Wednesday, June 07, 2006

IMAG and What We See on TV

Today's Topic: Tools and Techniques

Television, film, and live video are not only communication tools. They are also art forms. There are styles and techniques that define "good" film editing and "excellent" live television. Through what we watch on TV and in the theaters, we have learned our culture's definition of good video.

In many ways, these techniques and styles offer great starting points for good imag for worship services. Ideas like the rule of thirds and the 180-degree rule are essential for both preproduced and live video in order to create what people will see as "comfortable" images and switching. The rule-breaking techniques used by music television in particular have brought new artistic creativity to video editing that provides an engaging multi-sensory experience. All these things can be used effectively in church to advance the message of the gospel.

However, there are also dangers in basing our imag technique for worship on what we see on television. In the race to become relevant, I think churches have too quickly adopted music-television-like imag, which emphasizes motion, cool shots, frequent angle changes, and rhythmic transitions. Music television switching is based primarily on the style of the music, not on the content of the lyrics. Also, the editing has become an art on its own, an element of performance.

In the worship of God, nothing should exist for its own sake. Anything used, including the music style, the lyrical content, the video switching, should communicate two things: truth about God and how to respond to God in love, awe, praise, or obedience.

I refuse to believe that the culture should define what we do in church. Please never believe that you have to imitate what is happening in the world for the gospel to work. We need to consider what secular video producers do and then decide whether those principles are useful to communicate truth.

My challenge to you is to think differently about media tools and how they relate to content. Retrain your mind to really pay attention to the ideas communicated through images rather than just accepting them because they fit into a stylistically "hip" mold set by the culture.

As church media stewards, we must all to do the hard work of identifying what is going to best support the content of our songs, announcements, sermons, dramas, etc. And that is HARD work.

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