4 Things to Remember When Filming A Testimony Video

From writing out their testimony to planning to have the interview process last for 45 minutes for a four-minute video, these are a few tips to keep in mind.

4 Things to Remember When Filming A Testimony Video
Patrick O'Connell, director of NewThing, an organization that supports church planting and movements, shares his story with Community Christian Church in Naperville, Ill., this September. This was one of a series of interviews filmed in this landscape, for an event called "Celebration Generosity." The crew pictured include, left to right, Elic Bramlett, Michael McClure and Eric Bramlett.

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4 Things to Remember When Filming A Testimony Video

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A church can (and should) contain a wealth of stories of life change.

The whole point of gathering the way Jesus prescribed is to stop what we’re doing, turn the other way, follow Him, and share that story of life change with others.

As filmmakers in the church, we are often approached with these stories… “Hey, we should share his/her story in a video!” It’s a great idea, but pressing record and pointing a camera at him or her is not a guarantee that what you capture will be as dynamic as the actual life change that brought the story to you in the first place.

Here are some keys that I’ve found — through lots of trial and error — in 20 years of capturing testimony stories for my church.

Before you ever get to the day of the shoot, encourage, or insist, that the subject write out their story in a one-page document.

Taking care to tell the story in the best way possible will make for a smoother shoot and a much more dynamic product.

1. Write out their testimony first.

Before you ever get to the day of the shoot, encourage, or insist, that the subject write out their story in a one-page document. This will force them to prioritize moments of their story and select the best beginning, middle, and end narrative. Giving them a simple structure to help with that narrative will be very beneficial as well.

I like to give them three to four questions that provide a “throughline,” that they can write through. If their story is about how they first found Jesus and it changed their life, for example, I would ask them to incorporate these questions in their one-page testimony: “What was my life like before I found Jesus? What was it like/how did it feel in my life to find Jesus? How is my life different now that I’ve found Jesus? Why should someone else out there find Jesus?”

Most often, this simple exercise will help you as the filmmaker decide on which parts of their story are the most relevant, the most impactful, and also help you determine which parts are best not to include.

To give you the appropriate amount of time to prepare, they should provide this one-pager to you at least a week before the scheduled shoot date.

2. Shoot day: Get the nerves out!

For the most part, anyone who is not used to being in front of a camera is petrified of it. Even if they seem as cool as a cucumber, too often once the red light comes on, they freak the freak out.

Don’t worry, it’s normal!


More About Eric Bramlett
Eric Bramlett has been the creative arts director for Community Christian Church in Naperville, Ill., since 1996. He is responsible for overseeing large-group experiences from initial artistic vision through production at all 12 CCC locations. He also promotes creative collaboration and artist reproduction for NewThing, CCC's international church-planting mission. Eric continues to be involved in the Chicago theatre scene, as an Artistic Advisor for Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago. He hosts a church media podcast for pastors at www.bigidearesources.com/podcast, and co-authored “The Big Idea,” with Dave and Jon Ferguson. Eric lives in Naperville with his wife, Kristi, and their three children, Sadie, Dillon and Anna. To contact Eric, you can email him or on Twitter @billshazzar.
Get in Touch: ericbramlett@communitychristian.org    More by Eric Bramlett

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