Lower Third Lyrics From 10 Influential Churches

As churches improve their streaming, they’ll often look to other churches for ideas or best practices. We recently polled our ProPresenter Users Group on who they liked to look to for live production ideas, and from that have created a list of churches respected for their live streaming. We’ve analyzed their lower thirds, recommended some best practices, and have included a ProPresenter Theme for each church so that you can use a similar look in your environment! So, let’s look at how 10 key churches show lyrics on their live streams.

Analysis

  • Number of Lines – None of these churches use 3 lines of text. Most churches showed a maximum of 2 lines, and three of the churches used only 1 line.
  • Font Type – Sans-serif font styling is the most popular. Only one church is using a serif font.
  • Font – Helvetica Neue is the most popular font, used by 3 churches, everyone else is using different fonts. 2 fonts are paid (Hillsong & Life.Church USA), and 2 are included with an Adobe subscription (Gateway & Life Church UK).
  • Font Size – Using Helvetica and a 1920×1080 screen, font sizes are between 35 and 62. The average size is 46, and most churches in this list are hitting close to that.
  • Font Background – Most churches use plain white text with no background. Two churches have black line fill behind the lyrics, and one church is using shadow + outline.
  • Capitalization – ‘ALL CAPS’ is much more popular than ‘Title Case’ or ‘Start case’. It has the benefit of consistent line-height and removes ambiguity on whether certain words should be capitalized.
  • Video Resolution – Most churches are streaming in 1080. Life.Church is streaming in 4K, Gateway is streaming in 720, and everyone else is in 1080.
  • Aspect Ratio – Everyone is streaming in 16:9, but Red Rocks and UPPERROOM appear to be shooting in anamorphic 2.35:1. For these two churches, the lyrics are in the bottom black bar, so video content isn’t covered.
  • Licensing – Only 2 churches’ displayed CCLI licensing info in the live stream for each song, and one church (Gateway) had it visible the entire time.
  • Watermark – 4 of the 10 churches had a watermark of their logo on their stream. All of them used the top right corner, perhaps because YouTube uses the bottom right corner.
  • Worth mentioning – Some churches will change lyrics fonts and styles, especially for conferences or large events. Sometimes even for different songs.

Top Lower Third Lyric Styles

bethel church worship

Bethel Church | Futura PT (Book)

Elevation church worship

Elevation Church | Helvetica Neue (Medium)

Gateway church worship

Gateway Church | DINosaur (Medium)

Hillsong worship

Hillsong Church | Titling Gothic FB Wide (Medium Weight)

Life Church UK worship

Life Church (UK) | Bely (BOLD)

Life.Church worship

Life.Church (USA) | Charter (Bold)

Passion City Church worship

Passion City Church | PT SANS (Bold Italic)

Red Rocks worship

Red Rocks Church | Avenir Next (Regular)

Transformation Church worship

Transformation Church | Helvetica Neue (Medium)

Upperroom church worship

UPPERROOM Dallas | Helvetica Neue (Medium)

Suggestions for Your Lower Thirds

  • Stick to 2 lines of lyrics per slide. This helps your slides look less cluttered, and makes reading the text more accessible.
  • If you’re using a watermark, put it in the top right corner. Depending on what streaming or video-on-demand service you use, some of the other corners may already have a graphic on them supplied by that platform. For example, YouTube puts a graphic on the bottom right corner and Facebook and Youtube both have a “live” graphic on the top left corner while live streaming.
  • Picking a sans-serif font is a safe choice. Helvetica Neue is common and available natively on Mac, Arial Bold is available natively on Windows.
  • In general, a font size of 45 to 50 is good for 1920×1080 live streams or broadcast feeds.
  • Leaving some space between the lyrics and the bottom of the screen can make your text legible, and provides for a clean look.
  • Using white text with no shadow or border over most modern environments will be easily legible and provide the cleanest look, if your environment doesn’t have a dark backdrop it may be worth considering adding a line fill behind the text to make your words legible.
  • As mostly a design choice, ALL CAPS is certainly a more modern-feeling look over “Title Case” or “Sentence case”. However many in younger generations consider it to be easier to read as well since it doesn’t feel as cluttered.

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