A few months ago, we made the move (kicking and screaming) into the 21st century by changing our vis aids at Grace Life Church from Power Point to ProPresenter. It was in the time of totally reworking our Orders Of Service which was a product of careful, prayerful re-assessment—something every church should do.
After living with ProPresenter for several months now, I’m going to boil it down for those who have not made the change yet as well as a few other tidbits.
ProPresenter freshens up the look. There’s little doubt that the moving backgrounds (that Media Shout can also do) give a nice upgrade to the look of the screens. There are also some nice additional font options that I have not found in Power Point.
ProPresenter streamlines some things. It has the wonderful “Apply All” option that Power Point doesn’t have. In other words, if you make a change to one of the screens that you need to make to all of them, you can click “Apply All” and it’s done. Unfortunately, it will also change everything, including any cues that you have in a smaller font size. In other words, “Apply All” will make all the fonts in all the screens the same size as the screen in which you’re editing. Therefore….
ProPresenter demands a careful sequence of work. I have found that, unlike Power Point, it not only matters what changes you make, it matters in what order you make them. You really have to make your selections in the following order: (1) font style (2) shadow level (3) normal/bold/italics (4) left/center/right align (5) font size (6) individual screen edits
ProPresenter makes changing the background extremely easy. Unlike Power Point, where you have to go into the Screen Master and copy and paste, with ProPresenter, it’s one click. Plus having multiple backgrounds within a service is MUCH easier than Power Point.
ProPresenter presents some challenges. Moving backgrounds have actually made some of our folks here queasy. That’s something I didn’t see coming. We had to upgrade our choir monitors to a larger screen because the fonts weren’t as easily seen as the Power Point ones were. Some of that had to do with my selection of more modern, artsy fonts though. Also, some of the flashier, fancier backgrounds that work well on the congregation monitors didn’t work at all for the choir monitors. At this point, we aren’t even using any moving backgrounds. We might be able to go back to them once we figure out if slowing down the animations works after all. We just haven’t gotten to that yet.
ProPresenter allows import of Power Point files. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. This was a ‘must have’ feature before I made the change. But even after importing a Power Point file, there is still much editing to be done (at least 20 minutes’ worth) on each file (each song is it’s own file in the way we do things).
ProPresenter has iCloud. If you work from multiple computers, as we do here at Grace Life Church, this is a must. ProPresenter will allow you to download the software to multiple computers (unlike Power Point) but it will only allow presentation mode on one computer at a time. (Those with greater computer knowledge will understand how this is done—I don’t have that knowledge!) We haven’t made the change yet, but once we begin using ProPresenter in our choir room right before a service, this will be a necessary feature. (I’m still using Power Point in the choir room as of now.) This feature also allows me to work from my laptop and save to the cloud instead of having to always work from the computer in our O Pit (which runs the service vis aids).
I know many who read this can tell that I may still have lots to learn about using ProPresenter (any input is welcome). I wouldn’t have progressed even as far as I have without the invaluable assistance of our Media Pastor, Tim Martin. But I wanted to share a bit with those who may be pondering a change and hopefully this entry will help you make a better-informed decision.