Tips for Decorating your Video/A-V Workshop
We have continued to add to this list!
#1 Tip: Remember to leave SPACE in your room for CREATING audio-visuals from time to time, and not just viewing them.
Theater seats are great, but they can take up space. Sometimes they are easy to find as theaters and schools upgrade. Bolt them to a thick piece of decking. Be sure you and several strongmen can move them as you will undoubtedly need to do so at some time in the future as your ideas and needs change. At my church, we added an industrial set of wheels to the platform so we could move it in the room.
My favorite idea is those plastic Adirondack chairs.
Cheap, comfortable, stackable, easy to find. Try them out, not all models are that comfortable, and some are flimsy. We like the ones made by US Leisure found at various home improvement stores. We didn't like the ones with curved backs because they didn't fit the kids.
"Directors Chairs" are a cute idea, and they are movable. Put the names of Bible characters on them.
Beanbags are a bad idea. Too noisy.
Floor cushions for overflow are nice, but not for everybody, and some kids will fall asleep on them.
"Rollie Office Chairs" seem like a good idea as well, but aren't cheap, and may have some kids rolling a bit too much. Don't buy new, buy used from office rental companies.
A couple of couches are a great idea too.
Murals are a wonderful idea, but remember to incorporate space for drawing boards and hanging flipchart pages from your discussions, etc. It's an interesting idea to incorporate the SCREEN as part of your mural, but invariably, you will reconfigure where you put your projector/furniture, so my advice is to use a HANGABLE screen you can shift left/right over time and not cover up the coolest part of your mural! (i.e. You have to think long-term).
Even though popcorn "machines" are a lot more expensive than regular kitchen poppers, the church will soon get hooked and start using it for other events. Just remember you'll need floor space/counter space for it.
Update: Orville Redenbacher is selling a small cinema-style table-top kettle popper for about $100. Its kettle size makes enough for about 4 kids at a time.
Big popcorn kettle machines on movable carts are expensive, but BOY will your church find many events to use it at!
DIMMER switches are a great idea. Fun stage lights or colored clamp lights also add some ambience and give you options to use them for skit. Put those on dimmer switches as well.
Glow in the dark stars and signs are a great idea, especially for some younger kids who don't like the dark.
If you get a 1200+ lumens projector, you won't need to blackout the room. Just have shades or window coverings.
Install a series of pull-down shades --each painted to look like a Bible story movie poster.
LCD PROJECTOR AND CART
An LCD projector is a must. $300 wil get you a modest one for the a classroom. Dollar for dollar they are far less in today's dollars than the film projectors we used to have "way back when."
I don't recommend "hanging" or mounting the projector because you will invariably want to move it around for projects. Keep it mobile, and have a place (or cart) you can lock it up in.
Buy a projector CART. TIP: Don't buy a small cart! Over time you'll want cart space to store things.
A "good" set of powerful computer speakers attached to your projector are perfect for most small/medium A-V workshops. Some churches have put in bigger sound systems, but some rooms/class sizes don't need them.
Have a "Handy-person" PERMANENTLY ATTACH a large key chain-type object to your REMOTE CONTROL. You'll thank me later. (open the remote control case and note where you can drill a small hole to put a ring through it).
Luanne Payne adds an idea: A BIG DVD REMOTE
It’s dark and I cannot find the pause button, why do they make these remote control buttons so small! Voila, here’s a wonderful solution. A remote that has only the essential buttons that are widely spaced, large size, and in color.
Buttons: Menu – Home – Up – Down – Left – Right – Go – Stop – Pause. Great for all those DVD’s that now come with interactive quizzes. (Here's an example of how an interactive quiz can work.)
CABINET for costumes and props and supplies. (It's fun to throw a Moses costume at kids to help debrief a video.)
FLIPCHARTS to draw on.
TRIPOD to put your camera on for when you are making video.
An OVERHEAD PROJECTOR to show your script on the wall so that kids don't have to read a script from papers they invariably hold in front of their face.
A movable PVC FRAME to throw up some quick butcher paper 'backdrops' for your A-V skits.
A VACUUM to pick up popcorn.
MOVIE POSTERS (check ebay)
Search Ebay for Bible movie titles. Some are quite expensive, but many are under $20. ...or make your own when you study a video! blow up some clipart to help get started.
CHEAP SOUND SYSTEM: Buy a MICROPHONE and small guitar AMPLIFIER. You don't need to buy a professional "PA" system! This will come in handy for 'interviewing' Bible characters, and for amplifying student comments so that the cheapie microphone on the videocamera will be able to pick them up. Kids love mikes too. Focuses their attention and cues them to talk. Very playful. Note: the output jack of the typical LCD projector's audio can be adapted to plug into a small guitar amplifier. Which is to say, you don't need to buy a professional "PA" system. Ask around your congregation for a member who has an old USED guitar amp sitting around, or go to your local music store and tell them what you are looking for.
<>< Neil MacQueen
Bible Movie posters can be found on Ebay!