Not Ashamed - Worship Short Film

Concept

Brent Allen, our worship pastor, came to me a few weeks ago with the idea of shooting a video to play during our Night of Worship on September 3rd. I had already done all the branding for this Night of Worship, which Brent had themed "I'm Not Ashamed," so the look and feel of the video was already set (see my graphic design post). The idea behind this worship short film was pretty simple, originally (as it always is...) - have someone read the first chapter of Romans on screen. That was pretty much the end of the idea but it really developed much more fully during production.

Production

On the way to seminary several weeks ago, Brent and I spent the car ride discussing the correlation between faith and righteousness - particularly as it pertained to the notable heroes of the Bible. From that conversation, Brent wrote a short script for this short film. I asked a local actor and good friend of mine, Marty Visser, to star in the video. I love his presence on the screen - if only for his authenticity. He doesn't feel dramatic, but acutely walks the line between passion and sincerity. He was the perfect guy for this short.

Shooting this worship short film was pretty straight forward. Our friends at Lisa Price Photography provided the awesome studio space for the shoot. The real challenge came in the editing process.

Originally the video was just Marty on the screen with just some occasional text animated as he spoke. But as I watched the "final" video edit the night before it would show, it felt incomplete. I showed the film to Jill Holt, our awesome student staff member, and asked what her thoughts were. She suggested illustrating the Bible stories discussed in the video. I watched it again, imagining what some basic animation might add, and it was clear to me this was the way to go. With only 25 hours before it would play at Night of Worship, I needed to get to work quickly. I worked long into the night to get a few interesting shots animated and placed into the interview. While I'm tempted to feel that if I had started working on this animation a week or two earlier, it would have been a bit more refined and full, I also feel that there are moments of inspiration that I just have to act upon, usually during a time crunch - and I definitely got into that mode. Limitation is the fuel of creativity (ooh man... I might write about that...). I made a list on my white board of 7 scenes I wanted to animate and systematically knocked them out one at a time.

One of those scenes in the transition between Bible stories with the scripture they're actually from. There is a moment in the movie National Treasure where the camera flies through the words of the Declaration of Independence - and as I thought of how to show the Bible come alive, this scene I had seen years back came to mind. I programmed the camera in Apple Motion to fly through pages and pages of scripture to reveal a Bible story on the other side. I absolutely love the scene where you see David appear from the words of 1 Samuel. It is one of my favorite shots I've ever animated.

The other moment I love in this video are the shots of Solomon. I struggled to decide how to depict this part of the story, since Solomon didn't do anything particularly heroic or dramatic. Wisdom is hard to show in a video like this and sexuality... well that didn't seem appropriate either. I thought about the temple that Solomon constructed with instruction from God. The rest just flowed from that simple idea. This was actually one of the easiest scenes to make, but it looks so good. I used a technique developed by Disney for Sleeping Beauty in 1959 where the camera moves through multiple 2D frames layered on top of one another to give a pseudo 3D look. I had been wanting to try this out for a while and I love the result. Definitely going to do it again.

The music is from one of my long time favorite composers, Tony Anderson. If you haven't heard his work, here is his website and here is a short documentary about him. He's amazing.

Equipment

  • Canon EOS T3i
  • Canon EOS 60D
  • Canon EF 50mm 1.8 lens
  • Canon EF-S 18-135mm 3.5 Zoom Lens
  • Apple Motion 5
  • Adobe Photoshop CC
  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Mac Pro (late 2013)