Consistency this Christmas
Consistency is something that is easy to become complacent about. Whether you’re running visuals for your church, a tour, or a one – off event, finding elements to be consistent with will give you a solid foundation to build upon.
So how do you keep things consistent across the Christmas season. I think there’s a few ways to do this.
Elements of a Service
First off you want to be consistent within your services. We’ve talked a length before about keeping a consistent theme, keeping your visuals within the same color pallet or general tone. There’s one thing that can be a little awkward or weird are when visuals are drastically different across songs; there’s no real cohesive framework or constant that brings everything together.
Think about was going to youth camps or special concerts, conferences, etc. where you’re there for a few days and you keep coming back that one song or element that is the foundation point for the theme of the event. Remember the foundation as you navigate your visuals this Christmas season.
Elements of the Christmas Season
Another way is to look at the Christmas season as a whole *not just a service. What is the scripture you’re looking at or the story your’e telling. Obviously there is a key story this Christmas season, but what aspect of that story are you telling. Is it the birth? Maybe Mary or the wise men’s journey. Once you find the story or theme you can then work through your visuals.
So, once you have your structure, or framework with your story and them, how do you begin to build a consistent look?
First off, I like to start with the color palette first. Colors are important as you consider set pieces, artwork, lobby design etc. Taking your cues from those designs can give you a head start towards finding that color palette to lock into. Perhaps its a classic gold or silver look, maybe it’s subtle hues of reds, greens, and blues. Whatever it is, keep consistency across your visuals with color. Also, be sure to match your lighting with the visuals so they compliment one another.
The second item to consider is speed and depth of your motion. How much movement, energy, etc do you want in your visuals? Obviously a Wednesday evening worship night during the Christmas season might be a more high energy event than a candlelight service on Christmas eve. Take the time to match the speed of your media to your services. A lot of presentation software will give you the opportunity to adjust speed to what you’re looking for (similar to what Logan did here.) Be careful when trying to slow motions down as they will become jumpy if they’re too slow.
Essentially what we want to create is dynamics within the visuals. Much like the music has high points and soft spots, visuals should follow that ebb and flow as well. A service that’s all mountain top peaks of energy will be hard for folks to keep up with and the converse is true of those things being too slow.
Be sure to work as a team when coming up with the visuals and dynamics. Spend time with your worship leader to discuss where they’re going musically and how you can match each other. Remember, you’re playing another instrument in the band. A visual that doesn’t match the music can be just as distracting as an out of tune guitar.
I love taking a slow song and using a combination of stills and motions to add energy. A lot of times slower songs will have a bridge or final chorus that is supposed to make the music swell. At that point it’s awesome to fade in the motion that matches the still image you’ve had up on the screens. Consider a song like Silent Night. As you’re hitting the final verse and you’ve had a single image of a candle on the screen, change it to the motion of the same candle to add just the right amount of energy as the room darkens and all the candles across the auditorium flicker.
Find moments to bring those added elements in that support your theme. Be sure they fall in line with what you’re trying to accomplish so that the consistency stays this Christmas.