God isn't bland. The Church shouldn't be, either.
Friday Four: Create Good Videos on the Cheap

So you’re planting a church and you want to make some sweet videos for your services. Obviously you don’t have the budget of Northpoint or LifeChurch.tv, so how do you make them any good?

Here are 4 essentials to creating a video on a limited or no budget.

1. Content

This is the single most important part of any creative piece. There is a cliche that goes, “content is king.” This is true. If you are telling a testimony and the story is not interesting, it doesn’t matter how much money you put into equipment.

The benchmark for me on this is the Nooma videos with Rob Bell. Whenever I see another pastor try to accomplish that type of video I always cringe a little because the content is not there. The simplicity of the production works because the content is so good.

2. Lighting

Lighting is very important, but the nice part is you don’t need an expensive light kit to light something. Film near a window where you can light your subject with natural light. You can even bounce the natural light with a piece of white poster board or even a spare piece of styrofoam if their eyes are dark. Shadows are your friend, but they can also be your enemy, so even light is important.

3. Audio

This actually makes or breaks a video in my opinion. If you only have a small amount of money, investing in a nice lapel microphone is probably a good place to start.

We did say earlier we have no money so how can we make it work? Film somewhere quiet. Don’t go out to a street corner in the city. Don’t go to the mall. Make sure the sound is consistent. If you are using a built in mic, be close to your subject to eliminate any other ambient noises.

4. Camera

This is the least important of the four* (I imagine we might discuss that statement at length in the comments). There are lots of adequate cameras out there to get started. We have all seen videos shot on Flip cameras and iPhones that look pretty decent. If you have quality content, good light, and usable sound you can make a video on any camera.

* Time for a disclaimer.

If you are making videos on your Flip camera with no microphones you should not make videos an integral part of your services. But you shouldn’t avoid making videos because you don’t have a nice camera. Tell stories, be creative. But be reasonable. The homemade charm becomes unprofessional and hokey if you have a new video every week.

Are you working on no budget? Share your tips.

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  1. Justin Teague (Reply) on May 6th, 2011

    Good tips. Another trick we’ve learned is that a great music bed underneath can cover a multitude of audio problems on the dialogue track.

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