Lights! Camera! Action!


Lights! Camera! Action!

12 Jan 2021 / Charles Merritt

Over lockdown the world of youth and children’s ministry was thrown into chaos as we had to learn new skills overnight. Our roles transformed from delivering sessions in person to making videos to upload online.

9 months later and some of us are still scratching our heads wondering how we make a good video.

Never fear! I have some tips and wisdom to impart on you, dear reader.

1. Good Camera – These days your phone camera will be more than sufficient to make a good quality video. But a camera alone is not what helps the quality, for that you need…

2. Good Lighting – Lights from the ceiling are okay but you want to make sure you are evenly lit. For a low-cost solution, try placing two lamps with the bulb pointing at your face – one slightly angled to the right, one slightly angled to the left. It’ll be slightly blinding at first but your eyes will adjust. Make sure you are not being backlit by a window.

3. Fancy Graphics – How do you make a PowerPoint slide look good as part of a video? My suggestion is to use – it’s free and easy to use. You can pay for the pro version which unlocks some more useful goodies at just $12 a month but you don’t need to, there are plenty of free images available to use on the standard account.

4. Look At The Camera – Make sure the camera is slightly above eye level and look at the actual camera lens when talking, it will help you to connect to your audience more. If you have a script put it to the side at eye level, make looking at it part of the emotion of the video as if you’re looking thoughtfully to the distance rather than reading your next line.

5. Good Scripts – Don’t write every word of every sentence. Bullet points are better. Make sure you know what you are going to say to avoid unnecessary ‘urms’…

6. Good Audio – If you have the capacity, record your audio on a separate device that is closer to you and sync the audio in post. Camera audio can be a little dodgy at times but most of the time will be fine if you don’t have another option.

7. Don’t Be Afraid To Cut Out The Gaps –  For an engaging sermon/talk, chop out the spaces between thoughts and sentences. It keeps up the energy without letting it drop. Then, to really emphasise a point, keep a couple of silences in – it will make those points stand out amongst the others. Keep your videos as short as possible. Aim for 5 minutes so if you’re a little bit over it doesn’t make a huge difference.

8. Make A Nice Thumbnail – When you upload a video to YouTube you have the option to create a custom thumbnail. Do it. Otherwise it will choose a still image from your video and you have no control over what your face might be doing in that shot. Create an eye catching image with a title so that people are more likely to click on it. Again, my advice is to use

All these tips are things that I’ve picked up over the years of making videos. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Everything I wrote about I have learnt through not doing properly myself.

Remember, your youth group aren’t expecting a Hollywood movie but they do want to hear from you and making a short film could be a great way of reaching those who are out of touch.