Igniter Tracks: Worship Backgrounds

imgheader.jpg I’m constantly blown away when I talk with other worship leaders, pastors, or tech people and hear that they are still not using motion backgrounds for worship, and if they are, they are using the old nature movies. You know the ones of a sunset, or beach, and if they are feeling really out there they’ll use the clouds one. (rant over)

I got an email today from Igniter, a video background company that we’ve purchased from in the past. They are peddling new “Igniter Tracks“, which I think are very, very cool. I’ve actually been waiting for these ever since I saw Passion a few years ago using similar scripted videos to go along with their songs. So far they don’t have a huge selection of songs – we’d probably only use 3 of them, but hopefully the selection will grow. There’s a good video of how these are used in a worship venue here. And you can watch a clip previewing all of the available tracks here.

Here’s what I like about them:
1. They’re new, different, and cool!
2. They run off a click (which keeps the band tight and to the music)
3. They “up” the level of visual experience people are having during worship
4. They help move the song along visually

Here’s what I don’t like about them:
1. Some of them are definately not as good as others, approaching the “cheese” factor (example: How Great is Our God, Holy is the Lord, Make a Joyful Noise)
2. There’s a chance of things going horribly wrong (video skips, computer chokes, band plays the wrong verse/chorus)
3. The selection of songs is not too exciting (but I’m sure they will add more soon)
4. They could restrict the band to only doing a prescribed version of the songs (but, I think that may actually be a good thing too)

Sidenote thoughts: I think that in this day and age, using media has become so prolific in worship that we are having to come up with solutions that allow the band and tech people to be comfortable using all the elements (lights, computers, click tracks, cameras, switchers, etc), but still present something that is not sterile for people who are coming in the doors to worship. And I personally believe that with more structure and planning, there is great freedom to “act naturally”. If you know where the songs are going and what each person is going to be doing that should give you the freedom to lead and not worry – to really take people on a worship experience.

Here’s my Questions:
1. Who fires the video? A tech in the booth or a band member?
2. Is there a countdown on the click so the band knows exactly when the song is supposed to start? (I imagine there would have to be)
3. What is the backup plan in case the video/band get out of sync – cuz you know it’s gonna happen at some point!
4. Is this just too much of a good thing? Should we use it on every song? or just one or two. Every week? or just some weeks.
5. Will we have any drummers left after using these?

What are your thoughts?

One thought on “Igniter Tracks: Worship Backgrounds

  1. James

    Alright, I’ll bite…

    We tried one of these in rehearsal a few weeks ago, with the song ‘One Things’. The short of it was that the rehearsal was such a disaster that we scrapped it and vowed not to try it again, for several reasons:

    1. We use a click track on every song we do, controlled by our drummer. He and I communicate visually on stage if I think a spontaneous change is necessary to facilitate our worship (change the tempo, add swing, adjust the feel), and the Igniter track just restricts all of that. Also, we have no way of controlling it from the drum riser, which means communicating visually over the congregation to the tech booth in the back; not exactly a distraction-free method of communicating.

    2. I’m not a huge fan of background that really move. The feedback I’ve received from some of the faster-moving backgrounds, and also from my own experience, is that it causes a focus to be taken off of worship and on to the cool background. We’ve scaled back on our moving backgrounds to simple, slower moving, transient type backgrounds, and the response has been really positive.

    Now, to take a stab at answering your questions:

    – tech booth, unfortunately.
    – there is a 2 bar click count-in before the background starts. Not enough on faster songs.
    – be able to switch back to normal, non-igniter mode quickly, and turn that click off!
    – in my opinion, it’s taken a good thing and made it not good anymore.
    – there will always be drummers, since they just can’t help themselves in associating with musicians. 😉

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