Do’s and Don’ts of Video On the Internet

     These rules are guides for making website videos. They are intended to help you get a handle on better ways, faster ways, less frustrating ways to produce and deliver videos.


     The shift towards video virtual church activites has become evident. During summer months, of the last few years, members of the congregation travelled throughout the world. They have shown their desire to link back to their neighbours through the Knox web site. Economic, time and health pressures have come into focus. Single parent families face immediate time pressure, to cope with jobs and children, that preclude being at the church Sundays at 10:30am. Those that help them out by being there when needed end up sharing the problem. The uncertainty of health or mobility issues also undermining attendance, even when predictable event times are known in advance. Time shifting and the easy access that the internet provides has now opened opportunities for participation that offsets these problematic factors.

     The COVID-19 pandemic has now force accelerated attention to delivery of sermons as well as many other church community interactions. Everyone has been forced to face the issues of becoming their own video participant or even to produce video. Plugging in a better microphone that lets others hear you more clearly in those Zoom meetings is common. Planning and even scripting your next video meeting is often done. Anyone can now post a video for the world to see online. A story reflecting history, a point of view, documenting any event, is todays reality. Tools to help produce video’s are widely available. When the message needs to be delivered pops to the surface, putting it together can seem a little merky. Like writing, video too has things that make the message delivery work and things that just ain’t right. COVID 19 has forced attention and brought the process into clearer focus.

     Video production tools widely available have opened paths to successful video creation. A specific message, for later consumption, while it’s still top of your mind and not yet lost is another catalyst. Reality, none the less, is most churchs, staff and environments are not setup to be video production studios. Ministers and staff are not trained or equipped to suddenly become helpers for your video, video post production editing, producers, set directors, video script writers or even actors. Lighting, audio mixing, video capture and cross fads, undermining their day to day jobs that are expected and build the health of our communities. Existing church staff already manage daily interactions, sermons, finances and the real world of building and people. These guides will help you be able to add to and help what already exists instead of taxing it with new requirements.

Unfortunately, the internet has made it easy to bounce to many other videos quicky whenever something feels wrong. Quickly moving on to watch the Pope or otheer more popular videos is easy. Advertising exposures have crated a great deal of wealth. Wealth that depends on driving viewers to see more ads. Viewers are encouraged and trained to bounce from one video to another. Not making the mistakes, that make a video uncomfortable to watch, is probably the simgle most important perspective to focus on. Those mistakes are what advertisers count on. Mistakes are the force that drives viewers to other videos. The audience is no longer sitting in front of you unable to go elsewhere before your message ends. The sharing of what was just presented is not reviewed immediately after in ways that clarify and bring forward items missed. Avoiding mistakes that drive viewers away is key. What is the point of doing a video if it’s message never gets fully delivered?

The current state of video being delivery is evolving. Adapting is the cure for it being “too much work”. The changing methods that the internet uses to deliver this ever growing quantity of video impacts how much you you make it to be. These are guide posts for improving your videos and moving into the world of video messaging. They will enhance your viewers attention and understanding, plus save you much wasted time and effort.

Your Goal

You already have a message you’re looking to deliver or store for later more timely to deliver. Clearly and simply expressing that goal is fundamental to the success of being able to deliver that message. How to deliver your message will benefit from proven tactics. Type type of message helps bring into focus which vidoe tips are useful.

Types of Video

Each of these types of video projects are typically identified by elements of ‘the truth’. How those elements are exposed, in what order, by what share of attention and energy will separate the video into one of these categories.

  1. Event or Reality Television
    This is a collection of images and content that actually took place. Focusing on what was actually said and done there and then. The recording of events without interpretation or conclusion. The extent to which this video is scripted often identifies a fit for this category.
    This video category is none the less prone to embellishments that video production lends itself to. The proportion of its time spent on any aspect of the event emphasizes its importance… disproportionately if in the real event a similar ratio did not take place. The lighting of scenes, quality of sound, and importance of any speakers can discredit. Picture a darker set of images, with poor sound quality recorded at a distance compared to bright lighting, clear sound and up close.
  2. Sales Pitch/Advertisement/Docuganda
    Taking in only part of the truth identifies this category. It aims at only part of the truth, ignoring other factors completely. It has a simple solution appeal. Picture internet news journalism about something in under 60 words.
  3. Portrayal/Docudrama
    A fictional representation of some facts being performed for audience. It can be a metaphor that viewers share with others and also entertainment because it uses dramatic acting emphasis and fictional content.
  4. Documentary
    This explores the truth along with trade offs, sources leading up to its truth without conclusion, opinion or superlative.

Don’ts and Do’s

Rule: Know your target audience
Eyeball the Viewers    Everyone likes to hear what they belive in. Anything else requires an open mind with the ability to be uncomfortabel for a second or two while they allow themselves to continue down this new path. A more youthful audience, where years of behavior has not shortened their conditioning, may stay with any video for 5 to 15 minutes before bouncing. If the audience regularly views free video services like Youtube, the consideration duration will be less, likely as low as 30 seconds. Older and less practiced viewers who view life as being a little more complicated than obvious at first glance may give you as long a 30 minutes. Ultimately the video was to satisfy the viewers needs NOT the authors reasons for producing it. Ignore the needs of the audience, confuse the audience and they will leave regardless of the time or quality of the overall production. A good rule of thumb is you have 3-5 minutes to deliver your synopsis with with encouagement more good stuff is to follow. That will earn you the viewers attention for up to the next 30 minutes. Further attention depends on how well you did in those 30 minutes. Know where the video is going, starting with solid impact.

Rule: The Best Place To Get It Right Is In The Original Recording
Eyeball the Viewers    Videos are three dimensional changing images and audio. The thousands of frames (i.e. little pictures, each slightly different from the others) that represent a daunting time consuming challenge when editing is required.

Rule: Visually Matching Viewer Expectations
Eyeball the Viewers    Your videos are your brand. Viewers expect to see a visualization in harmony with the message. A football player interviewed on ice in a hockey arena looses credibility before they say anything. The background needs harmony with how folks are dressed, the noises we expect to hear and the message being discussed..

Rule: Don’t eyeball the viewer.
Eyeball the Viewers    The viewer usually likes being being able to see the speakers eyes as it allows more easily undersanding the speakers body language. There are cultures that treat direct eye contact or avoiding it differently. Dealing with an evil eye, being with being eye balled, or poliely avoind direct eye contact are all issues. Whether the speaker smiles at the same time they look directly at the camera or as they squint into the sun, are mitigating consideration. A question of attitude being understood by the listener is key. Generally, smiling, looking through the camera at a location just beyond it or a few degrees off of directly looking at the lense are the safe place to start from.

The viewers are used to listening while the speaker is not looking directly at them. For the audience the topic content and a performance that supports it are key. Without them looking directly at the viewer will just drive the viewer away. The viewer is more engaged when faced with a smile and direct eye contact… unless they are being ‘eyeballed’ or find the content unimportant..

Rule : Change Perspectives

 perspective64    A static head facing the camera as it speaks can be dynaically enhanced by; switching between cameras for a new perspective, zooming in or the head tilting. The turn of a head at a significant moment adds emphasis.

Rule: Use Cue Cards

 Prompt Notes    Instead of desk notes the speaker has better impact by reading a prompter stationed right beside the camera. The type will be bigger, easier to read plus leave the viewer feeling the speaker is aimed at a bigger audience by looking through the viewer instead of drilling into them.

Rule: Audio Builds Clarity and Impact

 Clear Audio    Using microphones with automatic gain control and controlled cardiod pattern focus for measurable performance enhancement. Ultimately, its about the physics of converting sound waves into electrical energy… the right sound waves not all the sound waves. You don’t want sound from behind the mic, or from the wind or jack hammer outside the window. When your mic is far away, sound energy requires greater mic sensitivity but that sensitivity also exposes other ambient noises. Every time you double the distance between the mic and sound source it means you need ten times the power or sensitivity for the same clarity. Clarity focused on the speaker is the challenge. Anything else becomes a reason that drives viewers away.

Rule: Lightings Job is to Emphasize

 Difuse Lighting    Lighting that washes out the entire image or focuses away from the topic of the video will drive viewers away. Even when focused on the topic area lighting can emphasize with shadow and reflections aspects that confuse delivery.

Rule:A Great Video that Does not Reach the Audience is a Waste of Time

Audience     Video’s that are to large may never reach a critical minimum mass for modile devices to recognize the vidoe is available for play by the viewer. Vidoes that are large are vulnerable to intermittent delivery on fast networks that do not have the capacity to handle the number or viewers trying to view the video at the same time. Fast does not mean the video gets delivered.

Rule: Deliver the Video via as Many Ways as Possible.

Deliver Video From Many Sources     Things break, success means many folks are viewing the video at the same time. Best to have delivery options. As time progrsses the dependability of delivering a video via one channel may become reasonable. In the world of COVID 19 internet servcie has become much more widely used and prone to drop out. In the world outside of COVID 19 viewing content at delayed and more

Rule: Eyes, mouth and smile are key to communicating.
Bring attention to them by positioning the camera head on. If the camera angles up your chin, neck and breasts become distractingly bigger. If the camera points down your hair and fore head dominate.