As the years have passed, time has demonstrated that people never grow tired of seeing pictures, whether they are shown in motion or by stereopticon slides. World travelers who give their lectures by both of these methods report greater public interest than ever in seeing pictures. The fact that millions go daily to world is really picture-conscious. Many, perhaps most, of the pictures shown are harmful. But this should not close our eyes to openings for wide-awake evangelists and ministers to turn the minds of people toward good pictures that will be a blessing and not a curse.
I have used motion pictures for many years to attract the public to evangelistic meetings and to illustrate certain subjects. When I began using them, only the 35 mm. (millimeter) inflammable films were available, and the films from which to choose were few, largely on Old Testament history. In the past few years the 16 mm. machine has been placed on the market, and a great many educational, travel, and religious nonflammable films have been made available for teachers, lecturers, and ministers.
These machines and films can easily be used anywhere, as it is not necessary to have fireproof booths or licensed operators.
We have found the use of motion pictures a good method of advertising and of attracting people to the tabernacle or place of meeting. In fact, we have found this method to be the least expensive form of advertising. We have been able to cut down on the use of costly newspaper advertising from one half to two thirds.
As an example of what one may do in advertising a subject, take the subject of the signs of Christ's coming, as illustrated in the increase of earthquakes, based on the statement in Matthew 24:7. There are many films on earthquakes and volcanoes, both colored and plain, which are graphic in their picturization of disaster. The public is always more than anxious to see such pictures; and if the picture is shown in just the right place in the lecture, it makes a profound impression upon the audience.
All the signs that Jesus gave in Matthew 24, in answer to the question, "What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?" may be effectively illustrated by certain motion pictures which are easily available to our men in the United States, and doubtless to those in many other countries. Motion pictures of great storms, disasters by land and sea, cyclones, floods, wars, and war preparations, not only attract the attention of people and bring them out to hear the lecture, but help in illustrating the lecture as well.
There is also available a large supply of travel pictures on every country on earth. We have found it helpful to use these in connection with the song service if they are not to be used to illustrate some part of the lecture. Or they may be used effectively on Saturday nights for a half hour of travelogue. This method helps to build up an audience and to sustain the interest from week to week.
There are 16 mm. films on various phases of science and industry. Nearly all the great manufacturing concerns have films of their own plants and the processes by which their products are made, and these films can be secured for use, free of charge. The Y.M.C.A. National Council, 347 Madison Avenue, New York City, or 19 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, will be glad to furnish a free booklet giving the names of hundreds of such films which may be used without rental, and also the names of many films which will cost only $1 or $1.25 each.
One of the best sources of supply for the 16 mm. films is the Kodascope library, a subsidiary of the Eastman Kodak Company. The Kodascope libraries are to be found in most of the large cities of this country. Their supply of travel films, and in fact of all 16 mm. films, is very complete. Many of the films can be secured for nothing; others cost from $1 to $1.25.
We believe that educational motion pictures have a definite place in our work at this time, and that they may be used with good effect if careful judgment is exercised in their selection. A good machine should always be used; one can be bought at a reasonable price, either for sound films or for the silent.