Where Do You Get Your Videos? Part 2

This post is the second in a series in which I try to answer the question I’m asked most frequently when I preach, other than questions about the actual content, of course:

Where do you get your videos?

In Part 1, I provided some context for the discussion.

In the last 10 years, an enormous assortment of video content has become available because of web-based sources such as godtube.com, godvine.com, vimeo.com and, the granddaddy of them all, youtube.com.

In addition, sites such as keepvid.com and keep-tube.com provide tools for downloading video content while applications like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier, and Sony Movie Studio are relatively easy-to-learn editing applications.

As someone who was using video in sermons during the VHS age, I can testify that it’s a much simpler process now, yet there is a learning curve.

On leaderhelps.com, I’ve provided many examples of video clips that could be used in preaching and teaching, from documentary segments, news pieces, to movie clips.

With all that established as a baseline, let me answer the question, Where Do You Get Your Videos?, as directly as I can.

I make it a point regularly to search sources and maintain a library of clips. In other words, I don’t wait until I am preparing a message to then go searching for clips that might fit. Instead, I consider myself a constant clip collector. When I see a video that seems to grab me, regardless of whether I am planning a particularly-related sermon or teaching, I download the clip.

I’ll give you two examples.

Searching for Good Video Clips

Whenever I watch a movie just for entertainment, I keep a notepad or my laptop by my side so I can note scenes that seem to stand out. One clip in my library is a scene from the movie, “Pursuit of Happyness.” When I first saw the scene, I wasn’t watching the movie necessarily to harvest clips. Yet as soon as I saw the scene, I knew I could probably use it. I just had no idea how I might use it. Here is that scene. (I use :00-2:54)

I have since used it several times in varying contexts to support a couple of different concepts (perseverance, overcoming failure, etc.).

A second clip is a news feature I found on YouTube.


Further, my family has come to understand my “clip addiction” so they look for resources for me all the time. Last Christmas I received a DVD of classic TV commercials which is and will continue to be a rich resource.

Very rarely now do I go searching for a clip after I begin preparation of a message. I have found that process is very time consuming and often takes away from the time I should be spending studying and praying. Instead, once I have the structure of the message prepared, I search my library of video and written illustrations for supporting content.

One more example.

I have started to collect material from favorite people. One is this guy. Steve Hartman is a very talented journalist who produces feature pieces for CBS. He has been such a rich resource of video content for me, I now continually keep up with this work. To see for yourself, go on youtube and do a search for “Steve Hartman CBS”. You’ll see what I mean.

Suggested Ground Rules for Clip Use
  • Use video to support Biblical exposition but not vice versa
  • When in doubt, don’t use the clip.
  • Use video edited and on the hard drive of a computer rather than, for instancing, running a clip live from YouTube or GodTube.
  • Always be prepared for glitches (I always go to the pulpit with at least two sources of each clip.)
  • Be prepared for your clip not to work. Know what you will say and how you will approach it. (I’ve heard some pastors say that they won’t use video for just such a reason. I understand that completely.)
  • If you use a clip from a movie, make sure you have watched the entire movie before using the clip. (One reason to be careful about clips from such movies as “Titanic” or “Schindler’s List”.)
  • In a later post, I’ll talk about Fair Use and Copyright, but as a general rule, don’t include the name of a movie in your sermon title.
  • Look for clips that need as little introduction of backfill as possible. However, if a clip needs both or either, be sure you think that through.
  • There’s a lot of fake stuff available on YouTube. Don’t represent something as true if you can’t verify through at least two additional sources.

As the series continues, I’ll break down the process further. Thanks for taking the time to read.

On Part 3, you’ll hear from a tech expert.