50 Church Media Tips For Everyone On Your Team

by Jeff McIntosh….

With some help from the Visual Church Media Facebook Group I was able to compile a list of fifty tips that every member on your church media team should know.

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  1. RAM is very important in an your production computer. You can never have too much and 16GB is a good baseline.
  2. Use the shortcut key Alt+Enter in ProPresenter to split a segment of text into two slides. (Go into the slide editor in ProPresenter, put your cursor half way through your slide text, hold Option and than press enter.)
  3. Freshen up your graphics every month. Your community will get bored looking at the same images week after week.
  4. Take time to program ProPresenter correctly for each song. If you are a church that plays a song just like the rehearsal track, program every verse, chorus, instrumental and down chorus. Label accordingly. Your volunteers should only have to use the space bar.
  5. Subscribe to a church media subscription from a leading church media producer you like. Over the course of a year it will save you time and money, plus give you an abundance of imagery to work with.
  6. Coordinate your visuals with your lighting designer or have him/her choose the slide looks for worship to set the lighting up for success. Lights and screen visuals should always match.
  7. Set your desktop wallpaper to black. That way if your presentation program crashes your screens will look blank.
  8. When you format lyrics for a worship song, format them according to the natural breaks in the song. In other words, don’t put “Shout to the Lord, all the earth” next line “let us sing.” Putting line breaks at breathing points is a good rule of thumb.
  9. Attach a uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to all your workstations. If the power goes out your computer won’t shutdown.
  10. Always have your slides done before band rehearsal. You can catch a lot of mistakes while practicing with the band.
  11. Use “scale to fill” in ProPresenter when your media isn’t the same resolution as your output screens. Stretching screen visuals usually look bad.
  12. Use a wired keyboard and mouse. You never know when the batteries will run out in your wireless devices or when a connection gets lost.
  13. When it comes to ProPresenter, don’t forget to leverage Hot Keys.
  14. Keep training lighting, presentation and sound techs. You can never have too many volunteers on your roster.
  15. Setup a time with your worship leader to review your slides beforehand to prevent awkward moments in rehearsals.
  16. Change your worship lyric slides two seconds before you need to sing them.
  17. Decrease your slide transition time if you are having a hard time keeping up with slide changes.
  18. Always pre-watch service YouTube videos. That way you can check for volume inconsistencies and any inappropriate pop-ups that may show at the end.
  19. Turn off all system sounds on your computer.
  20. Give every guitarist a volume pedal or mute box so they can cut their own sound before they yank their guitar cable out.
  21. Display settings on mac – if you don’t see the resolution you want for your screens it may be hidden hold down your “option” key when clicking on “scaled”.
  22. Quit iTunes when not in use. It is a computer resource hog.
  23. Learn all the unwritten rules of worship lyric slide design by reading The Worship Media Handbook.
  24. VGA cables are your friend. They are affordable, durable and can run long distances.
  25. Always have a reason why you are doing something a particular way. Know the why.
  26. If your computer starts acting strange for no reason try restarting it. This will magically solve a lot of unexplained problems.
  27. When doing a run-through of slides and videos, be sure to play enough of each song or video to be sure the audio levels are appropriate. If you just play the first ten seconds, you might get only background music and no dialogue for example which is a bad way to determine volume levels.
  28. Just because it worked for another church doesn’t mean it will work well for yours.
  29. Take complaints with a grain of salt. There will always be someone who doesn’t like what you are doing.
  30. Use power conditioners to prevent ground loop noise from the computer.
  31. Calibrate your projectors: scale, focus and color.
  32. Clean the filter on your projector regularly. Dust will decrease the lifespan of your projector.
  33. Hard drives will fail. Always keep an up to date backup.
  34. Buying cheap products now will usually result in spending more money later because the first thing didn’t work as needed or it broke.
  35. Hold down the Option key on your Mac while clicking the triangle icon beside a file folder. It will expand the folder and all child folders.
  36. Always use the right tool for the job. It will cost you a little extra, but it will make the job easier and save you time.
  37. Use the Mac app NameChanger to execute batch filename changes
  38. If your data doesn’t exist in three locations, it technically doesn’t exist. Keep several backups. On a Mac, create a bootable backup of your system drive. Also, keep your media backed up on a separate drive or in Dropbox.
  39. If you have videos such as countdowns or message bumpers in your playlist, always go to the media preferences after loading and set them to stop. It’s embarrassing to have them start to loop when a new lyrics operator isn’t paying attention at the end.
  40. Make the last slide in a worship song with background only. No text. Saves awkward transition to next song.
  41. Set ins and outs for all foregrounds in ProPresenter. Trim the fat. And change the thumbnail to something instantly recognizable.
  42. Use the features in the media properties editor to extend the usefulness of background loops, changing colors, flipping them or changing the playback speed.
  43. If you have 16:9 screens try to avoid using 4:3 content.
  44. Keep your media library organized.
  45. Attend conferences, workshops and seminars as often as you can. They are great way to learn new tricks quickly, be inspired and meet others in the industry.
  46. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We are all in this together and everyone doing this is happy to help you.
  47. Keep it simple. Complicated solutions are more likely to fail than simple ones. You are only as strong as your weakest link.
  48. Do what you are currently doing well before adding more.
  49. Constancy is king. Be consistency from slide to slide, song to song and week to week.
  50. Join the Visual Church Media Group on Facebook and jump into the discussion.

About Jeff McIntosh: Jeff is the director of Church Motion Graphics and has a passion for seeing churches embrace visual media to enhance their worship experiences. He is dedicated to creating the freshest motion backgrounds and helping media teams use them more effectively. Follow Jeff on Twitter.

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