If you’re like me, volunteers are hard to find and when we do find someone, we need them with the kids. It makes it hard to keep someone free to work sound and media. Let me share the tools I use that have greatly simplified my media presentations during service and released me from the need of a sound person (for the most part).
I push all of my media (music, video, slides, etc.) from a computer running SongShow Plus and Powerpoint. I can’t tell you that SongShow Plus (SSP) is perfect, but it’s the best out there… and I’ve tried them all. The thing that sets SSP apart is the way it organizes your media, services, and display settings.
SSP keeps all of your lyrics, videos, images, slides, and other stuff in it’s own folders. You can drag these items in any order to create a Service. You can save different Services and pull them up at will. You can also have different display settings for each service (backgrounds, font sizes, colors, styles).
Using SSP I set up my services to match my written order of service. First I have a looping series of Videos that play before service. Then a ‘buffer slide’ which contains a animated video loop of our logo. Then our Children’s Church theme song video. Then another buffer. Then the Rules and Regs slide show. Then another buffer… and so on all the way through games, worship, verses, sermon slides and closing. It takes a bit more work than trusting a sound man to follow you… but it’s more reliable and instant.
Note that using SSP I can load ALL of my media and display it from the computer. I rip my video clips to the computer, edit them down, load them up. I use audio tracks for our worship… so to simplify things, we make our own music videos combining the audio, lyrics and animated backgrounds. SSP will display PowerPoint as well. So no more switching from PowerPoint to a Media Player to play music. Or from the computer to a DVD player by pressing Video Select on a projector remote. Everything is from one source, in order and instant.
The final key to making this work was the purchase of an Honeywell RF (Radio Frequency) Remote (enter SUNDAY as your code and save 10%). This allows you, the minister, to advance through your media at will. It’s simply awesome.. this thing has a huge range… and you can even be out of the room and still advance slides.
Between the setup and the remote, I don’t need anyone to staff my projection machine. I have a guy who does sound… and can help me out if something is out of order, or I need to skip something… but other than that I’m in full control. I love never having to say, “Next Slide” or “Click!” 🙂
By the way… we get our video backgrounds for our homemade videos, buffers and worship videos from Animationfactory.com and I use Sony Vegas (but I used to do it with the free Windows MovieMaker) to combine the backgrounds and music with sync’d lyrics.
If you have questions on my system email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It took me several years to perfect this and I’d love to share it with the world.
**Disclaimer** I don’t get a dime from any of the companies or products listed above. Actually, they’ve gotten a lot of my money! This is what I use and it works. That’s all I know.