OK this one’s gonna need another disclaimer. These are my thoughts and opinions. I am not an expert. I am not a consultant (yet). I am just a guy who loves to make the place look amazing and engaging. I am assuming that we are not arguing about the use of projectors and screens in the church. If you are still debating that then this is the wrong place for you. That being said here’s the long awaited Part 2.
Screens: What are they for?
- Projecting words?
- IMAG? (basically that’s what the pro’s use to make you look dumb, all it means is that some guys enormous head is on screen)
- Showing Videos?
- Creating an atmosphere?
- Sermon notes & Bible Verses?
Here’s what I’ve noticed by visiting churches, talking with other church staffers, and watching a lot of worship DVD’s and YouTube videos. Most churches utilize their screens (if they have them) in only one or two of the aforementioned ways. Here’s the trends I’ve seen:
- Small churches use them for projecting words and showing videos, sometimes sermon notes & Bible verses.
- Larger churches use them for words, videos, and IMAG including a lower third containing sermon notes & Bible verses.
- Sometimes they have decent advertising, most of the time though when they are not being used for one of the above purposes, there’s a logo on the screen that looks like it was designed in 1988.
Most churches have the typical 2 screen setup. Angled slightly as to be more viewable on each side of the stage. Nice. Practical. Some smaller churches only have one so they set it up center stage above everyrone’s heads. These can either be front or rear projection. Front meaning the projector shines on the front of the screen and rear, the opposite.
Does this all sound familiar? Good. Well here is where I interject my opinion and philosophy.
Someone has said that projection screens are the “stained glass” of the modern church. I couldn’t agree more! In fact I could just stop here and have you meditate on that for a day. But I’ll be more practical. I personally believe that screens and projectors are massively under used in our churches. Think about this – a screen is a canvas, only when you paint on it, you can immediately change the painting to whatever you want it to be! It’s interactive art! So, rather than just popping up a graphic with some lyrics, you could turn the whole room red, simply by putting a red graphic on all your screens – or even better a red video loop!
Lumens & Screens
Of course that is if you have screens that are large enough to put out some impact, and if your projectors can push out some lumens. There’s all kinds of formulas, but just get as many lumens as you can afford! And don’t go from 1500 lumens to 2000 – you won’t notice the difference. You’ve gotta go from 1500 to 2500 to really see a difference. And with screens, you’ve really got to talk with a qualified pro. They will guide you in the right direction on material and options. You can litterally boost your image by using high gain screens – so you could be using a 2000 lumen projector that looks like a 3000, just by changing the screen material.
Creating an Engaging Atmosphere
Back to philosophy. I personally believe that by using screens as a canvas you can create a room that engages people, that draws them into what is going on (which is worship of the Creator through music, art, teaching, etc). By strategically placing screens, and thinking through colors and video backgrounds, you can create something that touches people on many levels and causes them to be more engaged and drawn in.
So rather than just putting some words up, you engage people with colors, and videos that are strategically planned to go along with the worship songs. Say for example you are singing, “God of wonders beyond our galaxy…” – have a video of the stars and planets to “show” what you are singing about. Abstracts work well with faster songs, videos that have great, bright color washes and fast moving elements. And during slower more reflective songs, abstracts with slow moving elements and darker colors really add to the mood.
If you are looking for video backgrounds, check out worshiphousemedia.com – the price is right there and you can get some good content.
If you are looking for a good screen and projector pro, check out my man, Joe Koubek with National Projector (tell him Alex McLean with LifeChurch sent you – I want some kudos!). We’ve purchased at least 5 projectors and screens from them and would purchase 5 more if I had the budget!
So I didn’t cover teaching and advertising, we’ll save that for the next post. And we still need to deal with how we use IMAG, and some visual examples of how screens can be best used in the room. Next time boys & girls.