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The Challenges of “With You (I Feel Again)”

WIth You BTS1 CMBFrom the moment I heard the song “Feel Again” by OneRepublic, I wanted to create a film with it. The song demands smiles and movement, and I wanted to bring that visually to life.

What I didn’t expect was that it would take 6 months to complete the project.

Licensing
The first and most obvious challenge was attaining the rights to the song. A project like this requires both the sync rights (by the song owners allowing us to put images to the song), and the master rights (by the record label that released that specific album).

After some research on BMI.com, I was able to track down the appropriate agencies for both. This took several weeks, going back and forth between large record label companies, waiting a week for an email that reads “We do not handle this song anymore. Try this person at this company.”

I almost gave up at this stage, but thankfully I kept trying, and eventually found the right combination of people.

Story
The development of story was a tricky process. I had to have some sort of story overview when requesting the Sync and Master rights, but I didn’t want to put in a ton of development time just to be told “we don’t do licensing for that kind of project” (which I’ve been told before by The Civil Wars and The Lumineers).

So after tossing around a few ideas, I settled on the idea that it would involve a “lifeless senior center brought to life by interaction.” This provided enough of the story to complete the applications, but left us a lot of room to figure out the details.

Once the licensing looked promising (I had to pinch myself), I was able to spend serious time working through the story of the project. For this process, I enlisted a few trusted friends and film students. I wanted to allow the story to develop, and out of this several-weeks-long process came the story of a ‘numb’ teenager who has to sit at the senior center his mom works at every day after school.

Location
Location scouting is never easy, especially when you need a full facility and as many extras as you can get. We planned a day of visiting retirement homes, noting the size, layout, and residents. Our first searches were for assisted living facilities (older residents), but quickly realized those gentle folks would not be able to get up out of their wheelchairs to dance (which the story required).

We decided to go with a 55+ Golfing community. We live in Florida so there are plenty to choose from. Amazingly, we had a connection with the manager of one place, but on first visit we were afraid the room was too big. Really, I was scared that either we couldn’t get enough people to help out, or that if we got enough, I wouldn’t know how to ‘handle’ that many extras.

Big Room Directing

Extras
We put out the word, visited one of their weekly bingo nights, and hoped we would get 30 people to show up. We had 55 actually show up! We were blown away.

The shoot took 4 hours, and for the first 2 hours the seniors enjoyed a free lunch and bingo games. Then it was time for the dancing! I didn’t realize until afterwards that I accidentally forced these great people to dance for 20 minutes straight, and they were very tired. Some of them tried to escape at one point, and we had to reassure them that we were almost finished.

Big Room

One of my favorite moments of the project was the Viewing Party we threw at the senior center. We provided cupcakes and punch, set up a big screen, and enjoyed the film together. They loved it, and demanded a second showing. It was great to be with them as they watched themselves, laughing at each other and enjoying the moment.

Takeaway
I don’t know if “With You (I Feel Again)” will be a hit or not. What I do know is that it speaks a message that is close to my heart: all we are asked to do is to love the unloved. They are all around us, isolated, lonely, and shut off from life. If you see an opportunity, take it. Show interest. Love as Christ has loved us. And in doing so, even the most lifeless can feel again.

In my next post, I’ll write about my experience with two new pieces of equipment I used for shooting “With You”: The Canon C100 and the Defy G5.

WIth You CMB Bottom

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7 Free Resources for July

We at the Church Media Blog have been busy digging up some of the best free resources for church media and worship folks. These include three fun and/or thoughtful mini movies, an audio track by Yancy, an Uncle Charlie track for your #kidmin, a stylish stock clip, and a song chart by Passion. Take a few minutes to click through to each site and get these free resources for your ministry… but don’t be quiet about it. We want as many people to know about these great resources as possible – even that pastor down the road. You know the one.

What is Your Work? by Shift Worship - Mini Movie

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Download the free mini movie at SermonSpice.com. (Available through July 31)

A Prayer to the Potter by Brightside Creative - Mini Movie

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Download the mini movie at WorshipHouseMedia.com. (Available through July 31)

This Little Light by Uncle Charlie - Song Track

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Download the free song track at WorshipHouseKids.com. (Available through July 31)

Juice Box Christian by Shift Worship - Mini Movie 

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Download this funny classic at videosforyouth.com. (Available through July 31)

Our God Reigns by Yancy - Audio Track

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Download the free audio track at christiansongtracks.com. (Available through July 31)

Let it Be Jesus by Worship Together - Song Chart

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Download the free digital sheet music at christiansongcharts.com. (Available through July 31)

Stock Video by Rocketship Films - Video Clip

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Download the free video clip at lightstock.com. (Available through July 31)

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Top Worship Songs of 2014

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The good folks over at Worship Leader have compiled a list of the 20 top new worship songs for 2014… at least so far. We think it’s a great list and we wanted to share the top ten here with you, along with some links for where to get MP3s, tracks for worship, as well as digital charts and sheet music.

10. Future/Past – John Mark McMillan (from Borderland)

Grab the mp3 or digital sheet music.

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9. I Am – Crowder (from Neon Steeple)

You can find digital charts here, and the MP3 here.

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8. You Lift Us Up – Paul Baloche (from Paul Baloche Live)

Grab the MP3 here.

7. At the Cross (Love Ran Red) – Passion, feat. Chris Tomlin (from Take It All)

Get digital sheet music and charts, as well as the MP3.

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6. Vapor – The Liturgists

Get the MP3 here.

5. Only King Forever – Elevation Worship (from Only King Forever)

Grab the MP3 from iTunes.

4. Joy – Rend Collective (from The Art of Celebration)

Pick up the Audio Performance Track or a Video Track for Worship.

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3. Christ Be All Around Me – All Sons & Daughters

Grab an Audio Track for this one at ChristianSongTracks.com.

2. This I Believe (The Creed) – Hillsong Worship (from No Other Name)

You can get digital sheet music at ChristianSongCharts.com, or grab the MP3.

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1. Forever (We Sing Hallelujah) – Kari Jobe (from Majestic)

Grab digital charts for this top song, or pick up the MP3.

For their full list of top worship songs, click here.

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WorshipHouse Media Summer Sales [Video]

We’re excited about the return of the huge summer sale over at WorshipHouse Media.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday one of your favorite WHM producers will offer their ENTIRE library at 50% off. This includes all of their best-selling mini movies, song tracks, backgrounds, countdowns, and more. This is a great opportunity to stock up on media for your church and to build your library of great content to use all year long.

The sale kicks off on July 9 with Centerline New Media.

View the promo video to hear some of the many reasons you will love the Summer Sale!

Show Notes:

WHM On Sale Store.

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Returning to Home Base

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I absolutely love this post from TheCreativePastor.com. The six minute video tutorial explores the idea of having a “home base” during key parts of your service, and having a plan to get there when a lyric, sermon, or other slide doesn’t make sense. I’ve done this during worship or the sermon, but I loved his tip about using your church’s logo as home base during other parts of the service. This simple tip will improve your services by leaps and bounds. You can watch the tutorial here.

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Churches Can Now Host a Movie Night For God’s Not Dead

This Spring saw the entertainment industry taken aback by the success of God’s Not Dead. The film, produced by Pure Flix Entertainment, has now grossed over sixty million dollars domestically off of a two million dollar budget.

Ahead of its DVD release in August, God’s Not Dead is now available for churches to purchase to host a Movie Night at SermonSpice.com. The Movie Night Bundle comes with a license to show the film, the full download of the film in SD or HD resolution, as well as other material to help promote the event.

The exciting thing about this is that churches have a lot of different ways they can utilize the film. They can simply have a fun movie night, or they can see it as an opportunity for outreach. Either way, it makes for a great event!

Scott Kingsolver recently sat down with David A.R White, a producer and actor for God’s Not Dead, and spoke about the film as well about his thoughts regarding what it takes to make Christian media. See the interview below, as well as a video explaining the Movie Night Bundle and the film’s trailer.

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5 Apps for Every Instagram Power User

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Image from Lightstock.com

At Church Motion Graphics in the past year we have switched from using Twitter as our primary social media network to Instagram, because of a few key reasons. Firstly, we create visual media and it made the most sense for us to share photos using this platform instead of the other big two. Secondly, Instagram is a growing community and it does a great job helping us share our photos to reach more people through their “Explore” feature. Thirdly, a user’s feed is less cluttered than those found on Twitter and Facebook which means our photos get seen and liked more often.

To be a proficient Instagram user you need to rely on other apps and services to make the most of your time and resources. Here is a list of five apps we use at CMG to take the Instagram experience to the next level.

1. Repost for Instagram

This is by far the most used Instagram companion app we use. It allows us to easily repost photos and videos of our community using our media while giving credit to the original Instagramer. We have tried a lot of reposting apps and this is the fastest and cleanest solution we have found.

Make sure to buy the pro version of this app to like photos, follow users, manage multiple accounts and repost ad-free. Bonus: The app displays your feed in a 3×9 grid for quicker browsing than Instagram’s single image feed.

2. Diptic

Need to make a beautiful collage of your photos? This app can pull photos from camera roll, Instagram, Facebook and even Flickr to make simple frame based collages. We love using this app on our iPhone or iPad to create quick collages that showcase screenshots our newest motion backgrounds or photos of what our community has been up to.

3. Word Swag

It is time to get your swag on! I love beautiful typography, but no one has time to play around in Photoshop to add captions and titles to their Instagram photos. That is where Word Swag comes in. With a few taps it overlays stylish text on your photos. With many font styles to choose from and layout options, this is a must have app in every Instagram arsonal.

4. MyCommenter

When you post a lot of noteworthy photos you get a lot of likes and comments. Natively it is very hard to manage comments in Instagram when they are nestled in the same list as your new likes and new friends. That is why we love using this app. It gives you a list of your photos and indicates which comments have been replied and unreplied to. Most comments deserve a reply and this app helps us stay connected to our community.

5. QuickSave for Instagram

Unfortunately Instagram doesn’t allow you to save any photos to your camera roll. However QuckSave does! It is an easy and fast way to save any photo from Instagram to your device. The app also allows you to repost images with or without a watermark and perform simple tasks like following a user and liking a photo. Make sure to buy the Pro Upgrade to remove the ad annoyances.

To see what we are up to please follow Church Motion Graphics on Instagram.

What app do you use to get the most out of Instagram?

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7 Free Resources for June

We at the Church Media Blog have done the hard work of rounding up some of our favorite free resources. These include an inspirational video, a bold motion collection, a countdown, an audio track, a #kidmin video, a stylish stock clip, and a song chart by everyone’s favorite bearded musician. Take a few minutes to click through to each site and get these free resources for your ministry… but don’t be stingy. Share these free resources with others on your team, in your network, or other pastors you bump into doing sermon prep at Starbucks.

Robert’s Story by DeidoxMini Movie

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Download the free mini movie at SermonSpice.com. (Available through June 30)

Mirrowed Arrows Mini Collection by Motion WorshipMotion Collection

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Download the free collection at WorshipHouseMedia.com. (Available through June 30)

Just Like Jesus by EKG StuffSong Track

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Download the free song track at WorshipHouseKids.com. (Available through June 30)

Light Streaks and Stars Countdown by Motion Worship – Countdown

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Download the free countdown at videosforyouth.com. (Available through June 30)

Great Are You Lord by All the Sons & DaughtersAudio Track

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Download the free audio track at christiansongtracks.com. (Available through June 30)

Come as You Are by CrowderSong Chart

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Download the free song chart at christiansongcharts.com. (Available through June 30)

Stock Video by PearlVideo Clip
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Download the free video clip at lightstock.com. (Available through June 30)

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Transcendent Vs. Relevant: Why Church Media Should Lead Creative Culture

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Image from Lightstock.com

In both creative and in Christian circles I hear a lot about being relevant. Relevant is an adjective that means “closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand.” It means the solution is pertinent or applicable. It makes sense. It’s current. Relevance is relevant but is it over used? Has the term been come to mean “cool”, “hip” or “in style”? The applications of relevance have to do with breadth. Reaching a wide demographic and not being out of date. The goal here is to hit the middle of the bell curve.

In contrast, transcendence is an adjective that means something is “surpassing the ordinary; exceptional”. It is “beyond or above the range of normal or merely physical human experience”.

During the Renaissance, Christian art led the way and other art followed. Christian art was truly exceptional and others tried to emulate it. As media producers we definitely have a challenge when it comes to BALANCING QUALITY AND SCHEDULE but within that context we need to find ways to produce projects that are transcendent, not relevant. We need to lead creative culture by leading the bell curve of innovation and creativity. We need to be early adopters of emerging creativity, technology, and applications.

Whenever possible I try to bring heady ideas down to practical reality. All this talk of relevance and transcendence sounds like an undergraduate philosophy class. How can I funnel this down into my day-to-day ministry? Here are 5 suggestions that will help you lead.

1. Pray
You must start here. As Pastor Mark Batterson has pointed out, “One God idea is better than 1000 good ideas.” Whatever the project (video, animation, motion graphics, short film, live performance… you name it), if this is your calling, you must start with prayer. What we need here is revelation, not information. We need to pray for God to show up in a way that only he can. We need to treat our creative calling, like effective lead pastors treat their preaching and leadership.

2. Pick A Project
There are 1000 things on you “to-do” list and you can’t give every creative endeavor this level of attention, but you can prayerfully pick one key project on your horizon that you will commit to prayer and open up a way for God to move powerfully in that project. For most creatives who are called to their craft, there is some spark of an idea that has been in you for sometime. That just might be the project that God wants to bring to reality through you at this time in history. Don’t miss the opportunity.

3. Put It On the Calendar
Whether it’s a sermon series intro and graphics package, a short film you want to produce, or (as in my case right now) a children’s book you want to write and illustrate, give yourself a due date for the first key milestone. Then when you complete that milestone, IMMEDIATELY put the next milestone on the calendar.

4. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Tell people about your plans. There’s nothing like accountability (and encouragement) to help push you toward achieving your God-ordained goals. It’s one thing to think about producing your transcendent project, and yet another to put the first milestone on the calendar, but there is something scary (and freeing) to say it out loud to others. It ups the ante and increases the level of commitment to the project.

5. Prepare
Look at the logistics of what’s needed and begin to prepare for what’s ahead. Act “as if” you know what you are doing (because if it’s truly a “God idea”, you will be out of your comfort zone) and begin to move forward in practical ways. A good friend of mine entered a film contest where he had 168 hours to concept, shoot, and edit a short film. He could line up actors, licenses, locations, and equipment ahead of time, but he had only 168 hours to produce it. He pulled it off and learned new things about his craft and about himself that he wouldn’t have otherwise known. He also saw God provide resources and favor just in the nick of time. I mention this here because as you prepare to produce your transcendent project, the same will happen to you. You will learn about yourself and your craft and God will provide in unexpected ways.

So go and pursue your calling. Determine to set the pace produce projects with transcendence as you prayerfully seek God’s best and lead us into the front end of the bell curve! You were created for this and God wants to use you to raise the bar.

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