Worship Media Arts

Big Ideas, How-To, and Articles on Worship, Media and the Arts

Ask the MO Guys August 2007


Here’s some of the latest from the mailroom:

Youth pastor Greg Willis wants to know figure out how to make the swirl patterns that a lot of “hip” designs employ. The best option is to do it by hand in Illustrator. But you might also check out Deviant Art for some pre-made swirly stuff. Watch out: there’s some really secular stuff on there, but it’s a very helpful website for design inspiration, and pre-made elements.

After attending a recent seminar, Joe Gulino wrote in asking for ideas for an image for a training session he was putting together for his media team. Something for his theme of “bringing our team to the next level.” We gave him a brain drain as such: “There’s a lot of clich?┬ęs out there to express an improvement in quality, such as going to the next level, raising the bar, and such. Each one can be visualized, to some degree. For example, going to the next level implies moving from novice to master, like for an apprentice in a sport such as karate. Or conquering one part of a videogame and ‘moving to the next level.’ It would be interesting to see what the root of the popular phrase is. Might be something visual there too.” If you need a little creative spark for a topic you’re working on, we’re happy to help. Just email both of us.

David Murray and others struggle with their volunteer structure, and finding superstars who can handle the complexity of operating a worship software presentation in the live event. Easy to find camera people – much harder to find good “control room” people. If you put to much onus on one person to do everything, eg a Media Shout operator, you’re going to have a hard time with that. That may be an example of letting the technology dictate the vision. If people have more defined, limited roles, there’s more opportunity for them to develop skills and grow through your ministry structure. This may mean you have to re-think how you structure your crews, to allow a director to call the shots and the computer operators to focus more on smaller aspects of the production. This is where what we advocate differs some from the type of structure suggested through some of the presentation software systems, which are more solo. The TV studio model is less solo and more collaborative.

Mike Ross from Narrabri in Australia wants to know what to do with loops. How do you use them, set them up? As you suggest, Mike, loops are meant to continuously run in a seamless manner for as long as you’d like for them to. If you’re using Powerpoint, you can import the loop, drag it to full screen, and then click on the slide and choose “custom animation” from the top menu. From there, choose “options” and finally check “loop until stopped”. Many people use loops behind song lyrics. Unfortunately, this is not possible in PowerPoint (unless you have one of those special plug-ins). There is software designed specifically for displaying song lyrics in worship along with other cool features, which you can learn more about here.

A couple of letters asked for clarification on some store items. Stacey Ward wanted to know about price breaks for large shirt orders. There’s an automatic price break of 20% built into the site for shirt orders of 20 or more, with any mix of sizes. If you plan to go a good number above 20 then email us and we can figure out additional breaks. New Plus member Deb Shipp wrote recently to ask about how downloadable media works in the Midnight Oil store. When you buy a downloadable video or image set, you’ll be given a link after checkout. It’s always best to right-click the link. A box will appear offering you the chance to save it your hard drive. Depending on the operating system, it might say “save linked file” or “save target to disk” or something like that. Choose a familiar place such as your Documents folder to save it. Then once it’s completed you can go to that spot and open it – hopefully by double-clicking, or by opening it in Windows Media Player or QuickTime.

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