Multi Media Dos and Don’ts

 

I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to grow with the important ministry, some refer to as Multi Media, within the church over the last decade.  Some call it your A/V (audio/visual) department.  Obviously, the technology and opportunities are rapidly changing, costs can seem expensive (everything is relative…plus, you get what you pay for), yet at the same time, it has become “expected” in the church.  God forbid, but if your projector bulb goes out this Sunday, well, let’s just say, it’s not like no one will notice!  So, I’ve assembled some personal dos and don’ts…I’m not well versed with the technical jargon and complicated aspects and names of industry standard equipment, so, I just make sure I have friends that do that sort of thing!  😄 So, whether you’re a church, school, non-profit, or even a Fortune 500 company, Jacob Sanders, and Vertical Solutions & Production will take good care of you!

Dos

  • Do have a back up bulb(s).  Obviously, worst case scenario, you arrive at the church Sunday morning an hour before service for rehearsals and sound checks, and your bulb is out, well, if you’re prepared, no big deal right?  Make the switch, and no one would ever know otherwise.
  • Do be consistent.  One of the principles that need to be communicated to all of your volunteers, is to make sure that the media that is being displayed is never a distraction!  Let’s identity some distractions: poor contrast, light background, light font color; abnormally flashy, moving backgrounds; misssssspelled words (see what I did there!); awkward transitions; bad timing with transitioning slides.  The list could go on and on.  Whatever you do, and this just might be my own, strong, personal opinion, but either use a consistent theme or media package when using graphics, or motion backgrounds.  As a general rule, @APCofCburg, our process requires our volunteers to use the same background for each worship set.
  • Do attempt to only put three or four lines up at a time, per slide.  This might be difficult to explain, but if you’re a musician like me, you can recognize the fact that most songs are sung in three, or four line phrases.  In other words, when the singers take a pause, that’s a good time to transition to the next slide.  In fact, probably the most robust presentation software available, ProPresenter, you can actually sync and time your song lyrics!  Bottom line, don’t use a massive font, and just type as much on each slide as you possible can put on there.  Have some nice spacing and format, it will make it a more pleasurable viewing experience for all of those in the service.
  • Do be prepared.  We’ll discuss this a little more in the first “Don’t”, but have your set list, all media elements, scriptures, Keynotes, anything that you will be using, prepared and ready in your que in advance.  No matter what your talent level is.  No matter what kind of equipment you have.  We can all be prepared.

Don’ts

  • Don’t display something that you haven’t already previewed, or that you haven’t tested.  Many years ago, we were in the infancy stages of running media at a state-wide convention.  Needless to say, things are much improved now, but back then, everything was new, and we were learning on the fly!  To make a long story, a little shorter, I was making last minute changes for the upcoming worship set, and all of a sudden, I’m notified, that they want a countdown!  No problem right?  I had several dozen countdowns at my disposal.  However, I had not previewed the one that I selected.  So, to countdown to the most intense, youthful, exciting spiritual moment of about 2,000 teenagers lives for that year, a 5 minute countdown, that was made for a solemn candle light service flickered from 5:00-0:00.  It was the longest, most boring 5 minutes, that everyone in the arena had ever experienced!  EPIC FAIL!
  • Principle.  Don’t allow yourself to be distracted.  If you’re scheduled to run media, don’t check your text messages, watch the game, or take a nap.  You’ve got to be fully engaged in everything that’s happening in the service!
  • Don’t think that if there’s a mistake, no one will notice.  I have to chuckle when I think about this!  It’s the one ministry in the church where mistakes cannot be hidden!  Have some kind of process in place to check for grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, formatting issues, etc.  The worst/best mistake I have ever personally witnessed, was, again, at another big national conference.  Fortunately for this gaff, I was not in charge, or involved.  The song was Rise and Sing, by Fee.  The colossal mistake was the word SING was spelled as SIN, so the audience was singing RISE AND SIN!  I still laugh about that to this day.  And yes…I was not the only one that noticed that mistake.
  • Don’t have motion backgrounds for scriptures.  This one really distracts me.  The movement and rhythm of a song can easily be displayed with a similar motion background, I love motion backgrounds!  However, for a scriptural text display, a still background should always be used.  In fact, this is a good time to display perhaps a lower third with your church logo or something that identifies who you are.

Feel free to comment below with any additional Dos or Don’ts that you might feel strongly about, and we can update this list based on your experiences!

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