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Monthly Enewsletter from Midnight Oil Productions
Vol 3, Number 8 | August 04
Back to School Edition
Welcome 40 Days Friends
Pre-Order Volume 3
Fall Seminar Schedule
Contest Winner #2
Monthly Media Freebie
More Design Matters
Worship Software Revue
Pencil Drawing Graphic
"Hi" to On Purpose Media Users
If you're getting this newsletter for the first time, we'd like to extend a very warm welcome to you. Maybe you've heard about us through the grapevine or maybe by surfing the net, or maybe you're one of the many who have just heard about our new On Purpose Media Resource. However you arrived here, we're glad you made it, and we hope you'll enjoy these newsletters.

As a part of the MO community, in this monthly enewsletter, you will find graphic tutotrials for download, articles to aid your ministry, features on other ministries, the highly anticipated Midnight Oil Monthly Media Freebie, notices about upcoming products and seminars, and much more. Feel free to browse in your inbox or online, and... Welcome!
Pre-Order spark and flame volume 3
As anyone who creates worship on a regular basis can testify, coming up with compelling Gospel connections in worship can be a daunting challenge. It was hard enough back in the B.D. (Before Digital) days, but now that the culture has shifted, the question of worship design and production has gotten even more difficult. How does a church create even one powerful “experience” of worship amidst the clutter of information, much less do it every week?

Pencil Drawing graphicOur goal at Midnight Oil is to support the work you do to reach your communities with the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. And the start of a new school year is a perfect time to introduce new, cutting-edge media into your worship experience.

That’s why we’re creating spark and flame volume 3. This all-new third volume of our premiere media library is designed to act as parables for our digital age—simple metaphors that cut through the clutter to connect people to Jesus. This worship media is much more than the typical nature scenes and palm branches.

All of the usuals are present in the 3rd volume of this popular library, including new and creative metaphors, a rich set of features, including “ready-to-go” (BMP format) graphics files that drag and drop right into your presentation software, layered Adobe (PSD) files so that users can create their own customized variations on our themes, high quality (MPG) videos that play right out of your computer and can be used to set up worship themes and messages, and a quality and price that makes sense.



Spark and flame volume 3 is coming soon. Pre-order your copy now and get $10 off the retail price of $80 for the entire bundle.

Professional Quality Media at a Price Your Church Can Afford!
2004-05 Seminar Schedule
The beginning of the school year is also a great time to get the calendar out and start making plans. We’ve been busy bees here at Midnight Oil, and have a full slate of Digital Storytellers seminars scheduled throughout the country.

Sept 11 Marshalltown, IA Digital Storytellers Seminar
Sept 21-23 Minneapolis, MN Convergence 2004
Sept 25 Nyack, NY (NYC) Digital Storytellers Seminar
Sept 30 Montgomery, AL Digital Storytellers Seminar
Oct 4-5 Vancouver, WA (Portand) Digital Storytellers Seminar
Oct 22-24 Battle Creek, MI Digital Storytellers Seminar
Nov 12-13 Nampa, ID (Boise) Digital Storytellers Seminar
Feb 5 Scottsdale, AZ Digital Storytellers Seminar
Feb 12-14 Anaheim, CA NRB Convention
Feb 19 Rice Lake, WI Digital Storytellers Seminar
Apr 16 Chagrin Falls, OH (Cleveland) Digital Storytellers Seminar
Apr 18 Lewes, DE Digital Storytellers Seminar
Apr 19-20 Las Vegas, NV NAB Convention
May 23-26 Charlotte, NC Inspiration Conference

Don’t miss this unique day-long seminar on the interface of media and worship. Here’s what we cover during the day:

Session 1- Worship in the Digital Age (8:30-10:00)
Analyze four keys to digital culture and how it affects worship.
Session 2- The Art of Communicating the Gospel (10:30-12:15)
Discover the art of design, incl. how to build a worship image.
Session 3- Becoming Digital Storytellers: Building Teams (1:30-2:45)
Participate in a hand's-on look at forming teams for digital ministry.
Session 4- Momentum for Digital Ministry (3:00-4:00)
How to both get started right and maintain your momentum for media.

To learn more about the seminar visit the Digital Storytellers section of our site, or register through our secure online store. Registration fees are $99 for a single registration and $79 for a group of 2 or more from the same church. Get one of these dates onto your calendar now, before the days fly away, or be on watch for more pending dates in places like Florida and Texas.

Congrats to our Pencil Drawing Tutorial Winner
WebsiteWe're proud to announce that Chad Maag of Shawnee, KS, has won our second tutorial contest. Chad's rendition of our Pencil Drawing Tutorial, pictured to the left, both demonstrates an undertsanding of the technique we teach and shows an artistic eye. Congratulations, Chad!

We received a number of excellent entries from the over 1100 of you who downloaded the tutorial. Making a decision was very difficult. To feel our pain, view a gallery of all of the submissions here.

As the winner, Chad is going to receive a copy of the upcoming resource spark volume 3 when it ships soon. We asked Chad to share a bit about himself and his experience with the contest. Here’s what he had to say:

How Long have you been creating media?

Close to 5 years. I started out just working as a volunteer with our youth ministry, and worked on things as my job would permit. A little over a year ago I was hired full time by our church to handle virtually all of our needs visually, from print to video. And really although 5 years is how long I've been doing graphics work in a ministry setting, ever since I was in High School I've been doing things in the visual/graphic arts realm and that's been close to 10 years. It always has and always will be my passion.

What is your position at the church?

My job title is 'Publications Director”, but inevitably that will come to encompass more than just what the title would imply. I work on projects ranging from our church's web site, logo identity packages for various in-house ministries, video and sound editing, and a host of other media related projects. It's become for me, and I would assume a large portion of media ministers, a job that requires the wearing of many different hats.

No, you’re the only one who strugles with that. What was the most challenging thing about the Pencil Drawing Tutorial?

The image the tutorial used was fairly straight forward, and didn't have a lot of complexity. When laying down the darker lines on the tutorial image, it was fairly simple to just outline the shape of the flower and its petals. When it came to duplicating that effect on a human face, it was much more challenging. I found it very easy to go overboard with the effect and the results lacked the subtle nuances that would be found in a pencil sketch of a human face. I probably went through about 4 or 5 variations of that step before I was satisfied that I had achieved what I was looking for.

We think it looks great. How long did it take you to complete the image?

Like I said before, it took me several variations of the heavy line effect alone to achieve exactly what I had in mind for the image. Once I had finished the treatment of the woman I had already invested about 90 minutes ( I have a tendency to be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to media I design).

Really?

Once I had decided on a font for both the title and scripture it was just a matter of choosing the right effects for them. I found that I could use the same noise/motion blur effect on the scripture text and I had great results. All told, I probably spent around 2 hours to achieve what I was looking for.

Since this is an award contest, do you have anyone you'd like to thank?

I thank God every day for giving me the skills and abilities to do what I do. I feel so blessed that I can go to work every day and get paid to do what I am passionate about, and have fun doing it at the same time. I would also thank the staff that I work with at my church. It's such a great blessing to come to work every day with people that are not only my friends, but quite honestly are my family.

Congrats again to Chad. Check out all of the tutorials here. As always, be on the lookout for future contests, tutorials, and free stuff from Midnight Oil.
The Monthly Media Download
You may have noticed several weeks ago that the seasonal department at your local Walmart store stopped offering barbeque grills, patio furniture and beach towels and instead began offering pencils, notebooks, lunchboxes and everything else you might need for the first day of school.

It's that time of the year again. Whether we're students in class or students in life, we all know what it means to go "Back to School." Monthly Media Download
So, we've created a media set that is designed to help you teach a lesson or two in your church.

You can download the entire set here that includes several drag and drop options as well as a layered Photoshop file. And if this image works for your church, you may be interested in the entire set. Find out more about spark volume 3 here.
Design Matters Article #2
Being a media minister involves much more than just operating a bunch of gear. Even if you consider yourself technologically-oriented, chances are you've had to put together a ministry graphic or video.

Our current series, Design Matters, is, um, designed to help you give your media a professional flair, regardless of your experience and skill level in producing.

The first principle in our series looks at a key component that separates excellent media from mediocre media. Read now how to harness the power of the advertising industry and open doorways to truth through this special biblically-based technique.
Media Shout SoftwareContinuing a feature that started with the June 2004 newsletter, this month's worship presentation software feature highlights EasyWorship.

Our third interview of the series is with Jeff Taylor of Easy Worship. As usual, 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, tell us about Easy Worship.
Easyworship is just that. Easy. It encompasses many wonderful intuitive features for displaying songs, text, power point, video clips and DVD / VHS / Cameras for a seamless worship experience. Point at virtually any of the above options, click on Go Live and it does. It is that simple.

What are a couple of the features that make Easy Worship better than, say, PowerPoint?
EasyWorship was designed specifically for the church so you’ll find many features that are really geared for a seamless worship experience. We have gone to great lengths to try to provide a great quality program that not only does worship well, but also gives you better navigation control over your PowerPoint Presentation than PowerPoint itself.

And how do Midnight Oil resources work in Easy Worship?
We love Midnight Oil resources!

Oh, stop it.
EasyWorship will play any media file that Windows Media Player will play. And with EasyWorship you can use an external DVD, VHS players and place a corresponding icon in the schedule with songs, scriptures, stand alone videos, AVI, MPG1-3. When you select that icon, you play the DVD or video clip, with just a click of the button. Pastors love this feature because you, the Worship Leader, can have your worship service planned including your video clips/ DVD clips right along with his PowerPoint slides – together -presented seamlessly using full transitions and cross fades.

Do you want to say anything about what makes Easy Worship stand out from other worship presentation programs out there?
This is a tough question because there are a lot of good features in all the products, but I think there are few items that really make EasyWorship stand out. Quality is our number one goal. We want to help you provide a worship experience that is Christ focused not software focused. We do this by providing the highest quality, readable text in any software product available. We make it easy to use, which is key feature when looking for volunteers. For EasyWorship and our company, I think it’s important to remember what is important. We are focused on helping the church grow in Christ through worship.

Anything coming soon in Softouch Development’s future?
We are working on version 2.4. now! We are planning things like a loop feature in the schedule that would allow you to use EasyWorship as a conference presenter, as well as looping your scheduled items. Additionally, multiple video clips behind one song, more text over features, a slide designer that will be separate but interface with EasyWorship. Other items include:
* Better reporting
* Background and video categories
* Title lines included in the songs
* Better scripture display control
* Better Schedule w/images, black screen, transition control, looping, song order, and background assignment.
* Text alignment within the editor as opposed to just the use of global
* The fill drop down in the editor to include current backgrounds
* Additional 3D video and static transitions similar to Power Plugs

Click here for more on EasyWorship and look out for another media software review in next month's newsletter.
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