Value of Films and Slides

Why do we not make use of more slides?

By S. G. HYDE, Director of the Welsh Mission

In recent years the use of the screen has played an increasingly important role in relation to the public. Slowly the Christian church has come to see in the camera and the screen, whether moving or still pictures, a further method of successful religious ap­proach, another effective means to propagate the evangel. The fact that a picture moves is no detriment. Rather, it is a help. The mere fact that films are used for evil is no reason to condemn the use of the film for good, any more than we should refuse to use the press for spiritual purposes because type is used to print scurrilous literature.

I have found it best not to use Sunday night for a full lantern service, except on very rare occasions, such as at Christmas or Easter time. On Sunday nights I frequently use slides after my address, in order to illustrate some of the facts presented, or as a means of amplification. It is possible to throw pictures of our symbolic beasts on the screen, charts illustrating the prophetic periods, quotations, etc., without fully lowering the lights or dis­turbing the atmosphere. However, this is rarely done. But if it is done at all, there must be a clear understanding between the speaker and the operator, who, in his fireproof box, is unable to hear any instructions except by the use of the stage phone.

Special occasions should be watched for when lantern slides can be used with effect. Full lantern services can be used from time to time to cover such themes as "The Glory of the Heavens" or missions. Week-night meetings can often be made attractive with the lantern. However, one finds that its overuse will often result in a discouraging attendance when the lantern ceases to function. There­fore, if the lantern is used, my advice is, Get your message in when you can look into the eyes of the people, and use the screen a little while later on in the service.

One thing is very necessary—a good, well-lighted, large picture. Never attempt to use the projectorscope in anything but the smallest of halls, or in a private home. Personally I use a twelve-foot-square sheet, and fill every bit of it with my picture, which is lighted by a five-hundred-watt electric lamp.

The evangelist who decides to use the lan­tern should begin to gather a selection of suitable slides early in his work. Charts and pictures can be photographed from our publica­tions after securing permission from the pub­lishers for such rights, and permission should be secured from other journals in the same way. This pertains particularly to line draw­ings or etchings. Slides made from half tones are not too satisfactory, because the screen reproduction, being greatly enlarged when pro­jected, makes a poor picture. By spending a pound ($5) a year on slides, one can get together a fair selection in a few years. But it is often desirable far an evangelist to possess a larger selection than he needs for immediate use, especially if he stays in a town for more than one season. Showing the same pictures with no variation at all, will be more readily recognized by the public than repeating the same sermon—a practice to be wholly con­demned.

In Great Britain a subscription with New­tons of London will give you access to one of the finest collections of slides obtainable. There are other firms; and it matters little where you hire your slides, so long as you can get a good selection and can vary the pictures, even those on the same subject.

There is one regret. That is that we have no full-sized official films available for public campaigns. All other missionary societies possess them and will send them to us. But why do we not have our own? When will we wake up to the need and value of the film, and provide something which is long overdue?

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By S. G. HYDE, Director of the Welsh Mission

January 1940

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