Video Bible talks prototype: Psalm 1

A few months ago I posted about the idea of producing Video Bible Talks for use in church youth groups, school CUs, and other small group contexts (you can view that post here). Since then, I have been hard at work writing, filming and producing a prototype Video Bible Talks video for Psalm 1, which is now online for people to view and give me their feedback.

I have included a link to access/play the video below, and I have also given my own personal reflections on the Psalm 1 video in particular but also the project/idea in general. Thank you to my friends, fellow youth ministers and church pastors who have helped me in this with their gracious and helpful feedback.

Thoughts about the Psalm 1 video in particular

Good points:

  • The video has achieved what I wanted it to achieve, namely to give a tangible insight into what a Video Bible Talk might look like and how it would work. The aim would be to have leader guides with each video that give a suggested meeting outline, introduction questions to help groups get into the passage, small group questions to draw out the application a bit more, and so on.
  • The tone, style and length (between 10-15 minutes) of the talk was what I was roughly aiming for.
  • Most importantly, the video majors on Jesus and the Gospel (that is, holding Jesus as the hero of Psalm 1, not us!).  This would be a major distinctive of Video Bible Talks, holding our works in their right place as flowing out of Jesus’ grace to us through his perfect life, atoning death and life-bringing resurrection.

Could be better:

  • The video could have been more helpfully pitched for young people. That said, this needs to be done without being exclusive to one particular subset of UK (or even global) culture.
  • I had to use some stock footage in the video, which stands out as different from the bulk of the filming.
  • The post-production of the video in particular took a lot more time than I was expecting and I have had to sacrifice my perfectionism in order to get the final cut out. As such, there are a number of things that aren’t quite how I would have wanted them. These would largely go unnoticed by most people yet would help the medium of video go unnoticed so that people can concentrate on the message.

Thoughts about the Video Bible Talks project in general

Affirmations:

  • There is definitely still a need for this sort of resource/material. Over the last few months I have had emails and messages from people in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Europe all expressing that they would really value and utilise sound and well produced video Bible teaching in their youth groups and ministries.
  • The potential for the Video Bible Talks project to be self-sustaining within a few years is still there. Based on churches subscribing to a year’s worth of material (40 videos/session) at a discounted price (£8 per video), the project would need 625 groups/churches in order to be self-sustaining (for reference, there are approximately 1,000 broadly evangelical churches just within the boundaries of Greater London alone).
  • While I am the ‘front man’ in the Psalm 1 prototype, I would look to draw in others who are involved in youth ministry vocationally to be the video Bible teacher for each series. Thankfully, there are a good pool of people in the UK to draw on (although we still desperately need more!).

Things to think about:

  • The project would need more people involved in it. This would include people to help with pre-production (from script editing to sourcing locations) and post-production (from audio mastering to colour grading). The main need for additional people though is in the actual filming of the videos. In order to minimise costs and maximise shooting time this would need a pro camera operator and a pro audio/lighting engineer. Obviously, this has a financial cost implication.
  • My place in the project would need careful thought. I have reasonable competency in all the necessary areas involved to produce a Bible teaching video (the Psalm 1 was filmed and produced by me (with a little bit of help from Kirsten as impromptu camera operator!). Therefore, I could theoretically produce each video on my own (with minimal involvement from others where I physically could not do two things at once). This would be fine if the Video Bible Talks idea was simply a non-budget YouTube channel (which it may end up as in the future). However, high quality videos requires high quality production… which means more people and higher costs.

The bottom line

Having spoken with professional video producers and those who are involved in some of the existing video teaching material out there, it is estimated that each Bible teaching video would cost £5,000 to make (and this is assuming that a lot of work (such as the ‘front man’) is handled by existing vocational youth ministers who don’t need their salary paying!).

This means that an initial 10 video series would cost £50,000.

This is actually quite cheap for video work (for instance, the Soul DVD series had a budget that somewhat bigger than that figure!). Still, £50,000 is a lot of money by anyone’s standards.

So there you go. We suspect that we will need to shelve this project for the short term. We would still value your input and, should you want to pledge your support towards this project, I am working on a simple website for people to do just that. In the meantime, you can pledge your support or drop us an email using the form below.

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