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How Passion Uses Lyrics in Their Production Design

At Passion, we’ve been challenging ourselves to think of lyrics not only as a functional display of words but also as part of the visual canvas. In the day we live in, typography has moved to the forefront of culture. As such we have the opportunity to translate the auditory message of a song into the visual landscape through the way we present lyrics during intentional moments. Our goal is to magnify the use of lyrics to capture the heartbeat of a live moment into a singular photo.

One major challenge to accomplish this goal is the need for flexibility. Our systems must accommodate both high levels of creativity with the ability to adapt quickly to the demands of a live environment.

ProPresenter has proved to be the best tool for combining creative lyric formats with our visual content. A practical goal that we set was to use lyrics in a unique way for every size and type of gathering. This can be accomplished by sending a single line lyric to side screens and to a media server as just one output. The NDI output from ProPresenter is scalable for almost every server, allowing this concept to be executed for every environment. Our team can then reimagine how lyrics will be positioned on an LED wall, and how to merge lyrics with song-specific content while retaining the integrity and legibility of the words. We have explored many different options but ultimately wanted a solution that was flexible and didn’t require lyrics and content to being synchronized by a single/master source. 

Good Friday Atlanta 2019 was one of the first events where we executed this type of production design. We had a setlist in advance, which allowed us to create unique templates for each song and each artist within ProPresenter. The lyrics were then overlaid, duplicated, sized, and positioned within the server onto the visual canvas. The finished product was multiple, unique lyric designs that were positioned across several LED walls, originating from a single lyric in ProPresenter.

At Passion, it is common that the setlist is changing until the moment the band walks on the stage and even sometimes after the set has begun. For this reason, it is important that we are flexible by creating and testing lyric templates that can be applied to any song in our library within seconds of the first word being heard by the room. 

As we prepared for Passion Camp 2019, flexibility was one of our highest priorities. This event had seven sessions, five artists and a song pool of more than 40 songs. We used multiple templates, each containing a unique lyric treatment for distinct moments and/or artists featured. We always want to support the worship leaders as they follow the Holy Spirit by being ready to pivot to a different song than what is listed on the setlist. To prepare for this, we created a “look book” to navigate these moments. The look book contained multiple creative lyric treatments as well as a base lyric treatment that was intentional and not generic.

For many moments at Passion Camp, we chose a base look that used lyrics as the only visual on the canvas. Lyrics were layered over a yellow border with a blend mode applied to shift the color of the lyrics to a black text, instead of the white text that was sent from ProPresenter. Creating these black text lyrics in the media server for the LED surfaces allowed our standard lyric template (featuring white text in a black box) to still be layered over IMAG on side screen surfaces.

We are continuing to experiment with various ways to use lyrics as a centerpiece on the visual canvas. Year after year, Passion has discovered that trying something new is worth the risk, as there is the potential for something incredibly beautiful to be made.


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Davis Kornegay

Davis Kornegay is the Lighting Designer for Passion Productions. Davis has been with the Passion team since 2017. He is originally from North Carolina and loves tropical islands.

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