Church Media Computer Setup

My church recently got a new media computer. We don’t really have a defined process for setting one up and I haven’t really seen any recommendations on the interwebs, so here I am documenting all the things that I have learned to do throughout my time of running media and now also use. Some of these things may seem a little strict, so please take what you consider to be the meat and spit out what you consider to be the bones.


Desktop Background

Make sure the desktop background is set to solid black. This is in case the media software crashes or you need to transition from something like your media software to powerpoint or vlc (assuming your media software doesn’t support playing those in-house). With this, you can fade to black, minimize/close, and launch your next program with nothing but a nice smooth fade to black and back.

System Sounds

Next up, be sure to turn off all system sounds. My church plays its music before and after service from the media computer (who’s doesn’t?) and system sounds are pretty intrusive in the middle of some Mumford and Sons.


This is something that has a lot of differing opinions. In my opinion, there should be a media account and an administrator account. If you church has the resources to have a dedicated media computer not used for anything else, it should, unless of course that is deemed not being a good steward of resources (it does after all stay turned off nearly all week…​ I’m on the fence about this one). Nevertheless though, it is typically considered a best practice to have your users be users instead of administrators. Otherwise, you’ll likely end up with every browser and music player imaginable installed, possibly along with some viruses as well. I once cleaned up a media computer that had Virtual Box installed on it with an Ubuntu virtual machine set up. It was an experiment no one ever bothered to clean up and it booted with the system, taking up lots of cpu time, memory, and storage (40G).

Having your user types be seperate also helps with clutter. Photo editing usually doesn’t require access to the Sunday service video backgrounds, song texts, etc. Likewise, your Sunday media folks don’t need to see the unrelated clutter created by editing photos.

Media Software

All in One Place

It’s generally best to consolidate all of your media resources into one place. This might include announcement videos, countdown videos, background videos and images, etc. Be sure all of your people running the media computer know where this is so they know where to look and they know where to put new files. On Windows, I typically have a setup within the User’s directory that looks somewhat like

C:\Users\Media\Media (Yep, there’s two so we can have seperate documents, downloads, etc)

  • Pictures

    • Foregrounds

      • Announcements (this one might contain dated sub-directories so you can track what was used and when)

    • Backgrounds

  • Videos

    • Foregrounds

      • Announcements (this one might contain dated sub-directories so you can track what was used and when)

    • Backgrounds

  • Bibles (in case your media software needs a place to store this)

Image and Video Formatting

Make sure your default settings are in place for aspect ratios of imported files. Most of the time, you want to your backgrounds to scale to fill, not fit, as sometimes your text runs right up against one of the slide borders. Videos you typically want to scale to fit since they can often have things you want to focus on on the sides and you don’t want that cut off.


If your media software supports it, set the default font sizes, alignment, and other styles for songs, announcements, Bible excerpts, etc. While adjusting these per song may not be difficult, it adds more time to creating a presentation. Occasionally there are oversights and songs, Bible verses, or anouncements are missed and need to be added on the fly. Having a "sane default" means you can add something and it will at the very least not have text spilling off the sides, a font far too large, or any number of other things.