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This post was originally posted at YouthSpecialties.com; follow the discussion there or start a new one here.

Now, I know… some of you are thinking, “Just what youth workers need… another electronic distraction!”

Okay, maybe for some of you, but a pocket-cam could have lots of potential in the hands of the right youth worker!

The Flip Mino (reviewed at Youth Ministry Geek) and other pockets-cams such as Kodak’s Zi6 offer some features you should check into for your ministry. Here’s five reasons I came up with after unboxing — and, yes, playing with — my pocket-cam last December:

* PRICEEvery youth worker that I know is watching their budget. The good news is that even the higher end HD models of the pocket-cams are around $250 or less. The original, entry-level models can be found for $80!

* SIZEThese things are so small that you can literally put them in your coat pockets and grab great video moments whenever and wherever they arrive. I try to keep mine with me as much as possible. That way, when the students start an impromptu Thanksgiving service pumpkin pie fight, you’ve got all the footage to prove who started it at the elder’s meeting later. Tee-hee!

* EASE OF USEThere’s not much to figure out here. Usually, just a power button, record button, zoom functions, and delete. Simplicity is beauty. When you want to load your video to your laptop, just “flip” the USB connector out and the built in software helps do the rest — no cables required! My first video was online and ready-to-share with the world 5 minutes after I unboxed — no joke! (and the majority of that time was taken up by the hosting site processing the video)

* VIDEO QUALITYOne of the selling points for my purchase was the high video quality — especially with the HD models. The quality on these models rival some of the much more expensive video cameras that I’ve used in the past.

* VIDEO IS “THE” MULTIMEDIA MEDIUM‘Nough said.

Here are five practical ways that you can use a pocket-cam in your ministry:

* Film your highlight moments from youth services: gross games, student testimonies, student worship, mis-behaving students (grin), etc.

* Take it out to film a video-journal of your thoughts during a youth event (like I did here with my HD cam at camp this past summer) or even start a regular video-blog feature (such as this). Tim Schmoyer has a couple of helpful posts to help out beginners in this area titled “Using Video to Communicate Youth Group News”.

* Film on-the-spot student confessionals / testimonials a la reality shows (great for the end of camp week).

* Take it with you to a b-ball game and film that end-of-the season, game-winning shot that features a student from your ministry.

* Capture video all year long and create a highlights video at the end of the year.

Anyhow, there’s a few ideas… and I’m sure that you all can come up with many more.


Shawn Michael

Husband, father, musician, pastor, Internet junkie, and Foursquare District NextGen Rep for the Gateway District