Archive for the ‘christianvideomag’ Category

Exciting Announcement from CVMag!

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2nd Issue as Editor

It’s time for the July/Aug edition of Christian Video Magazine, my second issue as editor. I’m excited about the contents of both this and upcoming issues. In this issue we have:

Cover Story, THE INCREASE, by Gregory Fish

Videos about the Faith of Pro Athletes (a good resource with free content)

Article, The Hunger Games- mindless entertainment and its effects, by Martin Baggs

A well-written and intriguing review of this blockbuster hit, that just came out on Redbox and on-demand. Written from a Christian perspective.

Article, Practice Makes Better by Gregory Fish
A case to create out of passion, not just for pay

Article, Eight Tips for Better Videos by Ryan Geesaman

ArticleStarting From Scratch by Ken Erickson
2 articles that are great for beginners, just getting started in video
This resource can show up in your inbox for free if you subscribe at
Go get it!!!

First Issue as Editor

Christian Video Magazine, Volume 5 Number 3 is my first issue as editor. It just went out today. This is pretty exciting for me and I look forward to the future of this publication as I continue to work on it.

If you do not receive it currently, I’d be honored to deliver it to your inbox. It is a free subscription. Simply go to and follow sign up directions. You can read this issue and past issues at our online community in a new flash viewer or download pdfs to read/ save.

This issue contains:

Editorial, New Beginnings by Gregory Fish
Cover Story, NOMaD 1-2-3 – An interview with Good News Productions, Intl, by Gregory Fish
ArticleThe Avengers – manipulation and teamwork, freedom and subjugation, by Martin Baggs
ArticleThe Power of Video for this Generation by Gregory Fish
ArticleSync Without Sinking by Ryan Geesaman
Quick TipIncrease You YouTube Upload limit from 15 min to 12 Hours! by Chad Gleaves

Thinking Outside

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Download the pdf of this post from Christian Video Magazine- here.

This last mini-movie I made was a beast to edit…and I mean that quite literally. It is about the greatest of beasts which draws its inspiration from an obscure passage in Revelation. Here are some helpful little revelations about the creative process that I gleaned through my experience with this project, which by the way can be found at

Let this video help you to tell the Christmas story in a new but a very Biblical way.

(4-page Leader’s Guide PDF included!)

1) Think Outside the Manger

You thought I’d say “box”, but that would be cliche, and therefore not “outside-the-box” thinking. When it comes to creating a Christmas illustration, we need to think outside the manger. In other words, do something that hasn’t been done already a million times over. A creative person scraping the bottom of the barrel, recycling old, used ideas just isn’t attractive. I know, I know. There’s nothing new under the sun. However, we can present a new/ old idea in a new way. Or we can bring to light something that is new to most people. It’s like when I talk about my new camera lens, it’s not actually new; it’s slightly used, but it’s new to me.

This video has been a long time coming. I taught a class on Revelation at church and actually preached on the Red Dragon of Christmas last year. It’s taken me all of this time to muster the courage to piece together this video and companion leader’s guide. Why courage? There’s a risk in creating something that is different. How will it be received? I don’t know. But we will see. As a pastor, I know what it’s like to come to Christmas every year and wonder how I’m going to bring something fresh this time. The Red Dragon of Christmas certainly would be something that many never would have even considered, but will others now take the risk in showing this video and building their message around this obscure passage? Many pastors are even afraid to get into the book of Revelation beyond chapter three. These types of questions are always on the back of your mind as a creator, but is the unknowing a deal breaker? It is not. You won’t know until you publish. If you ship it off you’ll find out the answer. If you don’t, you’ll never know. So, create something plain and safe, or go outside of your comfort zone to bring a potentially great and impacting creation from conception to follow through all the way to completion. More on this later.

2) Bring in Outside Help

When making something that was a big idea in your mind, you may have to venture outside of yourself to execute that idea effectively. The vision may be larger than your ability to accomplish on your own. That’s is absolutely fine. Bring in outside help. Nobody can be an expert or even decent at everything. John Dickson does a great job in his book Humilitas of defining humility in part as common sense. In that chapter he tells a joke:

There was a plane, and the pilot comes across the radio and says “Attention all passengers. I have some bad news. We are going to crash.” Now, there were three others on board this aircraft, four including the pilot. The pilot says, “The good news is, there are parachutes. The bad news is there are only three. This is my plane, I’m the pilot, and I’m going to take one.” So he straps on a parachute and out he jumps. Now, remaining on board was a brilliant professor, a minister of religion, and a backpacker, with only two parachutes. The brilliant professor jumps up and says, “I’m a brilliant professor; I have lots to achieve in this world; I can create and donate to mankind; I need a parachute.” He straps one on and jumps out of the plane. Left behind is the minister of religion and the backpacker. The minister turns to the backpacker and said, “Look, I’ve had a long life; I’ve enjoyed my life; I know where I’m going. You take the final parachute.” The backpacker stops him and says, “No, wait. That brilliant professor, he just jumped out with my backpack.” While the story is not true, it clearly demonstrates how expertise in one area counts for little in another.

So as Dickson illustrates, while I may be OK at animating, I’m not very good at drawing. Here I needed some original dragon art that I could use and animate, but Illustrator is a program that I hardly ever use! It’s time to phone a friend. Actually I Facebooked him (if that’s a verb). I later went through and explained the crazy concept. Though we live in different states, we were able to collaborate on this project. Without him, I wouldn’t have original dragon art. And if the title is “The Red Dragon of Christmas” I probably need some dragon in the video.

That’s not where the collaborating ended. If you’re a one man team like me, then you are easily tempted to do everything yourself. That way you have more control over it, and you get it the way you want it. That’s all fine and well. More power to you, but know that maybe, just maybe, quite possibly, actually, it could be better if you brought in outside help. This particular had an enormous menacing voice-over. If you look at my videos, you’ll find that I do most of my own voice-overs. It’s easier that way. No need to bother anyone else. On this one, I broke down and said to myself that I should find someone else. The first person I had in mind was a personal friend who is a professional radio voice. Though he too lives in another state, these days that doesn’t mean you can’t collaborate. He did a fabulous job. Only had to fix one pronunciation, and I was ready to build a score around his wonderful narration.
3) Expect Resistance from the Outside
I have my original dragon art. I have my audio done. I’m looking at the calendar. I set a deadline for myself. I get the weekend that I’m supposed to use to piece this thing together. All is ready to go…except for me. The moment I’ve been planning for a year has arrived. I’ve blocked out many other activities to dedicate this time for editing, something I love to do, and yet I want to do anything else but this. Fear is creeping in. Is anyone going to be bold enough to use this? Will they even like it? I don’t know how to create a fire effect or smoke. Will people think this is tacky? Why is a public domain picture of Athaliah so hard to find? All of this is called resistance.

If you haven’t watched my dragon video yet, let me give you the cliff-notes right now. (If you want to go a lot more in depth, it packs a lot of info, and I give you even more in the 4 page pdf that comes with the download.) The video is about the missing piece in our nativity scenes. Not the angels, or shepherds, wise men, or even Joseph. According to Revelation 12 a large Red Dragon was present there in Bethlehem, trying to destroy the child. This is something he been trying to do ever since Genesis 3. He is identified as Satan, the ancient serpent in verse 9. The video chronicles many times throughout scripture that he attempts to undo God’s promise, but is unsuccessful.

I am making a video about our enemy, exposing him for what he is. My wife told me that he probably didn’t want me making this video. That was some of the push-back, the wanting to give up, the self-doubting, the procrastination. In Gary Molander’s new book (I interviewed him in the last edition) he has a section on creative blocks and resistance. On pgs 80-82 he gives it a name. Satan. Interestingly enough, he even quotes Revelation 12, the very passage I was to be animating. Gary writes, “The most important line is the last one – the one that says that Satan is coming after Christ-followers with a rage and with vengeance. You hurt a Father most by harming His children.” I tweeted Gary and he and others actually prayed for me that day. In two days of hard work, the video was done. If you expect resistance, you can counter it. In your next project think “outside”.

Gary Molander Interview Transcript

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment

I recently had my first experience at the wonderful Echo Conference, and while there I caught up with Gary Molander. For your benefit here’s a transcription of our conversation (video of the interview is at the bottom of the post):

GF: I’m here with Gary Molander,, Floodgate Productions, and author of a new book “Pursuing Christ, Creating Art”. And Gary, instead of telling you what a great job you did. I want to say thank you for writing such a needed book in the Christian artist world. I could relate to it throughout. It ministered to me and I know it’s going to help a lot of people so thank you for writing that.

GM: You’re welcome. I will say that whoever invented blogging is my best friend cause that’s where it all started. It gave me a chance.

GF: Awesome. You say that God doesn’t need our art. We should create art in response to God because the world needs it. My question is do you really think I or any other guy could really change the world? I mean, that’s kind of a lofty goal.

GM: Yeah, the answer is yes, but I think we change the world one person at a time. And so it’s not my job alone to change the world. It’s our collective job as the church, capital C, to change the world. I think what really changes the world are stories told beautifully and art done wonderfully. That’s what I think.

GF: I agree. You also say we are children of God who happen to be artists. And never get that turned around. Why is that important?

GM: It’s because we are children of God first. There will come a day when we are not artists anymore. When we can’t pick up and type or blog or whatever we do. But we will always be children of God. And I think that’s really important to realize so that we don’t have a complete identity meltdown when that day comes, when we aren’t artists anymore.

GF: That’s great. You say your most impacting art is a bi-product of time spent with a creative source, Jesus. And the title of the book is, “Pursuing Christ, Creating Art”, in that order. Do you feel that many people and artists tend to reverse that order?

GM: Yeah, I do. I can’t speak for all artists. I can certainly speak for myself. And the tendency is not to pursue Christ and create art. The tendency is the create Christ and pursue art. And that’s a little bit scary. I wrote the book because I wanted to make sure it’s Christ we’re pursuing and out of that relationship we respond with art.

GF: I love that Christ is literally the backbone of your book. It’s a bold approach. In it you say “Beware of the artist whose skill level surpasses their character. You spend considerable time on creative blocks and you even give resistance a name in Satan. To combat this you say God needs to crucify in the art of the artist both fear and pride. Can you elaborate on that?

GM: Absolutely! What I would say is God is busy crucifying one or the other. It’s either fear or pride. It’s fear of what people will think. And that’s the block. That’s where so many artists get stuck. What will people think of me if I push publish? What will people think of me if I create that media piece and then stand in the back of the church and watch? What will they be thinking? And if he’s not busy crucifying fear in our lives, that’s my biggie by the way, He’s busy crucifying pride.

GF: Two sides of the same coin.

GM: It really is. You know, when you really think about it, it’s not the same thing, but it is two sides of the same coin. You’re exactly right. So, what I say in my book, and I really mean this too, ’cause I’ve met a lot of prideful artists; oh man! Where you can’t touch their work. Where pastors can’t come in and try to massage it at all or change it. “No you can’t change that!” I would just say that, if you tend to overestimate your abilities then I promise, God disagrees.

GF: That’s good. And at times we can cross the line into idolatry. Jump from God worship to art worship. Well, related to that, you say that the best art is born in the joy of heaven or the pain of hell. To create from Hades will result in safer art, less impacting and boring. What did you mean by that?

GM: I just mean that God works in our lives through pain and through beauty. So if I was to ask you what the most painful part of you life is, I would promise that your heart was changed during that time. And if I was to ask you what was the most beautiful thing you’ve ever experienced is, maybe the birth of your children, you would say, “Uh, yeah, I was changed in that moment.” That’s how God changes our hearts. So, my point is: Can we create from those places too? Can we create from the beauty? Can we create from the pain? If we choose to discard the beauty, discard the pain so we are creating from some middle ground, and I think that’s boring. Frankly, if I was an artist who had to create from middle ground all the time I’d feel castrated. I mean, you know, I really would. I would much rather learn to embrace the beauty and embrace the pain and create as much as I can out of those places.

GF: I must say, your book is not a safe book. It’ll change you from the inside out.

GM: I hope so. And you’re making a really good point. I hope it’s not a safe book, but I don’t want it to be an accusatory book either. Does that make sense?

GF: It’s not.

GM: So, the whole time I’m writing it I’m thinking, “I want this to be dangerous, but I don’t want this to be finger wagging, judgmental, legalistic.

GF: I don’t think it is because the whole time you are looking in a mirror and you’re being frank and honest, so I appreciate it. OK, well, just one last question. Kind of the end all question. What does the book mean to you and why did you write it?

GM: I wrote the book because I was deeply impacted by my father who was a writer. And I always wanted to write. I felt like I had something in me to write, but like many people and probably like yourself too you say, “I wanna write, but what would I write on?” And then the more I began to get into the creative arts world and I got my Master of Arts, the more I began to do that, I just realized that artists are really pursuing art. And Christian artists…I’m really pursuing my art and creativity and kind of bringing Jesus on as a passenger. I don’t think that’s the way it’s meant to be.

GF: And that’s why you make it a goal with your art, and now with people who read your book will be introduced into that, where your best art will be when you make the invisible visible.

GM: God. Absolutely and that’s really what it is because that is what we have, like it or not, a God who is not seen. And so we have to make him visible and I think through our love one to another certainly a community would look on. But there’s another way too and that’s through our art. Through art that redeems.

GF: Amen. Well, there you have it. Go buy and read this book. It’s worth every penny and you will not be disappointed. Thanks a lot.


Inspired Creativity

Today was the last day of #echo11, or Echo Conference. It was my first time, and will definitely not be my last! I’m headed home with inspiration, practical tips, and encouragement. Over the next few days I’ll be blogging about some of the many gems. I’ll also be posting my review and interview of Gary Molander and his new book- “Pursuing Christ, Creating Art”. I’ll be posting thoughts on the “Blue Like Jazz” movie as well as a short but great interview of Steve Taylor. So stay tuned.

I was really excited to go to Echo, I it turns out, I should’ve been. However, even before Echo I experienced a sort of surge of inspired creativity. Let me tell you about it and how God used it in ways that I would not have imagined. And you can do the same!

So let me link you now to a pdf of my July article in Christian Video Magazine, entitled “Inspired Creativity“.

Jacob Mann on 7D, rigs, filmmaking

For this month’s article, I thought it’d be nice to interview an expert in the field. Jacob Mann was a good friend of mine growing up and now freelances for a living. I wanted to pick his brain a little, so why not come along with me as we explore the world of freelance video with Jacob Mann.

GF: Jacob, I’d like to welcome you to the Toolkit. You and I go way back. We both were missionary kids in Chile. We went to the same school. We had similar interests in music and basketball even. I never would’ve thought back then that we’d both be into video production now. How is it that you first got interested in this field?

JM: Well, I was always exposed to the broadcast side of things. Growing up as missionary kid, I was always around radio broadcast, as the ministry began
growing, they started adding live sound for concerts, lighting, and video. So being the Pastor’s kid, I was always there at every function. My buddy Job Alonso was always shooting fun little videos and movies, and then editing them old school style using VCRs. He actually really got me excited about it. With the
ministry side of it, and shooting skate videos with Job, then fast-forwarding a few years later I realized that I’m somewhat good at this, I like it, and I can
make money doing it. So why not!

[read more]

(Get a free subscription to Christian Video Mag and access to the archives and a flash viewer at

Rode Lavalier Product Demo

After waiting months to get mine, here’s my first experience with the Rode Lavalier.

Color Blindness

(This is pasted from my April CVmag article found here:

I am color blind. I’m not talking about the racial color blindness, though that is the case as well. I do believe that our Creator God made one human race with lots of variety in the pigmentation of our skin. That’s really for another article and another magazine. Back to my point, I do suffer from Daltonism or color blindness. I found out in first grade after messing up a math worksheet. We were to color the balloons certain colors according to the sum in the math problem inside each balloon. The teacher’s aid yelled at me and called me sarcastic and I went home crying. I knew all of the right answers but kept saying, “They didn’t have the papers.” meaning the crayons didn’t have labels for me to read what color they were. So my dad quickly got out the ol’ encyclopedia and quizzed me on the color wheel. Then he went to the color blindness entry and confirmed his suspicion when I couldn’t see the hidden image in the test. It runs in my mom’s family, and women are the carriers, so I am officially color blind.

What’s this have to do with this magazine? Well, since you and I dabble in graphic arts and video and other creative outlets, we know how important color is. It is vital that colors be right. What is right? Depends on whether or not you’re colorblind. Maybe what’s right for you is not right for me, or maybe I’m not going to know anyway! What I’ve had to learn to do is either ask my wife (a good general rule for even non-colorblind men, perhaps) or color by numbers.

Paint or color by numbers is very doable with RGB numbers or even easier with Hexadecimal numbers. Just do a google search of hexadecimal numbers and you’ll get a 6 digit code for whatever color you need. Whether it’s a primary yellow or a forest green or even a magenta (I have no idea what that is). What’s even better is a tool in some programs to match any color on the screen. In Adobe software this is known as the eyedropper tool. You can click on any color and the info on that color gets locked in. You can copy the hex numbers and go to town. Also displayed will be the RGB numbers- three sets of numbers. “I used the eyedropper tool in The Bible in Rhyme’s mother’s day video from Proverbs 31-– to match the text color to the mother’s shirt color in each scene.”

This comes into play, for instance if you want to add text over a video. Use the eyedropper to get colors for your text out of the image or take a screenshot into this site- and it will give you a palette to work with taking it from out of the picture along with dull and vibrant versions and hexadecimal numbers!

There are some things, though, in which numbers won’t really help you. What if you shot with the wrong white balance setting? What if you want to correct color? What if you want to accomplish a certain look or feel to your footage. This article certainly won’t answer all of those questions, but it raises the issue. It is for you to go out and find the wealth of info out there on finding out how to achieve these goals. For me, I usually have to rely on my wife’s eyes to help me out. She will sometimes get tired of me calling her back in to look at the screen.

She helped me just recently on a little Mother’s Day countdown that I did- To have and maintain consistency I used the same project I had for “Crazy Things Dads Say” but obviously used different sayings and had a different ending and music. The only other thing that needed to be different was the color scheme. The “dads” video was sort of manly earth tones and this one need to be more girly and pink even. I was able to take my motion background and manipulate the hues until I had a result that worked well. For this, of course I needed to borrow my wife’s eyes to come and help me out. I scrubbed through until she said, “Stop…no, go back…there it is.”

I also asked for her help on a recent spot that I created for Stauffers Animal Crackers. In the creative brief they emphasized that the color palette match the packaging of the product. They wanted an “organic” piece that didn’t feel like an ad using no logos or tag lines. I was pleased that another producer commented on the poptent upload and picked up on the fact that our clothing went well with the brand’s logo. Anyway, I color corrected it using a levels adjustment which I wrote about last month in “Gotta Level With You”. I rendered out a version I thought was pretty good, but then when she came home I requested her expertise and use of her non-colorblind eyes again. We went through and made minor adjustments a couple of times. We checked for overexposure and congruence from scene to scene. Some of the shots that were too yellow were corrected by “color balance” adding some blue mid tones and at times highlights. You can see the whole ad with split screen (half the straight out of camera flat image and half the color corrected display):

I know there are many studies in color and color palettes and I will be studying some of this. I believe there are plenty of sites out there to help understand the psychology behind colors and which ones go well together. Suffice to say that colors do matter. Interestingly enough, in a “lighting” lecture at Lights Film School the instructor said it’s good to dabble with Black and White before attempting color, so that with your lighting you create and can recognize good contrasts in your shadows, mid tones, and highlights. That’s a challenge; but let’s takes it to heart. Lighting is one area that I really need to work on. The good thing about shooting with a flat setup in HDSLR is the ability to boost those levels and make the colors pop in post. However, it would be best to get all that looking good when shot. As my instructor said, “You can’t fix tonal range in post. You either have tonal range or you’re flat. You can darken your blacks and pop your highlights if they are there in camera, but you can’t invent them in post.” Get it right the first time! Those are good thoughts to consider.

Even though I’m color blind I can see colors. I appreciate colors. Colors can also evoke different emotions if we understand and use them correctly. Watch films and see how there’s a certain tint to different types of films or even scenes. Colors are truly a gift from a creative God. Let’s try to use amazing colors that He has given us and create images that are most interesting.

Get Popping.

February 5, 2011 1 comment

Here’s my article from Christian Video Magazine’s Jan. 2011 issue-  Since it’s release, “Daddy Calls Mommy” was selected to be a finalist!  Here’s the article:

I told you last month about a big step in my pursuit to make better quality videos that glorify God.  That step was enrolling in Lights Film School, an online institution in which one can do the work at their own pace.  Though I am currently a student at Lights, I also registered somewhere else to help spur me on towards more professional looking films.  This place is

Poptent is a place where creators can see assignments from major brands and create commercials for their products per their specifications.  Then the brand will select among all of the entries and buy the best ones to actually use in their ad campaigns.  One might ask, why even try a contest like this, it’s such a long shot to win some money; it’s a complete waste of time.  No, it’s not a waste at all.  It is experience, and well worth it.

I’ve currently completed 3 videos for poptent and the jury’s still out on them.  I’m awaiting the verdict on who will be chosen among all of the excellent competitors.  Like I said, I don’t expect to be chosen, but that would be very nice if I had such a stroke of luck!  In the last two especially, I’ve learned a lot about checking through my work flow list of to dos.  Since I’m a one man crew and using some new equipment, I’m in charge of sound and filming and directing and producing and set design and at times acting and of course editing.  That’s a bunch of details to have to keep track of.  Even in a 30 second spot, the execution becomes quite an ordeal.  That’s precisely why I see value in popping onto this scene.

You might say, “Greg, you mentioned you wanted to make films that glorify God.  How can a Trident commercial do that?”  Well, you’d be right.  While there’s no real redeeming value in a gum ad, the flexing of the creative muscle and learning what comes with pulling off something I would want to have in my poptent portfolio will be worth the sweat involved because it will make my films that glorify God better.  There is so much amazing talent on poptent.  I feel out of my league.  That’s a good feeling, because it stretches me to create something with excellence and a level of production value.

The church needs the quality that the secular world gets.  The church has that redeeming value that the world needs.  At the same time, the message should not be so in your face.  A bit of tact and creativity is needed to speak the visual language of our day.  I encourage you to get your feet wet a little in the creative crowd that is, and have fun with it.

My first submission to poptent was a Spanish submission.  I figured that would give me an edge or at least narrow the playing field a little.  I learned that this is literally an international contest, and high stakes!

Here is the link:  On this one, they actually provided some footage we were able to download and use if we wanted.  On this longer piece I created several After Effects animated segments, but then filmed some parts as well.  I learned that with my new Canon 7D, some extra attention to audio is needed.  Even with the Rode Videomic on the 7D my interviewee didn’t sound so good, so for Christmas I ordered the Zoom H1 to record audio separately.  (Watch this short little video on sound and HDSLRs from vimeo video school- On the last shot, I still wasn’t very familiar with the 7D, so I used my Panasonic DVC30 for that bit.

For the next one, my Zoom H1 had arrived and I was more confident on the 7D.  So I set up to do a Triaminic spot.  This link is in English, by the way:  This one needed to be 30 seconds long, or short I should say.  Trying to cut the concept down to that amount of time is a chore.  However, it can be done.  I had planned more that simply could not make it into the edit.  I had to keep it moving during that time frame, but really cut things down.  It was good practice in a principle they taught in the screenwriting module at Lights Film School of arrive late and leave early.  I also learned how sensitive the Zoom H1 is.  I positioned it out of the frame of the shot but under a ceiling fan that was on.  Though the fan was on the lowest setting, I could hear wind created from it occasionally and didn’t realize it until later.  This “handy recorder” came in when I had to overdub the “buy” line my audio got messed up badly by the fan at that moment.  Well, the worst thing on this one was making my baby cry!

Finally, we get to my latest entry.  Here’s where I got to practice over the shoulder shots and depth of field and even some focus pulls.  This one was fun to make!:  I thought, if I get a buddy to act as the Landlord I can focus on directing and sound, etc.  I can wear headphone and make sure that the audio is clear.  I even remembered to turn the fan off.  But on some of my best takes, I forgot to hit record on the Zoom H1!  I was hearing its output levels, but was not recording.  You live and learn.  I ran out of time to get the same level of performance before we had to leave, so I ended up using some good audio clips and some I had to clean up the on camera audio, which is not so desirable.  All in all, I’m gaining more confidence on some tricky new equipment so that when an important project comes along, I’ll be ready to go on it!

How about you?’s a great place to practice your craft.  So, get popping!

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