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How to Organize Your Church Media Library

By May 30, 2013 October 17th, 2016 2 Comments

Is your library of videos, still graphics and announcement bumpers in your church presentation software a mess? Chances are, like most churches, your growing library of church media could be better organized. Whether you are using ProPresenter, MediaShout, EasyWorship or another popular church presentation software, your media library needs to be managed to stay organized. This will take time, commitment and teaching everyone involved to follow the media library guidelines. Here is my method for keeping a church media library organized.

Phase 1 – Organize Your Hard Drive

The first thing is to organize all the media on your hard drive. This means hunting down all your digital media assets, moving them into one designated folder and using a structure of sub-folders. I prefer using an internal hard drive with a partition just for media. This setup will give you fast read and write speeds, especially if you are using a SSD, and in case your system drive fails and needs to be reformatted, your media library will stay unharmed.

Clean Up Your Media

Once you have all your media in one place, this is the perfect time to go through it and do some spring cleaning. Here are some actions to take before you start the sorting process:

  • Delete or archive outdated media
  • Delete duplicate media
  • Delete low-resolution and poorly designed media
  • Re-encode oddly formatted media to a new format
  • Rename media using logical naming conventions
  • Test problematic media

Root Folder Organization

On your hard drive, create a single folder for all your media. Make it easy to access and find. Don’t have this folder deeply nested somewhere that a volunteer would have difficulty finding. Next, create a hierarchy of folders. At the root I like to split all my media by format such as HD, SD and triple-wide resolutions. This is important to me, because I travel to different venues with various screen aspect ratios and projector resolutions. If you are only in an HD environment you might consider archiving all your SD content in another location on your hard drive.

Another important folder I have in my root directory is for “Sunday Service”. It is common to have media that is only used for a particular weekend like an announcement slide, photo or Keynote/PowerPoint presentation and I like to keep all this data in one place. Within this folder I have sub-folders for each weekend service that use this naming format: YYYY-MM-DD.

One additional folder I like to keep handy is for bundles and packs. CMG and other producers sell packages of media that include countdown timers, still graphics and moving backgrounds, and rather than sorting all the pieces in different folders, I prefer to keep them together. These sets of media are usually thematic and it only makes sense to organize them this way.

HD, SD and Triple-wide Folders

Within each “HD”, “SD” and “Triple-wide” folder, I have the same identical sub-folders: “Announcements”, “Countdown Timers”, “Long Plays”, “Moving Backgrounds”, “Mini Movies”, “New”, “Seasonal” and “Still Backgrounds”. This helps me to easily find the media I need whenever I’m switching from 4:3 to a 16:9 setup or vice versa.

The “New” folder is a great place to temporarily store media when you don’t have any time to sort and organize it. Be warned that this folder can easily get out of hand if not maintained.

The “Seasonal” folder is also unique, because it holds sub-folders for all the different seasons like Mother’s Day and Thanksgiving. For media heavy seasons like Christmas and Easter you might consider adding additional folders to organize the various types of content like “Christmas Countdown Timers” and “Christmas Announcements”. Another option is to add the year to the folder name for further clarity.

Mac OS root folder and sub-folder organization

Phase 2 – Presentation Software Organization

Now that you have all your media organized on your hard drive, it is now ready to be imported and organized in your presentation software. As a ProPresenter user, the media I import is linked to the original source on my hard drive and placed within the “Backgrounds – Video/Image Bin”. I am then able to drag and drop any of my media into different “Playlists” and folders that I create. Other presentation software like EasyWorship, MediaShout and Proclaim will work differently, but the principles are the same.

Same As Hard Drive

For the most part, I want to set up folders that have the same organization structure as my hard drive. I want a folder for “HD”, “SD” and “Triple-wide” that have playlists and folders for “Announcements”, “Countdown Timers”, “Long Plays”, “Moving Backgrounds”, “Mini Movies”, “New”, “Still Backgrounds” and “Seasonal”. I also want my other special folders added: “Bundles and Packs” and “Sunday Service”.

Themed Folders and Playlists

Additional playlists and folders can be created based on themes like color, tempo, church media producer and style to help easily find the piece of media you are looking for. Create as many of these as necessary without getting carried away. Simplicity will make organizing your library of media much easier.

ProPresenter folder and playlist organization structure

What methods do you use to organize your church media library?

Need help composing, editing and presenting worship slides? Download The Worship Media Handbook by Jeff McIntosh.

2 Comments

  • Steve says:

    I also keep a seperate folder of backgrounds, called ‘special purpose’, that do not look good when looped or which contain unusual/sensitive elements. I use them for announcements and some of these are actually minimovies that i can’t foresee using for anything other than a nontypical background for a timed slide. One other thing that helps me is to occasionally peruse folders that i haven’t peeked at for some time for media that i have forgotten, has become outdated/unusable or which may give me a fresh idea for something coming up. Staying organized will allow us to make the most of the resources we have!

  • James says:

    Jeff, I have just taken over the organisation of our church media. I understand the basic folder structure you have advised e.g. HD and then sub folders for mini-movies and still etc. I plan to use hot folders to simplify this process. I also like the idea of Style, Colour, Tempo etc. As i understand it these folders are made up of content from the other folders and this is just a way of searching faster. How does this work? Are the media in these folders just pointing out at the main folders or is there duplication?

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