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How and Why to Make Your Own Motion Backgrounds and Illustration Videos

Updated on March 24, 2016
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Motion Backgrounds

In the modern day in age most churches use a projector and a screen or large flat screen TVs to display lyrics for worship service and the text for the message on. Often times especially during worship most churches will use motion backgrounds to bring an extra sense of excitement and visual pizzaz to what would otherwise be a black screen with white text. Worshiping God should be exciting and uplifting so why shouldn't our screens displaying the lyrics to our worship songs not also be the same? Now most likely if you're reading this, you're church already does motion backgrounds so stick with me, I'm setting a foundation here. There are several great places online to buy motion backgrounds and all manner of video, graphics, pictures and already prepared media for churches to use. Sermon Spice and Worship House Media are two great choices. Of coarse you can search the web over for the right videos if you so desire and pay out the nose for said videos. Here's my point, you probably have a budget to always be paying for expensive quality motion backgrounds and other illustrated videos. Let me ask, does your church own a DSLR, camcorder or even a professional video camera that you use to shoot church services with? Great, then you can start making your own videos. Why spend the time to do that you may ask? It will save a ton on your budget and when you get several good videos not only can you use them but you can then sell them to other churches via the internet as stock videos and make some money for your media department or whatever project the church wants to endeavor.

What to Shoot?

Motion backgrounds are going to be the easiest place to start because they are the easiest to make. Once you master these then you can move onto bigger more advanced video projects such as interviews or even thematic productions. What to shoot for your motion background?

Start where your church dwells? Is it in the city or near a city? You can shoot some wide city scapes and then go downtown and get some great city street shots. Everything is a target, cabs, buses, crowds walking, stop lights, stores, sky scrapers, great architecture etc. You can make a really neat motion background with some cool city shots. Follow around some congregation members or a youth leader! Make it energetic and fun. Get some evening shots and night shots with the car lights on the freeway.

Parks. There are always good parks around. Talk to a photographer and see where they take clients for photoshoots. Go on a bright sunny day and get some nature shots, ponds, lakes, rivers, trees and so forth. Find a focal point of some branches or flowers and then pull focus on your lens to show what's in the background such as kids or people playing chess or an animal. More on pulling focus later. Be creative. Get some members of your congregation to be in the video with their kids playing. Get some young people, middle aged and older people to be in it to give the video diversity. Have them lift their hands in worship, have them close their eyes and try to capture the sun on their faces.

Suburbs. Find a local business like a coffee shop, supermarket or just the downtown suburb scene to shoot. Again get some people in it. Have them go about their daily activity. Have some people praying or talking over coffee. Friends meeting at the store, or on the street smiling and talking. Use some slow pans to show the town square, any interesting or old parts of town.

Country. Have some nice pans of fields ready for harvest, corn or wheat or barley are all good. Capture a rainstorm blowing in on the horizon. Show the rain on a country porch. Shoot it through a screen door. On a golden evening about 7:00 in the summer, show someone setting down with a cold glass of ice tea, Have them look grateful, and reverent to God. Have them read scripture to themselves. Show shots of the Bible. Zoom in on a page of scripture.

How to shoot.

There are a thousand things to shoot, just look around and be creative, have fun out there.

Variety. Take the same shot two or three times for editing purposes. Take the shot wide, medium and close up. Take a variety of angles. Shoot it high, even, and low.

Still and Slow. Use a tripod. This can not be stressed enough. For steady shots and slow fluid pans and tilts you must have a good tripod. Have slow movements. Fast jerky and blurry. For longer pans stack up two sets of two or three boxes of the same size and weight. Wooden boxes are going to work better. Then take two metal poles and place a flat metal plate on each end to set the poles securely on the boxes. Set up the boxes at both ends of the poles. Now set your camera on a skateboard and slowly roll it down the track with the camera pointed at the subject. This will make a great slow artistic pan. Maybe you could even rent a small camera crane to get some nice movement from high to low or vise versa with. It can also give you a nice circle pan shot. You can get some really good equipment from Cowboys studio website for cheap prices.

Rent. If you don't have very much equipment or a pour quality camera then may I suggest renting? Investigate and see where the nearest camera store is that does rentals. Renting allows you to test different types of equipment and to learn what you really like. Of coarse buying a good DSLR is worth the money. It's a great camera that you can do pro pictures with and pro video. For a little over $1000 you can get a great camera for your church. The only downfall is that you most likely will still have to buy some good lens. Unless you get a kit that includes a lens or two. For $2000-$3000 you can get a nice semi pro quality video camera that already has the lens.

Invest in Good Equipment

Make sure to purchase a better mic, than the internal mic on the camera. Rode has some good options.
Make sure to purchase a better mic, than the internal mic on the camera. Rode has some good options.
Invest with some better lens options for variations.
Invest with some better lens options for variations.

Operating the Camera

DSLR. Operate your camera at a shooting speed of 24fps (frames per second) .Proceed by placing your shutter speed at 1/50 of a second. Set your f-stop to the lowest setting possible. To get a great film look dial in your f-stop at the lowest number possible. Your ISO should be set at 100 for really bright days. ISO is the major determining factor in how much light enters your shutter. Make sue that with a cheaper camera that you don't raise the ISO higher than 1600 or the picture may look grainy. If your outside shooting nature you need to put your white balance on outdoor. All of these terms deserve definitions and you can see those at my site which is linked below.

Pro Video. Again make sure you're shooting at 24 frames per second. Unless you want to record at a higher set of frames per second or a lower for a faster or slower video effect. That's a lesson for another time. ISO rules are the same. A pro camera might also give you an ND filter. This is a filter to help block out some sun. Iris in at a low f-stop and focus on your subject. Use manual focus. That way if you wanted to pull focus you can. Pulling focus means that you have the foreground in focus but the background blurred. At that point you pull focus on the focus wheel and you blur the foreground while revealing the background. There is a ton more that can be said for shooting video and for more information please see my other Hubs and my main site.

Shoot Pro Quality Video


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