All posts tagged software

3 Essential Elements of Video Announcements

Three Essential Elements of Video Announcements

Today’s post is from my friend, Brady Shearer. He is an extremely talented blogger, podcaster, and church media guru. I highly recommend following him on Twitter at @BradyShearer.

Video announcements for churches can be a toss-up. When they’re done well, they’re enjoyable to watch, informative, and brief. But when they’re done poorly, video announcements can be painful to endure.

In the last year alone I’ve produced more than 1000 different editions of video announcements. I’m the founder of ProVideoAnnouncements.com and we create video announcements every single week for churches across North America.

We’re continuously refining how we approach and produce video announcements. Instead of simply making minor tweaks, I like to find easy changes that produce maximum benefits. For instance, rather than obsess over motion graphics or perfect lighting, I’ve identified what I think are the three most important elements of quality video announcements. If your church can focus on these three core values, your video announcements will be excellent.

3 Essential Elements of Video Announcements

1. Tell a story. Don’t tout information.

Observe the following two examples…

Announcement Example #1

“Men’s Retreat is next week. The cost is $85 per guy. Make sure you get your money in to Pastor Dan before Friday at noon. We’ll be meeting at the church at 5:00 PM and leaving from there. Don’t miss it!”

Announcement Example #2

“Men’s Retreat is next week. [Insert hilarious story from last year about the flag football game] Every detail you need is on the website. Don’t miss it!”

Despite popular belief, the purpose of video announcements is not to share details, specifics, and extensive information. The purpose of video announcements is to inform your church of the most important things happening, and compel them to get involved. The two examples above are very similar. But in Example #1, every possible detail is crammed into the announcement. The problem with this approach is that people don’t remember details!

Hoping your church remembers dates, times, phone numbers, or email addresses mentioned during video announcements is a losing approach. If you want men to attend your men’s retreat, share a story that connects with them. They can always find the details later on your website.

2. The perfect length is…

Using stories is a smart approach, but it won’t really matter if your video announcements are eight-minutes long. We’ve found that the perfect length for video announcements is three-minutes or less. Anywhere between two-minutes and three-minutes is the absolute sweet spot. This works out to approximately five announcements included each week.

Remember, the purpose of video announcements shouldn’t be to share an exhaustive itinerary of church life. The purpose is to share what’s most important, and compel your church to get involved.

3. Don’t put that person on camera

Church on the Move in Tulsa, Oklahoma produces some of the best video announcements around. They’re a church of more than 10,000 people, and can you guess how many video announcements presenters they have? Fewer than 5.

Presenting on camera is unlike any other type of presentation. I’ve seen the most dynamic pastors freeze in front of a camera as soon as it begins to record. Growing to be a quality on-camera presenter takes time – a considerable amount of time. Be conscious of whom you’re putting on the screen.

Conclusion

Of course, I think outsourcing your video announcements is a great idea. When I was the Media Director on staff at my church, I spent more than 10 hours per week coordinating, scripting, producing, and editing our weekly video announcements. I can help with that.

The best question to continuously ask yourself is – what are we trying to accomplish with this announcement? Share stories, keep it brief, use a quality presenter, and your video announcements will be excellent.

Five Creative Ministry Tips: 9/4/14

Five Creative Ministry Tips - September 4th, 2014

Every week, we’re excited to share a five-pack of useful tips for those serving in creative ministry! Each Thursday, we post practical advice on topics such as media, social networking, design, and marketing. While these tips may be simple, they have the potential to radically improve your church. These images are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ready, so help us spread the word by sharing them with your followers!

Lyrics should be displayed just before they're sung. Sermon points should be displayed just after they're spoken. Most people won't listen to a hour long sermon online. Consider creating five minute recap video or audio clips that highlight key points. When was the last time you learned a new tool in your design software? Make it a priority to explore new methods often. Posting flyers in local businesses and on community bulletin boards is extremely affordable and still works great for promoting events. Try hard. Pray hard. Everything else is just details.

Like these photos? Get them here: Photo 1Photo 2Photo 3Photo 4Photo 5

Five Qualities of Great Sermon Slides

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For a lot of churches, you’ve moved beyond the conversation on how you can integrate sermon slides into your services. You’ve got a PowerPoint, Keynote, or your slides in ProPresenter covered. You’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. But, just because you have these components in your service doesn’t make them effective. Sermon slides are not foolproof. In fact, I would even say that sermon slides done wrong could even distract from your preaching.

Here are five qualities of all great sermon slides:

1. They Have Engaging Imagery

Son of God Sermon SlideWhen you step into Barnes & Noble, you’re greeted by captivating imagery on every shelf. As you walk down the New York Times Bestseller aisle, you see excellent design on every cover. Why is this? Publishers know that to get 1,000 pages of story to sell in this age, you must first sell engaging imagery. It’s the same for us on Sunday mornings. For people to spend 20-40 minutes listening to your story, you must give them an engaging “cover” to capture their attention. The best way to accomplish this is with a great title slide that sparks the curiosity of your listeners.

2. They Make It Easier To Follow Along

Scripture-2You know what Sundays are famous for other than church? Sleeping. You know what sermons are famous for? Putting people to sleep. Don’t be that church. Don’t be that preacher. What if I told you that great sermon slides would keep your audience more attentive during messages? By displaying all of your scriptures, quotes, and points, you’re more likely to keep listeners’ minds off of other things and their eyes from dozing. Also, by presenting your information in two ways (speech and text), you’ll make it easier to follow your train of thought.

3. They Illustrate Your Message

Dad_Photo_SlideAccording to the 3M Corporation, we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. People have higher levels of attention, comprehension, and retention when teaching is presented in a visually rich form. God has clearly wired us to be a visual people. Beyond a great title slide, I recommend building images into your slides throughout your message. Telling a story from when you were a kid? Why not show a childhood photo? Speaking on fatherhood? Why not show a photo of a father and son together? People connect with images in a way that goes so much further than your words. When combined, you’ll leave a lasting impression.

4. They Make It Simple To Take Notes

Sermon_Slide_Template-Images.005One of the biggest things I learned from visiting Elevation Church, one of the fastest growing churches in America, is that taking notes is a big deal. When you walk into the super modern church, everyone is given a 8.5 x 5.5 note card and a pen. When I first saw this card was mostly for taking notes on the sermon, I honestly chuckled a little at the thought that people were going to take notes in that kind of environment. But, to my surprise, everyone around me was taking notes on the pastor’s sermon. They made it super simple to do this by including every major point, scripture, and quote on their screens. They even went a step further by including some fill-in-the-blank points. Each of these slides were kept concise and were displayed long enough for everyone to jot them down.

5. They Scream “Share This Information!”

Sermon SlideA few days ago, I had one of my most popular tweets ever. It read, “A retweet is basically a digital AMEN.” When something resonates with people in 2014, our natural response is wanting to share it with our friends and followers. I suggest building your sermon slides in a way that encourages your congregation to share it with their social media audience. I recommend displaying a “social bar” for the entire duration of your message. This sermon slide add-on paints a clear picture of exactly how they can share this content with their friends. Include hashtags and all of the social networks your church is on. I also recommend displaying tweetable points that fit in Twitter’s 140 character limit.

Do you have any other tips for great sermon slides?

Five Creative Ministry Tips: 5/15/14

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We’re excited for round four of our new, weekly list of useful tips for those serving in creative ministry! Each Thursday, we share practical advice on topics such as media, social networking, design, and marketing. While these tips may be simple, they have the potential to radically improve your church. These images are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ready, so help us spread the word by sharing them with your followers!

 
Keep your announcements brief.  Use a narrow font.
Design with purpose, strategy, and meaning. Clear lyrics from your screen whenever possible. Your skill isn't the most important part of your creative ministry role.

Have any other creative ministry tips that you’d recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

Creative Ministry Toolbox: Creative Cloud

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Creative Ministry Toolbox is a new, weekly segment that highlights one of our favorite tools that we use in the creative department of our church. Have a resource worth sharing? Let us know in the comments below!

Great design is super important in today’s church because our culture equates an organization’s aesthetics with its legitimacy. Simply put—God may look on the inside, but man will judge a book by its cover every time. If our ministries are going to be successful at reaching people in this digital age, we must present ourselves in a way that is aesthetically inviting.

gg07miuo3a2kfzx5zsthOne of our favorite tools for design in our church is Adobe Creative Cloud. When this subscription-based service was first introduced, there was a lot of hesitation in the creative world. People thought this was just another way for Adobe to make money. Well…that might be true, but there are definitely some benefits that make it worthwhile.

Without some of Adobe CC’s programs, most of the work that we do with video, projection, print, web design, and social media wouldn’t be possible. Photoshop is the #1 piece of software that I use in my department. But I’d be lost without Illustrator and Premiere, as well.

Here are three reasons why I’d recommend it for any church:

1. This is professional-grade software

In the design world, Adobe is king. Their software is used by designers everywhere and is the number one choice for professionals. When you subscribe to the full Creative Cloud suite, you’re equipped to edit images, design vector illustrations, publish print documents, create websites, produce videos, make music, and design motion graphics. You’re only limited by your creativity.

2. You can find tutorials everywhere

Because Adobe’s software is used by so many people, you can find tutorials all over the internet. There are professional classes on websites like Lynda.com or an endless supply of free, fan-made tutorials on YouTube. These will really come in handy because Adobe’s products aren’t always beginner-friendly. They take time and tutorials to truly master.

3. The pricing structure is reasonable

While there has been some critique of Creative Cloud’s pricing structure, there are definitely benefits. Beginners and those serving in ministry cannot always shell out hundreds (or sometimes thousands) for software like this. With CC’s monthly pricing plan, it’s very affordable for people getting started. You can get the entire suite of programs for only $50/month (for two computers). Upgrading from CS4 or higher? You can get a deal for only $30/month. Students can also get a deal for $30/month.

TCP Tip: Only need Photoshop? There is a really sweet deal that is only $10/month. Check it out here. 

Do you use Creative Cloud? Let us know in the comments below!