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Making Movie Stars

This post is part of a series on Using Technology to Further Relationships in Youth Ministry.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video may be worth a short novel.

It may seem like a stretch to suggest using video to further relationships in ministry, but I want to suggest a few specific ways it very much addresses relationships for ministry.

Current Youth
People pretty much like to see themselves. If your students see themselves in a group video, they know that have a place they fit in, some group that's theirs, somewhere they're accepted. It lets them know they belong. Plus, it creates a neat way to keep some memories. Teens may even show off online videos by posting them to Facebook or MySpace. Today's youth are in touch with technology and video can be useful to build relationships by communicating "this ministry is a place for you." (And by "place" I'm referring to a group of friends and relationships.)

Potential Youth
Consider having a group video on the church's website. It may just help make a positive first impression about the 'community' found in the church's youth ministry. It may open the doors for someone looking for a place to connect.

The Greater Body of the Church
After a Mission trip or Ski trip or retreat weekend, a short little video can be a helpful way to tell others about what the group experienced. We've shown short videos to the Sunday morning crowd after big events and used them as openers for our youth worship times. What a great way to strengthen the relationships with loving, caring adults who support the youth ministry! What an exciting way to show how God is moving in the youth ministry! What an inviting way to present youth ministry to potential volunteers!

A Little about Technical Stuff
Video cameras have become smaller, cheaper, and better in quality. And there are so many options. Even most cell phones now have video capabilities that could then be uploaded to a computer (but these will be lower in quality than an actual video camera). A few bits of advice on this that I've picked up on (and I'm definitely no expert in this area):

  • Something with digital connections makes it easy to upload to a computer (USB/Firewire cable).
  • Really more an issue with digital still cameras, but optical zoom is more important (better) than digital zoom due to decaying quality.
  • This is just my opinion, but I think recording to some type of tape (Digital8, DV, MiniDV) is better than recording straight to a DVD or disc. (Recording to a hard-drive is good as long as you're careful not to run out of memory space.)
There is also a wide variety of editing software choices for making your videos look nice and spiffy.

Online Video
There are several options for online video:
  • YouTube: Currently king of online video, this is where the people are.
  • Vimeo: A bit newer than YouTube, it becoming pretty popular for it's a sleek look and feel. Vimeo also allows longer video uploads.
  • Flickr: Really a photo sharing site, but will host videos up to 90 seconds in length.
  • Animoto: I've written before about Animoto, which allows you to very simply create a nicely animated short video online.

So, it may take some time to play around and learn something new. Or it may be an opportunity for ministry for some volunteer who has both the heart for it and the know-how to make it happen. But either way, it can be a useful tool for supporting some of the other things you're doing to build relationships for ministry.

Lights! Camera! Action!

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