Worship slides (also known as lyric slides) are powerful tools, but that doesn’t mean they have to be complicated. Often, the most obvious mistakes I see are also the easiest to correct. Here are twenty easy improvements that you can make as you head into Sunday.
1. Keep slides to a 3-4 line maximum. It makes it easier for your church to follow along and for new singers to jump in at any given time. (Displaying lyrics over live video? Stick to a 2 line max.)
2. Use a sans serif font for your lyric projection. They’re modern, easy to read, and complement most of today’s backgrounds. We recommend CMG Sans as an easy go-to.
3. Use a consistent font throughout all of the songs in your service.
4. Projecting onto a small screen? Use a narrow font so that you can fit more lyrics without looking messy.
5. Erase any slide labels or instructions. (Examples: Bridge, Repeat 3X, Unison, etc.)
6. Lyrics do not require periods at the end of sentences. Allow line breaks to substitute for punctuation.
7. Capitalize all names or references to God. (Examples: Jesus, Father, Him, You, etc.)
8. Remove all ad lib musical references and interjections unless totally needed. (Examples: O, Oh, Whoa, etc.)
9. Adjust lyrics to reflect your specific location. Reading “saviour” in Hillsong’s lyrics can cause distraction in America.
10. Insert blank slides where there are pauses or instrumentals in songs.
11. Choose at least one background for each song in your worship set. Each background should fit in the same visual theme as the others.
12. Use motion backgrounds to create a more dynamic visual experience. Each background should not only fit the song visually, but also match the tempo.
13. Avoid any background that detracts from legibility. White text over dark backgrounds work best.
14. Use the first slide of your ProPresenter songs as a placeholder for a background. This makes it easy to plan your motions in advance.
15. Organize your lyrics in the order they will be sung. This will help to avoid hesitation in advancing to the next slide.
16. Lyrics should be displayed just before they’re sung so that audience members have enough time to comprehend the next line.
17. It can be helpful to transition to your next slide while your audience is singing the last word of the current slide.
18. If no lyrics are being sung, your screen should be blank. Clear lyrics off of your screen whenever possible.
19. Smooth transitions are the “secret sauce” of professional quality media. Increase your fade time to make your backgrounds and lyrics ease into what’s next.
20. Display your CCLI information on an individual slide at the end of each song. Keep it small and barely noticeable to the audience.
What do you think?
Do you follow any of these tips at your church?
Do you have any other improvements you’d recommend?
These are all great! With #16 & #17, I’d add that on fast songs it’s good to transition halfway through the last line of text, not on the last word. That’s what we do, and it allows time for the transition to the next slide so it’s up there before people sing. And people will have already subconsciously read the last 2-3 words of that last line anyway, so they won’t miss out on anything.
Kim, you beat me to slide transition on fast songs ;-)
Here are a couple of my additional tips.
6a. Place line & slide breaks at lyric “pauses” (musical rests) when possible. It gives a visual cue to those that do not know the song.
6b. Place line breaks to avoid “orphans” — last word of lyric line on following line. For example:
Amazing grace how sweet the
15a. Use color-coded groups & slide labels for visual cues.
15b. Play around with the arrangements feature. Some people love it, other HATE it, but it can be useful.
21. Don’t update ProP to latest version or upgrade OS (Sierra is coming) until thoroughly tested on “non-production” machine and/or Renewed Vision states compatible.
21a. When you do upgrades, allow time to test changes — NEVER do upgrades during Sunday morning rehearsal!!!
Yes, a great list, Kendall. Thanks for sharing. We do nearly all of these. My favourite is No 4, and we’re currently going through our songs and splitting slides as per No 1.
I recently submitted an article on this topic for our (UK) church website, which covers a lot of these points. (I’m sure people will think I’ve *borrowed* them from your list, lol!)
Haha! These are all pretty simple, so I think we all borrow them a little bit as we pass them around. :)
I have been going with a black background due to stage lighting that can sometimes hit our screen, and it becomes to much.
Good list, Mike’s addition about lyric pauses at breaks IS essential.
The other essential is this, if you want the congregation to easily sing, you MUST Left Justify the lyrics.
These are good. The only point I would challenge would be to keep the CCLI stuff on the last slide. I think it fits better on the first slide because when it’s on the last slide you’re unintentionally sending the message to the church that the worship or song is over.
I am so totally late to the party. What are your thoughts on all caps?
It used to be a big no-no for me. But lately it’s the latest trend, so I’ve embraced it!
Thank for for putting together this list. I will use it for training our media team. These tips can also be A conditions check we can use and to review how a service went afterwards to continue to improve. Keep up the good work!
You’ve got some great thoughts here. I especially appreciated the thought of changing the spelling of words for the “specific location”
Can I politely disagree with, “18. If no lyrics are being sung, your screen should be blank. Clear lyrics off of your screen whenever possible.”? As a worshipper, I find my mind wanting to wander when there is a blank screen, or I start looking at the band. Instead, I’d rather be meditating on the words we’ve just sung, or if it’s a long interlude, a verse that shows the song comes from Scripture.
Awesome content and a great training tool for new ProPresenter operators. Blessings to all!
Kendall, I love this advise! I’ve figured these out through trial and error over the last few years, and I so wish I had found this a few years ago. Thanks for posting this.
I think it’s weird not to put a period at the end of sentences. A period let’s me know that the thought is done and not carrying over to next slide. Of course we project traditional hymn lyrics so that might make a difference…
Number 15 order is essential. Some worship/song leaders will not provide the key to what they plan for this service. They’re idea is to “Just keep up.” But they fail to say were skipping verse 2, or we’re opening with the chorus & doing the bridge twice this week. That worship/song leader becomes the worship/song entertainer in more ways than one. Those in the service are trying to keep up, joking, etc.
Worship/song leaders treat your visuals team as part of the music team. The keyboard, guitar, drums, vocals & the person putting the words on the screen should all be part of the team. Then all in the service can sing as one. Understand there is a person looking at 10, 20, 30 tiny little slides that is faced with hunting lyrics the moment you change course. If the Spirit is calling for a last minute change let everyone know, “Let’s do that chorus again”, or other direction.