Testing Screen ContentPosted June 20th 2011 @ 5:08 pm by Jerod
For worship planners, deciding what goes on the big screens in a sanctuary during a worship service can be a struggle. There’s the balance of making the slides look good while keeping them functional as well. And then there’s parts of the service where you may not be sure exactly what to put up there. Not to mention the last minute requests that undoubtedly will come in. While we’ve talked about guidelines for worship lyric slides in the past, a couple of recent things I’ve seen have me thinking about one general slide golden rule.
Test before you project.
It’s really that simple. And I think it’s something we skip too often because of the busyness that leads up to Sunday. But finding time to run through whatever you’re planning to put on the screen will really help the quality of what you’re doing. Maybe you’ll realize the type is too small to read or a graphic just doesn’t look right. Or if you’re a church using cameras during the service, you may realize a shot doesn’t work. If you test first, instead of just doing it Sunday morning, you’ll be sure your screens are a communications enhancement and not a distraction.
For example, this weekend at my church, there was a pre-service announcement slide that included a QR code. That’s a cool idea. If I wanted more information, I could whip out my iPhone, snap a picture of the code and I’d go to a webpage with more details. But in reality, the screen was far enough away from where I was setting that I couldn’t isolate the code in my QR reader. Plus the screen was so bright the code was distorted, too. If someone would have thrown that slide up on the screen earlier in the week, sat in a seat and then tried to use it, they’d realize the slide wasn’t working in the way they hoped it would. Then they could redesign it or take the slide out completely before the worship service.
Another church I recently visited projected camera footage on the screen during the sermon. Lots of churches do this as a way to give people a closer look at the speaker on stage. But this particular church was showing a wide shot. You could see the pastor from head to foot. The pastor was smaller on the screen than he was in person. In that case, it may be better show a still graphic or nothing at all. Using a camera shot just for the sake of doing it wasn’t enhancing the service in any way.
I’m sure you have examples of screens being more distracting than helpful. But I really think the quality of what we’re communicating with screens will get better if we take the time to test before we project.