from my notebook

My head is full of thoughts, and I have to write them down.

Archive for the category “Creative”

AV, Technology, & the Church – My Flipboard Magazine

Image representing Flipboard as depicted in Cr...

AV, Technology, & the Church – My Flipboard Magazine

I’m a big fan of Flipboard on the iPad. Recently they rolled out the ability to create your own magazine made up of articles you read on Flipboard, so I decided to create one with a collection of items I read pertaining to church audiovisual, IT, and other technology. It’s a mash-up of apps, software, hardware, audiovisual tips and resources, and pretty much all things church tech. So if you’re looking for some good info, check out AV, Technology, & the Church on Flipboard.


How We Handled Quick Turn Around for Photos and Video at VBS This Year

For the last few years at VBS we have taken photos throughout the sessions then projected them each night during the wrap-up at the end of the day. Normally someone on the Tech Team with a real camera does the photography. This year, in order to have more photographers, I decided we would use our iPhones and the InstaShare app. I installed the app on our Media iMac ahead of time and tested it out. It worked great. We could take pictures anywhere on the campus and upload them to the iMac immediately. Once they were on the Mac, we simply dragged the pics we wanted to use into ProPresenter, put a timer on them, and voila, a photo loop for the end of the day. We even threw a short video clip into the loop a few times.

As far as video for VBS, I usually record with my Flip camera and work on the edits and final montage at home to be shown during the closing session. This year I recorded all the video with my iPhone. I used the native camera app, 8mm, and Videon. I did some minor editing on my phone (my old eyes don’t see well enough to do much), then uploaded them via InstaShare to the iMac. I did what editing I could in iMovie, then finished up at home in Premiere Elements.

It was really fun having several people taking pictures each day. We never knew what we were going to get. And the process of getting the pics from the camera to the computer couldn’t have been easier.


Life Lesson: If It Ain’t Broke, You Can Still Make It Better

English: A bored person

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” bears a lot of truth, but we shouldn’t use it to remain in the status quo. Just because something is still working doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon – made more efficient, more durable, more economical, or more interesting. It’s the only way to stay on top and ahead of the game.


I’m not advocating change for the sake of change…but then again I am in some situations. Take a church service for example. It’s probably the most predictable program format ever. While one church may slightly differ from another, it’s very easy to get stuck in a routine week after week. That goes for our daily lives too.


At the very least, change can bring an element of freshness to anything that has become routine. This is even more important today with our easily bored culture. So don’t wait til it breaks.


Weekly Link-Ups

Some other folks’ stuff from around the web.

8 Great Reasons for Using Twitter in Church Communications

6 Exercises for Maximum Mobility

25 Lessons in Office Etiquette from Michael Scott

9 Brilliant Inventions Made by Mistake

3 Tips to Make Creativity a Habit

Worship Team Technology

The Worship Ministry is possibly one of the most technical ministries in the church. We are currently using four computers and the occasional iPad/iPhone during our services, not to mention the planning process itself.

Smart phones are becoming more and more useful. It isn’t a requirement to have one in order to serve on the Tech Team, band, or choir, but it sure helps.

We’ve been using Planning Center Online since almost its inception, and it has become more and more vital with each passing year. Not only are the two or three of us involved in the planning process better connected, but everyone involved in the service is able to see details of what is expected of them.

PCO has great mobile apps for the teams to listen to MP3s of the songs for the week. Our Worship Pastor also builds separate MP3s for the singers’ parts and creates his own song charts for the musicians. All of this allows the teams to prepare before rehearsal and be ready to bring it all together with the group.

PCO also integrates with your online calendar, text messaging carrier, and Facebook to keep your schedule at your finger tips.

We are blessed with great musicians, but there isn’t much depth, so when one or more is out, we used to be forced to go with a stripped down sound that week. Now we have a choice. We can run loops from a laptop on stage. Stripped down is fine, but it’s nice to have a choice, especially if those absences are last-minute after the set has been prepared.

Most people live busy schedules. The more technology can be used for communication and planning, the better. It may require an upfront effort to learn something new, but it will be time well spent.

Weekly Link-ups

Here are some recent finds around the web.

Tips For Becoming A Presentation Sensation

2 Reasons You Should Continually Ask, “What’s Next?” in Tech Ministry

4 Ways Technology Drives Discipleship

Top 10 Church Sound Problems

Weekly Link-Ups

Some of my recent finds from around the net.

Nation divided over “beer” and “church”

10 Useful iPhone Shortcuts and Tips

Top 10 Most Requested Facebook Tips

Seven Books Everyone in Church Media Should Read

Creative Church Stage Designs

Authenticity and Planning

Carlos Whittaker has a great article in this month’s Sunday Magazine on how technology has affected our need to plan ahead for services and other programs. There was a time when only less than a handful of people were involved in carrying out a regular church service. That meant much could be done at the last minute because no one else needed to know or prepare anything. That’s not the case in more in technology driven churches.

Carlos makes some very good points. I believe technology forces us to dig deeper, spend more time with God, and be more disciplined in hearing from him. God certainly knows what we need to do well ahead of time. We just need to start listening a little more and a little sooner.

Excellent Heart, then Excellent Music

Singer, songwriter Shaun Groves posted a great article about pursuing excellence in our church’s music. The same can be said for the technical aspect of worship as well.

It is always what’s in our heart that comes first, and when our hearts are in love with and devoted to God, we will perform our service to the best of our ability. In the church, it just doesn’t work the other way around.

To Everything There is a Season, Even a Black Screen

So I walked into rehearsal Thursday evening to find VBS decorations in full swing in the worship center. We are using the Sky theme this year, and as part of that, light blue fabric was covering all the windows. You might think covering windows with any color fabric would darken a room even if just a bit, but in the case of this light blue, the room was actually brighter.

The projector in our main room is less than 3000 lumens and doesn’t do a very good job cutting through our normal stage and room lighting. When we threw the first song lyrics on the screen with the background I had chosen earlier in the day, they were hard to read. There wasn’t enough contrast for good readability.

I looked at my daughter who was running ProPresenter and commented that we would have to find a darker background. But after a few seconds of contemplation I said, “You know what, let’s go without a background this week.” So I told her to go through all the songs and remove the backgrounds.

You see, the VBS decorations made for a busy environment. We didn’t need anything else, not even looping blue clouds, to add to it. The non-backgrounded lyrics sat there unobstructed for all to see, read, and sing.

Sometimes simplicity and quiet visuals are best.

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