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Where to host youth group videos online

Over the past two weeks, I posted a couple articles about using video to communicate with youth group kids. The first one talked about why online video can be such an effective communication tool for youth groups, and the second one gave more of a step-by-step how to make the videos with links to all the resources I use.

The glaring oversight that’s missing in both of those posts is where to put the videos on the web once your content is created. Here are my recommendations, each with pros and cons.

YouTube

YouTubeYouTube has only two things going for it: it’s extremely popular and it’s social. Other than that, YouTube is honestly a horrible place to host your videos because the video quality is very poor and the only distribution methods are to link to it or embed it in your site. Fortunately, YouTube now has a “watch high quality version” feature linked under some of the videos, but even then the quality is still poor and there’s no way to embed the high quality video in your site or link to it directly.

Use YouTube as an outreach
However, I still recommend that you keep your youth group video episodes shorter than 10 minutes so you can post them on YouTube. Why? Because that’s where kids know to look and search for them. Besides, now that Google owns YouTube, their videos tend to rank fairly well in search engines. Just be sure to tag your YouTube videos with your church name, youth group name, town and state so when random kids in your community search to see, “What’s going on in my town on YouTube?” they find your youth group. It’s an easy way to do outreach! If your youth group has a website, put that URL in the very beginning of your video’s description so viewers to see it right away and visit your site for more info about your ministry.

[ Visit YouTube.com. ]

Vimeo

VimeoVimeo is geared toward professional and amateur film developers and thus has amazing video quality and full support for HD (high definition) content. You can create “channels,” which is basically a brandable page that displays all your latest youth group videos, latest udpates from an RSS feed, custom URL, and more. Plus, Vimeo makes it easy to distribute videos by putting the embed code right in the video itself for people to copy and paste. Although free accounts are limited to 500 MB uploads per week, that should be more than enough for most people’s needs. Other than that, the service is phenomenal. The only reason I don’t use them for my youth group videos and the Life In Student Ministry video posts is because it lacks iTunes compatible RSS feeds, which Blip.tv offers.

[ Visit Vimeo.com ]

Blip.tv

Blip.tvBlip.tv is my choice until Vimeo adds a couple key features that I want. Blip.tv offers pretty much everything you could think of and it does it all for free: amazing video quality, customizable video players for your website, a simple interface, unlimited uploads, and an RSS feed that you can plug into iTunes as a video podcast in less than 60 seconds. The iTunes feature really is the selling point for me over Vimeo right now because if my youth group kids subscribe to the video podcast in iTunes, they can easily sync it with their iPods and watch the episodes on the bus, in the car, on a treadmill at the gym, or wherever else they want.

[ Visit Blip.tv ]

Facebook

FacebookOf course, if you have a Facebook group or page for your youth group, remember to upload your video episodes there, too. Just be sure that you don’t have any copyrighted material in it (like a music background from song or something) because Facebook will take it down pretty quickly, at least they did with my old ones before I started using only royalty free content.

[ Visit Facebook.com ]


Posted on November 11, 2008

  • What are your thoughts on Viddler? Have you given it a spin?

  • @Brandon: Yeah, I have actually. I absolutely LOVE the commenting system and the video player branding is pretty slick, too. But again, it’s missing an iTunes-friendly feed. Even with that, though, I still don’t like it as much as I like Vimeo and Blip.tv.

  • We use Blip.tv for our CRC/TIMS Podcast because we like the iTunes-friendly feed. Also they offer an easy and quick way for your videos to automatically after upload be posted on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Good post…I do like how the video player is customizable for Blip.tv. I still haven’t tried it, but it’s on my lists of things to do since you replied to @StudentMinistry about it on Twitter. We’re still using Vimeo in the meantime for various thing. We also have an in-house service that we use.

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