Tag Archives: video

Never without a tripod – foam cup tripod

I needed a quick tripod for a Flip camera.

I don’t have one of the fun little table ones.

I didn’t know where to find  a bag of rice or beans or sand.

I didn’t want a huge one that is way too obvious.

I used what I almost always have available.

I used a styrofoam cup.

I also used some gaffers tape, but that was insurance.

foam cup tripod view 2a foam cup tripod view 1


A conversation with Hope – deliberate practice in practice

Easter is a busy time at churches.

Sunday evening, after three services and lunch and naps and a drive, Hope and I headed for a wings place to use her coupon for a free dessert. Nancy enjoyed some time at home.

It was a fun time to talk. Among other things, we talked about working hard, about doing things well.  I made a distinction that, as I listened to myself (which happens occasionally) ended up being pretty helpful.

On one hand, I said, there times that we finish an event, a task, a project, and we say, “I should have done better. I could have done that differently. That wasn’t very good.” If we are unable to identify exactly what we could have done better, we probably are talking out of guilt or false modesty.

On the other hand, I said, there are times that we finish and we say, “This is what I can do better or differently the next time.”  When that happens, we are on our way to actually improving our effectiveness.

I asked if she understood. She did. She offered a perfect example (which I won’t share.) And if she does what she said she needs to, it will in fact improve her performance in a specific setting.

I do, however, have an example I can share from my own experience yesterday.

We, like many churches, usually hand out a bulletin, a program, every Sunday. Like many churches, we usually put an ad in the paper for Easter, inviting people. Like many churches, we usually print invitations for people to give to friends inviting them to Easter services.

This year we didn’t do any of that.

Instead, we produced a DVD with four segments about our church. (Here’s one of the video segments ‘starring’ me.) We tried to give guests and regulars a picture of what we are doing every week, not just on Sundays. We handed them out to every family group that came on Sunday.

A great idea. (And our attendance didn’t suffer)

However, we have already had some feedback that some people don’t know how to use a DVD. We also found out that our website didn’t list our special service times on the front page.

It would be easy to say, “we failed.” But that would be silly. More than 1150 people showed up and had a great and thoughtful morning. 400 family groups have DVDs. Some have already watched them. And only a couple people reported not having the times…but they did make it into the building anyway.

We can, however, do better in specific ways. We can do a video on how to play a DVD and play it in the service most likely to not know how to use this format.  We can make a checklist that says “for Easter, list times on the sign, in the newsletter, on the website.” We can keep looking for opportunities to be even more effective.

Hope knows what she’ll be working on this week. I know what I’ll be working on this week.

But what about you? What one thing do you know that you can fix in what you are already doing well?

learning about how I think

I’m in the middle of a large creative project. With a clear deadline. And lots of pieces that–at this point–I need to figure out.

As the project moves along,  I will get other people involved. I will get help. I will make it more fully be about us. But at this point, it is me.

I have a list of people that I owe emails that I’m not getting to. And the longer the time goes, the more frustrated those people are likely feeling. And the more frustrated I’m feeling about not answering.

In trying to understand the problem this morning, I realized that when I am doing this kind of project, all the parts of my brain that are about intentional creative problem-solving and implementing are going toward the project. As a result, any other conversations that require me to be creative and thoughtful and committed suffer.

A post? No commitment so it’s easy. A schedule question? Commitment so it’s hard. A project in the future? No commitment so it’s easy. Lunch choice today? A commitment so it’s hard. An excuse? Easy. An explanation? Hard because it involves writing a story.

In the past, I would look at this as failure. “Why can’t I do everything.” Today, it’s opportunity. “How can I take this understanding of what is making thinking so challenging and refine what I’m doing, how I’m interacting?”

Not a big post, I know. But a big deal to me. So I thought I’d share it. And then go back to creating and committing.


The project? We decided to give the people who show up at our church services on Easter Sunday a DVD about us. 5 video shorts that say “here’s what happens the rest of the week, the rest of the year.” It will be great for guests, but it will also be great for regulars who don’t see all the pieces.

Running 900 copies will be easy. Right now, I’m shooting. That’s the challenge.

By the way, if you’d like a copy when we’re done, let me know.

How to make a DVD for 175 kids

For six Saturdays in the late winter, 175 kids grades 1-8 come to our church gym to play basketball and cheer. They have fun.

At the end of the season, there is an awards night. One of our staff members always creates a slide show of pictures from the season. One day I thought, “we could put it on a DVD and hand it out to everyone.”

It was a great thought.

But then I had to do it.

I decided to create a DVD with three pieces: the year-end show, a greeting from our senior pastor, and a video of all 280 pictures we shot during the season.

1. Can I create an editable video from PowerPoint? Yes, with EffectMatrix Software’s Free PowerPoint Video Converter. It exports the show as a .wmv file which I can edit in Windows Movie Maker.

2. Can I create an editable video file from more than 250 images? In the past, PowerPoint was impossible for this because you had to add each image individually. I looked at a number of free things today…and then discovered that PowerPoint 2007 allows you to insert a photo album, any collection of pictures. It creates a show with each image on its own slide. You then add transitions, compress the images, and use the program in the last point to convert it to video.

3. Can I create a video of my boss with a Flip? Yes. The quality of a Flip Video Mino Series Camcorder is great for what we are doing.

4. Can I find free music to use for production? Yes. Kevin MacLeod at Incompetech makes wonderful production music, royalty free.  Be sure to give him credit.

5. Can I edit it inexpensively? Yes. I have AVID Xpress Pro PC. I use Window Movie Maker. There’s a lot of power for layering video and audio.(really).

6. Can I make a master inexpensively? Yes. Our HP computer came with Sonic’s MyDVD. It’s a very basic version, but it allows me to use my own background images, create menus, and burn a master.

7. Can I burn copies inexpensively? Yes. DVD blank: 20 cents. DVD label: 20 cents. Printing label on copier:  .5 cents.  Paper sleeve: 7 cents. We have a high-speed duplicator that burns three copies at a time, but you could do them one at a time.

For less than 50 cents of direct cost, each family will have a record of the season.

I know that I could use other software, better equipment. But one of my challenges is to do things with maximum impact for minimum expense. This project used software and equipment already available to me.

And here’s the fun part: the disks get handed out on Sunday evening. It’s Thursday night and they are all done.

one hundred feet

This screen hangs on the wall in the lobby. It is a nice screen. It is a nice lobby.

One hundred feet from this screen you can watch the concert live.

  • One hundred feet from this screen you can hear the singing in three dimensions rather than flat, from speakers.
  • One hundred feet from this screen you can be in the experience rather than watching the experience.
  • One hundred feet from this screen you can clap and people will hear.
  • One hundred feet from this screen you can see faces clearly.
  • One hundred feet from this screen you can see others watching and listening with you.
  • One hundred feet from this screen the people on the stage could see you watching them.
  • One hundred feet from this screen they would know that you are involved and could respond to your response.
  • One hundred feet from this screen you have to silence your phone and your voice and maybe your heart.
  • One hundred feet from this screen you have to choose to be present.
  • One hundred feet from this screen you are part of a community.

One hundred feet from this screen you can watch the concert live … and live.