Tool Family: Sharing--Video
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth? Considering this idea of sharing the Gospel it seems that much can be said through the use of videos online. The internet was once a slow, text based medium is now a blaze with flashy videos as download speeds have increased. Because of the increase of bandwidth capabilities, video has possibly become the mainstream medium of the internet. Hundreds of sites allow a person to upload and share videos they have made. In a recent report about video watching on the internet it said, “Americans viewed more than 11.4 billion videos for a total duration of 558 million hours during the month (July 2008) .” The largest video sharing site in the USA is YouTube.com . According to another study, about 79 million people watched more than three billions video alone on YouTube in January 2008, the report also stated that in January of 2008 there were over 84 million videos that could be seen on YouTube.
If one could add up the ‘worth’ of all those videos what would it be? Some would say that they are worthless; in fact, on YouTube one could quickly find some foul and morally degrading videos that you or I would never want our children to see. If this is true, if there is so much trash out there, why risk getting involved? Is there anything that can be done? With this regard to this idea of entering the uncertain waters of the internet Elder Ballard said, “There are conversations going on about the Church constantly. Those conversations will continue whether or not we choose to participate in them. But we cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches.” This applies to videos on the internet including YouTube. If your or I were to visit the site and enter ‘Mormon’ in the search bar, one will find many videos that could be viewed. An overwhelming majority of what could be seen is troubling, ranging from all aspects of Anti-Mormon clips to ‘How to answer Mormon Missionary’ tutorials showing how one could embarrass or dispute common Mormon beliefs.
Even with the deluge of despicable content about the Church on such sites, we must get involved. We can create and share uplifting videos that can show the joy that we have from the Gospel. The Church has realized that that they must enter into this conversation and they already have. On YouTube the Church Public Affairs department has created a page where it posts videos that the Church has released.
One example of how we as members of the Church might try to effectively counterbalance the negative videos on the internet comes from the youth of the Redrock Stake in Las Vegas, Nevada. As part of a youth conference activity, the youth recorded their testimonies. The goal of this activity was twofold, first, in a media with which the youth are familiar, they recorded their own testimony for own posterity. Second, the video clips created could be posted on the internet by the youth on their own blogs or video sharing sites as a missionary tool. Redrock Stake Example Of this activity a leader that help coordinated the activity said, "We hope that in time many will see and feel the testimonies of our young men and women in Las Vegas whose sincerity and faithfulness have the potential to break down the walls that obstruct truth." These testimonies could relate to what Elder Ballard stated, “While some conversations have audiences in the thousands or even millions, most are much, much smaller. But all conversations have an impact on those who participate in them. Perceptions of the Church are established one conversation at a time.”
We all have felt powerful spiritual feelings through video. Many like I have gone to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building to watch the incredible movies that have been shown there. I can’t even put into words the feelings and things learned from these videos. The medium of video allows the creator to combine sight and sound to create an environment- an experience that cannot be done in any other media- more can be said and seen by the use of video.
Why Join the Conversation?
Many of you might be reading this a may be thinking, “What good does would my one testimony do?” Or, “I can’t make anything that people would want to watch.” I ask you this one question:
How could you share your testimony with a person in Timbuktu, Turkey, and Tehran all at the same time? Who knows who is out there that might click on your video and feel prompted by the Holy Ghost to learn more? Alma wished that he could be an angel so he could, “speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!” I am not sure about the earth shaking part, but literally, ‘every people’ is much more in reach via video on the internet. I doubt I will ever visit any of those places I have mentioned, but with access to the internet someone, somewhere might hear my voice, my testimony and feel the spirit.
There is so much to share within the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The videos made and shared do not need to solely be based around doctrine or controversial issues. “By the fruit ye shall know them” - Video is a perfect way to present the fruits that we enjoy from gospel living. One could create short ‘how-to; videos about Family History and show what tools are available on-line and how to get started. One could post videos about emergency preparedness, how to make a 72 hour kit etc. to help folks see and know how to become self-reliant. You could post a family home evening clip and share how taking one night out of the week to be together really has helped you and your family.
So before we jump into talking about what tools, tips, and tactics we should use in making videos and sharing them online, one more thought. I remember how fun and utterly scary at times it was to share the gospel in the mission field. I found myself in hard situations where I had to ‘open my mouth,’ or ‘lift up your voice’ when it was not too easy to do so. One thought that helped me was this proverb, “THE wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” If we really have something to share, something to add to this enormous conversation, we must boldly do so. It is scary to put ourselves out there on the internet, we are there for the world to see, for the world to criticize, our own likeness is out there for people to judge or jeer. As we create these videos let us be Christian not to offend, careful not to ‘speak for the Church’, and courageous to share our heartfelt love for the Savior and His Gospel though the videos we create and share.
Before we go into what tools we can use to share our videos on-line, I need to state scope of this chapter. I will not go into detail what to include in your video. I will not tell you how to prepare, shoot, and edit your video on a computer. I will however, talk about what tools you can use once you have created a video that you would like to share. I am assuming that you have a video clip on your computer that you want to upload to the internet. At the end of this chapter there is a list of sites or products that you can use to create and edit your videos that you have created.
File Format & Size To share a video online there are two important things that your video must have or be:
First, it must be digital. If it is on your computer, it is likely digital, however, if you have VHS tape or other analog video source it needs to be digital so you can share it online. If your video is analog you will need some special equipment to convert it to digital. If you used a camcorder that uses Mini-DV tapes, DVD, or Hard Drive, your video is already digital and you just need to transfer it from your camera to your computer. As you download or convert your video look for the following most common digital video file formats that are easier to work with: .wmv, .avi, .mov, and .mp4.
Second, the video needs to be small as in file size. This does not mean your video needs to be short, it means that the file size of the video you make needs to small enough so it can be easily viewed on the internet. A video in a smaller file size means that you save the file in a lesser quality format so it can be easily streamed (shown) online to be viewed (that is why most of the videos you see online are grainy and not clear like your TV.) You can use a Webcam or video recorder that is attached to your computer to record your video, which will be likely, meet both specifications stated above. Most video editing software lets you save a video you have worked on in a friendly internet sharing format (see list at the end of the chapter.)
What is a good file format and size?
Most sites that allow you to upload and store your videos set parameters of how big your video can be. So as you save your movie in your editing or uploading make sure that your video meets those specifications. Since I will be talking about YouTube here are their specifications:
Size: no more than 10 minutes per video and no larger than 100MB per video.
Format: YouTube accepts a wide range of video file formats such as .WMV, .AVI, .MOV, and .MPG transferred from most digital cameras, camcorders, and cell phones. If you don't think your current video file format is recognized by YouTube, you may get the best results from converting your file to MPEG4 video with MP3 audio. Here are a few free examples of low-cost or free video converting software programs that help you get your video to be in the right format and size.
The good news is that YouTube is used to getting different types of file formats. Once you have got it into an acceptable format for whatever video sharing tool you are using you are ready to start sharing.
What Does It Do?
Search & Watch Video: YouTube is an online video repository where users can search for and watch almost anything. YouTube allows you to search from their millions of videos based on the video's title and tags. A tag is term describes what the video is about, for example, if the video is about the eternal marriage, the person that uploads the video would apply tags or terms to the video that would make it easy to find. For an eternal marriage video, a tag that that could be applied could be, 'family', 'marriage', 'Mormon temple', and 'Mormon family'.
Upload & Store: YouTube allows you to upload and store your videos. When you upload your videos to YouTube it automatically converts them to YouTube specified video format (Adobe Flash Video 7.0). This can cause to your videos losing their quality (look grainy and lose sound quality). If you follow their upload size and format recommendations your video is more likely to retain most of its quality. You can also upload video to YouTube and not even share it, and it can be a place to have videos online that you would like to share with a few people privately.
Share & Customize: YouTube allows you to share the videos you have submitted as well as share videos that you viewed on YouTube with other people. For example, if I watched a video I liked, I can send a friend a link to the video so they can watch it. Also, YouTube allows you to also privately show video. For example, if I made a video that I didn't want the world to see, I could upload it to YouTube and then I could specify which people I would allow to see it. You can select up to 25 people to see it, to do so you enter the emails of the people you want to share with and YouTube automatically sends them an email with a link to the video that you are sharing only privately.
YouTube allows you to share videos on your own blog or webpage that you have created. If you are like me, you don't know how to add video to your website or blog, YouTube (and most other video sharing sites) make it easy to do so by providing the programming code so you can show the video on your site. To do so you copy and paste the code they provide straight into the place where you want it in your blog or webpage and it will show the video you have uploaded in your site.
YouTube allows you to create a 'channel', meaning you can create a channel that people can view the videos you have uploaded and other videos you recommend. For example, NBA.com has a channel on YouTube where basketball fans can click on their channel to watch game highlights that they missed on the news. You can even search for channels that show videos you are interested in, for example, if you wanted to see some cooking shows, you would search for channels on cooking.
How Is the Tool Commonly Used?
To look at how YouTube is can be used we are going to look at 3 different users and their individual channels..
User #1: mormons101
Mormon101 has uploaded 78 videos. This user has uploaded videos that have to do with basic beliefs of the Church. The user has tried to answer common questions that have been in the media. For example, he posted all of the ‘Special Witness’ videos of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve in response to the question, “Are Mormons Christians?” trying to show our belief in and testimony of Jesus Christ. They also have uploaded videos that responded to recent gay marriage amendment issues and conflicts that range from General Authority quotes or recent news coverage.
User #2: LDSPublic Affairs
The Church Public Affairs Department has its own YouTube channel. They provide video that the Church produces about general beliefs, humanitarian efforts, clarifications/ differences and new church materials announcements.
User #3: BelievingLDSmormon
BelivingLDSMormon shows various video similar to the both stated above. What is excellent about his videos that they are self-generated, meaning he doesn't use other peoples videos as his own. In a simple non-confrontational way he explains Mormon beliefs is a very conversational down-to-earth way.
How Do I Use It? (Tutorial on the Key Feature(s)
- Screenshots with detailed instructions
Where Are Other Free Online Tutorials?
- How to get Started in Youtube
- A Video Tutorial for YouTube
- How to embed a YouTube Video in your Blog
- How to Make YouTube Video Look Great
- All-in-one video tutorial site
Practical ideas and tips
Tip #1 Speak for yourself not the Church.
- Don’t leave the impression that your video is an official Church site or statement, or associated with any Church unit.
- If you use the video to discuss gospel doctrines, remember you’re speaking as an individual member of the Church, sharing your personal perspective.
- Remember that you’re always on the record- everything you say or share could be on the Internet forever.
Tip #2 Don’t get caught up in the negative.
- There is more negative than positive on YouTube about the Church. You will find many offensive videos if you look for them. Because of this, you may want to make video to respond to the false accusations, but don’t fall for it. Remember it is the Spirit that can have the most powerful effect on the hearts of the watchers.
- As you make the videos remember the 13th Article of Faith, “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” Share the fruits of the Gospel that we enjoy.
- Make things that invite upbeat, open, and fun dialogue. Use good humor to liven a sometimes ornery opinioned subject. Don’t point out weaknesses in others’ church or doctrine, like stated above, “by their fruits ye shall know them, ” and we allow all men to post all videos “how, where, or what they may, ” even if we don’t like it. If something is really offensive YouTube allows you to flag the video as offensive to tell YouTube about it.
Tip#3 Be Accurate, Get to the Point, Make it sharp
- Nothing will open the door to more negative videos than errant information. When you share something make sure your have your facts and figures right. Make sure your quotes and comment are sourced in strong (by strong I mean cannon or living prophet’s words) publications ie: Scriptures, Ensign, New Era, and Institute Manuals.
- Don’t forget copyright. You must be cognizant of using music, video, and images that are Church or private authority. YouTube does patrol as well do many other entities for infringement so be careful.
- If you are going to take the time to make a video, realize, the more time you take before you start filming, the better the movie will be. Take some time to plan out how you might present the topic the best way. For some insight on how to make a good video click here: VIDEO PODCAST
Other Video Sharing Tools
I have only talked about one site that you can upload and share your video. I chose it because it has the biggest. There are other good video sharing sites. Following I will provide the links and a sentence or two of their unique properties or tools available.
GoogleVideo: you can use your google account to upload videos to their server. Googles video search is their best aspect, they gather video from multiple sharing sites ie: YouTube.
Revver: Uploading is very easy and allows you to choose what format you want it to show in. If people really like your videos they put ads on the side and above them, they will share ad revenue with you.
Metacafe: Next to YouTube probably has the biggest audience, mostly because its wide viewership worldwide. If you are looking to share your video globally you could choose this one.
Blip.tv: From their site they say, “We'll take care of the servers, the software, the workflow, the advertising and the distribution. We leave you free to focus on creativity.” They like Revver aren’t just interested in showing videos and getting ad revenue, they think that if they have good content more people will actual visit the site and it could be a venue for all the “budding videoblogger, podcaster or Internet TV producer.”
JumpCut: Jumpcut is a unique site. Recently acquired by yahoo, Jumpcut allows you to upload and edit your video on the site itself. So if you don’t have movie editing software this is a good choice for you.
How Can This Tool Affect My Family?
YouTube is filthy, there are videos there that are very despicable. As in all sites the utmost guard should be used as you watch videos. Writing this chapter about YouTube from BYU has been hard because YouTube is blocked by BYU. YouTube is blocked at BYU not because the site is all bad, but it is how BYU filters internet content. The search mechanism of YouTube doesn’t allow the internet filters at BYU to work correctly. (BYU’s filter looks for search words that might bring up bad sites, Youtube uses ‘tags’ as stated above, so because YouTube uses tags and BYU’s filter uses keywords they have blocked access because tag searches cannot be blocked or tracked adequately.) I think President Hinckley’s advice as to bad media is a good reminder, “It will destroy you if you do. It will take from you your self-respect. It will rob you of a sense of the beauties of life. It will tear you down and pull you into a slough of evil thoughts and possibly of evil actions. Stay away from it. Shun it as you would a foul disease, for it is just as deadly.” Realizing the point of this book is to share the gospel on the internet indicates there are ways you can navigate around the filth that is there. The good news is that for you at home there are some good options that can help you control who goes to YouTube and what is searched. Those options are:
- K9 Web Protection from Blue Coat: this is free software that you can use to block certain kind of sites. If you don’t want your teenager or spouse accessing YouTube when you aren’t around you can make it so a password must be entered to be able to access the site. This is the software all Seminary and Institute teachers have on their computers.
- Safe Eyes by internetsafety.com is a service that allows you to filter out the bad movies of YouTube. You can set it so it will block the whole site you can set it to block potential filthy tags.
What is Next? Other Resources
If this has all been new to you, start with trying out some new things. You can’t break the internet, so be adventurous, make mistakes, and have fun. If you want to learn more the following links might be of interest.
Editing Software: If you would like more information on video editing here are some options for you:
Video Editing Tutorials:
- eHow: How to make a video blog
Get Going Challenge:
So you may be wondering where to go from here? How can you get started? Well, here you go, three challenges that can help you get going, try each challenge, gradually you will be creating and sharing great videos!
Getting your Feet Wet: Sign-up for a YouTube account and watch some videos that you find interesting. Find videos on things that interest you, learn to navigate the site.
Wading to your Knees: Get a video that you have made into the right file format and size to be able to share. Meet the requirements that YouTube suggests.
Start Swimming!: Upload the video to you have made to YouTube!