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.
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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.
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!
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