Simple Digital Signage for your Church

If you don’t know, digital signage is a form of electronic display that shows items such as television programming, menus, information, advertising and other messages. Digital signs (such as LCD, LED, Plasma, or projected images) can be found in places such as retail stores, hotels, restaurants, corporate buildings and airports.

A while back I started looking at digital signage options to use in our Church. Man, they’re all so expensive… The cheapest quote I got was R3,900.00 and this was for a single display. What if I wanted 4 displays? Would that cost me R15,600.00!? Seemed totally ridiculous… So that got me thinking; surely there must be an affordable way to create digital signage for our Church use.

And, there is. This is what I’ve come up with and thought I’d share it if you’re also looking at using digital signage. All you need is a TV, a DVD player and some software. I’ve used Keynote, iPhoto and iDVD.

1. In Keynote, I create slides of what I want to advertise/display. I.e.: Welcome, About Us, Homegroups, Events, Contact Details etc.

2. Each slide consists of a background image with text typed over it. Very basic. Like this:

3. When I’m happy I have all the slides I need, I export these as images to iPhoto by clicking Share > Send to > iPhoto. Select All Slides > Next > Create a New Album Name. [i.e: Announcements for December 2011]
4. iPhoto should automatically open and begin to import these new images into the new album you specified earlier. It should look something like this:
5. In iPhoto, I can reshuffle the order of the images to be displayed as I’d like.
6. When I’m happy, I select all images [Cmd+A] and click ‘Play Slideshow’ and the bottom of the screen. Now my images play like a slideshow including some music and basic effects. If I want to change the music or theme, I’ll move my mouse cursor while it’s playing and click on the wheel that pops up. This will bring up a menu where I can change these. Like this:
7. I’ve changed the music and the theme and am happy with the result. Now to get it onto DVD. In iPhoto, I make sure the correct album is selected [i.e.: Announcements for December 2011], then I click > File > Export > Slideshow. Then under sizes, I select ‘Display’ [1280 x 800].
8. Click > Export then choose where you’d like the video to be saved. Default is Pictures > iPhoto Slideshows.
9. When it’s done exporting, I’ll open iDVD and click File > OneStep DVD from Movie… Find the movie and click Import. iDVD will automatically start burning the DVD and eject it when done.
10. Pop this into your DVD player and there you go. It automatically loops continuously and will only stop when you want it to.
There you go.
Hope this helps you get creative with some digital advertising for your Church.
Please feel free to comment if you’ve found an easier way. I’d love to hear.
PS: Just as a side note, I usually create announcements/videos on a monthly basis otherwise I’ll be burning a new DVD each week which I don’t think is necessary.