The Ultimate Guide to Lower Thirds
Graphic adapted from this Lightstock image.
At Igniter Media, our aim is to provide the Church with resources that will both inspire creative growth and meet universal needs by offering engaging content that meets people right where they are. And lately, where they are...is at home.
These are unique times, and many of you are wading through uncharted waters as you navigate the culture of online-only gatherings for the first time. You’re trying to keep your congregation engaged, encouraged, and connected—all without any face-to-face interactions. We recognize, as I’m sure you have, that this can be a challenging task.
As always, Igniter is asking the question, how can we serve the Church best today? There are obviously several answers to that in the midst of a pandemic, which is why we started with things like relevant social graphics, uplifting shareable videos, and media collections geared toward the online church setting. But what we've most recently tapped into is the world of lower thirds.
For those who are unfamiliar, lower thirds are graphics displayed in the lower third of the screen, most commonly used in church services for name plates, worship lyrics, and sermon content. Below are some examples of what local churches have been doing with lower thirds in recent weeks.
Name plates are used to introduce the on-screen speaker (e.g. someone sharing announcements, the teaching pastor, other ministry leaders giving updates, etc.).
Here are a few examples:
This is the area where we've observed the greatest variety from church to church. These graphics tend to be the most engaging and eye-catching (in color, design, movement, and so on), likely because they are meant to signify the start of a new segment or introduction of a significant figure. In fact, of the three categories here, this is really the only category where churches used animation beyond a simple fade.
Most livestream worship services include a time of worship through song and, naturally, the viewer needs to be able to read the lyrics in order to fully engage by singing along or meditating on the truth of the song.
Interestingly enough, almost every church stream we watched used one of two formats for their worship lyrics: 1) plain white lyrics with no border, or 2) a simple rectangular graphic under plain white/black lyrics. What we've come to realize is that no matter how different our churches are or how experienced they may or may not be with online services, there's a great deal of commonality across the board.
In most online services, churches will display sermon points and scriptures as a lower third in real-time during the message. As the pastor shares a passage, it appears on-screen, and then disappears shortly after.
Although not every church uses lower thirds for their sermon content, we have found that the ones who do have a tendency to be more engaging and memorable; it helps deliver the message more fully. There is a variety in design when it comes to lower thirds here, but commonly we found something along the lines of a text box graphic with the scripture reference above or below the passage.
Introducing: Lower Thirds from Igniter
If you're not an Igniter power user (and even if you are), you might not know that we quietly began releasing lower third graphics within our title graphics product category back in early 2018. Unless you knew where to look or happened to stumble across them, however, you probably didn't know they were there. (We recently added a "lower thirds" filter to our title graphics and worship backgrounds categories to make them a little easier to find.)
COVID-19 has ushered in a new season for the online church, and as students of the churches we serve, we want to make sure that what we're making actually makes sense for how you're using it. So after doing our research, we've created a new collection of lower thirds that should meet just about every need you'll have as your church meets online—and when you're back to meeting in person.