What software does your church use for projecting songs, liturgy and/or notes?
February 5, 2010
Updated November 22, 2011
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What software (besides Powerpoint) do you use in your church to project songs, liturgy, and notes? It's been a while for me, but I have used SongShow Plus and I don't remember the other.
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I've used Song Show plus which is certainly the cat's meow. We use Easy Worship here in Alamosa, CO. It is very affordable and easy to use.
We currently use SongShowPlus. I find it functional but not great. There are certainly a number of other choices:
EasyWorship and MediaShout are the two 'big ones' right now.
There's also LiveWorship, PresentationManager, and SundayPlus as well as ProPresenter if you use Mac.
There are also open source options available as well: OpenSong, DreamBeam, OpenLP, and others.
If you are in a church still using PowerPoint I would encourage you to explore some of these other options as they will give you much more flexability in your worship media. And with the open source options, cost does not need to be a factor in what you choose (although you do get what you pay for and user-friendliness is much higher in the choices like EasyWorship, MediaShout or SongShowPlus).
Are any of those open source options you mention cross-platform (specifically Mac AND Windows)?
Also, I love making sermon slides in Keynote (Apple equivalent of PowerPoint--but better ;-) ). Is anyone aware of any presentation software that handles Keynote files and/or the QuickTime exports totally well? We use EasyWorship and it doesn't handle QuickTime very well at all.
Last, but not least, what kind of hardware are you running your presentation software on? Our computer seems to be running/loading videos pretty slowly--what I don't know is whether or not it's the software we're running and/or some software conflict, or the hardware just not being able to handle it.
I've not used any of the open source options so I can't say whether they are cross platform or not. That said, if ease of importing keynote slides (or other file types for that matter) is of importance I'm not sure open source would be a great choice. The open source programs generally don't have as friendly of user-interfaces.
I know it's expensive but I'm sure that ProPresenter would be great at importing keynote as well as quicktime.
We run a four year old Dell system for our projection. It's not top of the line but it does work for us. We limit who uses it and what it's used for to eliminate much of the 'stuff' that might otherwise slow it down. Past that, I've found that making sure video card drivers are up to date is the best thing we can do to maintain the system.
I don't know of an open-source cross-platform solution. There is a cross-platform commercial solution, Live Worship. I've tested it myself. It isn't a high performer, but it is cross-platform and will display song lyrics and bible passages over still and moving backgrounds.
The three biggest names in commercial worship software right now are EasyWorship, MediaShout, and ProPresenter. Both EasyWorship and MediaShout are working on a Mac version, but neither is to the Beta testing stage yet. ProPresenter is working on a windows version, and although they haven't released a beta yet, they have announced an expected release for this summer.
Keynote is a little different than powerpoint, in that it does not have an API. In other words, programs cannot tap into it and use its functionality. You can, however, save your keynote presentations as either powerpoint slideshows or a series of jpeg images. You can then add this into any of the worship softwares we've mentioned.
Now, when it comes to quicktime, ProPresenter, being a Mac application, will play it natively. MediaShout and EasyWorship require some extra work to get them to playback quicktime content; but it can be done. What you need for either is the free K-Lite Mega Codec Pack. Here are some instructions from the MediaShout website; but keep in mind that if you have Windows 7 there is an additional step (see the second link).
I hope that is helpful. You can always contact me through the forum contact form.
Ellsworth Christian Reformed Church
I recommend trying Openlp. Its open source and it works well with PowerPoint. It isn't that much different from easy worship and one of my most favourite features is that it let's me control everything from my phone. I use this a lot when the pastor wants to control the slides in his PowerPoint.
To answer your question, We use MediaShout in our sanctuary for our main services.
I use ProPresenter on my personal laptop (late '08 MacBook Pro) for Youth worship and lessons.
Our Sanctuary computer is 8 years old; so, it's a little light-weight for MediaShout V4 now; so, when I do projection, I quite often use my own laptop, boot into Windows and use MediaShout (That's what we are licensed to use in our main services.)
Now that it's time to consider updating our main sanctuary computer, we may go with a Mac and use ProPresenter. ProPresenter is supposed to be available on Windows this summer; but from my experience, the Mac just runs these programs more efficiently.
Ellsworth Christian Reformed Church
I use Easy Worship 2009. Very easy to work with and projection is clear and immediate. Powerpoints can also be imported to this program.
We have a terrible solution for cross-platform projection! We have this lovely Mac, which someone encouraged the the church to buy without knowing that our software, Easy Worship only runs on PC. So we have a screaming fast Mac that boots up with Windows XP. The reason that we have switched to the Mac exclusively is the lack of a program that is consistent and simple as Easy Worship. Has anyone heard the rumor that Easy Worship is working on a Mac edition?
EasyWorship is developing a Mac solution, but it isn't to the point of beta yet. That's what held up the 2009 version until late in 2009, was the fact that they wanted to release 2009 as a cross-platform version. They finally released 2009 with the extra features that they had perfected, and left Mac development for 2010. We will have to wait and see when that happens. MediaShout has also been working on a Mac solution for the last 5 years with not much to show for it just yet.
ProPresenter is a great choice for the Mac. There is certainly a learning curve moving from EasyWorship; but it is quite intuitive, and the windows version will be released this summer.
You can download the free trial from my website here: www.ministry-tech.net/propresenter.cfm
The trial never quits working, it just has a watermark on the display; so you can try it out indefinitely. I also do free demonstrations if you want to see how it works.
Well this took me long enough to reply, but the timing couldn't be more perfect. It was only yesterday that I was telling my worship leader that I needed to know more about ProPresenter (we've been using it for maybe five or six months). I'll look forward to watching your trainings.
We use EasyWorship 2007 which we find very useful, intuitive for the users and does everything we need out of it. I suppose at some point we will move to EasyWorship 2009 to keep current. We are considering using input from http://DigitalSongsandHymns website using the Grey Psalter hymnal songs which include the music notes. This is in PowerPoint format and can be imported into EasyWorship. Does anyone know if we need additional licences to show this ...we already have CCLI, OneLicence.net, but I am not sure if another license is required.
Copyright is a complex thing. If the songs are directly from the Psalter hymnal, then Faith Alive owns the rights to copy those songs. You should probably contact them to see if owning the Psalter Hymnal and having them in your pews grants you the rights to make a digital copy and put it on a projection screen. Common sense would say yes, but the publisher may have a different answer.
If these are songs that you can find on CCLI, then you are bound by their rules and reporting. In other words, if you make a digital copy of a song (like in PowerPoint), then you need to report that (if it is a reporting cycle for you).
Thanks for the reply though I'm still confused. The website http://www.DigitalSongsandHymns.com lists songs from the Grey Psalter and if you look at most of them (detail) it indicates no licence required and that tells me no reporting. I will have our Worship team contact Faith Alive to see how to clear this up.
I haven't looked at the specific songs you are referring to. Perhaps they are public domain songs that happen to also be in the Psalter Hymnal. If they are public domain, then there is no copyright holder and no reporting requirement.
This is a great conversation. Just wanted to caution everyone that not all of the copyright information presented above is correct. Please refer to this article in the Worship Network: Copyright Info - Clearing up the Confusion (maybe!)
To our knowledge, no company has ever requested or received the rights to sell or use Faith Alive copyrighted material digitally outside of www.hymnary.org where you will find a growing amount of resources available.
If you have specific questions regarding copyright issues please email us at [email protected]
I stand corrected. My assumption was that Faith Alive owned the publishing rights to all the songs in the Psalter Hymnal (other than public domain songs).
So, I amend my previous suggestion. Check the CCLI website to see if the songs in question are under their jurisdiction, and then be sure to properly record your digital copy on your copy report. Again, public domain songs do not require reporting, and from what I understand, digitalsongsandhymns only has public domain songs on their website.
You are correct to check the CCLI website...that is a good resource and license to have. Another good resource and license to have is OneLicense.net.
Again, if you have specific questions about Faith Alive/CRC Publications materials please email us directly.
Also, public domain songs do not require reporting.
However, after a quick perusal of the digital songs and hymns site we have identified several copyrighted songs including a few owned by Faith Alive Christian Resources. Digital Songs and Hymns has never contacted us to use our material, so we would caution you before purchasing materials from any such site to make sure they are public domain. We realize this is a huge challenge since the law doesn't require the copyright notice to appear on the page. (Just because there is no copyright listed does not necessarily mean it is public domain.)
Please feel free to contact Faith Alive directly anytime.
At Brookside CRC we use EasyWorship 2007. We probably should be looking at upgrading to the newest version. It certainly is not expensive to do so.
EasyWorship has served us well by providing a single control point for anything we want to project in front of a worship service. That includes song lyrics handled by EasyWorship's own tools, Powerpoints imported in and (let's not forget) videos or still photos. It is easy to use for our operators. One license covers use throughout the church.
Here's a related side topic to consider. There are two PCs in the church that need a higher degree of reliability than the others, that just need to keep working without interruption. Those are the one used as a file server and the one that runs EasyWorhip in worship services. If the file server goes down, staff can't work on their files. If the EasyWorship machine goes down, it becomes a disruption of a worship service.
To reduce the likelihood that either of those PCs goes down, I've done two things.
The first protects against hard drive failures. This is done by having a mirrored pair of hard drives (RAID 1) in each machine rather than the usual single hard drive. If one of the hard drives fails, the PC continues to run uninterrupted because the other hard drive continues to function.
The second protects against hardware failures of any other kind, such as a motherboard failure. To do this, I have those PCs serve as backups to each other. This is accomplished by housing each hard drive in a removeable "tray" that allows it to be removed quickly without opening up the computer case. If one of the two PCs fails for some other reason, such as a motherboard failure, the pair of hard drives in that PC could be pulled-out and popped into the other machine, which would boot right up and function as the machine that had the failure. To make this work best, the two machines should be "hardware identical" so that if the hard drives need to be moved between machines, the Windows installation on those hard drives will already have all device drivers in place for the hardware on the "new" machine.
I hope that discussion was not too far removed from the topic at hand. The connection is the machine that runs the presentation software and the need to have it run reliably in a worship service.
It's important to have computers that can make it through a whole service. It sounds like you've found a decent solution for Brookside, Dean.
We use ProPresenter. We've been using version 3 for the past 2 years and now I'm just about to make the switch to version 4 which I'm very excited about. (It doesn't take much I guess.) if you can handle the cost, ProPresenter is really solid and easy to use and very flexible. Once you start developing the library of tunes and Order of Worship pieces it really takes off. I still use Keynote for making specific graphic items for a sermon series or special events and then export the picture or little movie to play in ProPresenter. We use Digital Songs and Hymns too. Caryn (the person behind DSAH) is awesome. There is not a better bargain for the work she (and her assistant) do. I take the version of the song I want from the Powerpoint file she sends me and export as tiffs and drag and drop it into ProPresenter. Voila! The first year we bought a lot of songs but by the second year we bought less than half of the previous year. As far as the license questions in the previous posts, we have a general license through someone (I'll have to check) that covers all of the stuff we project. All of the DSAH songs on the website listed are Public Domain, but they have mostly all of the other songs from the songbooks available but just not through the cart system on the website. (I think it's a licensing issue on their end) Anyway, I can't say enough about how projecting the words and music on our screen for our traditional service has changed worship. It took a little while for everyone to get totally used to it. But now no one is looking down, buried in their hymnal. Everyone is reading along together. Singing stronger and we've saved on bulletin copying from not having to copy non-hymnal tunes for everyone. Great stuff! Wow, this turned into a long post...I should say I'm at Elmhurst CRC just outside of Chicago, Il. Nice to be a part of the conversation.
Let me know if I can help you out with that upgrade to Pro 4.
Also, you'll be glad to know that Pro 4 allows you to import Powerpoints into the library.
Oh, and the windows version of ProPresenter was released yesterday. www.ministry-tech.net/propresenter.cfm
Thanks, Bob. I've got the upgrade but I'm just easing into the transition (hopefully, next week). I'm liking the new features a lot. The PowerPoint import will be interesting to play with. I actually just downloaded the Windows version today but have yet to get my hands on it. Our youth ministry is starting full-on in about two weeks and we will hopefully be roaring on it by then.
Well our Church just purchased Mediashout 4.5. Installing it on a new Windows 7 machine with a Nvidia card. I will post back from time to time about our experience(s) with it. We have 5 people involved with the Media presentation side of our service and will be interesting to see how easily they learn the new software. I have run into 1 issue already with the install where it crashed after a error when starting up. Turns out the install does not always install the correct verison of directx9c. After finding the info and link on Mediashout forum, I installed the update and now it works.
Crossroads CRC CA
Sherick, It is always a challenge to get the team up to speed. When we switched software last spring, we had several Sundays' worth of inconsistent screens. But everyone picked up on the software pretty quickly. You might want to decide ahead of time what you wants the fonts, backgrounds, and transitions look like.
Hope all goes well and no more crashes!
We are moving from PowerPoint to MediaShout. Because the MAC version is a much newer program we are having to import all our PowerPoint files into a MediaShout 4 program on a PC then import them into the MAC version. Nothing is ever easy when changing over to a new program.
We use Media Shout and are quite happy with it. We upgraded last spring, and yes, it took a while for everyone to get up to speed, but that's pretty well inevitable when you have a rotating number of volunteers. As to the occasional crashes and glitches, these help us remember that it is not in technology we trust.
I realize this is an old post, but wondering if anyone has a library of the gray hymnal for ProPresenter created?
We use VideoPsalm since 2011. It is rated “best free worship software” by VotivePraise.
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