6 Tips for your next testimony video

6 Tips for Your Next Testimony Video

Your church community is filled with inspiring stories that should be shared. As church leaders entrenched within your community, I bet you can name four incredible stories off the top of your head. Great, now how about turning those stories into some great video content to continue to spread the message? Here are some tips for your next Testimony Shoot.

  1. Pick a Great Testimony

We all have those fantastic storytellers with incredible presence. Pair that person with their awe-inspiring, life-changing testimony and you have a surefire way to a rock solid video

  1. Write It Down

Something about writing down a story creates a clearer picture for the storyteller rather than “winging it.” It reduces the need for rambling, and can help you as the director, keep the testimony clear and concise.

  1. Light it Up

Pick a well-lit area if you aren’t familiar with studio and field lighting techniques. Outside on a slightly overcast day can be an excellent light source. Avoid shooting in front of a window, which will create a silhouette of your subject. Use large, diffused sources of light for your subject. If you would rather a moody, noir look, give our pros at CTV North Suburbs an email to help you out,

  1. Mic it Up

A testimony will only have impact if you can hear the story clearly. Use professional microphones, if you have access to them. Get close to the in-camera microphone if you don’t use pro mics.

  1. Shake the Sillys Out

People are scared of being in front of the camera. Get the camera rolling way in advanced and have a conversation with your subject about the football game last Sunday before jumping into the real content. Get them comfortable before you pull out that incredible story.

  1. Back up Shot

At least two shots of the testimony should be rolling at the same time. This will give your editor options. I prefer the “behinds the scenes” shot where the second shot includes the camera, and parts of the crew. Make that shot black and white, and you have a very edgy look that will increase the impact of the testimony.

These are great tips to help you on your testimony-creating journey, but if your hands are full with spreading The Word, reach out to us to help create inspirational content for your church community. Contact us at if you are interested in content creation. Also join us for Points of Light, a free studio show where local church leaders can speak to our nine cities LIVE about their church and its’ mission. For more details about the event, check out our Facebook page.

5 ways to market your church with video

5 Ways to Market your Church with Video

“Marketing” isn’t a dirty word when it comes to your church. The goal is to have your community understand your mission, purpose, and overall philosophy to increase engagement.

As a church leader, include a marketing plan with a video component. Here are three ways to use video to engage your parish community to boost engagement, retention, and overall understanding of your church.

  1. Video to Encourage to Serve

Videos that are shared across social media typically invoke a strong enough emotional response. to have the viewer interact with the content (like, comment, share). Sunday sermons are full of stories that create an emotional connection. At the end of your series, complete it with a video that hits the heart strings of your community, complete with a call to action to volunteer or spread the word. Give your parish the tools to share about your church, through video.

  1. Record your Services

Being in community media for 18 years, a big portion of what we played on our channels and website was religious content. Many people aren’t able to attend their service if it’s cold (like Minnesota cold right now, hello? -27 degrees?), or ill. Make your services available on your website, YouTube, or through your local community media center to increase your reach. Here is a full sermon example: YouTube Sermon Can you magnify your sermons to over 2 million views?

  1. Promo, baby!

Many church organizations have camps, classes, or fun events to encourage camaraderie. Create a short video to highlight how awesome summer camp is for the tweens. Send the video link out with your spring newsletter and via social media to encourage signs ups. Here is an example of a Tampa-based church that brought their A-game in  their Church Promo Video

  1. Testimonials

When I found my church, it was via word of mouth. Amplify that word of mouth by video recording your members with their stories about what brought them to the church. Hearing direct accounts from your members can encourage new members, but also strengthen your church core. Here is a powerful testimony example.

  1. Digital Sermons

Over 80% of all internet content will be video by 2020. Be part of that space by recording a one-minute mini-sermon for your community. It will give perspective members an understanding of your style as a church leader, but also an idea of the content being preached.

Wearing many hats is part of any church leadership position. Let CTV North Suburbs help with the content generation. Contact us at if you are interested in content creation related to promoting your church. Also join us for Points of Light, a free studio show where local church leaders can speak to our nine cities LIVE about their church and its’ mission. For more details about the event, check out our Facebook page.

IT Intern Experience - Wade

My IT Intern Experience – Wade Arendsee

My name is Wade Arendsee and I’ve been part of the IT intern program since early 2017, I joined the program through Rasmussen college were I am finished up my bachelors in Information Technology Management.

When I was first presented with the opportunity to be an intern at CTV, I imagine the experience would be filled with a lot of menial tasks such as making cables and cleaning out files, but it has been anything but that!  Interning at CTV is probably one of the greatest opportunities a person just getting into the IT industry can have. In my time here I’ve completed some huge projects and implemented solutions that people our partners use every day! Some but not all of these include.

  • Building a new city meetings web server, from the hardware level all the way up to editing web pages.
  • Deployed and maintained multiple file servers.
  • Setting up new virtualization solutions to replace legacy systems.
  • Migrated a database and directory server to a new system.
  • Provide tech support to employees and our partners.
  • Build multiple servers and machines for CTV and its partners, some of which are used for our city hall partners.
  • Maintain web pages for our shiny new website.

I’ve also had the opportunity to branch outside of my career field and learn more about TV and Media production as well as audio and video engineering skills. CTV is a place that always encourages you to take on more and challenges you to learn more.

4 Reasons I wish I volunteered more in college

4 Reasons I Wish I Volunteered More in College

Ah yes, it’s another bitter post grad here to tell you what you should be doing with your life. As double humanity major in college I had plenty of people and think pieces giving me advice, some of it good, some not so much. But for all the Forbes articles I read about the top 20 companies I should be applying for internships with, volunteering was never really on my radar. Now two years out of school and two years into public service, I’ve come to see how valuable volunteering can be for college students, and young people in general (current self-included). Here are four reasons why you should consider volunteering:


It’s an easier time commitment than an internship.

In a world where student loans are common and paid internships are rare, it can be hard to commit your time to an unpaid internship over a part-time job while you are in school–I worked all throughout my college years and didn’t have the time for an internship until my last semester. Volunteering is a great alternative way to experience different organizations and learn about the jobs that are out there without overloading your schedule.


It gives you an in for jobs that are not posted yet.

Oftentimes jobs will be posted internally before being listed publicly. This is especially true if you’re volunteering for a political campaign and looking to get hired as a legislative aide or other government position post-election or post-graduation–something I learned when I finally got around to phone-banking for a campaign my senior year.


It will give you a well-rounded CV.

Part-time jobs and internships are standard for college students these days, but volunteering experience outside your major or industry focus is a great way to showcase your other interests (and skills) to employers and grad schools. A unique volunteering experience can be the thing that sets you apart from the other piles of candidates.


Volunteering matters in the nonprofit world.

If you’re looking to go into Americorps like me, or the nonprofit sector in general, volunteering experience not only looks good, it gives you something to talk about in job interviews. Many nonprofits engage with volunteers in some form, so it’s not hard to see how it can be a pipeline to employment. I have personally recruited multiple volunteers who then ended up getting jobs with the organizations I worked for later on.


Interested in volunteering at CTV? Visit our volunteer page to see what opportunities we have coming up!

A Guide to CTVs New Mission

A Guide to CTV’s Mission

Okay, there have been a lot of changes at CTV. The budget has changed, leadership has changed, the organization has been restructured, and now we have a new mission. There is a lot going on at CTV, and we are excited you are here for the ride.

The North Suburban Cable Commission adopted CTV’s new mission on October 25th at the NSAC meeting. Now that it is in place, we are inviting our community members and volunteers along to help move forward in this new direction.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the mission itself. We’ll break down the language to understand how this will impact our volunteers.

We Produce Community Focused

Digital Media for the Purpose

of Education and Engaging our Citizens.

Group shot, Dale Irving, Maureen Anders, Mike Freeman, Dana Healy, Pat Cook, in front of TV

We Produce

“We produce” means CTV is taking ownership of the programs being produced in the facility. CTV is moving away from the traditional public access model.

The traditional public access model allowed for any community member to come into the facility, take courses, and create any kind of programming they wanted within the nonrestrictive policies.

Don’t get me wrong, WE LOVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH! We also love CREATIVE PEOPLE MAKING CREATIVE PROGRAMMING! But, unfortunately due to drastic cuts in our funding, we had to make difficult decisions.

Since the technology to create video content is so much more advanced than 30 years ago, we believe the need for the community itself was not in the actual equipment usage, but rather in creating quality local programming. By eliminating public access, we will have more tools to create programming for our communities.

“Great, but what about my show? Can I still make it?”

With CTV taking ownership of the programs, we can decide to continue your show. Many of the current volunteer shows are perfectly aligned with our mission. We will continue to work on those programs. For future program, we are asking volunteers to pitch proposals to us, just like a Hollywood studio would! So keep those pitches coming, so we can keep making great programming.

Community Focused

“Community Focused” means we are producing content related to hyperlocal events and relative content pertaining to our 9 cities: Arden Hills, Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, Little Canada, Mounds View, New Brighton, North Oaks, Roseville, St. Anthony Minnesota.

Content you will see from us will be coverage of our city parades, state of the city addresses, public service announcements for fire or police departments, magazine shows like North Suburban Beat, concerts, sports games, LIVE studio shows enriching our community, as well as paid-for productions.

Things that we covered in the past that is outside of our 9 cities, will not be covered now unless it is a paid-for production. For inquiries about our video production services, check out our services page.


Digital Media

“Digital Media” is a beautiful blend of technology and content that is created or digitized on a computer. Prior to the internet (can we even think back that far?), information was delivered to audiences via print, then radio, then television. With the rise of computers and technology, the power to distribute content is accessible to almost everyone.

Although we have a responsibility to deliver content via cable to our residents, we understand the trends of technology and are moving in the digital direction.

Whenever available, we will be creating content on high definition equipment and moving our volunteers in that direction as well. This will include our production truck usage.


For the Purpose of Education and Engaging

“for the Purpose of Educating and Engaging” helps define the type of content that is important to our community members. We want to deliver content that will be consumed, watched, and shared by people. In order to do that, we need to inform and teach people about things going on in their community.

For example, we provide a platform for candidates running for office to appeal to their voters and talk about their platforms during our Speak Out series. This type of education and engaging aligns with our mission.

Another example would be municipal meeting coverage of your government meetings. CTV covers many of our 9 cities meetings. If your city is interested in our video services related to municipal coverage, check out our service page.

We also offer coverage of local sports, and community events that wouldn’t be covered by network news station. We are your hyper-local source for community information.



Our Citizens

“Our Citizens” means we are here for the citizens located in our nine cities. We need to hear from you the content that educate and engages you. We need you to share our content with your friends, so we can help all of our community be informed about local happenings. Let’s start here, SHARE THIS ARTICLE with your friends, council members, coworkers! Let people know the awesome changes happening at CTV, and we look forward to experiencing those changes with you.

WATCH our Mission Video

7 Things to Look fo rain a Social Media Manager

7 Things to Look for in a Social Media Manager

A social media presence is a necessity for businesses. For a lot of businesses, there is a lack of strategy behind their social media posting. “Hey, take a picture, put that up! Looks good!”

The truth is, to be successful at social media strategy, there needs to be an actual strategy, a plan, and someone who can design or communicate that plan to you.

Are you ready to engage with a social media manager? Here are some key things they should be bringing to the table to successfully guide your business’s’ social media campaigns.


1. Communications Strategy

A Social Media Manager needs to have a strong understanding of your core competencies and services, as well as your intended goals. They can map out how your social media strategy will support those goals and bolster your services.

2. Metrics

Clearly defined goals and timelines can help convert leads and expand your social media fan base. SMART goals, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely, are helpful for defining your social media metrics. When engaging with your Social Media Manager, ask for specific goals to measure success to be defined. Social media comes with a battery of analytic tools.

3. Graphic Design Skill

Many Social Media Managers utilize graphics tools like Adobe Photoshop or Canva to create eye-catching content that represents your business. Skill in graphic design is a necessity to engage the customer. If posts are not composed properly, it can reduce engagement or follows.

4. Customer Service Orientated

Social media is now the go-to option for upset customers. A customer-first attitude is important to mitigate any situations quickly, and moving any problems offline. Your brand is represented in every comment and post on social media. A poorly thought out reply to an upset customer can devalue your brand. Ensure that doesn’t happen with a customer service orientated person in place.

5. Writing Skills

The majority of social media interaction is written. Whereas there are plenty of photos and video to strengthen the message, it is important for your Social Media Manager to be able to articulate your brand message accurately.

6. SEO and Marketing Knowledge

SEO, Search Engine Optimization, and marketing knowledge are necessary to drive visitors to your website from your social media accounts. They may not be an SEO expert, but they should have an overall understanding of how social media content fits with blog posts, and how both of them support your business’s marketing funnel.

7. Paid Advertising

Your Social Media Manager should have experience with developing audiences, designing ad campaigns, and executing the ads. Paid for advertising needs to be specifically targeted to the correct audience based on behaviors. Ask them about their experience with designing ad campaigns to your particular audience.

Social Media Coordination is an aspect of your business that will enhance your communications to your customers and clients. If you have more questions about Social Media Coordination, check out our service page to see what CTV can offer you.

What other aspects do you find important in a Social Media Manager?

4 Tips for Using Your Youtube Channel

4 Tips for Using Your YouTube Channel

YouTube channels are as popular as ever and many times the first place people look to watch content.  Here are a few tips should you decide to start your own YouTube channel.

1.Check your analytics

You want to create content that is engaging. With an estimate of over 3 billion searches on YouTube every month, it’s still one of the most popular sites that people use to search for information. So watch time will impact YouTube searches and suggested content.

YouTube, just like Google, wants viewers to have a good experience when surfing their site. YouTube tracks engagement and favors the videos that are most engaging at the top of the search results.

To check on how engaging your videos are, look at your channel’s analytics:
Video Manager > Analytics > Interest Viewers > then click on the individual

2. Don’t settle for the default thumbnail

Youtube will pick a thumbnail for you, but you can easily capture the best moment in your video with a screen capture or a photo. Access the thumbnail change area by clicking on Edit Video and click on Custom Thumbnail.  YouTube will ask for you to upload, just realize it cannot be larger than 2 MB.  The thumbnail image can help attract viewers to watch!

3. Create playlists

Playlists are searchable and can show up as suggestions.  CTV’s YouTube Channel features a playlist for each of our nine cities.  By creating a playlist, it’s a great way to get your other videos in front of the right audience.  This should also increase watch-time and creates another way for your videos to appear in search results and suggested videos.

4. Use chapter marks

YouTube allows you to chapter mark events in your video.  For example, if you are posting a full game or concert on your channel, you can mark when certain highlights or events occur in your video.  By going into Edit Video; enter into the Description Field the timecode of the event and then you can enter a brief description after. Below is an example:
00:32               Touchdown Pass Cook to Domke
Viewers can click on the timecode and it takes them right to the highlight.

I hope these hints help your YouTube channel!

5 ingredients of a great cooking vlog

5 Ingredients of a Great Cooking Vlog

Are you thinking of starting a cooking vlog? Whether you want to create a dedicated YouTube channel, or just occasionally share videos through your restaurant’s social media accounts, vlogging is a great way to visually engage your audiences. A well-curated, creative vlog can even attract sponsors! Here are five ingredients that will make your videos stand out:

Use time lapses

Good editing is your friend. Time-lapse is a way to speed up longer processes and keep your viewers from losing interest–this vlogger fit 20 Cheesecake recipes into one video by using time lapses throughout. Add music over top and you are on your way to a professional quality video.

Incorporate graphics

It sounds obvious, but a video is a visual medium, so take advantage. Use graphics to help viewers follow along with your recipes–it will also save you from having to read off all the measurements as you cook! This vlog uses almost no dialogue, letting the graphics speak for themselves.

Pick recipes with a common thread

This is where your personal brand comes in. Do you want to use only locally sourced ingredients in your recipes? Or maybe you specialize in comfort food? Choosing a common thread for your vlogs will help tell viewers who you are, and attract a target audience. My personal favorite is Binging with Babish, who recreates food from movies!

Practice acting natural!

The best vloggers don’t sound scripted (although it is a good idea to have at least a rough script)! Practice speaking in front of the camera until you feel comfortable, and don’t be afraid to add some humor or personal commentary to your videos–this gives your audience something to relate to! Check out the BoxMac guys, whose vlogs are part comedy, part mac and cheese tests

Be consistent

Last but not least, pick a consistent timeline for posting. You may need to experiment a little, but try to give yourself a reasonable amount of time to create new videos, and then stick to it–once a week may be way too much if you run a restaurant full time.

4 tips for instaworthy food photos

4 Tips for Insta-Worthy Food Photos

1. Shoot overhead

This is especially true when you have strong shapes, such as circles or triangles. It is especially good with open-faced food where it can display all its ingredients. When shooting overhead, make sure it is on a surface that is pleasing to the eye. Here, the wood gives the image a nice rustic feel. The surface can say a lot about the kind of restaurant it is made in.



2. Get Closer!

Get close up to your food! This is especially true when you have multiple textures or want to show seasoning on the food. This is also a great time to use portrait mode on your phone, which can give it a pleasing shallow focus, allowing you to see a single point of the food.



3. Focus on One Point

This is especially good to separate the main component of the dish from its other components. Here, the shallow focus allows the olive to stand out from the more colorful toppings around it. The reds and greens draw the eye, but the shallow focus on the olive allows it to stand out.



4. Emphasize color

Colors pop! Vibrant colors draw the eye and attract us much quicker than more subdued images. If you have a color plate, really put those colors front and center. You can increase the color of your images by turning up vibrancy or saturation on your images after you take them but beware: overdoing the colors can make the food look unnatural and less appetizing as a result.