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All In – Test Drive

Were excited about Test Drive happening at our 6:33 Service on August 6th at 6:33pm.

If you know someone who is ready to start serving, invite them to come.

All IN

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Keeping up the Joneses….well the worship leaders

Timing is the name of the game if you are running ProPresenter and that is most evident during worship. It is a finely tuned skill to be able to make the subtle differences in pace from slow to fast songs and back again. My good friend Mike wrote two great posts, even has videos, about cueing ProPresenter during worship. I have posted (with permission) the two post here to make it easier to get to. Please take a few minutes to read and watch.

From Mike: (checkout his blog)

Fast Songs

Back about three years ago, I wrote a few posts demonstrating how to cue lyrics for fast and slow songs. Today, I have some fairly new presentation operators that I’m training, so I was going to send them the links to those posts. Before I sent those links, I thought it would be prudent to read them and re-watch the videos to see if I still agreed with what I wrote. If found a few thigns I didn’t really like anymore. So, I re-edited the videos and am tweaking the posts. Today, we’ll revisit the fast songs, and on Wednesday we’ll take a look at slow songs.

This is a topic that I feel pretty strongly about. Know that up front. How many times have you been in a worship service, singing a new song, and been unable to sing it because the lyrics on the screen trail the worship leader? Even if it’s a song you sort of know, it is really hard to sing along if the lyrics are not keeping up. Don’t believe me? Check it out…

This is a clip from the David Crowder song “Undignified” (I didn’t ask him if I could use it, so don’t tell him, OK? But if you find out, David, know that I have purchased all your CDs. Nothing but love here!). I have cued the lyrics the way I see a lot of people cue them. Now, even if you’ve sung this song at the top of your lungs in your car as much as I have (which is to say, a lot…), try to sing the song the way the lyrics are coming up on the screen–just as you would in church with a song you don’t know well. See how it goes.

That wasn’t too easy, now was it? The problem is simple: By the time the 1/2 second dissolve takes place, and our eyes scan back up to the first word on the new slide, he’s already onto the second line. That means we sing in fits and starts, and it’s awkward and uncomfortable. After a while, people stop singing altogether.

So how do we fix it? The answer is twofold. First, for songs this fast, I change the dissolve setting to .3 seconds (sometimes even .2). That gets the new slide up faster. Second, I cue earlier–typically in the space between the second to last and last word on the slide.

Take a look at this version and see how much easier it is to sing along with.

Here’s something that we often forget: People read a lot faster than they talk (or sing). Within a few seconds of a lyric slide hitting the screen, the audience has already read it. That’s why we can change to the next one before they’ve finished singing–they’ve already read it. By cuing the song a little early, it gives the singer a chance to get the upcoming words “in que” if you will before they need them.

Since it might be hard to see exactly when I cued those slides, I have a third version here with yellow arrows on the cue points. If I were running ProPresenter, I would hit the spacebar when we got to the arrows. Take a look.

I should also point out that in the second and third version, the first lyric slide hits the screen before David starts singing. This is important. We need to give people a second or two to get the words cued up. This can be accomplished by either A) knowing the song and arrangement very well (ie. there are 8 bars of instrumental between the chorus and verse—and you know how to count bars), or B) watching the worship leader. Most will give a pretty clear signal that they’re getting ready to sing in a second, you just need to watch for it.

Another thing to notice that I treat two short, fast words (ie. my king) as one word and cue at the beginning of “my,” instead of “king.” The reason is simple; “my king” is sung as my king. If you wait until you get to “king,” you’ll be too late. When the song has a phrase break in it, such as between “nothing Lord is hindering this passion and my soul,” {breath} “And I’ll become…” you have a little more leeway in cuing. With those types of phrases, you can make the slide change happen during the breath.

Slower Song

OK, we’re back at it again with another example of cuing slide lyrics for songs. This time, we’ll tackle a slower song, You Alone from David Crowder’s The Lime CD. This song is tricky not because it moves so fast, but because it moves so slow. There needs to be a balance between getting the lyrics up at the right time and changing them in a musical fashion.

Changing slides (or switching cameras for that matter) in a musical manner is one of the hardest things to teach. I would go so far as to say that some people will never “get it.” It takes being able to count, almost instinctively, and know the music well enough that you can stay ahead without being obnoxious.

Let’s start off with a not so good example. This is how the song might be cued by someone who doesn’t really know the song, or have a good understanding of how it needs to move musically. Sorry it’s over 2 min, it’s a slow song.

What you can see from that is the slides lagged behind every time. Again, this fragments worship, and causes those in attendance to sing, stop, jump in, stop, etc. It’s not smooth or easy. Also notice there was a four bar bridge in which the previous verse just hung on the screen. This is confusing for people. We expect that if there are words on the screen, we will be singing them, if not right this second, sometime soon. Yet, here we are with a 15 second interlude with the words hanging there like old wallpaper. Not ideal.

So what’s the remedy? First, as always, we need to stay ahead of the game. Second, there should be a blank slide inserted between the two verses. In our example here, I’m using a black background. In real life, I would have some type of photographic/graphic background behind the words, and we’d go to that. Let’s run another example with my suggested cuing points.

Hopefully, you notice the difference. The real question is how do you decide where to cue a slow-moving song like that? For the answer to that question, we need to dive into a little music theory. First you need to know that songs are broken up in to measures (or bars). Each measure has a specific number of beats in it. This song is written in 6/8 time.  This means that each measure is made up of 6 eight notes, and the beat happens on 1 and 4.As you listen to the song, you can count along; 1,2,3,4,5,6; 2,2,3,4,5,6; 3,2,3,4,5,6; 4,2,3,4,5,6. That represents 4 measures. I change the first number in each sequence to remind me where I am. As you can see, I wrote this incorrectly the first time which just proves that I really didn’t pay much attention during music theory class. Thanks to Keith for helping me get it right.

Just like video editing of music numbers, visual changes should happen on the beat (I can’t stand music videos that are not cut to the beat, they’re so jarring). With a song moving this slowly, it’s easy to change on the 4th beat of a measure and still have the slide up at the right time.

Here’s another example with some beat markers thrown in to illustrate the point. Note that the song actually has an 8 bar intro, and I’m just showing you 4. The top number is the measure number, the bottom is the beat within that measure.

This is where taking a few minutes to talk to the worship leader (and even better, listen to the songs ahead of time) comes in very handy. If you know that a song has a 4-bar intro, you can count right along and get the words up just before the lyrics start. If there is a 4-bar instrumental between verse 1 and verse 2, you know to put a blank in and count along. I will often even label my blanks “4-bar Instrumental” so I remember.

Someone asked last week what the rule for blank slides is. I’m not sure there is a rule, but my general practice is if it’s 2 bars or more, I’ll throw in a blank over an instrumental. This particular song has a 1-bar break between the first and second phrases of the verse, and when I played with it, it seemed more disruptive to dip to a blank, then come back 3 beats later. But for the 4 bar, a blank is a definite improvement.

Again, these are not hard and fast rules, but they should give you some guidance on best practices. Every song is a little different and can be interpreted a few different ways. The goal, however, needs to be a seamless appearance of lyrics at the right time that feels like it’s connected to the music. Get that right, and you’re one giant step closer to creating that environment of immersive and engaging worship.

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Camera Stand & Platform

We moved our Rock Bridge PM, Thursday night, service to our Stage 123 venue a few weeks ago. This room had never had cameras in it so we had to start from scratch. Our biggest problem was camera height relative to the stage height and distance we had from the stage. We wound up needing to be about 46in off the ground. So we had a guy in our church who owns a fabrication shop build us a camera stand and operator platform. This is what we ended up with.






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I hope you heard about SERVO-LUTION at First Wednesday, but if not here is the short version. Membership dinner will be every second Wednesday at 5:30 then at 6:30 those in attendance will break up and go to learn more about an area of service they are interested in getting involved with. This is going to be a great way to get new people plugged into service at Rock Bridge.

The Production Team is going to take advantage of this time and begin having a monthly training for current team members at 5:30 on the second Wednesday, while Membership Dinner is going on. We will focus on a different area of service (computer, camera/directing/switching training, audio, ect.) each month, so don’t think I expect you there every time. You are MORE than welcome to come each month and get training on all the positions we have.

In January we will do training for our computer operators and February will be camera/directing/switching training.

We will do training from 5:30 – 6:30 and when the folks from Membership Dinner come over we will all talk through our vision/values/expectations/job descriptions. What I need from our current team members during this time is for you to help make the new folks feel welcome and help them understand why serving on the Production Team is the BEST place to serve at Rock Bridge.

If you are planning to come to the first training please email your RSVP to, so we can have enough food for you.


-John David

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Equipment manuals

Hello guys i just want to inform everyone that all the manuals are uploaded and added to their proper venue. I hope this will make our jobs easier and faster. Also the website can be viewed in Mobile format so you can access the manuals on your smartphone.

Let us know what you think and if there is any way we can make it even better.

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New Resource

Today is launching! We will begin to use this site to communicate the vision of Rock Bridge Production.

One of the first things is a bit of a name change. We are going to start referring to the team as “Production.” Production better reflects what we do and hopefully reduce confusion from people wanting to get involved. Tech can mean lots of things such as computer and IT which we do not directly do. And it is a cool sounding word to have on the back of your shirt.

Now you’re asking what shirt, mine dosen’t say Rock Bridge Production? Fear not shirts are coming.

Take a look at the next post to get yours or even two or three!!

Get Your Shirt

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