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Avid Makes Graphics Easier at Saddleback

The television production facility at Saddleback Valley Community Church
Saddleback Valley Community Church is one of the fastest growing mega-churches in America. We have a congregation of more than 70,000 persons, and an average weekly attendance of some 22,000.

At the church's center is the main worship hall, which has a complete television production facility for capturing and transmitting real-time video from the service. The television facility's purpose is really three-fold: to transmit services to our main worship center, campus venues, regional campuses, as well as the Internet; to provide graphics for highlighting primary worship messages; and to provide the congregation with lyrics to follow during songs of praise and celebration.

Music is unmatched in its ability to draw the congregation, and is an integral part of our service. Therefore, the graphics we provide need to present the song lyrics as clearly and engagingly as possible. And the system used for creation of such graphics also has to be easy enough to use so that even a volunteer operator with only a minimal amount of training can operate it.

That's where our latest generation of graphics systems comes in. Typically, there are 10 to 20 lines of verse in any given song and, as is often the case, a performer may make changes in the song order or in the songs themselves. Our graphics operators need to be ready to accommodate such changes very quickly before the service starts. As our volunteer graphics system operators are scheduled for duty only once every three weeks, our graphics system had to be easy enough for them to run a pre-set program.

That's where Avid came in. The graphics systems that we selected—Avid Deko 3000 and Avid PostDeko—not only are very easy to operate, but they also serve another function. In addition to providing our worshipers with a real-time display of song lyrics, they're also used to create lower third message graphics encapsulating the key message points of the service, as well as provide animated material for laying over the live worship center video. Such graphics and animation provide powerful tools for reinforcing the direction and underlying themes of the worship service as it unfolds.


At Saddleback, graphics retain their usefulness even after the main services end. We stream the video and message graphics to other church locations across our Lake Forest campus, which include venues for informal, small church, Spanish-language, rock, and gospel service followers. At our newest venue for young adults—Fuel—services even have their own identity, music, and a live pastor, although message graphics from our main services are still converted to .jpg files and delivered there for use in that program.

In our experience, there is no denying the value of high-quality video and audio, and the impact it has on the worship experience—for those witnessing it first-hand as well as others who are congregated in separate facilities or viewing us online. Such audiovisual enhancements provide a key means for helping houses of worship such as the Saddleback Church extend our ministries by reaching out to more people in more ways than ever before.

Elaine Koehler is the video director at Saddleback Church. She may be contacted

For additional information, contact Avid at 978-640-6789 or (opens in new tab).