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5 Tips for shooting compelling video

A powerful way to enhance worship and grab visitors' attention on your website is to tell your church's story through video. Whether it's a greeting from your pastor, a touching story or a high-energy clip of your youth group, video is priceless. But you don't need an elaborate Hollywood set-up to produce quality clips. Here are five quick tips for creating compelling video with simple equipment like a cell phone or a digital camera.

1. Be prepared.
Before you even power up the camera, outline your project on paper. Ask yourself the following questions: What's the purpose of this video? Who is your audience? Where should you shoot? Whom should you interview? It's also a good idea to conduct interviews first. That way, you can get cutaway shots afterward that correspond with what the interviewee described.

2. Slow and steady wins the race.
Give your video a professional edge by avoiding unnecessary fast, jerky shots and zooms. Use a tripod or simply brace your elbow with your non-shooting hand… like this (demonstrate).

3. Quiet on the set.
Try to avoid noisy backgrounds during interviews. We know that's not always possible. If you can't escape the noise, show the source of it in the background of the shot. Your viewers will be much more understanding of the distraction.

4. Lighten up.
Avoid high-contrast scenes as much as possible. Put your subjects in even light to avoid distracting shadows. Also, avoid backgrounds that are too dark or too bright like shooting someone in front of a window. Check out the difference even lighting makes.

5. Framing is everything.
Use wide shots to identify your location, and then get close-ups to give your viewers an intimate feel for the setting and action. For interviews, use close-up shots, but set your camera in a way that your subject doesn't completely fill the frame. This will allow viewers to get a sense of the background.

That's it! Now, you're ready to shoot! To see these tips in action and to get inspiration, check out videos that UMTV has produced. Go to or