Tips for a Great Summer Camp Video

1. Keep it short. One thing I have learned over the years is to not use every picture and video. In fact, at all costs, don’t use pictures. That is too graduation-y. You can tell the story of the awesome and amazing trip you had without going over 5 minutes. Keep it to the length of one great song. Anything over 5 minutes will honestly be too long and will be one of those things that the students watch once and never watch again.

2. Use great music.

Not everyone is good at mixing and editing sound with their video. My suggestion, mute all of the video audio and put a great track to it. I suggest dubstep for the fun and crazy parts and a good modern worship song for the serious parts. If it is easier, use one track that is both upbeat and uplifting. What is hot now (to me): Rend Collective Experiment, Citizens, or The Almost. As much as I am a fan of Christian Hip Hop, I would actually suggest against using Lecrae or similar. Unless you are doing youth ministry in the urban context, save your Reach Records arsenal for your next all-nighter promo.

3. Keep it simple.

Your goal in these videos is not to highlight the entire trip, but highlight the experience. Have students relive the week they just went on in a just a moment. This may be able to be conveyed by only a handful of clips. Now, if you have shaky film, clumsy photographs, and overexposed shots, I can’t help you with that right now. Perhaps my buddy Jeff can write a post on basic videography for Youth Pastors. But that is for another post. Use what you have and keep editing to you get to the meat of your video: The must haves. The big wow moments. Have fun and enjoy.

Here are a few of my favorites:

HSM – Summer Camp 2013

This is as pro as it gets. They used high quality cameras, a jib, and I am pretty sure they use a GoPro in there for the baptism scenes. Loved the editing and the soundtrack. I felt the excitement of this camp. It is also short. Just short of four and a half minutes.

RED– 2013 Beach Retreat Recap

My best buddy Jeff Simpson (@jeffcsimpson) made this for his Youth Group’s recent Beach Retreat. These are one of those meaningful videos that the students will love and can easily be used for next year as a promo video. He shoots some of the shots at 60 frames per second to get smooth slow motion. I also love his use of taking shots out of focus to make the shots more interesting. Also, what church youth group you know uses mandolines and banjos for worship? Legit ones do! Also, the sound track is perfect! I love RCE!

The Blob – The Point Student Ministries

My good friend Ben Bradley who also owns his own film company called Right Hand Films does something I like to do when you have one piece of footage from a camp that is priceless and you want to showcase from everything else. He used his GoPro running at 120fps in 720p to make these amazing shots! This could be a professional commercial for GoPro. ]]>

3 Comments

  1. Good tips, but keep in mind that you can't just go ahead and use any old music. To ensure your clip is above board you need to ensure that you get a sync licence for any music that you are using in a video. Otherwise you may open yourself up to at worst legal litigation, or at best a takedown notice. There are several sources for this type of music to be purchased, or you can sometimes get a sync licence by talking to the artist directly.

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