Thursday, 5 February 2015

Some Advice to Church Data Projector Operators

In many ways, in these high-definition, image-centered, techno-rocking-all-over world, the Data Project Operator is the lynchpin of the whole worship performance. Once upon a time, in wannabe-trendy but not-really-Spirit-led fellowships, they had the simple task of putting on five acetates at the right time, the right way up, and moving them up at the same speed as the music. In those days, advice would mostly be restricted to "move the sheet, not the mirror", "you've got it face down" and "enough with the bunny ears, already".

But that was a simpler time. A time when good handwriting in squeaky felt tip was an essential part of the craft. That was then and this, dear hearts, is now.

It's more complex now. We have lap tops. Church wi-fi. Data projection. We don't just have them for the words. We can illustrate sermons. Project the liturgy. Put up pictures of snowflakes during the notices. Show YouTube videos instead of the sermon. Do not underestimate the new-found power of the Overhead Operator to enhance or destroy the worship experience. So here's some advice.

1. If you have church wi fi, switch it off on your laptop. Having emails pop up would be embarrassing enough. Having a picture from last night, when you were being uninhibited with other members of the "Woburn Sands Sons of the Old West" get-together, spring up from a social media message halfway through "Christ Alone, Cornerstone" is another matter entirely. I never want to see Burton Dasset in 10 Gallon Hat, spurs and waistcoat again. And chaps? I should think it does, with all that leather.

2. Don't fiddle with the buttons. Some of them are inclined to rotate or invert the screen display. And if it happens, it's murder to get it back...

Last time we had this happen, several Beaker Folk resorted to standing on their heads. Caused all the blood to rush to their heads. OK, there was plenty of space for it. But they were quite spiritual for hours afterwards.

3. Sometimes you will have an inspired worship leader who goes back to the first verse, segues into another song, or randomly repeats chorus - or just forgets where they are - do not panic.
Let me repeat that.
Don't Panic

What you don't do is start randomly pushing the up and down arrows to try and find the right place. Especially not if you're unfamiliar with the song. You'll put yourself under pressure and the next thing you know everybody will be trying to sing "Lifeline" to the tune of "Abide with me."

4. Don't use a Lady Gaga screensaver.

5. If you must use a lovely background, don't use one which contains the same colours as the text of the song. Or you might hear some random awkward pauses.

6. It's a little-known secret of the Overhead Projector Operators' Guild that, if there is a power cut during a service, the Operator has to act out all the words of the songs through the medium of mime. The international operator's sign language for "Out of my depth in your love" is holding your nose while blowing kisses.

7. All Overhead Projector Operators are looking for the fabled CMYK setting for "black light".  If directed accurately, this can make the pastor disappear.

8. Never let the pastor have the remote controlled controller.

9. Always have a complete set of songsheets in case it all goes wrong.

10. That amusing animated gif doesn't really fit into a worship context.

11. Enough with the bunny ears already.

12. Team work is essential, as it being aware of where the spirit of the meeting is moving So keep a close eye on what the worship leader is doing.
They're well dodgy, are worship leaders.

13. If your laptop freezes or crashes, don't shout at it what you said to the PC at work last week.

And you might want to read this as well.

"A Spaceman came travelling" - Chris de Burgh, 1975

1 comment :

  1. AND be very careful indeed how you fade from one slide to another. There was that splendid moment when they put up "The word of the Lord endures for ever" and then all the words melted and dripped to the bottom of the screen before the next slide came up.

    Can't remember anything else about that series of powerpoint sermons.


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