How to Do the Best Front of House Presentation at Your Church
Front of House Presentation
Long before I discovered my love of doing video for churches I ran Power Point for services. Yeah wow, Power Point was a bear. It seemed to always get bogged down and run slooooooowly. Half the transitions didn't work, the videos crashed and numerous other problems occurred. Power Point can be a nice program for simple presentations at school or the office but it just does not meet the standards that are needed for a media and music driven Sunday morning service. Now Sunday morning services should never be about media, music and flare. It always needs to be about the adoration and worship of our Father God. I don't have a problem with the service filled with great praise and worship songs, excellence in music, fantastic video loops, and motion back grounds or illustrated videos. I feel like that we should use the tools available to us to make services the best they can be. God does not do anything halfhearted, He is a God of excellence. Our Sunday morning service presentations need to be done with excellence too. In this scenario, having the best softwares for front of house presentation will help create excellence. In the following paragraphs I will be reviewing the different presentation softwares. I've asked my churches (Victory Orlando) presentation operator to give some valuable input.
Brandon: In today's church presentation world, I see three main products have taken the lead. While each has distinct functions, the central goal is the same, showing lyrics, bible verses, and other content to the congregation. First, lets look at some of the shared features. All three below run on Mac as well as Windows (if you enjoy that sort of thing). Additionally, all contain integration with bible databases and song databases for quickly entering information. Planning Center integration is also included across all three products. Finally all three provide free trials for you to find out which is right for your church.
($199.95 - $349.95 yearly based on congregation size)
Brandon: Proclaim is the most recent addition to the market, and does so with an alluring set of features. Personally, I have yet to try out this software, but their website boasts the ability to collaborate and create breathtaking presentations with ease. The main pitch for Proclaim is two fold: First collaboration is a breeze as the presentations are stored in the cloud and accessible by all your volunteers across different devices. Secondly, their smart media automatically selects fonts, sizes, and positioning to make your slides look great. All of this comes at a recurring price depending on the size of your congregation.
Brandon: At our church, we have chosen to utilize ProPresenter. The basic features of ProPresenter are very similar to MediaShout, but the additional modules expand ProPresenter into robust technical piece of software. However, every module comes at additional price onto the base software. Likely though, if you get to utilizing the additional modules you are a fairly large church doing some fancy and technical things. A few features to note: A separate stage display output customizable for your speaker and worship team. The Master Control module allows you to control multiple computers running ProPresenter across your network from a single computer. A Multiscreen module to send different templates to each screen connected to your computer. Perhaps you want a giant screen stretching 3 projectors wide, the edge blending module can take your slides and seamlessly split the image to each projector accordingly. Finally, the alpha key module can send your output to your broadcast switcher with the alpha channel (transparency) embedded allowing you to overlay our content onto of live video. Overall, a great piece of software that lets you start small and grow into more robust features without having to relearn a different piece of software. The main downside is most versions of the Bible cost $15-30 a piece, and additional modules run anywhere from $99 to $999.
Brandon: MediaShout makes the list simply because of its standard price with extended features. 66 Bibles are included and a number of background and countdowns are included (though maybe not useful for the uber creative people out there). Its been many years since I've used MediaShout, but overall an easy to use software that probably fits the need for most churches. However, for the expandability I tend to prefer ProPresenter at roughly the same cost.
I would like to share that I do remember when our church first got Media Shout and how much better it ran. It was so smooth and you could run videos from it! I have not used any of the other softwares so I can't compare. But I hope that Brandon was able to give you some good first had experience and information.
What is Your Favorite Presentation Tool?
Great Video on Pro Presenter
A Few Tips
A few tips on doing front of house media. Set up major pieces of the presentation the night before if you can such as the Pastors message and song list. Get there early and follow along with the band to learn cues. Know where singing or instrumental solos will be. Be ready for the next slide and click it before the band sings it. Anticipate change. Have a good vibe for the pace and flow of worship and the service. It's good to know your Bible just in case the Pastor or special guest randomly brings up a verse that is not cued up. Be tech savvy just in case you need to pull an image, song or video off of a phone, or off of the internet.
For related informative articles please see: understandingchurchmedia.com