I have written eight blogposts for the Big Bible Project since the summer, and I was keen to do something different this month. I wanted to record a video about how easy it is to use video online.
- You can use your webcam to speak with friends and family over Skype – it’s so much better than a phone call!
- You can use YouTube to share videos – they will be seen by more people than your blog.
- You can experiment with different media – animations are always a hit and soundtracks create a mood more easily than mere text.
In theory, making video and sharing it online has never been easier. Most laptops now come with a built-in webcam and microphone. Those that don’t can have one added by USB and the price of a meal out. YouTube, Skype, Vimeo, Facebook and Twitter are all free and easy to use.
Moreover, video is a highly effective means of communication. It grabs the attention more than written text because it provides multi-sensory stimulation. It allows you to set a context more effectively than a blogpost would – recording a video in your living room makes you look hospitable; recording one in front of a packed bookshelf makes you look learned; recording one in the midst of graffiti-clad walls makes you look edgy.
If video is so easy to use and so effective, it’s easy to wonder why we don’t use it more.
So I tried. I tried and I tried and I tried, but it was no good at all. Every take was awful. My head was all slanty. My voice sounded all robotic. I lost eye contact with the camera. I forgot what I was going to say. My cat started licking his nether regions.
In the end I had to abandon the project altogether (in the interests of time and my sanity) and I wrote this instead.
Video could be a fantastic means of communication for the church. Many Christian institutions use video very effectively already, either for advertising events or uploading sermons, but I would love to see more laypeople using video online, alongside their blogging/tweeting/commenting and so on.
- We can use video to meet with those whom we cannot see in person. I know of one house group that uses Skype to allow a member who travels abroad to meet with them when he’s out of the country. Is there anyone who you can’t meet with in person but you could meet with online?
- We can spice up our church notices by recording some of them on video. People pay more attention to video than other media and they remember more details from it. And church notices do tend to be quite dull and forgettable!
- We can use video to make a personal connection with ‘outsiders’. A one-minute video on your church website, introducing the minister and giving a feel for what an average service looks like, would make people feel more comfortable about visiting because they would know what to expect. For individuals, a video message to a friend might be preferable to a letter or email just as a video call might beat the telephone.
What are your experiences of using video online? If you have never tried it, why not? If you have, what kind of videos do you use? What sort of responses do you get? What do you prefer about video, and what do you think the drawbacks are? And if anyone can offer any advice on how to overcome my own frustrations, I would greatly appreciate it. Perhaps next month I might finally be able to post a video blog!