Recently our church has been trying to clean things up and try and make things work and flow better. Part of this has fallen on me when it comes to worship(I'm a musician not a leader and I'm also the "computer guy"). One of my projects has been with our sound system and presentation system. We use OpenSong for our presentations and recently I've been inputing our chords into OpenSong so we can get rid of the massive boxes of sheet music we have behind stage. The worship leaders have loved this since we can print most of our chord sheets directly from the computer instead of having to get someone from the office to come and let them use the copier.
Another thing I've started is a dropbox account so worship leaders don't have to come to church to pick songs and set everything up. They love that because they don't have to make arrangements for their kids and come all the way to church and everything seems to be ready on time now.
Now the Assistant Pastor(who along with his wife are our permanent sound crew) came to me and asked about video presentation. Whenever we want to use video or a guest speaker wants to use video we have to open up a separate program to run it since OpenSong does not support video presentation. Not only does it look unprofessional but most of the time the videos are choppy, lag, or just don't work. It doesn't help that our pc is a dinosaur either. So he suggested that I look around at other software that could maybe handle all of our needs. I've been looking around and I can't seem to find an alternative. So I figured I'd ask here.
Present lyrics and video(dual screen)
Store chords for printing
Ability to share between computers so leaders can set up set lists and pick songs
Cross platform compatibility(Windows XP/Mac OS X)
That doesn't seem like a lot but I haven't been able to find a program to do all of those things.
Planning Center Online would handle all your needs in terms of storing chord charts and allowing various members of the team to access the plans. You can give anyone you want the permission to "edit" plans thereby allowing them the ability to plan their worship sets, etc. Plus you can upload mp3s of the songs for the team members to stream and listen to before they come to rehearsal. This is a huge benefit! This planning service has a monthly membership fee of anywhere from $20 to $100 a month. I got by on the $20 plan for a long time before I had to upgrade to $50/month.
Our church uses Pro Presenter for our presentation software on Sunday mornings. It incorporates the ability to show videos right into the program. It's important that you upgrade your computer to match the minimum requirements that Pro Presenter recommends on their website. But once you do that you will LOVE using the program. It's not as easy as other programs (like easy worship) but it seems to be quite stable and well supported by the company that created it.
Wow, Planning Center Online looks amazing. Just checked it out and actually there is a free plan for small churches, and then the first fee plan is $14 a month. Just depends on how many people you have in your team and how complex your planning needs are. We only have a handfull of musicians and most of them are 20 something or younger, and almost never read email. While a lot of the Planning Center tools happen online (like they get an email and can do things once they log in to the website), I was glad to see it also uses text. That's about the only way I can communicate with a lot of my team.
As for presentation software, we used to have a PC and used Media Shout. I really did like that program as it can do just about everything you can think of. However this year we got a Mac and switched to Pro Presenter. LOVE IT. Media Shout used to crash - a lot - like sometimes three times during rehearsal or a service. Not sure if that was our old PC or if it was MS. But we haven't had that problem at all with Pro Presenter. It's very easy to use, very smooth and slick, easy to learn. It can do much more than we even need, so I expect to grow into it. They now have a PC version, but I haven't paid attention to what people are saying about it. In my research I found that Media Shout and Pro Presenter were the most popular, and I gotta say now I'd recommend Pro Presenter as number 1!
We've covered presentation software several times over the past few months, so I won't go into great detail here, but my recommendation is almost always openlp - free and open source and incorporates the video playback, etc. We've used it for several years and have been very happy with it. The one thing that it isn't going to do is your chord charts, but to be honest, opensong is the only one I've ever heard of that does that. That said, although it doesn't fall into the category of "presentation software", I'm also a huge fan of Planning Center - definitely worth a look for your administrative side of things.
Thanks for all the input guys!
So Planning Center doesn't do any kind of presenting right? Or can it integrate with another program so the leaders could set up their sets from home with Planning Center and have it automatically transfer to OpenLP or Pro Presenter? I was really hoping for an all in one but I may be dreaming! Pro Presenter looks nice minus the price(way out of my churches means) and its ease of use. As it is with OpenSong I'm always running back and forth during practices between the stage and sound booth because a setting has changed and no one can figure out how to change it back.
I'll look more into OpenLP now since we're probably going to have to go with two programs. Also I'm sure the worship leader who does the schedule would love Planning Center. It looks like a very nice organizational program.
Thanks for the tips! I guess I will choose the pack Planning Center + ProPresenter to church!
Such a software is essential for meeting and conferences.But let me tell you that skills are necessary to present the matter.Although these software are necessary but human skills are also very essential.
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