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Christian Video速 Magazine

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April 2010 VOL. 3, NO. 4

7 Greg’s Toolkit

Above and Beyond by GREGORY FISH

11 Article

Sherlock Holmes Sorcery and Resurrection by MARTIN BAGGS

Editorial  3

14 Article Cover Story  4

What to Always Keep in Your Car - Part 2 by JON BARNES

Mediashout Version 4 The “High-Water” for Multimedia in Ministry by TERRY WILHITE

16 Audible Audio for Video Special Feature  9 For Those Who Have Ears by JAY M. DELP

Christian Video® Magazine

Overseas Video Production: 101 by M.D. NEELY

April 2010

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from the desk of the editor

by STEVE HEWITT

Can Your Church be Found in the Second Most Popular Search Site on the Web? We have another great issue for you this month! I hope you will take some time to check out each and every article. I especially hope you will read this month’s cover story. MediaShout has been one of our first sponsors of Christian Video Magazine, and their support has enabled close to 90,000 Christians the opportunity to receive Christian Video each month, free of charge. Are You on YouTube? Everyone knows that Google is the number one place people go to when they are searching for information, but did you know the number two site is YouTube? You can do a search on about any subject and you will find a video! The other day, my son was trying to change the brakes on his old truck. We did a search on YouTube, and sure enough, there were about a half dozen videos showing us specifically how to change out the brakes on his make and model truck! I am sure most of us have made sure our churches have a Website, so people searching for our church can find us. But, does your church have a video on YouTube? If not, this might need to be your next video project! If you create one, send me a link so I can take a look! Together We Serve Him,

Christian Video Magazine is published monthly by Christian Video Magazine, Inc. Editor-in-Chief Steve Hewitt – steve@ccmag.com Production Daystar Digital Design Mike Hewitt Contributing Editors George Temple Gregory Fish Stewart H. Redwine Mark Carroll Jay M. Delp Martin Baggs Copy Editor Gina Hewitt

Corporate Home Office Mailing Address: PO Box 319 Belton, MO 64012 Phone: (816) 331-5252 Fax: 800-456-1868 Copyright 2010 by Christian Video Magazine, Inc. All Rights Reserved Written materials submitted to Christian Video Magazine become the property of Christian Video Magazine, Inc., upon receipt and may not necessarily be returned. Christian Video Magazine reserves the right to make any changes to materials submitted for publication that are deemed necessary for editorial purposes. The content of this publication is the sole property of Christian Video Magazine. Copy or distribution of articles or content can be done so on an individual basis. Multiple copies or distribution may not be done without the express permission of Christian Video Magazine. Views expressed in the articles and reviews printed within are not necessarily the views of the editor, publisher, or employees of Christian Video Magazine, or Christian Video Magazine, Inc.

Steve Hewitt

Christian Video® Magazine

April 2010

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Cover Story By TERRY WILHITE

Mediashout Version 4 The “High–Water Mark” for Multimedia in Ministry

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hat happens on your projection screen at your church when the worship leader suddenly decides to sing a chorus twice? When it comes time to show a video, is there deafening silence while the sound operator switches from the computer to a DVD player, or worse yet, a VCR? What happens when there’s a sudden change in the order of worship and a hymn has to be deleted or a spontaneous testimonial time is added?

Rolling with the flow has never been as important in church worship as it is today, and there’s never been as much demand to get it right which means the technology and the people running it must be transparent. Thankfully, there’s a multimedia system that will not falter under high expectations. It’s called MediaShout Version 4. If any of the earlier questions brought back nightmarish thoughts of worship services of yore, please listen closely. And, if you’re using PowerPoint® - which way too many churches continue to use - you should know that the highwater mark for church presentation software is not made by Microsoft. And oh, if you think that because your church is small and perhaps cannot afford a better solution or your members are “just use to things not being professional, they’re fine with the quirks”, please listen. No matter how many people attend your services or who you are,

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technology and the people who run it must be transparent. Nothing - me, you or any software should stand in the way of the message. MediaShout Version 4 sets the precedent for how multimedia in worship should be. The software should seamlessly keep pace with the worship leader, no matter how many verses or entire praise choruses he or she decides to sing or drop. Neither should it be difficult to build a multimedia presentation; nor, in the blink of an eye have the right visual on the screen. I want to take you on a little trip through the functionality of this software but let me waste no time in sharing that you can see for yourself the features, advantages and benefits of this software in a “try before you buy” offer, and for a limited time, you can receive $50 worth of free Sermon Spice backgrounds when you purchase the software through www.sermonspice.com.

April 2010

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Cover Story

By TERRY WILHITE

I encourage you to let your pastor, worship leader, sound operator, multimedia staff or volunteers watch the overview video at www. mediashout.com. They’ll see MediaShout Version 4is common sense software and easy for volunteer staffers who will love how it helps get video, accompaniment tracks, lyrics and scripture verses in order and (ssssh!) prevent mistakes often attributed to the multimedia team but are really the worship leader’s fault. (I know that has never happened at your church.) Once the software is launched, you’ll see the large middle section of the screen is devoted to a list of presentation elements that are set to occur during the worship service. MediaShout Version 4 calls this the “Script,” similar to a script in a theatrical production. Events in the script are called “Cues,” once again, similar to a theatrical production. On the left side of the screen, you’ll see an area MediaShout calls “Decks.” Similar to components of your home theater system, the Decks provide easy access to the tools you’ll need o build a presentation: lyrics, Bibles, text, multimedia files, etc. The Elements Deck we see first contains icons of various multimedia types (video, audio, scripture verses, song lyrics, web sites, etc.) To include one of these elements in your script, just

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drag the icon (video for instance) from the deck over to the script and drop your selection to the location of your choice. To the far right are onscreen preview monitors that can be set to preview your presentation, individual decks, or the main output, called “program.”.

April 2010

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Cover Story

By TERRY WILHITE

I cannot go any farther without sharing that one of my pet peeves is to walk in a church sanctuary, even if it’s an hour before a service, and see 50 miniature PowerPoint slides on the screen as they are being checked and resorted. The main reason to use MediaShout Version 4, in my opinion, is that viewers should never ever have to see the seamy side of your technology. The screen should never have to go to black, or worse yet, you should never have to give audiences motion sickness speeding through 10 slides to get to the correct one. These are totally unacceptable occurrences, no matter if you have 25 attendees or 2,500. Preview in MediaShout Version 4 is reserved for the operator, which it should be, and there is absolutely no need no to be fumbling with CD’s for accompaniment tracks, DVDs for video or PowerPoint slides for lyrics. These should all be digitized and “stacked and racked” in MediaShout Version 4. You are neither giving the Lord nor your congregation the best that they deserve fumbling with old resources. Now I’ll get off my soap box and return to the main window. Once you drag a multimedia element, say a video, into the script, you’ll see a new row in the script is added for this cue. Click on the blue play button, or hit the spacebar to play it to your audience. A tape-style button panel at the bottom of the screen allows you to stop and start video, audio or other time-based multimedia. In the lowerright corner you’ll find the “Firebox,” where panic buttons allow you to bring up an image or video of your choice. I have built a church logo graphic that is my standard “in between events” image, and I have one of the panic buttons set to trigger that image. Also included in Firebox is the “Keyed Instant Messenger” where you can easily bring up keyed-text over your existing presentation to do a parent page/call to respond to the nursery. The cues in the script can be easily edited. For example, with lyric cues you can change fonts or

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reposition text boxes and apply changes to every page or individual pages in the cue. Speaking of songs, you can convert PowerPoint slides to editable text or import song lyrics from CCLI’s Song Select lyric service. Motion backgrounds can be set up to go behind your lyrics and they can be instantly changed. Furthermore, over 50 Bible translations are included and easy search features allows you to find the verse you need by reference or keyword, and have it on the screen in an instant. One of my favorite new features is the ability to send a lyrics-only feed to the choir or musicians, called “Stage Display.” This gives your leaders a teleprompter-like view with large, readable text. As great software should, you can take MediaShout Version 4 to whatever depth you desire (there are more bells and whistles that I did not cover), but you’ll find it to be a solid solution that you can run with and enjoy right out of the box. In summary, you and I cannot be the reason people don’t get the message that can change their now and their forever. Our ability to supply strong visuals seamlessly and professionally is not optional. Second-rate solutions or software designed for the business world doesn’t measure up. MediaShout Version 4 has proven itself to be the industry standard for multimedia in ministry, and it is worthy of your use. -----Terry Wilhite is a popular writer and speaker. He is a multimedia and communications specialist and is responsible for multimedia at his own church. He welcomes a visit to his web site at www.terrywilhite.com. His e-mail address is ccmag@terrywilhite.com.

April 2010

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Greg’s Toolkit by GREGORY FISH

Above and Beyond

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ou’ve heard it a million times in many different scenarios. “Go above and beyond the call of duty.” Could this be applicable to our videos? Yes, I do believe so. Allow me to explain. There are many simple video techniques that many people can use in the creation of their videos. These days, kids in Jr. High and High School are learning how to do simple edits and title overlays. Youtube and other sites have given many people the opportunity to throw together little videos and send them off to the masses. Many of these are done with free software like Windows Movie Maker. I can tell because I know the preset animations and default fonts used by this program. My point here is that tons of people can make a simple video about anything. However, we make videos about God and His Kingdom. It’s a higher calling. That should drive us to go above and beyond the call of duty. Our standard should be one of excellence and it should distinguish us and our creations from the rest.

Editing with free software is fine. In fact, in other articles I’ve encouraged it; especially if you are just beginning to edit video.  But once you have a few projects under your belt it’s time to expand your horizons and separate yourself from the pack.  Branch out to using interesting fonts (readable ones, of course).  Use programs that are less automatic – ones that you have greater control over.  Do this so that no one can guess what program you used.  For me it’s a distraction to recognize the program used when I see a video such as those edited with Pinnacle Studio or others.  Don’t use default presets very often.  If you do, pick one and then alter it a little.  Going above and beyond, means that you spend more time in production and post-production.  Spending more time translates into a better quality product.  Who we are doing this for demands that we give it our all!

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Photoshop® is one program that can really help raise the level of quality in your videos. You may think to yourself that Photoshop® is not for video but rather for photos.  Yes.  But we use still (static) images in video all the time and put motion to them.  We use text overlays all the time and Photoshop® is good for that.  Your non-linear video software may support titles.  Fine!  Photoshop® gives you so many more options to make those titles and overlays and whatever you need to really standout.  More on this later. Is the work really worth the effort?  Although I have struggled with this question, I think so.  Many times it’s easier just to slap on some generic titles and call it a day.  The edit is done in no time, and you can be on to something else.  After all, who’s really going to notice how hard or easy it was to put together?  While there’s some truth to that, I think April 2010

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Greg’s Toolkit

by GREGORY FISH

the overall impression makes a difference. I think there’s a subconscious thought process that occurs when something is well made that causes us to recognize it.  When another piece is thrown together quickly it becomes just as obvious.  Can you tell a difference in local TV ads and national ones?  Of course!  More money is spent on ads made by the big advertisers and there is a noticeable contrast between the two.  You know when a commercial is local.  Unfortunately, we Christians have been known for being behind the times when it comes to creating videos and therefore creating sub-par media.  Many on the cutting edge though are changing those perceptions. Let me give you an example of a video where I applied this idea.  The concept and process was so easy.  Several months ago I had filmed some kids from church saying what they were thankful for.  While I videoed them saying their part, I also had them recite the 10 commandments which they had recently memorized.  The 10 Commandments video- (http://sermonspice.com/product/31846/10commandments-by-kids) was such a simple edit. Maybe that’s why I almost forgot about it.  So, when I started piecing this video together I could have finished in record time.  String together the best takes, put in order, check volume levels (especially with kids speaking), then add music, titles…Presto!  It was the titles and overlays that I took some time to improve.  I had the idea to bring the stone tablets in and out as I switched out the kids.  The easy route would be to add black text on the tablets with a number sign of the designated commandment.  I decided to go above and beyond by opting to etch these titles in the stone.  This took quite a bit more time to accomplish, being that I had no idea how to do this.  Well, what do you do when you want to learn a new trick?  Obviously, you turn to the World Wide Web to try to find a couple of tutorials that can help.  I ended up being able to pull it off after a couple of hours of tinkering in Photoshop®.  I’m glad I did.  Though it is a subtle change and will be overlooked by many, it gives it a little bit more of a professional touch.  I’m an advocate of doing the best work you can do with

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the equipment and skill set at your disposal and by taking this extra time, I could really add to the production value of this simple little video. I’m also considering making this wacky video that’s kind of out there. It could be very simple and easy with a plain, solid color in the background.  Or I could spend a lot more time with a green screen and lively backgrounds to bring it to life and really sell the concept.  Going above and beyond is worth the extra work involved.  Another way to give an extra effort is to star in your own videos.  In many of my videos, I’m the main actor, mainly because I don’t want to bother any of my friends too much or take the time to direct someone, when I can do it myself.  That may not be the best reasoning, but it is what it is.  In this crazy video, http://sermonspice.com/product/31532/afools-tale, I really went above and beyond, because on this one, I was the actor who sustained a big injury.  It took me over a month to be back to 100% strength after this foolish wipe out on skis.  Actually, when I captured this fall on video I wasn’t setting out to make an illustration.  After the fall, my buddy asked what type of illustration I’d make out of it, and I told him that I wasn’t planning on anything from it.  But then that got me thinking, and this video was a result of that brainstorm.  I encourage you to go above and beyond with your videos, but please don’t go out and injure yourself.   Gregory is a preacher in South Texas with a passion for combining the timeless message of God’s grace with the technology of our day.  On the side he produces videos for “FishXpressions” at http://sermonspice.com/ producers/profile/285. Without formal training, he has set out to learn how to create better and higher quality films. Apart from this column, he also maintains a production blog with tips, helpful links, and other musings at www.fishxpressions.wordpress.com.

April 2010

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Special Feature

by M.D. NEELY

Overseas Video Production: 101

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have filmed some amazing stories in my role as Video Director with the international ministry Christ in Youth. Many people I talk to are interested in filming on their church mission trips and ask for my advice. Most questions deal with equipment. I’m often asked “What camera should I use to shoot?” or “What microphone should I take?” The equipment I choose for shooting overseas is much like the equipment I choose for domestic shooting…it is important, but there are other priorities. To help you increase the production value of your mission’s video with little-to-no cost I have put together a “Top 5” list of solutions for you and your church or ministry. These are not necessarily in order of importance and what they require of you will obviously vary depending on your specific situation. 5. Use a Tripod. One of the trademarks of a poorly produced video of any kind is shaky, unwatchable camera work. This will be the easiest way to increase your production value. Invest in a good tripod, because they don’t get upgraded like cameras and computers, and you’ll always need one. There are obviously going to be times when shooting with a tripod is impractical for various reasons. Shoot handheld, but do your absolute best to hold the camera as stable as possible. Establish your scene with a wide exterior pan of your location. Boom! Instant production value! 4. Have a Plan--but be ready to change it. My favorite professor in film school always said, “Movies are made in preproduction.” I always thought that was relegated to narrative filmmaking, with a script and actors. What

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I have found is that it translates very well into documentary filmmaking too. The key difference that I find in documentary filmmaking, is things are more apt to change. And they change more dramatically because there are so many variables involved with shooting in a foreign country. This is ok if you have a plan. You should go in with a clear goal of how you are going to tell the story, who you want to talk to, where you want to go, and what is the ultimate message you’re trying to convey. However, I have found time and time again that God often intervenes, either while filming, traveling, editing or somewhere in between and you need to be willing to embrace a change from the original plan rather than fight it. 3. Tell a Story. One of the things that hurts missions videos the most is there is no story. Clips are April 2010

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Special Feature

by M.D. NEELY

arranged in a montage fashion with a Chris Tomlin song beneath them aaaaand…that’s it. Aside from being a copyright violation, this video isn’t very interesting. While it may provide an emotional roller coaster, it doesn’t really say much or call anyone to respond. If your church is going on a trip to see how God is working outside your everyday context, a story deserves to be told. People want to be moved to action, and when your video tells a personal story, people want to get involved. 2. Invest time in learning the culture before you leave. Check out a book from the library on the location you’re visiting. The “Culture Shock” series is great. You can read one in a couple days and have a much better grasp for the culture you’re walking into. You will want to know what is culturally acceptable to film and what isn’t. Resourcing the missionaries on the ground as to the specifics of the culture in the area that you’ll be filming is absolutely critical. I have also found that taking some time to meet the people you’re going to film before cameras and microphones come out goes a long way in making them feel comfortable. This also affords you the ability to scout locations and see how they sound and look --– and helps you deal with other logistical issues you may encounter before you’re actually filming. 1. Give the people in your film a voice. Once you’ve researched the culture, try and figure out a creative way that the people in your film can speak through a medium that is comfortable for them. Do they dance? Act? Sing? You might be surprised to find what traditions the culture you’re visiting practices. I have found that no matter where some one is from, everyone appreciates it when you go through the trouble of learning about their culture and how they communicate. An example of this

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would be the film I just finished editing, “Zambia’s Song”—which is about the water crisis in Ndola, Zambia. I knew ahead of time that people in Zambia love to sing, so we recorded different people singing while in Ndola. Part of what drives the story is the singing of the people. They now play an active role in telling the story. Another crucial way of allowing the people whose story you are telling to have a voice is the subtitling of your film. My personal opinion is that subtitling a film is one more way you are letting the person on screen communicate directly to your audience. While it might seem counterintuitive, I can attest to the success of this after 2 straight years of using subtitling in our films. Our film “Baht” was completely subtitled for almost 30 minutes and we did not receive a single complaint. I will also say that subtitling is very time consuming and requires extra planning. You need to budget proper time in country for the translation process, which can take hours depending on the volume of content. Make sure your translator is very fluent in English and understands ahead of time how grueling sitting at a laptop can be for long periods of time. I hope that these 5 tips are helpful for you. The next time you travel overseas try to put these into practice. I’d love to hear how they have benefited your production or any tips you may have. “Zambia’s Song” will premiere nationwide this summer at Christ In Youth’s high school intentional event, MOVE (http://www.ciy.com/move). M.D. Neely is the Director of Video at Christ in Youth. He loves documentary filmmaking and is currently developing a documentary focused on telling the story of the modern day persecuted church.

April 2010

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Article

by MARTIN BAGGS

Sherlock Holmes Sorcery and Resurrection

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ot being an aficionado, when I picture Sherlock Holmes I see a thin middle-aged man with a deerstalker hat and a meerschaum pipe saying, “Elementary, my dear Watson,” to his graying sidekick. This probably comes from watching earlier films starring Basil Rathbone. Robert Downey Jr.’s version of the great detective blows my image to smithereens in a fun explosion of semi-comedic action that employs none of these stock preconceptions. But this Sherlock Holmes is apparently quite true to Conan Doyle’s original creation.

bare-knuckle fight scene. In the ring with a brute of There has been an onslaught of reboots in a boxer, surrounded by gambling Cockneys, Holmes the last couple of years. J.J. Abram’s Star Trek was a reprise of the classic TV series of the 60s, reimag- is simply playing with the man until his patience wears thin. Then Ritchie shows Holmes thinking ining and reinventing the characters with a new through his planned moves and counter moves like storyline. Director Guy Ritchie here restarts the a chess grand-master, elaborating the extent of the Sherlock Holmes character, with some finesse and upcoming injuries, all in a stop-action visual apa dash of flair. Indeed, Downey’s career itself has proach. Once satisfied with been rebooted, his attack, Holmes executes first as Tony Stark Remember, before showing clips from it swiftly. What a kick, in Iron Man and movies, be sure you have a license to do literally! This is Holmes the now here as Holbrawler. That is part of the so. Check out Church Video License to mes. From drugs fun, as Ritchie lets us see to jail and back to be sure you are legal. www.cvli.com from Holmes perspective, stardom, he won giving insight into the man the 2010 Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy for this role. These and his phenomenal thinking. His renowned powers of deduction are are two franchises that rely on the charm and chaunderscored in a terrific restaurant scene. While risma of the actor. Apart from him, both would be waiting to be joined by his friend and sidekick Dr. less enjoyable. Watson (Jude Law) and Watson’s fiancée Mary Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes is as strong physiMorstan (Kelly Reilly), Holmes observes the room cally as he is mentally. This comes across clearly in a

Christian Video® Magazine

April 2010

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Article

by MARTIN BAGGS

with literally all his senses. The camera moves around slowly, in close-up. We see, we hear, we almost smell, all that Holmes is sensing. When Watson and Morstan join him, she requests that he tell her all that he can deduce about her from observation. Not a good idea, as Watson points out. But she insists. When Holmes delivers his detective observations, it is more than she bargained for. He cannot control observing and deducing. This is both a gift and a curse. This brings us to one of the highlights of the film: the chemistry between Holmes and Watson. Downey and Law hit it off as a pair who have moved beyond superficial friendship. They are like the odd couple, knowing each other better than a married pair. When Holmes gripes, “You’ve never complained about my methods before,” Watson retorts: “I’ve never complained! When have I ever complained about you practicing the violin at three in the morning, or your mess, your general lack of hygiene, your experiments on my dog, or the fact that you steal my clothes?” Dripping sarcasm, they are comfortable with each other, vices and all. Although Watson brings more of the comedic relief, the film is stronger when he is with Holmes on screen. Sherlock Holmes opens with the capture of Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). A confessed serial killer and sorcerer, he is convicted and sentenced to execution. At his hanging, Watson is the attend-

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ing physician certifying his death. When Blackwood mysteriously returns from the dead, as alive as ever, fear descends on London, along with more killings. The mysterious magician brings his occult powers and dastardly plans into very the heart of government. Holmes and Watson have their work cut out

April 2010

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Article

by MARTIN BAGGS

to solve the puzzle and avoid a disaster. Magic, sorcery and occult form the backdrop for Blackwood’s plans. Generally, magic is not real; it is usually sleight-of-hand trickery relying on distraction or mechanical preparations. Most magicians today are simply capable tricksters. Sorcery, or black magic, on the other hand is the use of supernatural powers through the aid of evil spirits. Broader still, the occult is the supernatural and its affairs considered as a whole. Biblically, magic is considered in a similar way. The magicians of Pharoah’s Egypt could emulate some of Moses’ miracles through their secret arts (Exod. 8:7) but it is sorcery that carries a strong warning: “Do not practice divination or sorcery” (Lev. 19:26). Involvement with sorcery opens the door to the forces of evil (Eph. 6:12). The biblical writers are in full agreement that there are spiritual beings that are evil. Led by the one called Satan (1 Chron. 21:1), these creatures, or demons, have powers beyond ours (Mk. 5:4) . . . but not beyond God’s (1 Jn. 4:4). Though sometimes people tap into these powers via sorcery, it is a dangerous thing as they are aligning themselves with the devil and against God. Satan’s ultimate destiny is the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:10), and his servants and allies will suffer a similar fate (Rev. 20:14). As the film progresses and moves to its conclusion Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) comes on the scene. One complaint is that she is never really introduced. We don’t learn her back-story, and her relationship with Holmes is unexplained. She was not pervasive in the books, although she did appear in a few. It is unclear if she will be back in future installments. This one leaves her and Blackwood hanging in the wind. A final biblical parallel comes from Blackwood himself. He rose from the dead. There is allusion to resurrection. The biblical accounts identify a number of people who were raised from the dead. The prophet Elisha raised the dead widow’s son (2 Ki. 4:32-35). The apostles Peter and Paul did similar miracles: Peter raised Tabitha (Ac. 9:40), while Paul brought Eutychus back to life (Ac. 20:8-10). Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb after he had been

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there three days (Jn. 11:38-43). However, these were all revivals, not permanent resurrections. The pinnacle of resurrection is Jesus himself. After being beaten, flogged and crucified (Matt. 27:26-44), he was laid to rest in a fresh tomb (Matt. 27:60). But three days later he appeared, alive again, to the women (Matt. 28:9), then the disciples (Matt. 28:17). He had predicted his resurrection from the dead (Jn. 2:19; Lk. 24:7), and he fulfilled it. And unlike the resurrection of Lazarus, Tabitha, or all others for that matter, Jesus did not die again. His new life was eternal. More than this resurrection, though, Jesus stated categorically, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (Jn. 11:25-26) He offers resurrection life to all who would believe in him. His question stands before each of us, “Do you believe this?” Would we be like Lord Blackwood or Lord Jesus? Copyright ©2010, Martin Baggs Martin works as an engineering manager in the high tech industry. He leads a monthly film review group at Mosaic Church in Portland, Oregon. He writes film responses from a biblical perspective on his blog: www.mosaicmovieconnectgroup.blogspot. com Contact: martinbaggs@gmail.com

April 2010

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Article by JON BARNES

What to Always Keep in Your Car- Part 2 Turn your car or van into a mobile media ministry lab.

Michael Knight. Luke Duke. Magnum P.I. Hannibal, Faceman, and Mr. T.

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hat do these fine gentlemen have in common? They all relied on their cars/trucks to support their mission in life. K.I.T.T. was Michael Knight’s omnipotent source of technical power as he battled evil on the road. Mr. T was the driver of the stylish yet utilitarian A-Team van. Bo and Luke Duke relied heavily on their bright orange 1969 Dodge Charger (The “General Lee”) to enhance their stud appeal and blaze a trail through the brackish backwaters of America’s heartland. Let’s face it: Americans are obsessed with their automobiles. We may have a love/ hate relationship with driving, commuting and traffic jams but the bottom line is that most of us can’t imagine life without our cars.

In this article we’re going to talk about how to take advantage of all that driving time and transform your car, truck or van into a mobile media ministry lab. The first thing you need to do is read the previous article on what to always keep in your car (http://www.christianvideomag.com/articles/articles.php?recordID=191). Once you have your gear stocked up (don’t forget that Sharpie) then you’re ready to hit the road. Below is just a sampling of all the things that you can do with your car or truck to create an extraordinary mobile media ministry lab. Lighting An often-neglected function of your car is its bright headlights. It’s amazing how illuminating they can be when projected up against a brick wall, across a dark cornfield for a Signs re-enactment or in the

Christian Video® Magazine

face of your startled senior pastor. Take advantage of your headlights and do video shoots wherever you want! Turn on your car lights and hold a white bed sheet in front of them to diffuse the light. As long as you take your pictures or video somewhere that has automotive access then you’re golden! Congratulations, you just saved $2400 worth of professional studio lighting. Chase Scenes Do you have a favorite movie with a car-chase scene? Is one of your life-long artistic goals to recreate the Paris chase scene from the first Bourne movie? Don’t spend a fortune on an expensive dolly setup to film your own car chase, just open up your sunroof! Creatively position a tripod so that it puts your camera just out of the sunroof and you’re ready to go. No sunroof? No problem! Purchase a $150 power saw from your local hardware store and

April 2010

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Article

by JON BARNES

start cutting. You will capture amazing pictures and video as you drive around town with the camera sticking out of the sunroof. Warning: Beware of low parking garage ceilings and tunnels. Juice Need to recharge your camera batteries or plug-in for an on-the-road editing binge? Stay mobile! Purchase a high-voltage power converter (it converts your cigarette plug into an outlet you’d find at home) and keep working! Take advantage of your passengers and put them to work while you drive. Anyone involved in church media ministries knows that we spend most of our time editing so why keep wasting those precious moments with you and your laptop when you’re stuck in your car? Have an intern in your ministry program? Keep them working while they go out and grab lunch for you and your team. Sound Mixing Got a radio? Most new car radios have an accessory port that allows you to plug in an MP3 player. Find the right cord and you can plug in your laptop, record player, video camera or anything with a 1/8” jack into your car’s audio system (use a $3 adaptor for other size accessories). This is a huge help when you want to see if you’re getting a good sound mix or whether or not your iTunes library is playing your “Swedish Hip Hop” playlist at a different volume level than your “Stalker Love Songs” playlist.. Ever heard that “donk” sound that PCs make when you get an error message? Try hearing it from 8 different crankedup car speakers and a 12” subwoofer box. Truly amazing.

Christian Video® Magazine

Got some more ideas? Post your automotive video genius here and let’s see what you’re up to. Get out there and take your show on the road. We want to hear your stories. To the streets! Jon Barnes is CEO of the Munich Group, Inc., writer, speaker and Knight Rider junkie. You can email him through his website at www.pumthuggee.com © 2010 Jon Barnes

April 2010

15


Audible Audio for Video

by JAY M. DELP

For Those Who Have Ears

I

s it just me or do too many of our own ministry video productions lose their effectiveness due to lousy audio? I’m not thinking so much about the Sunday morning service or sermon. I’m thinking more about those videos we produce outside of the sanctuary such as interviews, dramas, man-on-the-street, etc. Now, ask yourself “Why can’t we hear what was being said on-camera?” In 97.674% of the cases your answer will be one or both of the following: 1) Distance or 2) Din. You camera (and thus the built-in microphone) was too far away from the person speaking or the din of the surrounding noise (traffic, hammers, four-wheelers, power tools, etc.) drowned out the voice of your subject. For some reason, it appears that very few people creating the video think about the fact that their on-camera subject has no chance of being heard by anyone else watching their videotape because they are not capturing good sound. Fewer still are those who actually take the simple steps to correct the audio problem when it can best be corrected...when it’s filmed. I get calls and emails regularly from folks who have a videotape with horrible sound hoping to find some miracle technique or technology for increasing the sound of their subject without increasing the sound of the jack hammer operating 7 feet away!! “Miracle” is the perfect word for this type of request/solution! If the sound is so important now (after the taping is done) why wasn’t it important when something could be done about it (while videotaping)?

Christian Video® Magazine

External Evidence Your most important purchase for correcting these audio problems in our video productions is an external microphone. “External” simply means the microphone is “external” to the camera as opposed to “built-in” or “internal”. The video cameras built-in mic is almost useless, when it comes to recording GOOD sound while interviewing someone, unless a few simple tips are followed (below). For $20-$30 you can pick up a wired lapel mic at Radio Shack or video supply store. Of course, if your budget permits, a high-quality ($200-$500) wireless mic from companies such as Shure, Audio Technica, Sennheiser or Samson would be a wise long-term investment, if you are going to be videotaping people speaking regularly. Make sure the mic has the type of connection directly compatible April 2010

16


Audible Audio for Video

by JAY M. DELP

with the mic input on your camcorder (hopefully standard XLR). Most consumer video cameras have a “mini jack” (1/8”) mic input. A few camcorders do not have ANY mic input so avoid those “streamlined” models when camcorder shopping. More advanced camcorders have professional (XLR) mic inputs which offer even greater sound quality and flexibility especially when patching into the church’s sound board for a direct audio feed to videotape. This is probably as good a time as any to highlight a great little accessory for overcoming the incompatibility of XLR audio/mic sources with 1/8” mini-jack mic inputs on camcorders. Beachtec (and now other companies) makes a XLR-to-1/8” audio converter (model DXA-4P that attaches in between your camcorder and tripod which does a nice job of making the conversion. Some models even have left and right channel audio controls. Cost? About $175.00-$200.00), depending on where you shop. Well worth it. The second most important accessory is a pair of headphones. If you use an external microphone without headphones it’s not a question of IF you will lose your audio but WHEN. Clip the microphone 6-10” inches below the subject’s mouth making sure that no clothing or jewelry is rubbing against the microphone head. Head-

Christian Video® Magazine

phones will reveal this as well as wind noise and “popping P’s” which can wreak havoc on your sound track. Obviously, we can’t always go running around clipping a mic on every person we want to speak on tape nor do we need to. For those situations where you’re “running and gunning” with the video camera or when it just wouldn’t be appropriate to pull out a microphone (wired or wireless) here are some “sound” tips for recording useable (read: audible) audio on your video. 1. Minimize ambient noise/sound. This can be done by either moving your subject, asking

April 2010

17


Audible Audio for Video

by JAY M. DELP

the “noise maker” to stop making the noise for a brief period of time or waiting until the noise (cement mixer!) stops before you start taping. 2. Stand very close to your subject. There must be something innate within us human camcorder operators (private space issues?) that universally makes us step back and zoom in (resulting in lousy sound) instead of stepping forward and not zooming in. In other words, zoom with your feet. Try this. Frame your subject with just their head and shoulders in the shot and don’t zoom in at all. Now, notice the distance you are from them. It’s only a few feet. This feels “too close” but this distance coupled with a well-projected voice will allow you to overcome most ambient noise when you absolutely must videotape without an external microphone. 3. Consider using the camcorder as a microphone. In other words if you really don’t need the visual of the person speaking simply put the lens cap on and have them hold the camcorder mic several inches from their mouth and speak into it as they would a regular hand-held mic. Makes for a great sound track and is often an idea that is not even considered. But if you know you only need the subject’s voice in editing and will be putting supporting footage (B-roll) and/or photos with their speaking then why not?

their production until they attempt to edit a videotaped interview where the interviewer (themselves!?) is constantly overlapping (over-talking) with the subjects audio. Not pretty and usually not fixable.

5. Patch into an existing sound board if the person(s) being videotaped are using “house mics”. This is where that hand, dandy Beachtec (or similar) XLR-to-1/8” audio adaptor mentioned above is a life saver. Just make sure you use headphones and that the type of signal (mic or line level) being fed to your camera from the sound board matches the type of signal your camcorder is set up to accept. Common sense goes a long, long way when it comes to recording good audio with our media productions and programs. But the most important summary of this whole audio issue I can give you is this – If good sound on your video/media is important to you make sure it is important at the best time to affect its qualitywhen you are recording it. Jay Delp www.jaydelp.com jaydelp@comcast.net

4. If you are the one videotaping don’t make any sounds! This includes “Uh-huh’s”, laughter, “That’s great”, and any other sounds you may normally make when conversing with someone. It may feel rude while you’re videotaping to be “ignoring” your subject but it makes for a much cleaner and much more useable sound track. Most people don’t realize how “damaging” these types of sounds can be to

Christian Video® Magazine

April 2010

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