Videos are one of the most commonly used media today due to the combination of visuals and audio. A video can convey a powerful message to a great many people. For this reason, the Office of Multimedia has developed these guidelines to help you create quality video content that can reach the heart of the community of faith.

For the full video guide with example images, view the PDF here: DOC Video Guidelines


  • Clear and concise message: Videos need to have an intention and a clear message for the viewer.
    • What is the message of the video? Is it to evangelize? To inform? To invite? Is it a CTA (call-to-action) video?
    • How is your message going to engage your audience?
  • Length vs. Content Quality: This is one of the most controversial topics when producing a video, but at the end of the day what matters is what works for your message and your audience. If the quality of the content is good enought, then producing a long video is not a bad idea. However take in mind several things:
    • Viewers’ attention span is short. Based on a research made by Wistia1 on Video Marketing “engagement is steady up to 2 minutes,” after that there is an exponential decay on the viewer’s attention.
    • Create different versions of a video based on where it will be posted. Take into account the time limit of the platform, audience’s age, and preferred aspect ratio (screen size) of the platform (See page 10).
    • Using analytics provides information to better understand your audience: the average watch time, which videos have been more engaging to the audience, etc.
    • If the content is long and can be divided, then a video series could be an option.
    • Think as one of your viewers: Would you watch the full video? Would you keep it muted or play it with audio?
  • Visuals and audio
    • These two elements allow a video to be memorable and powerful; a professional camera, a microphone and a professional editing program are not necessary to accomplish this.
    • A tablet, a mobile phone, a regular video camera and a free app can obtain the same results for a well-crafted message.



    • Schedule with a few days or weeks ahead to film or to do an interview.
    • Check the weather or conditions of the location where you want to film.
    • Ask for permission to use a location and ask people if they want to participate in the video.
    • Take a few minutes to set up the equipment and to organize the composition of the frame, especially if you are using a tablet or smart phone.
    • Make a list of things you need to film.


    • The Rule of Thirds: It is a simple technique that allows you to improve the composition and to balance the image. Mentally, you divide the frame (what you see in the viewfinder of the camera or smartphone screen) vertically and horizontally into thirds. This will divide the image into 9 parts and allow you to place the point of interest (subject) in any place where the lines intersect.
    • Don’t forget to press RECORD and make sure the red light or LIVE sign is on; believe it or not, people often forget.
    • When filming different clips, make sure they are 10-15 seconds long.
    • Vary your shots from a wide angle to a medium one to a close-up. This allows you to tell a cohesive story and make it more interesting to watch.
    • Most of the time it is better to record horizontally, but depending on the social media channel you are using to upload the video you might have a better idea on how to record.
    • Avoid recording in places with too much background noise.
      • If possible, use a microphone when doing an interview.
      • Audio tests are important to make sure there are no background noises and audio levels are correct (usually between -20db and -10db is recommended.)
    • In most cases, it’s preferably to have a decent amount of headroom (space between the top of a person’s head and the top of your frame).
    • Consider the angle you want to film and be careful with it; a bad angle can distract the viewer or affect the way the viewer processes the message, but an interesting angle can be engaging and can make your video more interesting to watch.
    • Have some movement when filming. Be careful with the pace of the movement and have a variety of still shots and shots with movement (panning, tilting, etc.). Be aware of the background inside the frame. Remove or change any element that can be distracting to the viewer.
    • Try to film stable shots. Sometimes handheld shots are helpful for a point-ofview perspective but they can be distracting due to shakiness. Using tripods, monopods and stabilizers might help. If handheld, brace yourself against a wall, the ground, furniture, etc.
    • While editing you can cut the shaky parts, or depending on the program you are using to edit, you might have the ability to stabilize the image.
    • Lighting is easy to forget when filming, but it’s important in order to avoid grainy images or overexposed ones. Always have a source of light when filming.
    • When conducting an interview, make sure the interviewee is not looking straight at the camera. Sit or stand next to either side of the camera and ask them to look at you; it is more natural and comfortable for the interviewee.
      • Make sure you and the camera are positioned at the same eye-level of the interviewee.


    • To retain your audience you have the first 3-5 seconds of the video to grab the attention and deliver the key message. Get to the point!
    • Always include a description or caption of the video.
    • Optimal audio levels should be around -12db with occasional peaks to -8db, but your ears should be your guide.
    • Be careful when using copyrighted music and imagery; without the appropriate license or permission, your video can be muted or deleted.
    • Transitions between video clips and/or photos are fun, but using a lot of them can be distracting. Stick to one or two transitions throughout the video. Make sure you have permission to use the photos.
    • Using photos in your production is good when there is no video available; however, if you use more pictures than video it will become a slideshow of photos and not very engaging for your viewers.
    • When using text, make sure the font is legible and has a contrast with the background.


YouTube is used by over 1.9 billion people, which makes it the second most important website after Google, and the most important video sharing service. In order to stand out among the million videos uploaded to YouTube it is important to make it easy for your viewers to find your videos. What are some of the ways viewers can find your content?

  1. YouTube search: The viewer types a topic or a specific video they want to see into the search box and YouTube will show a list of videos related to the words searched, and will organize them on how relevant the videos are.
  2. Suggested videos: Everything a person searches for on YouTube is analyzed by YouTube’s algorithms to come up with a customized list of suggested videos to watch next.
  3. Browse features: Videos that appear on YouTube’s home page are selected based on the browsing history of the viewer, relevance of the video, day
    uploaded, and view velocity, which is the amount of traffic a video gets within the first 24 hours.

Understanding the algorithms, we can finds ways to allow our videos to be visible and relevant to those watching. Optimizing the metadata of your videos is a great way to achieve maximum discovery of your work on YouTube.

Metadata is the information YouTube uses to understand what the video is about. This information includes the title, the description and the tags.

    • Title: In 60 characters you have to grab the attention of the viewer, reflecting the content of the video by using keywords.
    • Description: Allows you to share in depth what’s on the video and include important links (a website, fundraiser, registration, surveys, etc.). In 5,000 characters you can reiterate, reflect and expand onthe content of the video. However, the first 265 characters are the most visible ones in the description and need to be engaging.
    • Tags: These are keywords that connect the content of the video, the title and the description. Keywords the algorithms to confirm the content of the video. You are able to type 500 characters but it has a limit of 15 tags per video.


For more information please contact the Office of Multimedia’s video ministry producer Juanita Bustamante at 843-261-0512 or