All posts tagged song

8 Tweaks For The Ultimate Projection Computer

TheCreativePastor.com – 8 Tweaks For The Ultimate Projection Computer

Live media has changed a lot in the past 20 years for churches. Overhead transparencies have been replaced with presentation software. Keyboards have been replaced with MIDI controllers and laptops. And while computers have brought a new world of convenience into the worship environment, they are not perfect machines: apps crash, batteries die, and hard drives fail.  

As it turns out, many of the convenient features about owning a personal computer become inconvenient when that computer is used in a live production environment. What if I told you that by eliminating some of these features you could prevent most of the blunders that cause distractions in your services?

Here are eight tweaks that I’d recommend making on your church’s projection computer immediately:

1. Disable Instant Messaging Apps (Including FaceTime)

We’ve all been there…the pastor is in the middle of a powerful message when suddenly, an innocent but obtrusive chime comes over the PA.  Someone is receiving a message during service…and now the entire crowd knows it.  Make sure to disable – nay, uninstall – all instant messaging apps, including FaceTime.  The last thing you need is someone trying to video chat with you in the middle of worship.

2. Close Your Web Browser

Web browsers can cause computers to crawl sometimes. Many websites have popups that include audio – be it a minor chime or a full musical track. Most web-based e-mail services (i.e. Gmail) have a chat feature that, if left open, will play a sound as soon as you receive any chat-related alerts. With all of this being said, it’s best just to leave your browser closed during services.

3. Turn Off Wi-Fi

Yes, I said it.  If a computer is being used for media in your environment, it should be disconnected from the internet during your services.  In addition to solving the problems in tweaks 1 and 2, this will also prevent any alerts in the event that your computer loses wi-fi signal temporarily. (Tip: To continue using apps such as the ProPresenter remote without internet, try using the “Create Network” feature on your Mac.)

4. Disable Mouse Shortcuts (Including Hot Corners)

When using computers on a daily basis, a mouse shortcut to reveal your desktop is great. In a worship environment, it’s a nightmare. No one should be seeing your “Hang In There Kitty” desktop in the middle of worship.  I’ve also found that when training a volunteer that is not as familiar with computers, their first response to accidentally activating the desktop shortcut is to raise their hands away from the computer in panic. Your life will be easier if you just disable all mouse buttons/shortcuts except left and right click.

5. Disable Screen Saver & Display Sleep

This may seem like an obvious one, but when setting up a new computer, it can be easy to forget. Make sure to disable your screen saver, as well as display sleep, to prevent them from coming on mid-service. I’ve seen this happen too many times right in the middle of a Pastor’s message.

6. Disable Bluetooth

Again, this is a feature designed for convenience: If any bluetooth accessories that come into signal range of your computer, they’ll automatically connect.  Unfortunately, since many people are carrying around bluetooth-enabled devices, this can cause some issues.  To prevent accidentally connecting to a phone or wireless mouse that someone in the crowd has, just disable bluetooth.

7. Set Your Wallpaper To Solid Black

As convenient as presentation software is, it’s not bulletproof.  Every once in a while, it crashes.  Having a black background on your screens will ensure that, in the event of a crash, it will be less of a distraction (maybe even unnoticeable).  Having the default desktop background appear on screen is a sign to everyone that something is wrong in the booth. 

Update: Thanks to Jon Sheperd for the suggestion: As an alternative to a black background, you could use your church’s default slide or your current sermon series graphic as a background in case of a software crash.

8. Use A Wired Keyboard and Mouse

Nothing is worse than having your mouse batteries die in the middle of a fast worship song.  By using wired mice and keyboards on all your production computers, you’ll never have to think about batteries again. 

Conclusion

A good friend once told me that production is more about covering mistakes that happen than running everything perfectly.  While there’s no such thing as a perfect Sunday, using these tips will hopefully help you to prevent some of the failures that can be a distraction in your services.

Do you have any other tips that you’d add to the list?

Free Motion of the Month – September ’14

TCP-Free_Motion-September_14

This month, we’ve partnered with our good friends from Centerline New Media to bring you a motion that’s going to look great in your Fall services. They are one of my favorite Church Media producers and I’ve been a long-time fan of their subscription. Find out more about them here.

This freebie is only available for the month of September 2014.
This download includes HD, SD, and still versions.
This motion is free to download, but please do not redistribute. (Please link back to this page.)

To get this free motion, simply subscribe to receive our weekly email newsletter. You’ll receive your download link via email within the hour.

Subscribe to our weekly email newsletter

TCP_Freebie_Ad-3b

Six Qualities of A Perfect Motion Background

Six Qualities of a Perfect Motion Background

Did you know that there are nearly 17,000 motion backgrounds available for download today? The amazing thing is that number only includes motions that were specifically created to be used in ministry settings. There’s no shortage of selection when you’re shopping for backgrounds to display behind your church’s worship lyrics. However, not all motions are created equal. There are certain qualities that you should look for before spending your ministry’s money on this content.

Here are six qualities that should be non-negotiable when choosing your motion backgrounds:

1. Clean and Modern Design

It seems right to begin this list with the first characteristic that makes or breaks a motion for me. The very purpose of a background is to make slides visually pleasing. Part of looking good is following current design trends. Ditch the doves, hi-tech themes, and waterfalls, then choose motions that fit in with today’s styles.

2. Designed To Work With White Text

I would estimate that around 90% of lyrics being projected in churches on Sundays are using white text. Why? It works best for visibility. White is the brightest color you can get out of projector, it stands out from other colors, and it’s easy to read. The best motions avoid light colors and bright animations that would make white text difficult to see.

3. Animations Are Engaging, Not Distracting

Have you ever seen a motion that seemed like it drank a couple Redbulls before service? While animations provide a great way to create an engaging atmosphere, you must be careful that they aren’t too distracting. The perfect motion’s animations flow with music and add value to the environment without taking away from the moment.

4. Colors Are Rich and Vibrant

My favorite motion backgrounds seem like they come alive when they’re projected. Rich, vibrant colors look amazing when they’re shown on good projectors. Also, when you’re working with cheaper projectors, they are sometimes the only saving grace that allow your lyrics to show up at all.

5. Loop Matches Up Perfectly

All motions should be designed to perfectly loop. The end of the video should flawlessly line up with the beginning to create a seamless animation that could repeat infinitely without your audience ever knowing it looped once. Unfortunately, I’ve seen quite a few backgrounds that haven’t been up to par in this department. This is why it’s so important to get your motions from experienced producers who know what they’re doing.

6. Works Well With Other Media

Great motion backgrounds are designed to work well with other media you may be using on a Sunday morning. It may come in pack with several coordinating backgrounds and countdowns, or it may just have colors that make it play nice with a lot of other content in your media library. In a best case scenario, all of your media used throughout the service will match and carry a common theme.

Do you have any other qualities that you look for when selecting motion backgrounds? Let us know in the comments below or send us a tweet to @CreativePastor!

Free Motion of the Month – June ’14

TCP-Free_Motion-June_14

This month, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Igniter Media and they’re hooking you up with an awesome motion that is going to look killer in your services. I first saw this motion in a live worship experience and it immediately stood out to me. I really love how it blends modern shapes with nature. Be sure to check out their website for more motions, stills, and mini-movies.

This freebie is only available for the month of June 2014.
This download includes HD, SD, and still versions.
This motion is free to download, but please do not redistribute. (Please link back to this page.)

To get this free motion, simply subscribe to receive our weekly email newsletter. You’ll receive your download link via email within the hour.

Subscribe Via Email

Three Essential Tips For Worship/Media Leaders

TCP-Three_Essential_Tips_For_Worship_Media_Leaders

Today’s post is from my good friend, Josh White. He is a worship leader, creative thinker, and ministry blogger based out of Las Vegas, NV. For more great posts by him, check out his website here.

In today’s church, a large portion of the Sunday morning experience is made possible by the collaboration of two teams – the worship team and media team. While their jobs have similar goals, the relationship between these two groups can often be shaky. It doesn’t help that most churches these days are no longer looking for just a Worship Pastor. Instead, they are looking for a Worship Pastor who can do video, graphic design, audio mixing, production, and everything in between. Because these two teams can be so different, leading them both can be really challenging.

Here are 3 things that have helped me in my journey of leading both of these ministries at my church:

1. Create A Family, Not A Group of Volunteers

One of the biggest mistakes any ministry can make is keeping their volunteers just that – volunteers. I have pretty high standards for people who want to get involved in our music and media ministry. First, they have to understand how much time they’re going to have to put in. They’ll have to be at church an extra night and come two hours early on Sunday mornings. Second, I need to feel like they can become part of our family…and usually those people who want to put in the time have no problem fitting in with our team. My music and media teams are all friends. We hang out together at least 30 minutes after every practice. We laugh together, we eat together, we pray together, and we cry together. This has created such a strong relationship that our chemistry from the production booth to the on-stage musicians is incredibly strong. So much so that they have told me they can sense where I’m about to take the worship service next when I’m leading. Get rid of your volunteers – create a family.

2. You Cannot Make Your Job Your Hobby

This is a big issue with new worship and media leaders coming up today – and I’m one of them. We’ve made our passions our hobbies, and then made them into a paid position. I’m not saying this is bad (it’s exactly what I did), but being fully engaged every minute of your life with one or two particular subjects is a call for total destruction. When you go home, keep your laptop closed. Turn on that nifty “Do Not Disturb” button on your phone, go get a workout in, read a book (that’s not about your job), or spend some time with your family. Having an even balance is only going to help you produce better worship sets and media presentations.

3. Start With The Basics, Then Grow

I can remember when I first arrived to the church where I currently lead the worship and media teams. For the first month, I asked my pastor if I could simply observe practices and worship sets. I quickly realized that things in the music and in the media booth were scattered, tense, and not put together. I sat down with each volunteer and let them know that we were going back to the basics  – we stripped everything down and worked from the ground up. At the same time, I let them all know that there was no end goal and that we would always be growing. A year later, our team is now playing with clicks, growing strong in musical talent, and now planning our visual worship ahead of services. Our rehearsal times are even more enjoyable and uplifting. When starting out, consistency is everything, but always, always, always grow with your church culture and your team.

While leading both of these teams can be challenging, these three tips have been huge for us. I’m confident that they will help you produce a bigger, more effective, and spiritual team within your worship and media ministry.

What are some things you have done to help your teams grow? Let us know in the comments below!