Church video announcements are becoming more and more popular. It’s a great way to be creative with the announcement time. It gives you control on the exact amount of time they take each service. It allows the youth pastor to do other things on Sunday morning as oppose to awkwardly pacing on stage while stumbling through announcements someone just handed them. It also allows you to communicate those same announcements outside of service by posting them to Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook and more. So how do you get started outside of identifying that youth who looks like he knows how to run a camera and computer and letting him loose? How do you improve the video announcements you are already producing? Here are 5 easy things to do to help get you started down the path towards video announcements. (in future posts we will look at tougher techniques to continue to step it up)
The better your video sounds, the better it will look. I realize that might not make sense on the surface but trust me before tackling better optics, higher resolution, more film like quality; tackle your audio. Get a microphone – almost any microphone will do better than the one on your camera (note – the mic on your camera is not bad, in fact they can tend to be pretty high quality. The problem is proximity to your source. If you can get a microphone close to your source it will inevitably sound better) I have used SM57s, SM58s, Lavalieres or headset mics that were laying around (the headset idea looks terrible by the way). The goal is to get a mic as close to your subject as possible, hopefully leaving your mic out of the shot. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on shotgun mics with wind screens and boom arms to achieve better sound. For a while I used one of our choir mice – an Audix Microboom – as our video mic. I was able to get it close to the source while still keeping it out of the shot. I didn’t have to spend any extra money and the result was tremendous. READ THIS
Lighting your talent is a great way to make your announcements pop. If you can muster enough lighting to help separate your talent from the background you will have a much better looking shot. But lighting can be and is very expensive… DIY. There are tons of tutorials on Youtube and other places to show you how to build a functional lighting rig on your own. I used 2 homemade ring lights made with MDF and plastic light sockets. Yes they look ugly. But your shots won’t. You can make a full lighting kit for next to nothing – you probably have stuff lying around you can already use – Work lights, paper lanterns or floor lamp equivalent, white and black poster board. All of these things can help you light your project and make it look better. READ THIS, AND THIS
3. Nothing is Automatic
Do not, i repeat do not use the automatic settings on your camera! Not for video and not for audio (even auto focus…). Yes you will have to pay more attention to the display and meters but it will be well worth it. The automatic setting shouldn’t even come on cameras as far as I’m concerned. If you are not willing to learn how to use your camera you shouldn’t own one. Learning to use the manual settings will give you total control and in the end provide you with a much better product.
2. Go to Video School
No not actual film school but Vimeo Film School. It’s a collection how to videos for improving your video skills. We live in a time when all the education you could ever want is at the tip of your fingers. Go search it out and use it! VIMEO VIDEO SCHOOL
1. Have a Story to Tell
Moving to video doesn’t automatically make your announcements more entertaining. Prepare, practice, and write your copy before you film. Limit the length of your announcement – You should be able to get more than enough information across for any announcement in about 45 seconds. If you take just a little bit of time before hand it will greatly benefit you during your shoot and as your video announcements roll.
I hope these super simple tips inspire you to start your video announcement ideas, improve what your are already doing, and communicate your message in the most effective way you can.