Mission Guatemala’s Use of Multimedia

Mission Guatemala is a nonprofit United Methodist organization helping the poor of Guatemala. I noticed that they are incorporating some photography and video on their website, so I asked Tom Heaton, who founded Mission Guatemala in 2009, for some background information on how they’re working with multimedia to communicate information about their operations.

Q1. You have a “featured video” posted on your website. Did you create that yourselves or did you work with an external videographer/photographer?

Heaton: The featured videos change. Some of the videos were produced by a friend who has some professional skills using an hd camera and I-movie. Sometimes we do simple home videos with people sharing about their mission trips here. They too are edited with I-movie. Finally, we sometimes produce slideshow type videos using a service called ANIMOTO.

Q2. If you worked with a external videographer/photographer, how did you go about defining the project?

Heaton: The more professional looking videos were shot using an HD camera. The person who shot the video was told that we wanted to convey a positive hopeful image about the work we are doing in Guatemala. We had seen too many videos of ministries working in developing countries that seemed to make the situation seem hopeless. They felt a little manipulative. We did want that. We wanted to create a positive and hopeful image of our work in hopes that people would want to be a part of that work. Many of the videos were actually edited by a University of Evansville senior majoring in radio-tv.

Q3. Were you actively involved in the production of the video?

Heaton: Yes, we were with the person who shot the video and suggested people to interview and B roll.

Q4. What prompted you to create the video?

Heaton: Well… nothing is really more powerful than telling a positive story with video.

Q5. What did you hope to achieve with the video? (And did that happen?)

Heaton: We are still in the process of editing the videos. We were hoping that it would encourage more churches to support our work. We also hoped that they could be used within congregations to share the story of the work they are helping support. We are in the process of trying to compress the videos to actually make them downloadable from our website. That would make it easier to share within the local church.

Q6. Have you seen much interest in the video? Has it sparked better understanding or increased fundraising or anything like that?

Heaton: Yes, we put them on You Tube and on our Facebook page. People love them. They help tell our story well.

Q7. Do you have plans to add additional multimedia pieces (combined photos, videos, audio and/or web graphics) to your website?

Heaton: The animoto videos I mentioned above.

Q8. In an ideal world, what would you like multimedia to be able to do for your organization?

Heaton: Help us tell our story and our work in a compelling way.

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