Using video to communicate youth group news (2 of 2)

Using video to communicate youth group newsIn case you missed it, see Part 1 here about benefits of using video for youth group announcements and how to utilize it to it’s full potential.

Here are my two latest youth group video episodes to serve as finished examples of what I’m about to explain.

This post is not intended to teach you how to use whatever video editing software is available to you, but rather to give you resources and directions for how I created my youth group video episodes in case it’s helpful for your ministry’s communication.

How much time will it take to create videos?

The first one took me about 8 hours to put together just because I had to search for video clips, figure out what transitions I liked, choose fonts, and everything else. Now that the basic framework is put together for each episode, every consecutive video takes about 1 to 2 hours. It’s just a matter of shooting a new video of myself, L.T., and inserting different video clips from YouTube and such.

Video editing software

iMovieI used iMovie for pretty much everything except for one or two scenarios, which are indicated below. Fortunately, iMovie comes free on every Mac computer.

If you’re on a PC, the Microsoft’s free Windows Movie Maker may be sufficient for your needs as you begin to experiment with video editing.

1. Intro video

Video introIt looks cool, but I’m not that good. I actually purchased it royalty-free from the video section at for about $20 (15 credits on their site). It came without a sound track, so I purchased a royalty-free audio track to go along with it from , which cost me almost $38 (€30.00 EUR).

NOTE: Royalty-free means you are free to publish and use the material over and over again without paying royalties to the creator. [“Royalty Free” on Wikipedia.]

In iMovie, I simply laid the audio track over the video, made the final frame of the video last for about 10 seconds longer (called a “still frame”), and threw the “ News” text on top.

2. Recording myself

Video introThis is probably the easiest part of making the video: I just record myself talking to my Mac’s built-in iSight camera using iMovie’s “Import from camera” option. When I click “Done” it automatically imports the video to the iMovie project where it’s ready to click and drag to the video timeline.

Again, if you don’t have a Mac, almost any webcam will do. Although a webcam’s video quality isn’t as high as using an actual video camera, it certainly is a lot easier and a lot fewer steps to get the video to your computer. And, as you can see from my videos linked above (and every youth ministry training video on this site), my Mac’s iSight camera is completely sufficient.

3. Adding lower-thirds

Video introLower-thirds are the little text banners that display at the bottom of the screen while L.T. or myself talk. I’m just using one of the default lower-thirds available in iMovie. Click and drag it to wherever you want it in the video, type in your text, and drag the ends of the text section in the timeline for whatever duration you want the lower-third to appear.

4. The short transition clips

Video introAgain, it’s just a still-frame from the end of the intro movie I purchased. I put some text over it and used a quick static audio clip from iMovie’s extensive sound effect library.

5. Using L.T.

Video introThis is actually just as simple as recording yourself in the step above, although it requires some extra software. Fortunately, L.T. works on Windows, Mac or Linux and best of all, he’s FREE! Download him from the free section of

Read my tutorial from last year about how to make fun video announcements in 3 easy steps with L.T. (Check the comments there for a link to free Windows software to use in place of the Mac program I recommend.)

Green screen option with L.T.
Video introIn the first video epsidoe I actually put myself on the screen with L.T. and talked with him through the announcements (although, I obviously messed up my script a bit in the beginning lol). This is thanks to the green screen background that comes with L.T.. Unfortunately, you’ll need a more advanced video editing program to filter out the green screen so the background video/image can show through. I used Final Cut Express and learned how to do it by following this tutorial on YouTube.

6. YouthBytes devo (jr. high preview)

Video introYou can get the 1 minute versions for free from YouthByte’s YouTube channel. Or, if you purchase their DVD series, you can rip the high quality versions straight from the disk. (Don’t worry, I’ve talked with Chad Daniel from YouthBytes about it and he thinks it’s a great idea.)

DVD ripping software for Mac
On Mac, I look at the DVD’s file contents in Finder, find the VOB file of the video I want, copy it to my computer and use ffmpegX (free) to convert it to MOV file for iMovie. Another (and easier) option for Mac is to use Handbrake (also free) to scan the DVD, find the video you want, and export it to the format of your choosing.

DVD ripping software for Windows
For Windows, you can also browse to the DVD’s contents through My Computer, find the VOB video you want and use a program like SUPER (free) to convert it to WMV or whatever video format your video editing software wants. (If you have a better recommendation for Windows, please post it in the comments below — I’m not as familiar with Windows as I used to be.)

7. YouTube video of the week

Video introThere are a lot of different services available for downloading videos from YouTube and other video sites. Two easy web-based tool are and Just copy and paste the YouTube URL to it and click through the steps.

Personally, I use a free program called TubeTV (Mac only) just because it’s fast and seems to encode the video at a higher quality than web-based services. Another good Mac program is called VideoBox, free to try for 5 days (thereafter, $15 to buy).

Once your clip is ripped from a DVD or downloaded from YouTube, import it into your iMovie project and place it wherever you want in the video’s timeline.

Let the questions commence! Post them in the comments below.

Posted on November 4, 2008

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  • Wow Tim, this is great. Thanks!

    I use iMovie 06 for all of our video. What do you think about the newest version? Is it worth the upgrade to iMovie 08?

  • @Justin: iMovie ’08 has the lower-thirds built-in, but other than that you can get away with iMovie HD just fine. In fact, I prefer iMove HD’s timeline to ’08 actually. It took me a while to get used to ’08 since I’ve always used a standard timeline, but I can see how ’08 is more user-friendly for first-time video creators.

  • so, your videos are all self made? do you ever have youth assist you in making videos?

  • @Russ Bowlin: No, but that would be fun to do! The only reason I don’t right now is because of the time element involved with meeting up and pulling it all together. It adds a high level of complication. It’s easiest right now for me just to crank ’em out myself, but hopefully that would be something I can start doing in the future as I figure out if these videos are actually more effective than email and Facebook messages.

  • Thanks for the TubeTV link. That’s a new one for me!

  • eric

    hey tim i was curious what you searched for to find that cool video on istock. ive looked around and found some decent ones but none that cool. Thanks for all your help

  • @eric: I don’t remember, but it was probably, “teenagers” or something like that. *shrugs*

  • eric

    hey i’m struggling to find anything this cool on istock, do you know of anywhere else to look. I’m actually trying to make a sweet intro video for youth service.

  • @eric: I don’t know of any other sites to recommend right off the top of my head, but if you Google something like “royalty free video” or something like that, I’m sure you’ll come up with other sites. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from using the same intro I use, either. If you like it that much, just buy it and use that same clip yourself. You’re not stealing from me. :-)

  • eric

    i would use your video in a hearbeat and not even feel bad about it if i could just find it. I’m sure ill come up with it though. thanks for your help on everything i’m on this site probably everyday checking out your new stuff

  • Dan

    @ Eric – I found it (came up on first page under search for teenager in video category):


  • Dan

    Correction – that was version 1 of the Hip Hop dancer, below is version 2 (which Tim uses I think):

  • Where can you find the opening video for the youth news?

  • @Gary: I linked to that site under “1. Intro Video” in the post above. Check out that site for intro videos.

  • The video intro that I was trying to find was the one with the gray buildings and the red line running thru it. I looked on iStockPhoto and could not find it. Can you help

  • @Gary: Yeah, Eric in the comments above was looking for it, too. Maybe it’s not available there anymore, I dunno. *shrugs*

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  • we have implemented LT in our latest lyf video announcements – search lyf student ministry in itunes and look for the vodcast

  • Hey Tim…so did these videos work 4 ur youth group or what? Hehe, I’m really excited to try it, but I’m curious if you found that it helped. God bless!

  • @SJBYouthGuy: Yeah, they’ve been working fairly well. I plan to keep with them for a while, although, because of the time commitment, I may start doing it every other week or so. Haven’t decided yet.

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