On the web, video is absolutely pervasive. Not only can you find a “how-to” or explanation for just about any project or issue, but you can also find a video of somebody actually demonstrating it.
This is powerful stuff. Most people learn better when they can visualize it. And they relate to it more strongly when it has been personalized and made it concrete - when it is real for them. Video can do this beautifully.
The advancements in new media technologies have made video easy to make and cheap to distribute. And just as importantly, the advancements in social media have given us the ability to target specific audiences in a practical way.
In other words, you don’t have to make a huge, expensive, cool video that will change the world. You can make a small quick one that might change your neighbor, your family, your parish or your community. It could be about a particular teaching of the Church, or it could be about how your youth group is in desperate need of new carpet in their rec room. Both are good and help build up the Church.
I sat down recently and decided to make one. I had an idea for a small point to make. So I spent a few bucks on a clip of “stock” video and a short piece of audio (easily found on the web). And I threw them in some relatively inexpensive video editing software (most computers even come with some basic, user-friendly video editing software). And this is what I came up with:
It’s made to speak to a particular person in a particular place in life. And it doesn’t try to explain every little aspect from every perspective. It’s just part of the conversation. It might not change anyone’s mind, but hopefully it at least makes some people think. Other people it will have no effect on. That’s okay. It’s not for them.
There are a thousand ways to explain the same truth (or part of a truth) to a person. Some people are more emotional. Some are more intellectual. Some like words, others pictures. Some like one kind of music. Some like others. Some need to be shaken, others need to be gently tapped on the shoulder. Some need a harsh wake up call, others a kind word. Some want the facts, still others just want a good story.
It is up to each of us to discern what our voice needs to be for a particular situation and to be that voice. A few will be big voices that appeal to popular crowds. Most of us will be small voices and will appeal to our own communities in ways that those big voices never will. Of course, this point applies to all forms of evangelization, but now we have a particularly powerful and fun tool to help: Video.
So go make one. It can be about any issue and for any audience - large or small.
A few tips:
1) Put a team together to make it. Make an announcement at mass that you need some artists, writers and technical gurus. They are probably sitting right there in the pews. Use them.
2) Pick an issue important to your parish or group. It can be fun or serious, big or small, brilliant or basic. But define your audience and always keep them in mind.
3) Research your facts well. Don’t say anything you can’t back up with credible sources.
4) If you are publishing it anywhere, be careful of copyright infringements (i.e. if you are borrowing images, video, music, etc.).
5) Keep it short. In most cases, it probably needs to be under 3-4 minutes. Make your point elegantly.
6) It doesn’t have to be perfect, but quality does count for something.
7) Make sure it is the fruit of prayer and charity.
A few ideas for making your video:
- Are you doing a fundraiser or a capital campaign? Visually show people what needs to be done and what their money is going towards. Use video to personalize it and make it concrete for people.
- Pick an issue at your parish that people are struggling with. Explain it.
- Choose an event you have coming up that you want to publicize. Make a video promoting it and showing pics/audio/video from past events.
- Want to say thank you to a group or an individual (like your pastor/bishop)? Say it in a video so they can save, share and remember it.
Use your imagination. The possibilities are endless. Now go forth and fill the earth (with beautiful video).
Matthew Warner is a lover of God, his wife, his kids, his life, cookies, hot-buttered bread, snoozin’ & awkward (as well as not awkward) silence.