If one picture is worth 10,000 words, the value of a moving, speaking picture - a video, in other words - is incalculable. That's why the California-Nevada Annual Conference is offering churches a new tool to help tell the stories of faith, beyond the walls of our ministries. You now have the ability to upload videos to a new service powered by ourchurchvideos.com, accessible on the Conference website.
Consider this: according to statistics from eMarketer, online video consumption is projected to grow to 183 million viewers by 2011, compared with 114 million in 2006.
Broadband internet is now widely available throughout the United States and the popularity of online video is increasing very quickly. Nielsen Online reports that US broadband penetration among active users is now at more than 90%. "US broadband penetration grew to 87.49% in January 2008. Narrowband users connecting at 56Kbps or less now make up 12.51% of active Internet users, down 0.70 percentage points from 13.21% in December 2007."
Churches, ministry groups, campus ministries, extension ministries, and United Methodists throughout the connection can now upload videos for sharing and discussion without worrying about them being posted adjacent to unsuitable material - or randomly being removed, as can happen on other free sites.
- You can watch videos uploaded by your Conference Communications Office - including the video greeting to Cal-Nevada churches from Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. . . .
- . . . and while you're there, we want you to click on "Channels" on the navigation bar near the top of the page. On the page that opens, check out the categories we've set up - to give you some ideas for videos that we want to start receiving from our churches!
- When you go back to the main Conference Video Page, click on "Sign up" on the upper right side of the page. You'll be able to create an account (it's free!) and start uploading videos right away! You'll use the same user name and password every time you upload a video.
Of course, you have to have all legal rights to the video being posted. The video must be original content and cannot include copyrighted graphics, music, or clips from other sources of media. And it's a good idea to obtain written permission from any person appearing in your video, as well.
Submitted content will appear on the site once it has been approved by the Communications Office staff.
Visitors can search by keyword to find videos that interest them. They can also send links of any video to their friends, as well as embed automatically-generated code into a website to display their work. This provides an easy means for local churches to upload their videos to their own websites and blogs, too - without having to pay for large amounts of server space to host the videos.
Videos are limited to 200 MB in overall file size. There is no length restriction, but we recommend that you keep them to less than five minutes.
All uploads will go through a conversion process for size and format, so if you don't have access to encoding software - don't worry. The process is similar to other sites and is very straightforward.(Virtually any format can be uploaded, but videos encoded in flv, quicktime and h.264 will display the best. If you have the ability to control parameters, 320x240 encoded at 800kbps is recommended.)
Videos do not need to be polished productions. What we want are the "home movies" that reflect what's going on at your church. It's a great place for youth-made videos, too!
To get some ideas from another Conference, check out this link:
As more and more people move to watching, producing, and sharing video online, these resources can help churches meet the demand for faith-based content and offer a digital presence for the church.
People are asking questions about faith anonymously online every day and they aren't necessarily getting the best answers. Think about how you can use these tools to fulfill someone's needs.
We hope you'll be as excited as we are about this new capability!
(Our thanks to Brant Mills of the Texas Annual Conference for source material in this story.)