Creating an Effective Announcement Video – The Technical Side

This is the second part of a multi-part series that walks you through the necessary items to craft an effective Announcement Video, based upon my experiences, my successes, and my failures.

Okay. Get ready for the basics of your video. This is all of the nitty-gritty that you will need to know to succeed at creating great Announcement Videos that will leave a deep impact on your students (or at least help them to remember the announcements better). Here are the technical aspects of crafting a great Announcement Video.

  • Start With a Quality Camera: When I first started, I was using an old JVC GR-SXM240 VHS-C camcorder that Kelly had from before we got married. The quality was decent, but the transfer process was long, and it only recorded one channel of audio (thus all of my videos were mono). I since have moved on to a JVC  Everio-G HDD camera. The quality and transfer are both much better, but it captures into a format that I have to render into a different format in order to use it with our editing software. I have also recently gained access to the church’s new Canon XL2 Mini-DV. I can capture the footage directly to my hard drive (or to digital tape and capture later with virtually no quality loss) and edit from there. I have also heard of announcements filmed on a Flip Mino or other smaller device that turned out great. All this to say that your video quality is an investment. The more you can invest, the better your videos will look. But don’t break the bank on it. Video Announcements should be a small portion of your ministry.
  • Start With a Quality Video Editing Program: I started on Windows Movie Maker, which is very user-friendly, and the end product is good for most formats and settings (as long as you use Windows). Currently I use Sony Vegas Movie Studio, which is a bit more complex than Windows Movie Maker, but nowhere near as difficult as Adobe After Effects can be. There will be a learning curve on any software you use, but that curve should shrink as you use it more often. You should not have to spend a lot of time on the editing process for an Announcement Video, so find a software quite that you understand and are comfortable with using. It should make your job easier, not more difficult.
  • Know Who is Watching: In our area, High-Speed internet is not incredibly common. In fact, a lot of our teens still have dial-up internet access. Keeping that in mind, I try not to have our videos run too long, so that we don’t have teens waiting hours for a video to load. Each of our Announcement Videos shoots to be around 7 minutes in length. It provides us adequate time to communicate our information and still keep it fresh.
  • Start With Great Lighting: Don’t keep your audience in the dark. Make sure that you spend a little time reading about 3-point lighting, and if you are filming outside, make sure that the sun is behind you, otherwise you run the risk of having a silhouette giving your announcements.
  • Know Your Format: Something I’ll touch more on later when I talk about hosting, but different sites (and different programs) require different video formats. Is it WMV? MPEG? Quicktime? How you display and share your video will determine how you render it.

That’s it for the technical side today. Tomorrow, look for the Creative side of things.

Other Parts in This Series: