Filmmaking: Smartphones Do Have A Place

The quick turnaround and instant connection that social media outlets provide cannot be ignored when thinking about how to use smartphones for filmmaking.

Filmmaking: Smartphones Do Have A Place
Social media is about capturing life in action, and using video to communicate who you are and that you like to have fun is a great way for members of the congregation and their friends to get to know you as a church staff. Having fun goofing off around the office, capturing a moment celebrating someone’s birthday, anything that helps “humanize” the staff to your attendees could fit into this category.
Filmmaking: Smartphones Do Have A Place
Social media is about capturing life in action, and using video to communicate who you are and that you like to have fun is a great way for members of the congregation and their friends to get to know you as a church staff. Having fun goofing off around the office, capturing a moment celebrating someone’s birthday, anything that helps “humanize” the staff to your attendees could fit into this category.

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“Are you a filmmaker?” you might be asked.

To which you then reply, “Why yes, yes I am.”

Only to be asked another question: “How can you tell?”

Which you then follow up with: “Well, I post my videos on Facebook all the time. And I get lots of likes. Clearly, I am a filmmaker.”

The landscape of filmmaking has left the “few professionals with the gear, vision and ability” and entered into the realm of “anyone with a smartphone.”

So how does a filmmaker in the church grapple with that demand, and also adhere to high quality standards?

For the church creatives, is this good? Bad? Both?

This new reality can be very freeing for churches who have rarely, if ever, budgeted for proper video gear, or who have been only able to rent or contract with video professionals for special occasions.

But it can be dangerous, as these same churches now freely experiment with making “professional” videos without professional gear. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know until it’s too late, and it can result in some pretty scary final product.

Just because you can make something on your phone, doesn’t mean that you should.

However, the quick turnaround and instant connection that social media outlets provide cannot be ignored - and video is a huge part of its success. You can have the same content being communicated on the same platform, one with a JPEG, and one with video, and the video displaying that content will get much more attention and views.

People want to watch videos on their phones. And they want to watch videos that they know you have just made, or even, dare I say, recorded “live.”

So how does a filmmaker in the church grapple with that demand, and also adhere to high quality standards?

It’s a good question. We’ve wrestled with these in our church context, and have found that there are kinds of content that fit neatly into the “film capturing” category, and that, when used sparingly, actually complement a catalog of high quality films made with time, care and precision.

Here are three categories of “film capturing” that can live in the social media world of church communication, online and occasionally in services. Each of these can live as “one take wonders” with an iPhone and a dream:


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

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.


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Visual Arts · Filmmaking · Team Management · Team Development · Community Christian Church · Film Capturing · Filmmaking · Selfies · Smartphones · Video Professionals · All Topics

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