Long Portraits in Youth Ministry

Long Portraits in Youth Ministry

With the addition of flickr video, there’s a new idea floating around called “long portraits. I posted about it on my twitter account yesterday, and since then I’ve been thinking about it and what we could do with it in youth ministry.

A long portrait is basically a video snapshot that lasts less than a minute (or around 30 seconds) where you capture a single moment of a person in that time and place. It’s like a photo that can talk, where the person answers a simple question (click here for some great sample questions.) Photojojo has a great post on what it is and how to do it.

Here are some suggestions I have for using long portraits in youth ministry:

  • High School Seniors – Could talk about their last year in the youth ministry and what they learned, etc.
  • Small groups/classes – Could use long portraits to capture a key idea from the series (or year, or however long the small groups meet). Students could also talk about the one thing they remembered the most about the group.
  • Commitments or memories from camps/mission trips – Record students talking about their commitments. Have them send themselves a message to be watched again in 1 year or more. Have them tell stories about the impact the camp or trip had on their life.
  • Recruitment of volunteers – Use this idea to record students talking about how their small group leader or other volunteer in your ministry has had an impact on their life. Then show it to appreciate volunteers or recruit new volunteers.

A Review of Flickr Video

Yesterday, the huge announcement was made that there is now video on Flickr. Originally, I said that I would not use Flickr video. But, I’ve been playing around with it, and I’ve noticed a few pros and cons of using Flickr to host your videos.

Benefits of using Flickr to host videos

  1. Good quality – the videos I’ve uploaded so far have had fairly good quality, definitely better than Youtube quality, but not as good quality as some other video sharing sites. Of course, it always helps to start out with a good quality video.
  2. Different sizes of embedded videos – when you click embed, you can change the size of the video you want to embed in your site. This helps the user be able to decide how big they want the video to appear on their site.
  3. License how you want – You can license videos with Creative Commons or with traditional copyright. This way, you’re not agreeing to give the site all permission to use your video in something you don’t want them to use it for, like you do when you upload a video to Youtube (see their terms of service 6 C).
  4. Privacy settings – You can decide if you want friends, family, or everyone to see your videos. This is good if you only want to share videos with friends.
  5. Good community – Flickr has a strong sense of community. It is a great place to share with people and find great content. It’s a great way to meet new friends and keep in touch with old friends. Video is just going to add to this community aspect.
  6. Videos and photos living together in one place – You can place videos and pictures from an event in the same place. Now, if you have a wedding, and people all take videos and snapshots with their digital cameras, they can put those in the same place.
  7. Groups – Likewise, you can create groups around a theme or around an event, and those people who are interested in the theme or who attended the event can submit their photos and videos to the group.

Limitations of Flickr video:

  1. Slow uploading (so far) – Maybe it’s because it’s new, but so far it seems to take longer to upload videos to flickr than it should. Anyone else having this problem?
  2. 90 second limit – So far, you can only upload 90 second clips at a time. While this could be a benefit, there are lots of videos that people make that are more than this limit. “Moving snapshots” is what the videos on flickr are being called.
  3. No easy way to embed from an embedded vid – In order to embed video, you have to go to the flickr page and grab the embed code. There’s no easy way to grab the embed code on a video that’s already embedded. Maybe this is something they’ll work on in the future to make ideas more spreadable.
  4. You have to pay for it – Right now, flickr video is only available for those who are pro members. A pro membership costs $25 per year, but still, why pay for something that you can already do on the web for free?
  5. No way to download original – I haven’t seen a way to download the original file, either. It’s always better to be able to save the original to your computer. You can do that on other video sharing websites (not Youtube).

What about you? What do you see as the benefits of using flickr for video? What are the limitations?

Here are a few video trials uploaded to flickr:

I Won’t Use Flickr Video

Techcrunch announced today that Flickr now offers video. If you’ve ever looked at my pictures on Flickr, you’ll notice I use it a lot. I currently have 4,594 pictures uploaded to Flickr. I have a pro membership, but I probably won’t use Flickr for video.

The limitations for now is that you can only upload 90 second clips, and you have to be a pro member to upload video (a membership costs $25/year). Some of my videos are 90 second clips, but I would much rather upload to Vimeo or Blip.tv. They just know how to do video. Although the flickr video player is nice and clean, and there are benefits to having your videos with your pictures, I’ll probably stick to the sites that specialize in video.

We’ll see what Flickr does in the future with video, but for now, I’ll probably just sit back and watch.

(By the way, as I write this, I don’t think it’s publicly available yet).