Using Dynamics to Create a Visual Story (Transforming Tip #7)

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A few weeks ago I got into a debate with one of the clients our company was working with. We were hired to help them with creating some custom video pieces for their set in a tour that was about to leave. The argument was over the idea of how early we wanted to use video in their set. They only had a 15 minute set and wanted to “make the most of it” — a statement I absolutely agreed with. However I interpreted that phrase to symbolize the idea that in fifteen minutes we had to take the audience on a journey, both musically and visually.

Have you ever been in a debate like that? Or have you ever been in a production where you want to let everything out of the bag in the first down beat? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great idea to wow an audience and “not make it about production” but I also believe that you can take people on a visual journey and tell a powerful, multi-sensory story with ALL the elements instead of just your music or just your acting.

How do we create a program that draws out mystery, builds as the experience is revealed and plays to the fact that space, environment and production can in-fact be a storytelling device?

Most churches and lower budget productions I work with tend to want to “prove” themselves in the first few minutes of their production, and inevitably reveal all their story elements at the same time. Would you really want to listen to every Christmas song on Spotify at the exact same time? That wouldn’t get you into the Christmas spirit, would it?

Here a few things I’ve found make or break a production and will allow you to become a better storyteller with your visual elements:

1. Reveals.

How are you going to reveal your production elements? It may be environmental projection, multiscreen setup or some other production element. Regardless how are you going to expose the mystery and not just say “we can do this too…” but instead leverage it to invite people into the story. If it’s environmental projection I personally like using snow (maybe this clip that starts in black) or stars to reveal the projection. (Cathedrals, stained glass and textures also work well).

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Don’t just show something… reveal something. There’s a difference.

2. Transitions

In any great production, transitions are the glue that holds the entire event together. They don’t cost much, I promise; they just take intentionality and planning. Create one continuous experience rather than a collection of segmented elements. There’s a big difference from a local theatre production and a broadway musical and a large part of it is the transitions between scenes.

3. Focus

My biggest problem with most productions that don’t do a great job of taking people on a journey is a lack of focus, or a very scattered production. I’m not saying that everything has to have focus, but even with Cirque de Soleil, known for it’s extravagant productions with expansive activity, has focus in it’s productions. Not everything needs to be all encompassing. Where are you wanting the attention to be during a segment? Think about where you want people to look, what you want them to notice or not notice and add focus to your production.

4. Silence

If there aren’t dynamics, it isn’t powerful. We deceive ourselves to believe that only the high energy or extremely epic pieces is what move people, That’s simply not true. The only reason the bigger moments in a production work is directly related to the effectiveness of the still moments. We need to add silence, reflection and pause into our services and events. It adds depth, dynamics and intentionality and allows those attending to solidify their experience and ask questions, indirectly involving them in the experience.

5. Tension

All of these I write about here do one primary thing, build tension. That’s where the experience exists. All great stories need conflict, and all great experiences need tension. Where is the tension in your productions and events? If you’re looking to transform your space or transform your events, then we need more tension.

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Here’s what is encouraging, none of these cost much money. They’re all possible to do without breaking the bank, and will make tremendous impact to your stories.

There’s no question that Christmas is a busy season full of shopping stress, family pressures, year end job responsibilities and add to all of that the fact that there’s probably cooking, cleaning, decorating, etc. Don’t let that craziness fall into your events, this is the time of the year that we get to help craft an experience that take’s people’s breath away and points them to the true meaning of the season.

Christmas is our opportunity to tell the most powerful story in the world and invite people into that story!

Don’t miss out on transforming Christmas this year.

 

 

Here at TripleWide Media we want to help with the planning of your Christmas events and show you the power of environmental projection. That’s why we’re doing Transform Your Christmas all month long. With video content, projection technology, multiscreen processors and a bit of creativity, it’s never been easier to transform your events into spectacular gatherings. Our hope is that you get to connect people… impact lives and spread some holiday joy.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter, track along with us on Instagram and like us on Facebook to stay in touch with all the Transform Your Christmas updates. We’ve got a lot in store for you this year… Merry Christmas!

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Luke McElroy

Author Luke McElroy

Luke McElroy is the founder of Orange Thread Media, the parent company to TripleWide Media, SALT Conferences and Orange Thread LIVE. He is the author of The Wide Guide: Blueprint for the Multiscreen Movement. Hailed as one of the “top innovators for worship” by Worship Leader Magazine in 2013, Luke’s leadership has helped create powerful worship environments for thousands of Church communities throughout the entire world. He currently lives in Nashville, TN and regularly writes about creativity, leadership and faith at LukeMcElroy.com 

More posts by Luke McElroy

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Luke says:

    If I hired someone for my church to produce this type of a worship experience, what kind of degree or expertise would they need to make it a reality? What kind of person am I looking for? Visual arts director? Computer geek? Volunteer can be trained?

    • Luke McElroy says:

      Hey Luke – Those are some great questions… I would make sure to hire someone who is a bit more inclined to the artistic side if you’re looking for someone to create or curate the visuals for an experience…. if you’re looking to install this yourself, it may be smarter to hire an outside consultant. But I think you likely need someone who understands music rhythm and possibly has an understanding of color/lighting in an environment. (lighting operators make for great environmental projection / multiscreen operators).

      – Luke McElroy

  • Luke McElroy says:

    Hey Luke – Those are some great questions… I would make sure to hire someone who is a bit more inclined to the artistic side if you’re looking for someone to create or curate the visuals for an experience…. if you’re looking to install this yourself, it may be smarter to hire an outside consultant. But I think you likely need someone who understands music rhythm and possibly has an understanding of color/lighting in an environment. (lighting operators make for great environmental / multiscreen operators).

    – Luke McElroy

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