When Jeff McIntosh came out with his new ebook, “The Worship Media Handbook,” we were eager to take a look. Jeff began dabbling in church media production in 2004 which ignited a passion that culminated in the creation of Church Motion Graphics (CMG).
“The Worship Media Handbook” is a 101 page ebook on how not to get noticed, and for all the right reasons. Jeff says, ”It is better to have no worship background on your screen than to force a visual that distracts or competes for attention.” He spends the entirety of the resource reminding us that the point is to use design in a way that keeps an audience focused on the message. His heart to be relevant and engaging is clear, but it never supersedes an overarching desire to point to Christ.
This resource is a practical compilation of no-frills tips and tricks. It assumes a very basic understanding of design and church jargon with terms like gutters, IMAG, etc., but not enough to be over the head of a new reader. Anyone from any background can benefit from the quick read, and the intentional imagery helps illustrate the many lists of dos and don’ts.
Each main section points back to making sure the message rises above the design. In the Composing section, “readability trumps style.” The Editing section reminds us that “small fixes make big differences.” And in the third and final section, Presenting, the balance between excitement and message promoting is key. Throughout, we’re reminded to be consistent in all details, large and small.
Jeff’s helpful guides are flexible. He doesn’t make assumptions that everyone has the same set up, same audience, or even same skill level or experience. A few examples of these helpful guides are: a template for design standards, color meaning definitions, and various checklists. We especially appreciate the list of “unoriginal” fonts and their alternatives.
Additionally, we often hear from customers who are confused about (or infringing on) copyrights and licensing. Jeff included a brief, but informative look at this topic.
Stephen Proctor‘s forward jumpstarts the handbook with heartfelt insight into why we use art and technology. A segment on mulitscreens by Luke McElroy, and an entire “Voices From the Industry” section shares the perspective of many folks who work in visual worship every day. These sections further prove that Jeff has no purpose in this handbook but to point you back to Christ and to help you point others to Him through the use of visual media.
As you browse through our Stills & Motions and Mini Movies, and then work to apply them to your service, it may serve you well to purchase this resource and share it with your team. You can find it here.
He may not be competing yet, but we won’t be at all surprised to see him there in a few years. Way to go, Cody!
See our “Cody’s Story,” here:
While we are solidly in February at this point, we thought it would still be worthwhile to look back at some of the highlights that made 2013 a great year for Igniter.
A Whole New Igniter
In February 2013, not only did we launch a whole new website, we moved from a pay-per-video model of business to a membership model. Many of our customers had been asking for membership, and while this was a difficult decision in a lot of ways, we decided that a membership relationship would empower us to serve our customers in a new way.
Our Responsibility to Our Members
One of the burdens we carried into this new era was an increased self-awareness of the quantity of media we were releasing. And this summer, when we felt we weren’t living up to the standard we had set for ourselves (because of our Echo Conference), we extended all our members’ terms by one full month. Despite that lull during the summer, we were still able to put out 17 mini movies (with 21 alternate versions–most only available on IgniterMedia.com)–one of the best years we’ve had so far.
Time for Celebration
If you were on our site during the last part of the year, you already know that we celebrated our 10th year of producing media for the Church this year! We took some time to celebrate that and look back at where we’ve been and who has been a part of our story so far.
Some of the most important people in that story are you guys. You are the ones that have valued our work, and supported us in it. And for that, we’re extremely grateful.
Well, it’s a new year. If you’re looking to up your game in 2014, here are a few apps that might help you plan/design/interact better.
IFTTT – There’s a lot this service can do. And as it grows in popularity, I’m sure they’ll add a lot more functionality to it. IFTTT (If-This-Then-That) lets you create “recipes” that can range from just-for-fun to really useful. For example, you can create a recipe that watches Instagram for photos taken at or around your church building, then texts you when it finds one, or adds it to your Facebook page. Or, keep track of your schedule in real time, by creating a recipe that adds your iOS location changes with a timestamp into a Google Docs spreadsheet. The possibilities are as numerous as they are impressive.
Decibel 10th – Quantify subjective comments about volume. If your church has a “contemporary” worship service (or just acoustic drums), chances are you’ve received complaints about volume levels. While Decibel 10th won’t help you field those complaints, it will help you figure out where your congregation’s volume threshold is. When people speak up, use this app to take note of the db, and ask your sound guy to mix it slightly quieter than that next week.
Adobe Kuler – Do you ever feel like your media looks great, but it just doesn’t seem to fit in the room you’re using it in? You can use Adobe’s Kuler app on your phone to identify color palettes in the space where you’ll be using them, then use those palettes to choose complementary graphics. They also have a website that helps you define themes.
WhatTheFont – While they stopped updating it in 2011, WhatTheFont is still a somewhat useful tool for identifying a font you like. If you see a printed font that you’d like to use in your designs, just snap a picture and run it through this app. In our experience it’s not perfect, but it will definitely get you close.
Sleep Time – If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re one of the few who have been up for hours by the time people walk through the church doors on Sunday mornings. So waking up feeling rested is probably a rare occurrence. This app tracks your sleep cycles based on the amount you move in your sleep. You give it a must-be-awake-by time, and it wakes you up in the part of your cycle that should leave you refreshed (or at least not groggy). It even has “soundscapes” feature that plays white-noise type sounds to help you fall asleep. Now if they could just add a feature that makes being out of bed more comfortable than being under the covers…
What are some apps (or other tools) that you find indispensable?
2013 was a big year for Igniter and our parent company, RT Creative Group. Notably, we launched a new site while simultaneously overhauling our business model in favor of the subscription-based “Membership” model that we currently have; and while our sister company Echo Conference had its best year yet, we made the difficult decision to close its doors in order to focus on other things.
And we fully expect 2014 to have its share of earthshaking moments.
And while it may look different from year to year as we follow where we feel like God is leading us, our passion has always been, and will always be to equip churches with tools to effectively and beautifully communicate the Truth.
All that to say: our poor, neglected blog is going to get some more attention this year. And while it will almost definitely never attain to the prolificacy of the EchoHub blog that we maintained for so long, we want it to be a place where you can come to learn, to be equipped, and to be encouraged.
Happy New Year!