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Making a scripture video in your own language may be easier than you think

This article will introduce you to the things you need to think about before you start. It will also provide you with links to people and organisations who can help you in different ways.

First thing to think about:

Should we make our own video or should we use a video that someone else has made?

Before you start to answer these questions, make sure you can involve as many people from the community as possible. This article by Michelle Petersen should help.

This is true for all decisions you all will make, not just video.

It is actually not as difficult as you might think to make your own video. Think about your young people. Are they filming themselves doing something clever and sending it to their friends? Quite probably. Are they experts in video? Probably not.

Anyway, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of making your own video or using one that someone else has made.

    1. Pictures. A video from someone else has pictures from outside your community. It has actors from outside your people. It might have pictures of Biblical places as they are now. However, many Bible films are taken in areas of the world that look like Bible places but are not actually. The country of Morocco, for example.
      A video from someone else will be clear without background noises. It may be taken with a fairly expensive camera on a tripod or a ‘dolly’  to make it look like the kind of film you might see in the cinema or on TV. Ask yourself if you need that high level of quality.
    2. Acting. Sometimes the actors on the video will do something that your people will not understand very well. For example in some videos the actor playing Jesus smiles a lot and hugs people quite frequently. This is interpreted by some people as just being friendly, but it could mean something different for you. In one film of the Last Supper, the actor playing Jesus gives out the bread with his LEFT hand to some of the disciples. This is not received well by people who think the left hand is unclean. If you make your own video you can make sure these kinds of things don’t happen. On the other hand, you then need to find people willing to learn lines, act and be on camera. That can be difficult, but has the advantage of involving more people in the project.
    3. Sound. A film from outside will need to be ‘dubbed’. This means the sound of the original actors goes silent. Then the voices of local actors are recorded and added to the video. This means that their lip movements do not always fit the lip movements of the video actors. Sometimes the way you speak takes up more syllables than the original actors. Then you have to decide whether to remove some parts of the dialogue, or else you have someone talking and their lips not moving. This can look very strange. If you make your own video you won’t have this problem.
    4. Script. If you use a video from someone else you need to follow the script. Sometimes the words are straight from the Bible, and sometimes they give some explanation.  If you want to add another passage or leave something out you are not very free to do that unless you have a lot of discussion. If you make your own video then you can choose what parts of the BIble to do. You can also choose which explanations to add. Or you can do an original story that is based on some part of the Bible.
    5. Music. If you use a video from outside, sometimes you are expected to keep the same background music as the original. This might not be something that appeals to you. If you make your own video you can put in music that people like. But of course you have to record it. The advantage of recording it yourself is that you can approach local musicians and see if they want to be involved.
    6. Ownership. Whenever you use something in a video that was created by someone else you need to know whether you have permission to use it – that can be pictures, music, or the script itself. Sometimes this is very simple to sort out, sometimes more complicated.

Now here is some good news: Whatever, you decide there will be an organisation that has some people available to help you. We have put together a list of organisations here. Most of them have a resource page on the guide. You can read more about them there.

  1. Organisations and people who can help make your own video.


Name Link to resource page comments Any costs involved
International Media Services (IMS) Part of SIL but really want to help anyone. You will need to pay some costs
Udemy video production bootcamp This is a course which gives you info. You have to organise everything yourself. Course cost is low but everything is online.
Mobile video production This link takes you to a lot of different help and courses. Varies depending on who is helping you
Jeff Gregory (gospel on cellphones) Only one person but he has said he is willing to help if he can, You will have to ask him.
Create International Do CGI and cartoons more than live action You will need to check depending on the circumstances
Create mobile Online training in filmmaking with the option of joining them on set 1st 2 courses are free. Scholarships available

2. Organisations that have videos available for you to dub have their own pages in the tools site at 

We also have classes on our training platform. Go to, click on ‘tags’ and select video and film production. This will show you any upcoming classes and you can join them simply by clicking the subscribe button.


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