every last person in the room. Anyway announcement time is important to help get information out but can also be a tricky time in service. It can be awkward at times as well as disruptive to flow. Here are our morning announcements now done in video form that play before service starts. It’s come a long way from the first attempt but probably still has a long way to go yet it has done a great job for us getting information out, bettering our start time consistency, and creating a better start to the flow of our worship services.

*yes the green screen shots are not great – they are older and I haven’t re-shot them yet – but soon.

Contemplative Creativity: A Year in Review

It’s been a good year.  Basically I started blogging right at the beginning of 2010 and have been learning and trying to get better at it ever since.  Like any blogger, new or old there have been some good posts, and some not so good posts.  I look forward to the coming year and what all it may bring.  But for now here are some of my favorite posts from the past year.  I hope you enjoy/enjoyed them as well.  And please share them if you feel so led and leave your thoughts and comments.  I would love to hear them.

10 Things Every Worship Leader Wishes their Sound Person Knew, and Vice Versa

Creating Worship Space with Light

5 Reasons for a Choir in Modern Worship

5 Reasons Worship Bands Should Use Click Tracks

I Gave Your Tip to Jesus and Other Things Not to Tell Your Server

Confessions of a Worship Pastor

Lessons Learned from Conan O’Brian

Sunday Brunch: A Guide for Christians Going out to Eat

I’m not Religious, I’m not Spiritual, I’m a Christian

Environmental Projection: Take 1

Environmental Projection: Take 1

A few years back I wrote my undergrad thesis on Short Film as a New Medium for Worship.  What I didn’t know at the time was the movement known as Visual Worship was beginning to take shape.  After graduation I was seeing the trend of conversation about Environmental Projection and how the church could utilize it creatively communicate with the congregation and community.  In my thesis I compared the ancient stained glass windows and the modern projected image as similar functions for the church.  They visually tell a story of God’s love to a people who read through images.  Stained glass windows were meant for those who couldn’t read or didn’t have access to a bible they could read.  Modern projected images (moving and still) engage a media savvy culture who tend to lean more towards watching than reading.

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Creativity on a Budget

Sometimes I envy the churches and organizations that seem to have endless budgets to produce great creative things. Sometimes it would be nice to come up with an idea and be able to just run with it without worrying about budget restraints. I can think of a number of great ideas that have come out of our creative team meetings that have been put on hold cause we can’t figure out ways to make them happen with the resources we have available. But then I think of all the creative things we have been able to accomplish with just a little ingenuity. I think restraints can sometimes make you more creative. We don’t have a very large budget overall but with some creative minds pulling together we have produced some incredible things that we never imagined possible. So don’t let anything hold you back from making great things happen. Plus what you learn from this endeavor you take with you to the next. And as your resources grow your creativity has as well.

just some quick thoughts rolling around my head because of a recent project that is turning out really cool just had to get creative as to how to make it happen. Sorry, not a real practical post more ramblings that wouldn’t fit on twitter.

Work Smarter Not Harder

If you are like me you work at a church where your media department is comprised of… well… you (and some wonderful volunteers).  But you probably don’t have a technical director (full or part time), graphic designers, web designers, dedicated adobe gurus, or a plethora of other technically specific job titles on staff (full or part time).  Do you want to know a secret?  Neither did Lifechurch.tv, Granger Community Church, Church on the Move, Willowcreek, and others when they started.  In fact I remember a conversation I had with one of the Video Producers at Granger who had been there since the beginning.  He said he remembered a time when they used a coat hanger and a thick black fabric to black out the projectors (like a low budget puppet show – are there high budget puppet shows?)  So what do you do when you desire the highest quality product but lack the time and major resources to pull it off?  Here are 5 things to help you work smarter not harder to achieve that goal.

1. Set short term goals and do whatever you can within your budget to achieve them.  So all you can afford is photoshop instead of the whole production suite.  It’s a start.  Remember rome wasn’t built in a day.  Once progress has been made people should begin to notice and hopefully the next budget will be a little bigger and the next goal will be a little better.  It may seem like a linear process at the start but trust me it’s exponential and before you know it your media department will be hopping.

2. Try before you buy and be budget conscious.  Let’s face it Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Final Cut and many other high end programs have more capability built into them then you may ever be aware of.  Luckily most of them let you try them first.  You may find that you media team isn’t ready for after effects yet and that it would be bad stewardship to purchase it now.  Maybe you can get by with Final Cut Express for the time being or a free online photo editor.  Be smart with your resources and work your way up.

3. Get Training.. either pay for it through an online company like Lynda.com or utilize the many free tutorials you can find online.  There is no wasted creativity.  Even if you follow a tutorial you don’t think you’ll ever use, you will be suprised at what it will inspire later or the processes you will use later.

4. Utilize your volunteers.  You will be surprised by the talent just sitting in the seats on Sundays.  Get volunteers, have them utilize your training resources, get more volunteers, and get them trained and before you know it you will be inspired, challenged, and able to delegate larger projects because of them.  Plus you may also find some people with programs you couldn’t afford.  I have a theory in my music department that I think translates well to the technical and creative arts as well (remember we are understaffed so I do all the media, tech, and music…).  The better the end product the better talent you will attract.  When we produce great music we attract better musicians.  When you put out better videos and print material people will notice and be attracted towards that thus widening your talent and volunteer base (it’s a slow process but it does work).

5. Work smarter not harder (can I actually title number 5 with the reason the list is being made?).  Don’t be afraid of templates, prefabricated works, and more.  They are your friend.  Trust me.  When you are understaffed time is money and spending 30 hours a week on an After Effects intro isn’t a wise way to spend your ministry and personal time.  Yes it will look amazing but what are you neglecting to do so?  An amazingly awesome graphics package and poster are in the end just graphics and a poster.  Budget your time wisely.  If a template looks great with an hour of tweaking then great use it!!!! And use the rest of your time accomplishing other ministry goals.  Here are some great sites I use for templates (cheap to free), inspiration, and more.  Use them!

themeforest.net
videohive.net
CreativeMYK.com
Churchmediadesign.tv
Open | Lifechurch.tv
Seeds | Church on the move

What sites do you use?  Let’s compile a great list of resources to help the smaller church media teams.  Creativity can make God’s Word come alive and spread God’s Love in ways that other mediums cannot.

Friday Funny 6.11.10

It seems i have not had a lot of time on my hands this week as my normal blogging has taken a back seat to everything else going on lately. But somehow in the midst of a crazy schedule I have managed to collect a ton of hilarity. One could argue (quite well) that the little free time I do have could be better spent. But regardless I hope you enjoy the fun. Let’s start with a video apropos to the current world situation.

I knew it! Wonder how long the it took to develop the grunt remover?

All dog’s go to heaven? Well just to be safe.

Ahhh yes; like a record Jesus, right round, round, round.

The tag line at the end cracks me up!

I'm sure it was created with the best of intentions but really? The Catholic Priest model has been discontinued.