lyric screens

5 Tips for Better Lyric Screens

Nathan Sutliff lists ways to start seeing your lyric screens as more than just words:

1. Fonts

I have been in too many churches that just rely on Arial, Verdana, or Times New Roman. Basic fonts that add no creative look to the screens at all. We’ve all seen it. Yes it displays the lyrics of the song but does it display the emotion? I have also seen churches who may try too hard and use crazy fonts that are hard to read or just seem to be used for the sake of using them. If you can identify the emotion of the song and best represent it with a font that helps reinforce it then you are adding to the worship service as oppose to just displaying lyrics.

There is nothing more frustrating to me than a bad line break of paragraph break on worship lyric screens. If you sing through the song you know where there should be a line break or even a screen break. I have seen this before…

Open the eyes of my heart lord Open the
Eyes of my heart. I want to see you, I
want to see You

2. Line Breaks and Paragraph Breaks

There is nothing more frustrating to me than a bad line break of paragraph break on worship lyric screens. If you sing through the song you know where there should be a line break or even a screen break. I have seen this before…

Open the eyes of my heart lord Open the
Eyes of my heart. I want to see you, I
want to see You

Quit that!!!!! Quit letting the screen margins determine where your line breaks happen! Spend the few extra seconds to break the lines naturally at the end of the phrase! Think of how you sing the song and break the lines accordingly.

The same goes for paragraph breaks. A good rule is no more than 5 lines per slide but if you sing through the song I’m positive you can find places to break to a new slide that won’t rush your volunteer and allow for less words per slide. More screens appropriately separated are so much more effective than 4-5 lines per slide; it’s busy.

3. Use Different Font Weights, Sizes and Capitalization

Don’t get lazy and allow each screen to have the same font weight, font size, or capitalization features the whole slide. You can emphasize words with a simple bold or capitalization or font size. You’ve seen this trend if you have ever used good lyric videos. You can achieve this same look with some time spent with each slide. And it’s well worthy it. Imagine an energetic line that is repeated growing in size each time it is repeated on a new screen. It adds motion and energy visually not just through the music. One of my favorite things as of late is to allow one line to be normal weight and capitalization while the following line (or vice verse if the first line carries more weight lyrically) to be capitalized and maybe bolded as well. All of this adds motion and helps reinforce what the music, lights and environment is already doing.

4. Use Background Shapes to Make Your Lyrics Pop

Sometimes you have backgrounds that you really love but don’t work well with lyrics over top of them. Sure you can adjust the brightness with most programs but that tends to make them look kinda washed out and you lose that nice contrast. You could make your lyrics gigantic but that loses that visual balance you are going for. What about using some shapes behind your text to help make those lyrics pop while still being able to use your backgrounds. ProPresenter makes it really easy to do. And I have done it as well with other programs like Media Shout and SongSelect. It’s a simple way to use that nice thin modern font you love with more backgrounds than you could without.

5. Sometimes Simpler is Better

I am very guilty of overdoing it at times. I like motion over still backgrounds, generally. Subtle motion seems more appealing to me than a static image. But that being said, as of late I am beginning to understand the power of a static image vs. a moving one, especially when used together. Maybe you have a low energy verse that leads into a powerful chorus. What if you treated your backgrounds the same way you treat the music of the song? Allowing yourself to see the visuals as important as the music and vocals will give you a whole new perspective and hopefully dedication to spend more than a few minutes putting together your support screens each week for worship.

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