Making Videos that Promote Your School (and Your Lord)

Nicholas Bartels (Lake Mills, Wisconsin USA)

Archived discussion

About the presenter

Nick Bartels, a senior at Lakeside Lutheran High School, enjoys playing sports, filming videos, and fishing. He turned eighteen on September 21. He started filming videos around his sixth grade year with little fishing videos showing bait, tackle, fish catches, and releases. Since then, by taking courses and participating in a variety of video making activities, he has nourished a passion for videography, which he plans to make a career in the future.

This movie trailer project took place during the spring of 2016. Lakeside Lutheran High School administration allowed us to make a two minute trailer on the student activities at Lakeside. The faculty and student body were immediately on board with this movie trailer. It would prove to be great advertising for school. To be honest, at first I wasn't too thrilled about the project. I had already done a movie trailer project for school and wasn't sure if all the ideas we had planned for the movie trailer would be used.

In the beginning, as we brainstormed the project, we struggled to come up with good plots or themes. Many students and teachers had suggested portraying plots similar to various movies. In the end we all agreed on one thing, that it had to be movie-like.

During the first couple of weeks we filmed a lot of different things. Rather than focusing on a certain plan or theme we decided to just gather a good amount of footage. We soon discovered that this wasn't a very good approach. It's crucial to have a storyline of some sort. Whenever filming a video it is essential to have a well-planned beginning, plot, and ending, but it doesn't always have to be super advanced.

After realizing our footage wasn't movie-like quality, we sat down and drew out a good detailed storyline. We started shooting again the next day. The first scene was on the bus. Our goal was to get all the footage with the bus done in one day. However, it was not easy getting a bus full of kids, the bus driver, and Matt Werre (our main actor in the video) together on the same day. Using a Glidecam, we were able to get all of the different angles of Matt that we needed for the trailer. A Glidecam makes footage a lot smoother and easy to capture. Later that day we hooked up a Gopro to the bus just above the tire. A Gopro is a camera that is smaller and more rugged than most cameras. Some of this footage made the bus look somewhat dirty, but we were able to use some footage for the trailer.

On day two of filming we tried taking some of the outside scenes for the commercial as well as the hallway scenes. For the outside scenes I used a tripod. I took a lot of shots of Matt with many different angles by the bench. I took some distance shots, close ups of his feet on the ground, and some from behind. The more footage you get the easier it is to edit with all the b-roll. You can always delete footage. The hallway shots I had to shoot twice. I used the Glidecam for these clips as well. The original looked too staged and serious, not really portraying what Lakeside is all about. The second time was much more comfortable. As you could see in the video, the people were smiling and laughing. This always gives the video much more spark.

Day three was probably my favorite shoot in the whole video. On day three I filmed the rock outside of Lakeside using a dolly. A dolly is on wheels, with a flat board where you can place your camera or tripod. The dolly rolls back and forth. All you have to do is simply push it. I pushed it very slowly. It was very difficult to get a steady speed. With a little color correction this shot turned out amazing.

The next day Kyle Burger and I took a trip to the woodshop to get some shots of the class. Throughout the filming process the teachers were all very understanding and helpful. I enjoyed shooting in the woodshop, getting all the action. I took a tripod with a camera down there getting a variety of angles. This includes getting shots of the students using the saw or different tools. One shot that I thought turned out well was the students working on a checkerboard. I liked how it looked different and might catch the eye of the viewers.

Continuing on we wanted to get some more shots, including a lot of the student body. The two best times to shoot were during chapel and lunch. I ended up shooting both of these activities. I filmed the cafeteria first. This too I had to film twice. In the first one some students were messing around and didn't make the footage turn out too well. The second time I filmed this scene I got Matt's table and friends. I thought it really captured what I was looking for. I filmed this with the new camera lens we just received and the tripod. Secondly, I filmed the chapel Lakeside has every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. For this too I used a tripod and the new lens. I shot some side angles of the student section, some up close and far away.

Without a doubt one of the more difficult clips we shot was with the cross in our new gym. The clip started with Matt talking to a friend. I used a racking focus shot. I started with the two friends in focus and then switched focus to the cross. I had to position the tripod just right in order to make it look good. It turned out a little darker than we would've liked, but with using the brightness effect in the editing software it turned out amazing.

The editing part of the project probably took just as much time as the filming. Most of the adjustments I made to the clips were color corrections, a few tweaks here and there. My ultimate objective was to get the video moving quickly. I accomplished this by having no clips more than five seconds in length.

I really enjoyed being a part of making this movie trailer for Lakeside. It definitely was a once in a lifetime opportunity. You can view it on YouTube. I still can't get over was how cool the video looked on the big screen of the movie theatre, it gives me the chills. Looking back at this project, I would definitely do it again if I had the chance.

[ Listen to a 10-minute interview with Nick Bartels about his presentation, conducted by Andy Bates on KFUO-AM radio on his "Faith 'n' Family" program, September 28, 2016. Audio courtesy of Worldwide KFUO. ]

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Alison, Emma, Mikayla (Fox Valley Lutheran High School) 2016-10-10 3:45:12pm
How long did the filming/editing process take in total?
Nick Bartels (Lakeside Lutheran) 2016-10-11 5:28:01pm
The filming/editing process in total took a little over three months. We started the project in February and ended a couple weeks into May. Our goal was to get the movie trailer done by May because of the new movie releases coming out. This, therefore, would bring more people to the theatres.
Judy Kuster 2016-10-12 1:12:04am
Nick, congratulations on a nicely-done film that provides a great message. Also congratulations on getting it featured in a local theater. How were you able to accomplish getting it shown in the movie theater?
Nick Bartels (Lakeside Lutheran) 2016-10-12 1:22:16pm
Thank you Judy, it was very neat experience. My Videography teacher, Mr. Hackbarth, gave the Watertown movie theatre a call asking if they could feature one of our videos. They responded back saying that it would only be a small fee. In addition, we spent some time filming and editing, placing the trailer in the drop box. From there, the people at the theatre did the rest of the work.
Tom Kuster (Bethany Lutheran College) 2016-10-12 5:32:04pm
Nick, you mention doing some shooting with a new lens. What was that lens, and what did it enable you to do that you couldn't do before?
Nick Bartels (Lakeside Lutheran) 2016-10-19 12:13:55am
The new lens we were using was a Sigma 70-200mm. One thing this enabled us to do was get more distance shots with better focus. The Sigma lens is meant for zooming in on the display. We used this to our advantage and the shots turned out sensational.
Alyssa Voit (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-10-17 10:06:24pm
My school has a lot of Lakeside graduates including a close friend of mine. This made the video even more special as I was able to see exactly what she was talking about when she said how great of a school Lakeside was. I honestly think it is awesome that your school allowed you to tackle on this project as it was really done well and captivated the essence of your school. Such clips like these really show Christianity in a positive light and it shows the impact a Christian community an have on a high school student's life. I know you said you plan on continuing your future in videography. Do you plan on becoming a Christian filmmaker? I really think that Christian filmmakers can have a great impact on our society if done correctly (as exemplified in the other discussion board). I think you could really become an impactful Christian filmmaker at some point!
Nick Bartels (Lakeside Lutheran) 2016-10-19 12:22:49am
That's something very special about Lakeside. It gives people a ton of different circumstances for unique projects like this. I am extremely blessed be given such an opportunity to serve my Lord. I would love to continue making Christian films. I think that video making can be a huge tool for spreading the gospel message. Thank you, I am very excited to see what God has in store for me!
Leah Whitson (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-10-18 2:51:57pm
I watched your video and I really enjoyed it, especially the camera angles and the story-line approach. You also really focused on the most important thing that makes Lakeside unique, Jesus and his Word. This video looks very professional, and I can see that you will be a great film maker in the future. I wouldn't have realized how much time you put into this, especially with editing, until I read the article on how the trailer came to be. All of the hard work and time that you put in really paid off.
Nick Bartels (Lakeside Lutheran) 2016-10-19 12:29:20am
Thank you, I am very grateful for the Christian education Lakeside provides. When doing this video we wanted to portray our Christian education and promote our Lord in doing so. Film making does take some time, but seeing your best work in the finished project is well worth it.
Hailey Krause (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-10-18 3:07:05pm
Lakeside Lutheran High School produces really incredible students that have good moral character, exemplary academic abilities and a good Christian foundation. My best friend is from Lakeside and she exhibits her Christian values everyday. This video allowed us all to see the great qualities and opportunities Lakeside provides. Throughout the film, it was great to see all the different facets of the school by showing the student body, the cafeteria, woodshop, and chapel because it allows us viewers to truly get the overall concept and feel of Lakeside. The camera angles and moving shots of the film were incredible and it actually felt like we were just another set of eyes in the hallways. The quality of incorporating God's word and message ties the whole film together and makes Lakeside truly come to life.
Leah Whitson (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-10-18 3:35:11pm
I was amazed by the quality of this trailer. Showing the normal routine of a student, and all of the special things that Lakeside has to offer was really cool. If I was a parent I would love to see this video and know what my children were going to experience throughout their high school career. If I was a parent who was deciding between a public and a private school, I think that this video could help to convince me that Lakeside is the place where my child would receive the support and religious education that they would need.
Nick Bartels (Lakeside Lutheran) 2016-10-19 12:44:31am
Lakeside is blessed with a lot of talent in many different areas, but abosutely none of this would be possible without God. I know that the people I've met here at Lakeside will be my friends for life, more importantly I'll be with them all in heaven some day God willing. When making the trailer, we wanted to capture everything Lakeside has to offer, from academics to athletics, to woodworking and welding classes. I am very thankful for how Lakeside has impacted my life.
Justin Sievert (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-10-19 5:36:32pm
This film was very well done and seems like a great representation for the school. I really enjoyed watching the trailer, especially because of the message it presented along with the quality it was done in. Using media like this can be a good tool for other Christian schools to get their message out into the surrounding communities. Do you know if other schools are now taking the same or similar approach in making a promotional film for representing their school?
Nick Bartels (Lakeside Lutheran) 2016-10-30 7:02:27pm
Thank you very much. Media can be overlooked as an important tool for spreading God's word, especially in today's culture. I know Wisconsin Lutheran High School came to Lakeside interested in making a similar course at their school. I hope other schools can expand their media outreach. It truly is something I will use for the rest of my life.
Justin Sievert (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-10-31 2:39:13pm
Thank you for that information on Wisconsin Lutheran High School. This is something that I will look for in the future. Seeing as my younger brother will be attending that school next year, maybe he will be able to become involved with this for the benefit of the school and also as an excellent way to spread the Word of God.
Jamar Kelly (Bethany Lutheran College) 2016-10-20 12:30:50pm
This is a great idea that you've done with your school. The quality of the video is pretty good and does seem movie like. I like how you captured the student body and some of the biblical messages in the film. It shows a lot of thought on what you are trying to convey.
Nick Bartels (Lakeside Lutheran) 2016-10-30 7:04:11pm
Thank you, I enjoyed this opportunity to show other people what Lakeside has to offer.
Rachel Heyn (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-10-28 5:25:40pm
This video turned out really, really well! It seemed very professionally done, and I like how you decided to have a storyline as a way to focus your attention on promoting your school. It sounds like there were the occasional setbacks and frustrating moments, (which is to be expected) but that, in the end, everything came together well and that you really enjoyed getting to work on the project, which is awesome! One of the things I think is really cool is that you are using your gifts and abilities to glorify God. We need Christians in all occupations and all areas of life. He can use us in many capacities, and He works through people like you when you shine the light of His love through the way you live each day. It is great when people use their passions to honor God, because it is not about making money or being successful in the way that the world defines success. It is about living our Christian faith by serving God through the various abilities He has given each one of us.
Nick Bartels (Lakeside Lutheran) 2016-10-30 7:13:26pm
I completely agree, each project has it's own challenge. This can be easily overcome through hard work and patience. I am very pleased with how the trailer turned out. It captured everything we intended to include. It is awesome to see how God can work in a different variety of ways. I am very thankful and blessed to be a part of this video production.
Anna Naumann (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-10-29 8:27:57pm
I really like that you went into detail to tell us how you made the video before we watched it. I think you did a fantastic job on the video as well! Hearing that your teachers have learned in faith and are sharing that with you as they teach, even in woodworking, incredible. You have used your God given talents to create an amazing video promoting your school in a great way. I enjoyed watching it and reading about it.
Nick Bartels (Lakeside Lutheran) 2016-10-30 7:41:10pm
Thank you Anna,
That is something I really appreciate here at Lakeside. The teachers are very encouraging and helpful. They demonstrate God's love every day in the classroom.
Katy Brodesser (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-10-30 10:56:09am
I thought this video was really good! I am big into creating videos as well and appreciate when I see the work that other people accomplish that have the same passion.
Nick Bartels (Lakeside Lutheran) 2016-10-30 7:15:19pm
I can relate to this, it's great to see other people's perspectives.
Eden Ehlers (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-10-30 5:51:56pm
After watching your video, it was clear that there was a story line involved. I liked your point in the article about how crucial this is in film making. Was it hard to come to an agreement about what your story line would cover?
Nick Bartels (Lakeside Lutheran) 2016-10-30 7:38:28pm
Hi Eden,
It was somewhat of a challenge to get the majority of people to agree on the same topic. People had their different ideas, but in the end we all agreed a steady plot and theme. The story line is essential for filming. It may seem "silly" or pointless, but it definitely is worth while.
Micah Kom (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-10-30 5:54:39pm
This is a great opportunity for potential students to learn a little more about Lakeside and how it stands out among other high schools. It emphasizes the most important quality that differentiates Lakeside from other school. This difference is the one that teaches the importance of Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Micah Kom (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-10-30 5:58:04pm
Were there ever times during the filming that problems arose that seemed as if they would prove to be detrimental to the movie trailer? If so, how did you and the others involved overcome the problems?
Nick Bartels (Lakeside Lutheran) 2016-10-30 7:35:49pm
The only thing that we struggles with was coming up with a good subject and plot. It took some time to brainstorm and develop those ideas. Besides that, the film work and editing went smoothly. It was a very enjoyable process.
Madeline Wunderle (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-10-31 1:07:15pm
This sounds like an incredible opportunity. Promo videos also help students take more pride in their environment and the environment comes together. 4 years ago my high school made a lip dub when those were popular as that was basically used to promote the schools extra curricular activities to get incoming freshman to choose our school. The details that you describe in here show a great knowledge towards your craft- hope it continues for you in the future wherever life takes you.
Katie Waskow (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-11-01 12:05:20am
My high school has never really done a promo video that was run by students. I agree that promo videos can raise pride in the environment and help it come together. I also think that these videos can help promote the school and Christ's message.
Ryan Michael (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-10-31 11:30:00pm
Great job on the video. It was obviously very well made but even more than that it was a great message. I can tell you are a great ambassador for a good, Christ-centered school. I think one thing that schools/churches are often afraid of is not necessarily changing but adapting to technological advances that can help promote the school. It's always nice to see work like yours as well as all of the neat projects on here in the Gospel Outreach with Media program. One question I do have is what would you say to kids maybe a little younger than you looking to get into work such as this (maybe for their youth groups, school projects, etc.) and have the early success that you have had?
Katie Waskow (Wisconsin Lutheran College) 2016-10-31 11:48:27pm
Nick, I watched your video and thought it was a great message with an effective video. The video really captured the atmosphere of your school and the many things it has to offer. The aspects of the video made it easy to understand and easy to relate to. I wish my high school would have done more promotional videos done by students. What inspired you to take on this project? Why do you think doing this project was so important?