Where Do You Get Your Videos? Part 4: Nuts and Bolts

This post is the fourth 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.

Part 2 laid the groundwork for searching for and finding video content for messages.

Part 3, was an interview with Brad Huddleston, an international expert on the use of technology in ministry.

In Part 4, we’ll get into the technical and mechanical considerations of using video in preaching and teaching.

The bottom line for this post is getting the video content onto the hard drive of your computer. As described earlier, it has to get there before you can project it onto a screen optimally and thereby use it in your teaching and preaching. It’s just not a good idea to stream video live from the Internet when using it for your message.

So we’re making all kinds of assumptions here. We’re assuming that you want to use video or want to get better at it. We’re also assuming that you have a computer and access to the Internet. Finally, we’re assuming you have some technical understanding of how to make your way around a laptop or desktop. If you just learned how to use a mouse, this post is not for you – although we love you!

On the other hand if you are an experienced video editor, you don’t need this post and you certainly don’t need this series. You know far more than I do about the process. But I certainly hope you’ll come back to leaderhelps.com for other content. And, in fact, if you are an expert, feel free to chime in, correct me where necessary, and add to the discussion.

In general, there are two ways to get video to your hard drive. The first is to find a tech geek (and I use that term strictly as a compliment) who will do the work for you.  The good part about finding an expert in your church who already knows how to do this stuff is that you never have to learn how to do this stuff.

The bad part about finding an expert in your church who already knows how to do this stuff is that you never have to learn how to do this stuff.

I believe that using video in preaching or teaching comes with a responsibility to gain some understanding of how and why video works and the mechanics behind getting it on that screen. Not to mention that if you find a clip at 10:00 on Saturday night, you may not want to disturb your geek at that late hour but you’ll still want to get it into the next morning’s message.

With all of the teaching and tutorial resources available for free, you can do this stuff. I promise you.

So, let’s think about the two primary ways you can acquire video content. The first is to find a clip you like on one of the many sites through which video is available.






The second primary way is to load video onto your hard drive through a non-Internet external source such as a camera or a DVD player.

The rest of this post will focus on the first method. The next post will focus on the second.

To get a YouTube video (for instance) from YouTube onto your hard drive requires a third party application, at least for now. You can purchase software designed for downloading YouTube videos such as Replay Media Capture or RipTiger. Applications such as these will actually load onto your computer and help you download video.

You can also download online video content without purchasing specific software but by using a third party website. These are some of the more popular.




 (In Part 7 of this series, I’ll cover Fair Use and Copyright issues.)

A note about the types of video file formats. Without getting too detailed or technical, the system you use, such as Windows or Mac, will normally influence the file types you can work with. For instance, in Windows, you’re likely to be working with .wmv video files (for the Windows Media Player application) while with Mac you may see .mov files (which run in Quicktime). You’ll find a quick overview here. And a brief general tutorial here:

Once you have the video downloaded onto your hard drive, the next step is to edit the video and in that way prepare it for use in your presentation. Even if you are not planning to “edit” the video per se – make changes to it – it’s likely you’ll want to prepare it in a video editor to ensure that you have it in the correct format to use in your presentation or video software. I’ve learned that exporting a video out of an editor, like Final Cut Pro, helps make the file more stable.

I very rarely use a video clip precisely as I found it on the Internet. In other words, I almost always edit clips, even if it’s just to add fade ins and fade outs. Very often I want to make a clip shorter, edit out questionable words, remove content that doesn’t fit with my theme, etc. The more ability you have to edit video content, the more it will fit your purposes precisely and therefore powerfully. I’ll write more about video editing in Part 6.

In Part 5, getting at content from a camera or DVD player.


  1. […] Part 4, began the discussion of some of the technical and mechanical issues of downloading and editing video, which continued in Part 5. […]

  2. […] Part 4, began the discussion of some of the technical and mechanical issues of downloading and editing video. […]