Whether I’m sharing the weekly announcements, leading worship or preaching, I’ve found that I can become a little flustered if I find myself blanking out or forgetting the words to a song while on stage. There are several aids to help prevent this. Having sheet music or a sermon outline printed out and available is helpful, but that requires me to look down and lose eye contact with the audience. The more I can keep my head up and looking out across the congregation, the better I can engage with them. Using a confidence monitor is a great help when I’m on stage. With a confidence monitor I can keep my head up and rarely break eye contact with the audience. You’ll find that once you used it, you’ll never want to be on stage without it.
Confidence monitors come in different shapes and sizes. There are a couple of configurations to consider. A mirrored configuration is the simplest of them all. This requires a video splitter to split the signal coming from the presentation computer to the front of house (audience) screen and a screen at the back of the room for a confidence screen. This is great, now you can see everything the audience sees without having to turn around and look at the screen behind you. But there are some problems with this configuration. There is no way for me to see anything other than what the audience is seeing. I want to keep track of the time, see how much time I have left and see the first couple of lines of the next slide so I can be ready to hit my queues. This cannot be accomplished with a mirrored display at the back of the room. I need a confidence monitor to do this.
There are hardware and software components required to make the confidence monitor work. Just like the mirrored configuration, you’ll need a TV, Projector or other type of display to attach to the wall facing you or place inconspicuously on the stage. Also, like the mirrored configuration, you’ll need to connect the confidence monitor to the presentation computer. In this case the confidence screen will not connect to a splitter, but connect directly to the video card. The video card will now be supporting the screen used to control the presentation, the front of house screen and the confidence monitor. Once the hardware is connected and configured, the software component is required.
First, the desktop must be extended to the newly connected screen. Then you’ll need presentation software like EasyWorship to address the front of house and confidence screens. When looking for a confidence monitor option in your software, make sure you know the terms use for this feature. Some will call it Stage Display and others will call it Foldback. EasyWorship calls it Foldback. In options, you’ll select the new screen to be the Foldback screen and configure the other Foldback options. Here you can allow for the clock to be displayed. Service intervals can be set up so that a countdown/overrun clock can be added to the confidence screen. You can also allow it to show the first couple of lines of the next slide. Additionally, the presentation operator can send messages and countdown/count up clocks to that screen & clear text off the front of house screen, while the stage can continue to see text if needed.
As you can see a confidence monitor provides flexibility and a better sense of confidence when you’re the one facing the audience. When you lose your place, you’ll be able to quickly pick up where you left off without having to look down. If you haven’t already implemented a confidence monitor, it might be something to consider when you’re planning for your next equipment upgrade.
Check out this helpful training video to learn more about Foldback in EasyWorship.