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Media for the "lazy days" of summer

Between now and July 12th, all Midnight Oil Resources are on sale with a special summer discount of 10%. This means if you’ve been holding off, now is the time, because you can get the entire spark and flame library for only $135! Check out the store now to see special sale prices on all of our resources to assist your ministry in our digital age.

With the spring conferencing season all wrapped up we’re hard at work putting together spark and flame volume 3. Be on the lookout this summer for an all-new volume of our flagship resource, with 30 new sets of graphics and 10 new sets of videos.

As a preview, we’ve put together a list of some of the metaphors included in the upcoming release. This partial list hopefully will give you a taste of what’s coming (so you organized pastors can begin planning now). The metaphors in bold have matching flame video clips.



Air Freshener Barn Billiards Creation Dominoes
Fireworks Graduation Internet Lighthouse Music
Path Rollercoaster Treasure Map Tree Roots Valentine Candy
Wave Wedding Rings White Flag Windmill



As we finish production, we've left a little wiggle room for you. If you have an urgent need and would like to see us produce a specific image, send us your suggestions here. If the idea is not already on our long-term metaphor list and we pick it, you'll get credit on the CD and a free copy to boot.

To bide your time until volume 3 comes out, make sure to maximize our currently available collection! If you don't have them yet, check out our store for spark and flame volumes 1 and 2.

The big picture. We as media ministers produce “big pictures” every week for our worship services, but often fail to see the larger considerations of what we do. The phenomenon of media and worship is only getting larger, so this month we decided to address what is happening in this dynamic field of ministry. Regardless if you’re a pastor, worship leader or media director, you’ll be glad you took time to step back and view the bigger picture in this month’s addition to the Midnight Oil reading center, “Adopting Digital Media in Worship.”

Whether you’re new to the world of media and worship or an experienced veteran looking to extend your possibilities, this fresh article will provide you insights ranging from theological and philosophical foundations to practical considerations in your daily work. Consider it a “must read” for your summer.

Summer has begun which means July 4th is just around the corner. The thing about summer is, in between trips to the beach or the lake somehow you’ve still got to produce media for worship. This month’s monthly media freebie is here to help! Our new FIREWORKS video will complement a variety of themes—especially July 4th celebrations! Fireworks is part of the upcoming spark and flame volume 3, due out by the end of the summer, but you can download the clip here, use it while it’s hot, and maybe even grab some of those elusive lazy days.

In an effort to keep you up to date with the latest in tools for media ministry, we're focusing on worship presentation software over the next few months in this space. Our policy at Midnight Oil is to not show preference, but to allow churches like yours to decide which program fits best for your needs (this is why we have 4 different demos on our discs of spark and flame). So over the next few months, we're going to allow representatives from each ministry the opportunity to talk about their applications.

The first of our features takes us to Fowler, Inc., makers of SongShow Plus. Recently, we sat down with Jim Miller of Fowler, Inc., and here's what he had to say:

So, tell us about SongShow Plus.
The coolest thing about SongShow Plus (SSP) is all the pluses! Besides songs, SSP displays scriptures, announcements, message notes, images and countdown timers. SSP lets you cue and play videos from computer files, DVDs, even FireWire-equipped cameras or mini-DV players. Each function has its own database. SSP also has the most comprehensive set of display properties, with literally thousands of ways to enhance the appearance of image files without affecting the actual file. It’s an all-in-one worship display application.

What makes SongShow Plus better for churches than, say, PowerPoint?
The key to SSP is that it is database driven. With a point and click, you can instantly display anything from any database. If your pastor spontaneously quotes a verse, you can get it on the screen faster than most people can look it up. If you prefer to work from a plan, SSP can do that, too. You can add any item in any database to a program – an order of service right there in SSP – that you can save, copy, even package-to-go from one computer to another.

And how do Midnight Oil resources work in SongShow Plus?
It’s very simple. All you do is place images or videos in the appropriate SSP database and access them whenever you want. If Midnight Oil can think it up, SSP can get it on the screen! In an SSP program file, using databases keeps file sizes down. You can use the same Midnight Oil background on 100 slides, and the program file won’t be any bigger than if you had the background on just one of those slides.

Midnight Oil resources are great because users can customize them. SSP’s display properties take this to another level by allowing you to grayscale, blur, or adjust image brightness and contrast to make your text pop. Text display properties allow you to adjust outlines and shadows and create soft-edge shadows.

Gee, thanks. What makes SSP stand out from other worship presentation applications out there?
To accommodate multiple Bible versions and thousands of songs, SSP is compatible with a wide range of outside databases including Online Bible, QuickVerse, Libronix, and Integrity Worship Software. We also have point and click integration with CCLI’s SongSelect. If you have high-speed internet, SongSelect and SSP, you could literally name a worship song and project it in less than 30 seconds.

Processing speed is another benefit of linking to databases. The programs you create draw directly from the databases to render what you see on the screen instead of copying the data into a new slide. It’s a totally different approach that makes your file sizes smaller and makes everything run faster.

Also, motion backgrounds, text over video and 3D transitions are all the rage now. SSP is the only product that allows these features to work simultaneously, using the most cutting edge technology available. Our platform is capable of handling things we haven’t even dreamed up yet, so SSP will be useful well into the next generation of graphic effects. SSP includes these features as ProModules – add-ons to the root application.

Anything coming soon in Fowler’s future?
Release 4 of SSP 5.5 will bring enhanced slide show builders that streamline the process of creating slide shows for photos, announcements and sermons. If a media pastor has created a slew of slides in Adobe Photoshop, for example, she can use the Photo Show Builder to pull together a slide show in minutes. We also constantly add or update our ProModules to give our users more and more functionality – and more bang for their buck.

One more thing we’re excited about: As churches grow in using projectors, more and more are looking to add video cameras for image magnification (IMAG) to their systems. Until now, there hasn’t been a competitively-priced IMAG package. Fowler will soon introduce a line of IMAG systems designed specifically for volunteer-driven media teams.

Thanks for your time, Jim. Be on the lookout the next few months as we interview other software companies about their presentation programs.

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