God isn't bland. The Church shouldn't be, either.
Church Videos = The Never Ending Story

Why are church videos so long?

Every single time I watch a video from a church online I usually only make it about a quarter of the way through. Usually that means I have watched over 2 minutes of video.

Church videos are way too long. Go watch some church’s parody of a 30 second commercial. Inevitably it will be 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Don’t get me wrong; I’m as much to blame. When I go back and watch some videos I made a year ago I can’t make it through. They are so long.

Why is this?

I think it is because we try to say too much. Usually in promotional videos we have to share every bit of information about the upcoming event. We need to tell you everything that you will encounter at the event. There can’t be mystery, otherwise people will be scared to come.

Modern Advertising Secret

This is one thing I admire about modern advertising. They tell you absolutely nothing in 30 seconds but you want what they are selling. I think this is the secret. I think we need to pare down everything to the basics and pull on emotion. You need to hook people and make them want more. Get them invested in finding out more. This goes for drama and worship videos as well. Get to the point and get rid of everything else. Find out what will motivate people to engage and then stop.

This is a challenging thing. A lot of times we are working with non-communicators and they want every detail mentioned. We need to guide them to examples of good communication and then show how your suggestions work. One approach I take at The Chapel is point out how the video is not standing alone. A lot of times a pastor will speak after. Usually the only next step in the video is directing people to our website or to an area of the lobby where more information is available. This alone allows the video to stand alone without a pastor explanation.

Watch a show like Mad Men. One thing that makes this show work so well is there is no wasted dialogue. They get straight to the point and either reinforce their actions or twist the plot. They emotionally invest you in what they are trying to accomplish.

Let’s do as little as possible and then let God take over in emotionally investing his people.

Andy BurnsToday’s post was written by Andy Burns. Andy is the Video Director at The Chapel. In addition, he consults churches and ministries in the areas of video and communications, and is a part of the Creative Missions leadership core. You can follow Andy on Twitter @theandyburns.
*Post image from The Never Ending Story.
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  1. David (Reply) on September 3rd, 2010

    Oh Andy, you are speaking my language!

    Many churches have this issue. I alway advise that a video is 30-60 seconds tops. People will watch 3 60 second videos before they’ll sit through 1 3-4 minute one. You are spot on – be concise and to the point. If your creative is good your duration can be tight!

  2. Kelly (Reply) on September 13th, 2010

    YES! We target 30 sec – and NEVER go over 2 minutes (even on interviews!). I made a similar comment on a well-known church video download site and was shot down for being negative.

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