David had his slingshot, Lancelot had Excalibur, Davy Crockett had his coonskin cap, and Michael Jordan had his lucky North Carolina shorts. All of us, even the legends among us, have our weapons of choice. We reached out to several creatives from a variety of disciplines within the church world to inquire about their weapons of choice, and we hope you enjoy reading about their favorite tools.
(Note: For Part One of our Weapons of Choice feature, click here.)
Chris’s Weapons of Choice:
I use this with an external display at home. I love using dual displays for work and having the option to unplug and take the laptop to a coffee shop.
This bloated beast is a necessity for web and interface design. It’s a magnificent piece of software, but it will also make a good Baptist say bad words.
Basecamp makes managing projects and clients a breeze. I can’t imagine what I would use otherwise.
After I started using Gmail, I stopped thinking about email service. That’s when you know it’s good.
Productivity and to-do apps are the hotness these days, but it doesn’t get much hotter than Things. Simply gorgeous interfaces and powerful features make this one of my favorite pieces of software. Once they roll out over-the-air syncing, I will be unstoppable.
OK, we all know about Twitter, but what you may not know is that it’s my primary means of getting design work. Thanks to Twitter I have a network of friends all over the country that help me be a better designer and contribute to the success of my business.
The iPhone is the first truly portable computer. Enough said.
Saddleback Leather Messenger
These bags aren’t cheap, but my messenger bag is the last bag I will ever buy. It’s simply perfect and has a 100-year warranty. And like the website says, "They’ll fight over it when you’re dead."
I gotsta have my music.
Bose On-Ear Headphones
Say what you will about Bose, but these are the best, most comfortable headphones I’ve ever used.
Tim’s Weapons of Choice:
This book by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson has changed the way I work. REWORK challenged me to break the rules to be more effective and do work that matters! I always keep a copy close (underneath my Bible).
One of the greatest web apps for storing notes, ideas, blog clippings … you get the idea. I’m a huge fan of their iPhone app.
Although I love eBooks, I still like a good old-fashioned book and can’t read one without a highlighter.
I made the switch from TypePad to WordPress about a year ago and haven’t looked back. It’s changed the way I blog and made it so much easier!
We’ve been using Ekklesia 360 from Monk Development at Park Community Church for nearly three years, and we have loved it as a content management. This is a solid product with great people behind it.
The 99 Percent Blog
This site features great articles and content from Scott Belsky and the Behance Network. You can always find great reads and food for thought.
A caffeinated mind is a creative mind (in my opinion). Intelligentsia is some of Chicago’s best, and I wouldn’t fare well without it.
13-inch MacBook Pro
When you’re on-the-go, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is a beautiful thing. It’s just the right size. I’ve had two in the past year—one was stolen—and it’s absolutely my favorite weapon of choice.
Twitter is my "smoke break." Being active on Twitter has added so much value to my work and relationships. Even though it has also been very distracting, I’d be lost without it.
Texting is an essential way we communicate and engage with our congregation, and Jarbyco has played an essential role in that. Their support, ideas, and service have been excellent.
Tony’s Weapons of Choice:
Despite Apple’s new mobile technology (iPhone 4 and iPad), my MacBook Pro is still my flagship tool. It usually stays at the office, but it is where I do a majority of my work. Also, I use an app called iTeleport for iPhone and iPad to remotely access my MacBook Pro if I need something while I’m away from the office.
37signals’ project management tool is where our team communicates, organizes, and makes sure we keep all of our initiatives moving forward. For me, it is a persistently "pinned tab" in Google Chrome. (I use another 37 Signals product called Backpack for freelance work.)
Some people like mind maps and some don’t—I can’t live without them! MindMeister is a full-featured, web-based mind mapping tool that allows you to capture your planning and brainstorming notes in a visual format and collaborate with others in real time.
For knowledge management there is none better than Google. For me, email, documents, and chat are powered by Google applications. The only rub is that Google Apps don’t integrate into Apple mobile products very well, but that is more Apple’s fault than Google’s.
Keeping up with the speed of social technology, communications, seminary at Fuller, and blogs is tough! My iPad is my all-in-one reading device. I use YouVersion as my Bible, the Kindle app for seminary reading and other books, and Instapaper for reading items from the Web. My reading used to spread out, and it made my bag heavy. Now it’s all consolidated in one small device.
Notes, clips, images, and any other bits of information I come across go into Evernote. I organize these things into large, "area focused" buckets. From there, search is my friend. Being able to capture and retrieve important bits of information from iPhone, iPad, or MacBook Pro is huge!
Even in the midst of project management, I still need to keep track of my responsibilities and goals to move forward. For now Things from Cultured Code is doing the trick for me even though it lacks cloud syncing (a featured offered by RememberTheMilk.com). Cultured Code says cloud syncing is coming, and I can’t wait!
I picked up this image-editing app during a MacHeist special a year ago or so. It is ideal for what I call the "blogger’s image editing needs." I can resize, add a drop shadow, crop, and make other basic adjustments to images very quickly. If you simply need to adjust images for use in social technology, this app is a great fit.
With all the effort we put into our social initiatives at Church Online, we’d be lost if we didn’t pay attention to the results and what they mean. Google Analytics is where I spend a lot of time checking out what has actually happened online, and from there we derive meaning and potential adjustments.
Old School Doctor’s Bag
I love this bag. It’s probably 50 years old, and it looks like an old doctor or salesman’s bag. I love it because I can open the top and the bag remains upright. Many bags I’ve used in the past required me to empty out everything each time, but with this bag I can retrieve what I need (and only what I need) from the top. It’s almost like having a portable office drawer.
Joshua’s Weapons of Choice:
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Brad’s Weapons of Choice:
Media Temple offers world-class hosting and 24/7 phone support. You can host up to 100 sites for just $20 a month.
When making videos, a reliable tripod is a very important piece of gear. In fact, I can guarantee that your tripod will outlive your camera. I recommend a nice Bogen/Manfrotto combo. I use the Manfrotto 501HDV, which is a great fluid head to get you started.
Google makes email, document creation, and file sharing so easy, and with Google Apps, you can use all these tools on your own domain. I love that I can access my Google Apps from any computer or mobile device. And did I mention that Google Apps is free?
I don’t want to start a fight with the Mac fanboys out there, but I love my PC. I love that I can build it from scratch with every part I want. Plus, Windows 7 is so solid—no crashes or Spinning Wheels of Death here.
I think Vimeo is the best place on the Web for your videos. You can embed them anywhere and view them on any device. You can also upgrade to Vimeo Plus for $60 a year, which gives you 5GB of uploads a week, a great stats engine, and a customizable player. And you don’t have to worry about bandwidth usage and self-hosting; Vimeo has you covered.
I follow more than 200 websites that range from design blogs to video tutorial sites to sites for Coca Cola collectors. Google Reader makes it so easy to keep up with what’s new on your favorite sites.
WordPress is my CMS of choice. Yes, you can use it to build blogs, but you can also create full blown websites that are hosted on your own servers. The best part of using WordPress for me is that I get to focus on my site’s design without wasting a lot of time coding.
Twitter is a huge source for networking and finding the latest. Tweetdeck makes it easy to manage your followers, filter content (no TV spoilers), and distribute your updates to Facebook, Foursquare, and other social networks.
Stock.XCHNG has the best free images on the Web. It is the first place I turn when I am looking for just the right shot.
Adobe Production Suite
This suite contains every program I need to create media for my church, from Photoshop to After Effects to Premiere Pro. Every application in this suite works together to save you time, and if your organization is a non-profit you can get it for a great price.
Stephen’s Weapons of Choice:
Frequent Flier Miles.
Have you ever seen Up In the Air with George Clooney? If so, you understand why I consider this a weapon. I’ve traveled to far away places for free more times than I can count!
Photography iPhone Apps
There are some pretty killer photography apps for the iPhone that help me capture and share my creative moments in stunning ways. Two in particular that I love are Pano and Tilt Shift Gen.
You might have already heard about this little $300 box by Matrox, but it’s worth noting here. This external multi-display device is essential when projecting in multi-screen situations (such as triple-wide video staging and Environmental Projection®).
Ultra-Short Throw Projectors
Hitachi recently released a line of “ultra-short throw” projectors that can cover a large canvas from a few feet away. I have four CP-52As that I take on tour wherever I go, and within a matter of hours I can transform an entire environment with great flexibility.
Yellow Pelican Case
I travel a lot, and I take a lot of sensitive gear with me (e.g., laptops, hard drives, adapters, hair product, etc.). Pelican makes great road cases, and the yellow version looks cool and makes people ask what I’m toting around. I answer, “The Secrets of the Universe.”
PVP is ProPresenter’s big brother and my best friend. I can control the color, speed, and mapping of my content on the fly. I can also manually blend imagery, which can make things extremely interesting.
A few years ago, my Jedi knight buddy Camron Ware introduced me to Moo Cards. These serve as my “social media cards” that I hand out at events. Each card features a unique picture taken from my VJ content or a shot from a live event, as well as websites for finding VJ resources.
I believe music is the most influential layer in any video or live moment. I have a curated arsenal of soundtracks in my iTunes library. The soundtracks not only inspire me creatively, but also end up serving as killer music beds for videos at my events.
Shinywhitebox is a small company out of New Zealand that makes some great software. I use a program called Stomp for simple batch conversions of video content (essential for advanced VJ-ing), and iShowU HD is great for screen recording for tutorials.
I’m only as creative as the people I surround myself with. I am very purposeful about curating great talent into my community, not just for their creativity but for their hearts and friendship. My tribe is pretty cool!
Brad’s Weapons of Choice:
Uni-ball SIGNO 207
This pen rules my world.
I keep switching between OmniFocus and Things. Today it’s Omnifocus.
I consider this app the center of the universe.
This is my current RSS reader of choice.
This site features some real font gems and some abnormal design tools.
This site is a goldmine for movie posters. I love digging around. It’s marketing at its best.
The Matchstic Blog
These guys aren’t just great designers; they are great writers. There’s always something to learn from them.
Ads of the World
My favorite thing about this site is that they group a lot of print campaigns together so you can see the differences between them. It’s rich stuff featuring great word pictures.
The 8BIT Network
8BIT Creative Engineer and Curator John Saddington is going to take over the world someday.
For Part One of our Weapons of Choice feature, click here.