How To Effectively Use Multiple Worship Backgrounds In A Song


14 Sep 2016

For as long as I can remember, the standard for using backgrounds in worship has been to assign one still or motion to each song. But with the growing amount of media that we have available, as well as the more creative our worship services become, I think it’s reasonable to challenge that old school method.

In the same way that the music changes throughout a song and takes you on a journey, you can do the same with your backgrounds. You can use stills and motions to tell a visual story and really pack a punch in the powerful moments of a song.

There’s certainly a responsibility to this. Changes in graphics have the potential to be more of a distraction than an aid. But, I believe if executed properly and with intentionality, using multiple backgrounds in a song can bring a unique improvement to your service.

Song Layout

There are several different methods for arranging multiple backgrounds in your music. It will require thought and planning for each individual song. It’s best to take time outside of Sunday to experiment so that you have time to select the perfect choice for each piece. You can get really creative with this, but here are a few typical layouts:

  • Use one background during your verses and another during the chorus
  • Use one background for the majority of the song and another in the big, climax moment
  • Use a different background for each part or element of the song

There is no right or wrong layout, but the goal should be to make your visuals feel like they flow naturally with the progression of the music.

Background Pairing

When selecting multiple backgrounds for a song, remember that they should complement one another. Avoid jumping to different styles. Emphasize the various parts of your song by using backgrounds that differ in aspects such as color, animation, speed, and imagery.

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Other Things To Consider

Just because you can do this for each song doesn’t mean you should. I typically do this for only one or two songs in a worship set. It has a greater impact when it isn’t the norm.

If you’ve never used multiple backgrounds in a song, a special Sunday like Easter or Christmas could be a great time to debut this effect.

It’s easy to get the same effect with only one background by using the various image controls in your presentation software. For example, you can adjust things like color, blur, and speed to create an entirely “new” background inside ProPresenter.


What Do You Think?

Have you ever used multiple backgrounds in a song at your church?
Is this something you’d consider adding to your worship?

Backgrounds provided by Church Motion Graphics.


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Kendall Conner

Kendall Conner serves as the Creative Pastor at Piedmont Chapel in Greensboro, NC. He is a graphic designer, video editor, and all-around media geek, but above all enjoys seeing lives changed. Together with his beautiful wife, Holly, they strive to use media to spread the message of Christ and equip others for ministry.

Comments

  1. Kendall Conner : July 24, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Awesome, Sean!

  2. As a church we’ve always used multiple backgrounds for each part of a song. I definitely stay in the same background “family” when laying out my slides, which is where CMG comes in handy because I’ll mainly stay within one theme pack per song. As long as there is no harsh shift in style, I believe it is an excellent way to sort of tell a story within the song and help theme it with stage lighting effects.

  3. We just recently started projecting songs…just experimenting. Really enjoy your blogs and suggestions. Luis

  4. I’ve set up songs with multiple backgrounds. More recently I’ve moved away but still use it for unique impacts.

    For Our God I took a water background and then had it change to red at the beginning for the water turning to wine. Then blanked it out for the pause and at the darkness brought it a sunrise background.

    I used some waterish particle videos from Graceway for Deep cries out. Each had their own speed and particle flows and it went perfectly with the slower and faster parts. I switched from the calm video to a more flowing at the “stirring up deep deep wells” I always thought it was awesome.

    Right now I have a cross video running on Break Every Chain, and have dimmed it for the beginning and when the song switches to a stronger feel I brighten it for impact.

    There’s a few other things I’ve done like using sepia for an intro and then for the drop have it last out in color (which I loved), but I lost that video and haven’t been able to recreate the effect like I want to with anything else. Also, I think there was a song I used a falling bokeh video, and the lyrics said something about our voices rising to heaven and I flipped the video to have the bokeh rising up (we normally switch to the cameras on the screen and used that time to change the background)

    Sometimes I ended up removing them because, like you said, sometimes you shouldn’t, and I’m much better at knowing whether or not it serves a purpose.

    Love your stuff!

  5. I feel like its a bit distracting, its sometimes hard to find that balance.

    We use the lights to do some change in the songs but we normally leave the background the same, or just don’t use one.

    I think with backgrounds, your whole stage color needs to match (colored lighting matches background, etc). Whats your opinion on this?

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