Creating a Recap Video

If you ever want to get your foot in the door to work an event, a great place to start volunteering is the recap video.  Its a great opportunity to show your shooting skills, editing, and display your eye for what you decided to select. The first time I worked on a recap video was when I was studying television and media at Hillsong College.  I hung around the editors and volunteered to help shoot during Hillsong’s Colour Conference. I didn’t know much so I kept asking the editor what type of shots he wanted. The next conference, they gave me the job to produce Encounter Youth Conference. The first draft that I worked on with an editor was horrible (it was flat and random.) so I reworked it all weekend to prepare it for Sunday. The producer appreciated my countless hours editing, liked the second edit and paid me for it! It was such a great learning experience, I still have the card he wrote me with his thankfulness for not giving up.

Since then, I’ve worked on countless recaps. Many where stressful and usually with seconds to spare. The task is to create a video in a day or two days, depending on how long the conference is, of what took place. You gotta plan to be at the right place at the right time, capture moments, and allow people who view it, to feel like they were there.

In the past, I’ve opened a new project and started the day off. I would film pointing my camera at anything. I would upload the video and wait for it to be approved. Countless changes were needed, misspelled, wrong song, add numbers and so on.

For the first time last year I knew there was a better way to go about it, I needed to remove the stress and last minute changes. I developed what is called a creative brief. I ask all my questions to whoever is producing the conference, (who ever is in charge) weeks before the event, I asked them:

What mood do you want this year recap video to have? Fun or deep?

Do you want a script with a voice over, explain what took place?

Do you have a song you’ll like to use? Who about this song — List some you think might work.

Would you like to focus on numbers?

And any other questions that applies to your event and project.

Second part, is I create all the graphics before hand. I place everything as if I have the footage. Then I list what shoots I need, write my shot list and then the day of the conference hand it to whoever is helping me shoot. This allows the project to need only footage before completing.

If I need speaking clips of speakers, I assign that task to someone who is in the control room, hearing the speaker. They make a note and export during breaks. They copy over the footage and let our editor know when they are ready.

I always try to make recap videos a little different each year, but the work flow is something that can be repeated. This year I had a volunteer edit, and two volunteers shoot. I created graphics in Premiere (so they can be edited faster if anything is added or changed) and made a shot list. I was even able to sit in some of the services and enjoy the women’s conference myself. When I saw moments happened, I texted my shooters. We got the recap video done with lots of time to spare. We tested the video in our switcher and had it ready to play.

Always think of ways to eliminate stress in production, the job is stressful to begin with, so limiting that stress will be beneficial to the production and team.

Video: Arise Opener

If you’ve never been to a large conference of any kind, then you probably never heard of the production term –an opener. An opener is used to open up the theme of the conference, it’s to deliver the overall message you want those who are there to learn and understand. As a visual artist, this holds a large responsibility.

In the brainstorm meetings, ideas pour in, but when its all filmed and placed on the timeline, the message is either understood or its lost. With a creative timeline ticking, and deadlines screaming, there has never been much room for attempt number 2. This year, I got my attempt number 2 opportunity. The first filming I did for this video was a big miss! The time of the day was wrong, the ideas that others poured into the concept caused the overall thought to be lost, and it just wasn’t working.

I was given a challenge, “Do you think you can make the original idea happen?” I wasn’t sure but I knew I had to try. I research location, I asked for help, I asked for an evening shoot, and I push my way to make it happen. My largest challenge was to some how light a lantern and not light anything else on fire. I bargained and came up with a creative plan to keep the filming safe where everyone was at peace.

This project was probably my most challenging, because every second of it seemed like it wasn’t going to work. I had to keep pushing through, and have confidence for my actors and team that it was all working. I am very thankful of all the help each and everyone put into making this opener work. I met the deadline, the theme was communicated, and the conference opened up with great excitement and beauty.

Video : Brave Dance

It’s one thing to have a great idea and another to see it through. The beginning of this year I saw a shared video of dancers with a screen with graphics following their moves. The effect was something new and I could see our production team doing the same thing.

As I worked with the dancers on creating the performance, it was difficult figuring out which one of us should lead, the dance or the graphics. It took a lot of back and forth, trying out different solutions and choreography. In the end, there was no right answer but to try it all.

Hearing the crowds reaction to seeing the dance for the first time was exciting. The dance was an idea that almost didn’t happen, we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to execute the idea. When we all put our little bit together, it made it come alive. It was a new challenge for everyone, and figuring it out had its stressful moment, but overall, not giving up was the key to creating a new experience. As we both worked to make the idea happened, we had to keep in the mind the heart of the performance was to encourage women to remain brave – which also included us.

Song: Brave by Moriah Peters

(I do have a miss spelled word: Conquers – the problem with being so focused on animation, words often are overlooked.)  

The World is Waiting

As creatives we live these busy lives with the pressure to imagine the unimaginable. We are asked to inspire the world even when we ourselves don’t feel inspired. Where to run when everywhere is already filled with a person. Our heart is telling us to change the world but our bank accounts reminds us of our limitations.

The conflict of dreams verses reality. Faith verse what’s seen.

You can sleep and do nothing or you can wake up at 5am when inspiration and courage wakes you up. The whisper echoes inside you, there is something you can do.

I am a child of the 80’s, we grew up with inspirational porters of kids as astronauts with caption like Reach for the Stars. Some of us did, it’s the millennial’s that dreamt of and created thing I remember wishing for. Technology has made it easy for us to produce our ideas faster.

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The stage has been sit up, we can either sit down in the crowd and watch, or we can stand in the spotlight and give our creativity. We can no longer ignore reality because we can see it all, the world is asking for our faith to be put to work. It’s screaming, please do something.

What brings back my inspiration is when I know there is something we can do to make a difference. Its a reminder our existence matters.

The world is waiting for us.

The Bonhoeffer Plan 


One of my favorite theologians, who was a martyr for plotting to kill Hilter, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, had this deep spiritual life with God. Last year I read his biography by Eric Metaxes and learned about his devotional lifestyle that he taught his seminary students. 

I often find myself getting bored or distracted when I sit down to read my bible, usually my mind reminds me of everything I gotta do or the movie of my life starts to play in my head. Here are some good habits to study like a Bonhoeffer student.. 

No speaking 45 minutes before meeting at the breakfast table 

Open breakfast with a psalms or hymn 

Read a chapter Old Testament, New Testament per day 

Prayer on what the student was dealing with with, and whatever they needed to ask  of God. 

Meditate on a verse for a week  and 30 minutes each day. To move forward, until you know what is meant for you. 

Concentrate completely on what God is saying to you. No looking at other reference books but deal with the verse as though it was Gods word to them. 

We all struggle to focus and we can learn how people who didn’t have iPhones or Internet mastered the skill.  
One thing I must share to you if you aren’t familiar with Bonhoeffer story, that living as a German Christian during  WWII,  Bonhoeffer needed to live a life hearing from God during this very confusing and dark time. He was able to live a life of courage and truth because of his deep connection with God. He was martyred for being devoted to God and standing up for those who didn’t have a voice.  

As a creative, it’s my job to communicate to the world what’s in my heart and having a healthy spiritual life will help me know what to say and how to say it. 

Family Photos: Moments in Life

As a photographer I think about the type of photos I would want. I consider the end product, and picture who will be viewing them. When someone walks into a home, it’s family photos that greet guest.  I also want to give the family a glimpse of how special normal moments in life will be in ten, twenty years from now.  It’s my chances as an artist to show the miracle of family.

I met the Perez family a few years ago at church. I witness both Richard and Rebekah live as single adults. It’s amazing to see what life looks like now. How fast the seasons change.  I wanted to not only capture a good family photo but to create some new memories they can look back on and smile.

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Book: Church History in Plain Language

IMG_1947I found myself with a lot of questions about how, why, when, who is who when it came to church history. As a someone who works and goes to a large church you can understand why I developed these questions. I’d often hear the wisdom of others share knowledge about different theologians but I wanted to study the development of the modern day church for myself.

When I was browsing the book store around Christmas time I came across, Church History in Plan Language by Bruce L. Shelley. I must admit I was drawn to the graphic design of the cover, but as I opened the book I discovered this was the book I was looking for. Each chapter was about a momental movement or new wave of thought that the church went through.

I was astonish to discover just how little I really knew about Christianity – and I went to bible college! Maybe I missed that class but chances are I wasn’t listening. History has always come off as boring, but I realized its all in who is telling the story.

Every chapter of the book I was on edge of what movement was going to happen next, What form of ideology was the next generation going to bring? What teacher was going to become the father of a new denomination? What scripture was going to be taken to extreme? And the horror of what group of people were going to be martyred next.. I began to connect A to B to C… and so on. It became clear that nothing is new under the sun. Culture come up with “new” outlooks on religion or life all the time, and I see the same ideas were developed in the fourth century, eight century or early twentieth century..

I do admit, I miss the book, I miss reading about this very subject. I ordered a few new books on the Pietists by Johann Arndt that took place in Germany.

The Pietists essence of faith is a personal experience of God’s grace in the believer’s heart.

“Any religion that becomes the religion of the majority and slowly turns into a social habit tends to grow humdrum and flat, regardless of its original glow of enthusiasm. So it proved in many areas of Lutheran Germany.” 

“Pietism was the fountain of all modern revivals. it set the experience of new life in Christ at the center of the Christian message and the Christian ministry. for this reason it is impossible to think of Evangelical Christianity today without the imprint of Pietism.” 

The way I think,  I’ve always taken it for granted, never conquering where I got it from. A great example:  I remember when I traveled for the first time, I saw how differently everyone thought. Going to church in a different country I learned a new color of faith. The Australian attitude was, “Why not try, and step out in faith, not sure if you heard from God? Well give it a go and see..” While most American’s mindset was, “I gotta hear from God 100% precent before I make a move.” …leaving most frozen, never attempting to do anything.

Last, I loved hearing what is taking place today in the global church – how God is moving in China, Africa, and South America. Learning how their culture has a direct impact on the way they learn about God. I love how different we all are, it shows how God can become very personal to a person.

The West typically reads the didactic and missionary letters of Paul as a key to reading the remainder of the bible. Some Africans take Leviticus to be central. They identify with of holiness and ritual  .Some Asian Christians concentrate upon Proverbs, where they find that God has interest in wisdom that they once sought in Confucian sources. Christians in the Global south seem to appropriate the Bible in a direct manner; they read with a sense of immediacy as though the Bible was written directly to them. Western readers, by contrast, observe a historical distance between the world as they see it and the world of the Bible. 

I see how influential the church has been to society, governments and communities around the world. I am encouraged that I am indeed a part of history.