How to Show Worship Lyrics in Your Church's Livestreams

Aug 5, 2019 11:54:43 AM

Sharing your church services online is a great way to reach people who are unable to attend the gatherings. By streaming the services live, you enable those who are at home, at work, out of town, or in the hospital to participate in real time and feel like they're still an active part of the congregation. Another way to help people participate is to make sure worship song lyrics are accessible.

In the church sanctuary or gathering space, lyrics are often visible on a screen or available in hymnals, allowing everyone to sing along whether or not they know the words. If at-home participants see only the video footage of people singing in your livestream, however, they'll be unable to sing along if they don't know the words. This is especially true for those with hearing loss because they may have additional trouble understanding the words being sung by the congregation.

Fortunately, Switcher Studio's live-video editing app makes it easy to display lyrics — not to mention scripture, graphics, videos, and more — as part of your livestream to Facebook, YouTube, your own site, or almost anywhere else. Just follow the simple instructions below. If you're not a Switcher user, churches can get a free 30-day trial to take it for a spin during a few services. (Since Switcher runs with just iPhones and iPads, you or your tech team can try it without purchasing any gear.)

Formatting options for worship lyrics in your church livestream

Switcher Studio provides a couple of different formatting options for text, including lyrics. You can display the lyrics either in a lower-third or title format on top of the video of the service, or you can use a multiview format to show the lyrics in one section of the screen and the service in another. Whichever layout you choose, adding your lyrics to the Switcher app is the lengthiest part of this process, so I recommend doing this in the days leading up to your service. 

Displaying lyrics as lower thirds or subtitles (full‑screen format)

Switcher has an in-app text tool that can be used to make lower thirds, titles, or other text assets to display during your broadcast. Some of these text assets are animated, whereas other are static. Your first step is choosing the text asset style that you want. (This Help Center article about adding text goes into depth about how to use Switcher's text tools.) 

Showing your church worship lyrics as subtitles or lower thirds in your live video

Once you have selected your style of text, add each section of each song for your upcoming service. You can use line breaks within the text asset editor to add multiple lines as part of a single asset. (The number of words or lines that you can put in each text asset depends on how large you want the text to be displayed within the video.)

I recommend making the text assets in order so that they are easy to find later. I also recommend using the Duplicate function on each previous asset and simply changing the text to suit the next bit of the song. This way, the color scheme, font style, and placement are preserved perfectly from section to section.

When you are done, each section of the song should be displayed in order within Switcher Studio's Assets menu. You may want to double-check that the lyrics are arranged in order prior to going live.

During your worship service, you'll be ready to use your new assets. Just tap each corresponding text asset as those lyrics are sung. Tap again to remove the text, and then tap the next text asset to place it onto the screen. Continue doing this until the song has finished.

Displaying lyrics beside video (multiview format)

Church lyrics as a multiview in SwitcherIf the subtitle-style text isn't your ideal choice of display option, you can create custom text graphics instead. Instead of using Switcher's text asset editor to make captions, simply create images with your song lyrics and add them to Switcher as image assets. (For more granular instructions, here's a Help Center article on adding images to Switcher.)

Just as before, add each image in order, and double-check before going live that all of your lyrics are in order. When you go live, you will want to use one of Switcher's many multiview layout options to display the lyrics on one portion of the screen, while your camera view of the congregation shows on the other section of the screen.

During your church service, you'll want to set up a multiview layout as your song is beginning. Once that is set up, you can just tap on each lyric image to display it for your livestream participants. At the end of that lyric, tap on the image to remove it from the screen, and then tap on the following lyric image. Continue this process until the song ends, and then you can return to a single view layout.

These tips aren't limited to song lyrics. Many Switcher Studio users also love both methods as ways to display scripture or sermon points during their services. I recommend trying out both methods prior to your next service to see what works best for you.

Livestream your church services with just iPhones and iPads.

Angela Nicole Holbrook

Written by Angela Nicole Holbrook

Switcher Studio Communications Coordinator