Coaching

6 Simple Tips to Improve Your Youth Group Videos and Live Streams

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After watching many live-streamed and pre-recorded services, and while struggling to figure out how to do it in my own context, I’ve compiled a list of some things that have helped me, and I think could help you. This isn’t really for the mega-churches and the already-streaming services. This is more for those of us who are having to do this quickly.

1.  Pay attention to the shot
First, when you set up a shot of an individual, the bottom of the shot should be at (or around) the belly button. I’m just gonna leave that here. Next, the top of the shot needs to leave a little space over the head, but not much. Let me explain… in pictures.

This is too much head space:

This is good head space:

2. Sound > Video

When you are planning worship, know that the video is important. HD is great. 1080p =WOW. But if the audio quality is low, the message is going to get lost.

One quick fix I’ve tried is this: I record video on one camera/iPhone. Then I use the Voice Memos app to record audio separately on another phone. I place the audio-recording phone closer to my face. When I edit together in an app like iMovie, I just sync the audio to the video.

If there is no way to do the above, put yourself in a smaller room (where the sound doesn’t bounce everywhere) or bring the camera/iPhone closer to you, so that the audio has a chance or add a better microphone to your phone.

3. Plan for Interaction

What ways are you interacting with your students? Don’t spend all your time editing and posting a video.  Plan for interaction. YouTube and Facebook both allow for live chats and comment sections. This is a cool way to promote conversation in your service. If you are live streaming pr using premier (playing a video as a live stream) be sure to have someone in the live chat while the premiere/live-stream is up.

4. Involve Your Students in the Videos

Plan ahead and ask students to record videos that you can add to what you are doing.  Whether they are reading scripture or doing a weird Tie Tok dance for a game, get their videos ahead of time and add them to what you are doing!

5. Watch Your Livestream & Take Notes
When it’s over, take the time to watch YOUR livestream. AND…take time to watch other churches. What are they doing well? What are they doing poorly? What could you do better? Is it awkward? Is it smooth? Watch it and get ready. It’s hard to do.

6. Play to Your Strengths
Ultimately, know your strengths and play to them. What do people love about your church? Are you super relational? Then create your videos and livestreams in a more relational way. Are you high church and liturgical? How could you be creative in translating that to a 30-minute worship service online?

Do you have multiple cameras and audio equipment? Great.

Do you have an iPhone and nothing else? No problem.

Whatever you have, use it, but don’t over-extend yourself. You don’t have to be a super-production to communicate the love and grace of God. Be yourself. Be the church. Simply take some time to figure out your options for audio and video quality, use them to the best of your ability, and be joyful!

Andrew currently serves as the Associate Pastor of Northbrook United Methodist Church in Roswell, GA. He has 8 years of youth ministry experience, an M.Div. from Candler School of Theology, a passion for reading all things by Richard Rohr, and a love for Stranger Things. He also maintains his own blog at https://medium.com/@andrewdavischappell

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