Posted in Personal Thoughts by Mike

I am frustrated. I want to be inspired. I want to be moved. I want something I can feel proud to show people. I’d LOVE something to be able to show someone who isn’t even a Christian. Something that would at least get them to think or plant a seed. But most of the christian videos being made today still have such a low quality look and are just recycling the same cliches. Why can’t we in the christian community develop unique ways of presenting biblical truths?

So here are some overused ideas (with some sarcasm) I can’t stand anymore:

1. Man on the street interviews (if I see another christian “man on the street” video again, im going to scream.. and then cry! okay, I get it. the world is messed up. people have warped opinions out there. they don’t understand the gospel. they think the way to God is to live a good life. I GET IT!! there is just no creativity in this idea whatsoever, so please, i beg you. stop making them. there are already thousands out there. focus on making something that hasn’t been done. something that will move people to act)
2. Still slide shows with a popular christian song in the background and some text thrown over it (anyone can put together a slide show. its called windows movie maker. it comes with windows. its free. I’m not impressed. I’m embarrassed this is the best most people will push themselves to put out. and how about writing your own music or using music from someone who isn’t so mainstream?)
3. Random nature video clips edited together, slapped with a song over it or some text overlay (again, anyone can take video clips of things and put it together in movie maker. TELL A STORY! i see nature everyday. its beautiful. but show me something i havent seen…. a million times)
4. The “video look” (Video tells the mind that you’re watching something that’s happening now. The “film look” tells the mind your watching a story. Stop shooting video with a 30fps camcorder. Be creative! Make it look like film. Either through software or a real 24fp digital camcorder. use DEPTH OF FIELD!)
5. People holding up signs with words written on them or text overlayed over video of people, usually about who they are or something they struggle with (yes, i know everyone has problems. relationship issues. addiction issues. they need Jesus. I know. its lazy and not creative anymore.)

Where is all the creativity? Where is the passion to make short videos that look good and relate truths to us from a new perspective? I’ve only seen about 3 companies that have put out top quality stuff. The people who make the nooma videos are incredible although I have a problem with Rob bell himself. I think though from a film making point of view, the videos themselves are top notch. Their stuff looks like film. The music they use is not mainstream. Its not cheesy looking. Its well written. They appeal to both the secular world and christian world.

I don’t write this to hurt anyone. I just want creative people to push themselves and people who aren’t creative to stop trying to be. Use the gifts God has given you and always try to improve on the gifts he gave. If your passion and gift is video, don’t try to be a writer. Find someone who God has gifted in that area and work together. Don’t try to be a master of all. Focus on your specific talent.

I know video is expensive. I know its time consuming. BUT there are some great tools out there that can make your stuff look great (i know the look isn’t all there is to making a good video but it sure helps alot). I’d to see people use things like magic bullet looks, shoot in 24p, and use a lens adapter to simulate depth of field. Look at what this kid did with just a canon hv20 camcorder!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 1st, 2008 at 2:28 pm and is filed under Personal Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

10 Responses to “Where is the good Christian content?”

  1. Travis Knight Says:

    If only Max Lucado would make videos.

    So many are looking for feel good relief in media.

    However, I fear we will not discover such relief, but rather must find comfort in the knowledge of Christ and Him crucified, thus allowing us a ticket far away from this world gone rouge.

  2. Scott Coers Says:

    Wow that is quite the rant. I have been a pro designer for about 6 years. I stumbled into the mychurchwebsite page and through my wanderings found your blog. I would have to agree with most everything you said. I hate christian movies, I personally think that for the most part they are either dumb or they end up try to portray christians as these DEEP phylosphical beings. Anyway your stuff is really good.

  3. Sam Says:

    My guess would be that there are several factors: cost (good video cameras have to pay for themselves, ’cause they sure ain’t cheap), training (like a background in cinematography for those sweet shots), experience (a worship pastor putting something together every several months just ain’t going to cut it at the higher levels), and other stuff like lighting equipment, etc.

    But what do I know. =) If you want to start posting regular tips on Christian video creative though, I have some friends who might be interested. And I’m sure there’d be plenty of others.

  4. Cris Says:

    Hey. Not to be weird and sales pitchy, but you could take a peek at my work online at BeamerFilms.com. I own my own studio with high end equipment and a ton of money wrapped up in film education. You may love or hate my stuff. I’m trying to do exactly what you mentioned above. Provide unique material that’s outside the norm.

    Take a look, if you get a chance.



  5. David Says:

    Thanks for the NOOMA props. Keep your eyes peeled. More great stuff to come…

  6. Felix Says:

    Do you like what they’re doing at Granger? http://www.gccwired.com/
    You’re really good!

  7. Jim Leinbaugh Says:

    I completely agree… but you forgot to list the Mac vs. PC commercials. I actually run my own video production company and we are in the process of getting out of the corporate/sales video arena to dedicate ourselves to full-time Christian media. I run media for our church and I can’t tell you the HOURS I spend trying to find something powerful, professional, pointed, etc. that is relevant.

  8. Brent Says:

    Well said. I think your list is pretty good. Watching through some of the sermon illustration short film websites makes me sick to my stomach. literally.

    Also, i’t s funny that Nooma and Beamer showed up in the comments. Hey guys.

  9. John Falke Says:

    We just launched a website of free sermon series content, including graphics, photoshop files, video bumpers, countdowns, and more. Check it out at http://www.openresources.org.

  10. Scott Gould Says:

    I do the media at a small church in the UK and I totally agree with what you are saying – the trouble I have is that I AM the media department – how do you go about being more creative when resources are so limited (and I mean time more than money).

    After a few years I feel like I am drying up!

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