Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Media Shout Out, ProPresenter In

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If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a week, you knew it was coming. I’ve been keeping a close eye on ProPresenter for about a year and a half, but was never in a position to implement it until now. Though I gave Media Shout 3.5 a fair chance, it’s time to show it the proverbial door. We’ve been having issues with it for a while, and this weekend was the final straw.

Challenges We Didn’t Need

This was an interesting weekend. Our Creative Director, Craig, was out of town, which meant his duties fell to me. Thankfully, we have a great team (and they could probably do the service without either of us there…) so it wasn’t to much of a burden. Still, it was a complicated service cueing-wise and I really needed everything to work.

It looked like everything was going to be fine at the start. I pre-build the Media Shout scripts, and push them to our HP computer in the video booth before the team arrives. I loaded up the script and all appeared fine. We had no clue there was a problem until run through. We had 5 videos to play this Sunday, which is a lot for us. The first 2 went fine, but when we got to the third, we had picture but no audio. Figuring it was a simple setting issue, we pressed ahead with run through. We got to video #4 and again had picture, no sound. By this time, run through was for all intents and purposes over and I began digging into the problem.

Volume up on PC? Check. Unmuted? Check. Volume and mute settings on clip? Check. I figured it was a Windows issue and re-booted. Still no sound. It’s now about 4:25 and we have doors opening in 20 minutes. We tried the first 2 videos again, and we have sound. Common denominator? The first 2 are WMVs, the other 3 are AVIs. I attach the PC’s hard drive to my MacBook Pro over the network and double check the videos for audio–they play perfectly. Now I’m ticked. Media Shout has just decided that playing AVIs with audio is no longer in it’s job description.

Saved by a MacPro

Thankfully, I have a wicked-fast MacPro tower in my office on which my videos reside. I run back and quickly send all three videos from the FinalCut timelines right to Compressor and have them encode as MPG-2. It’s now 4:45 and doors should be opening. I launch DVD Studio Pro and whip up a quick DVD. Less than 20 minutes after I discover the problem I have a DVD with all three videos on it.

Thinking I can still use Media Shout to play the videos with the new DVD playback feature, I drop the DVD in the drive (while the walk-in loop is running and people are walking in), and try to load up the cues. I insert a cue and click on the first video in the menu. The mouse freezes. The computer won’t respond to any kind of input, including the three-finger salute (it is about now that I once again remember why I really prefer working with Macs…). I’m forced to slam the computer down and restart it. I really wanted to throw it over the balcony, but I figured children could be injured.

End of the Line

By now the prelude is running, and we’re moments away from our first video cue. We get the computer back up (after the requisite 2-minute boot-up), and hit the cue. Thankfully, I have a 3-song worship set to figure out how we’re going to play the three videos which are pretty critical to the evening. I decide to use the DVD player in the booth and make the switch with our switcher instead of trying to use the computer. A cute little play arrow shows up on the screen for all three videos, but we at least get the video–and audio!–to the house. Our soundman deftly handles the audio levels, having never actually heard the tracks before.

If I had had time during the message, I would have re-built the entire show in ProPresnter on my MacBook Pro and run the 7 off of that. I had been planning on buying an iMac 20″ 2.4Ghz for the booth and running ProPresenter on that sometime in late March after I can get everyone trained. After Sunday, that plan has been moved up. For now, we’ll run off my MBP and I’ll train people on the fly. We still have issues to work out with CPC’s presentation people (they currently do everything in PowerPoint–yikes!), so the iMac installation is on hold for a few more weeks. I’ll probably order it this week anyway.

But at this point, I’ve decided I have enough stress in my life that I don’t need my presentation software going on strike at random intervals. ProPres is so easy to use, I’m pretty sure I can get everyone up to speed quickly.

Lessons Learned

Test Early, Test Often. Back when I was doing interactive development, that was a motto to live by. I’ve slipped a little bit and didn’t think to test the videos at 12:30 when I loaded the script. Of course, I had no reason to suspect they didn’t work, I tested the AVIs after I rendered them, and it played AVIs last week. Still, I should have verified it.

Have a Backup Plan. There have been days when I’m thinking about getting rid of the VHS and DVD players in the booth. I think they’ll stay for a while longer. I’m even thinking of burning a DVD each week with all the videos in order just in case from now on. It’s cheap insurance in case of a computer failure (and I’ll admit, once in a while, even my Mac software crashes–though it rarely requires a full restart).

Leave Margin for Problems. When I started at Upper Room, we were frequently just finishing the Media Shout work at 4:45, as doors were opening. By pre-building the shows, we have some margin in case things go wrong. We’ve adjusted our schedule to make sure we are done with run through by 4:30 or 4:35. Normally, this give us time to relax, catch our breath and just hang out. When things go wrong, it provides the necessary time to come up with a plan to fix it.

Use a Checklist. I’ve been working from a pre-flight checklist for the last few weeks, and it saved me yesterday. Because I knew I had all my other stuff done and ready for service, I had time to go make a DVD at the last minute. I was also able to make sure everyone else was doing what they should be doing.

In the End…

It’s Media Shout’s lack of ability to play more than 2 flavors of video that ruined it’s chances with me. That and the PowerPoint integration is a kludge at best. By this time next week, I suspect I’ll be writing about how our first service went with ProPresenter. Since I used it a few weeks ago for Meal Link with excellent results, I’m hoping I’ll be a lot more positive and we’ll have one more item crossed off our “done by May 31” list!

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28 Comments

  1. john@jaustin.cc

    Sugar Creek had long been using PowerPoint, but we all know how stale that is. In Feburary of last year we had special concert and decided to give ProPresenter a try as we were doing all kinds of stuff PowerPoint couldn’t handle. Our Pastor of CC decided he liked it enough to buy a site liscn. 2 weeks later Worship and Creative Arts decided to buy media shot. Volunteers HATED it. It didn’t even make a full rotation before they were back to power point. OOPS. The TD then was a little set in his tried and true ways, and was reluctant to make the switch to something Mac based, yet alone ProPresenter. When he left in August it was one of the first things we did. There were seriously two iMacs sitting in my office waiting to be installed the moment we said good-bye.

    We did on the fly training with our volunteers. We’d show ’em the ropes and let them go during rehearsal, and then let them run. If they and we were comfortable, they’d take Sunday. We found that after a bout 1full rotation of volunteers, we weren’t needing to be there to help them any more. A wonderful thing. ProPresenter is so powerful, its a wonder not more people are using it. ProVideoPlayer has its uses as well.

    I’ve been remarkably surprised at how well the volunteers took it. But they were pretty open minded to anything buy MediaShout again.

    For people with PowerPoint presentations, I have a sheet worked up of how to export the slides as images. You loose the cheesy effects and what not but you get the information. Works really well. 1 tip though: Go to Preferences>Display>and under Foreground Video, check off that “Preserve Auto Aspect Ratio of Foreground Video” box. This way anything you import gets perserved to its aspect ratio by boxing in or letter boxing the image automatically. It will save you some head-aches if your importing a TON of pictures at once.

    Feel free to hit me up if you have any questions about how we implement PP3.

    (lurker, first time poster)

  2. john@jaustin.cc

    Sugar Creek had long been using PowerPoint, but we all know how stale that is. In Feburary of last year we had special concert and decided to give ProPresenter a try as we were doing all kinds of stuff PowerPoint couldn’t handle. Our Pastor of CC decided he liked it enough to buy a site liscn. 2 weeks later Worship and Creative Arts decided to buy media shot. Volunteers HATED it. It didn’t even make a full rotation before they were back to power point. OOPS. The TD then was a little set in his tried and true ways, and was reluctant to make the switch to something Mac based, yet alone ProPresenter. When he left in August it was one of the first things we did. There were seriously two iMacs sitting in my office waiting to be installed the moment we said good-bye.

    We did on the fly training with our volunteers. We’d show ’em the ropes and let them go during rehearsal, and then let them run. If they and we were comfortable, they’d take Sunday. We found that after a bout 1full rotation of volunteers, we weren’t needing to be there to help them any more. A wonderful thing. ProPresenter is so powerful, its a wonder not more people are using it. ProVideoPlayer has its uses as well.

    I’ve been remarkably surprised at how well the volunteers took it. But they were pretty open minded to anything buy MediaShout again.

    For people with PowerPoint presentations, I have a sheet worked up of how to export the slides as images. You loose the cheesy effects and what not but you get the information. Works really well. 1 tip though: Go to Preferences>Display>and under Foreground Video, check off that “Preserve Auto Aspect Ratio of Foreground Video” box. This way anything you import gets perserved to its aspect ratio by boxing in or letter boxing the image automatically. It will save you some head-aches if your importing a TON of pictures at once.

    Feel free to hit me up if you have any questions about how we implement PP3.

    (lurker, first time poster)

  3. smithville99@gmail.com

    We made the switch in October 2007. I blogged about my http://creativeideas.wordpress.com/“ rel=”nofollow”>experience. Volunteer training has been a breeze.

    As for dealing with PowerPoint, I second what John said. Export the show out as JPEGs and import it into PP3. I create our sermon slides in Photoshop and batch process them as JPEGs. Works great.

    I’m a guy who likes to have backup plans. We still play our videos off DVDs. I have 2 copies of the DVD. We use a pro DVD player that you can disable the OSD and it will stay on pause forever. I also keep a backup .mov file in ProPresenter.

    Renewed Vision has always given me great support. Quick answers to my questions whether I call, post in their forums and I’ve even had them respond on my blog! Go figure.

  4. smithville99@gmail.com

    We made the switch in October 2007. I blogged about my http://creativeideas.wordpress.com/“ rel=”nofollow”>experience. Volunteer training has been a breeze.

    As for dealing with PowerPoint, I second what John said. Export the show out as JPEGs and import it into PP3. I create our sermon slides in Photoshop and batch process them as JPEGs. Works great.

    I’m a guy who likes to have backup plans. We still play our videos off DVDs. I have 2 copies of the DVD. We use a pro DVD player that you can disable the OSD and it will stay on pause forever. I also keep a backup .mov file in ProPresenter.

    Renewed Vision has always given me great support. Quick answers to my questions whether I call, post in their forums and I’ve even had them respond on my blog! Go figure.

  5. john@jaustin.cc

    For anything we can we try to play the video files directly out of ProPresenter. knock on wood, the only time we have had a problem is when one of our creative media producers go a little over zealous after we got our P2 cameras and didn’t format the HD video in the right codec. I strongly suggest doing what you can in ProPresenter’s suggested formats. I’ve found h.264 to be fairly reliable, even for SD content.

    Renewed Vision has forums? The new bible feature is great too, especially if you need something on the fly. Our student pastor doesn’t really go off of notes so occasionally he’ll call for a scripture and say “guys can I get that in a second?” while moves into his lead up, by the time he’s ready for it, it’s already on the screen.

  6. john@jaustin.cc

    For anything we can we try to play the video files directly out of ProPresenter. knock on wood, the only time we have had a problem is when one of our creative media producers go a little over zealous after we got our P2 cameras and didn’t format the HD video in the right codec. I strongly suggest doing what you can in ProPresenter’s suggested formats. I’ve found h.264 to be fairly reliable, even for SD content.

    Renewed Vision has forums? The new bible feature is great too, especially if you need something on the fly. Our student pastor doesn’t really go off of notes so occasionally he’ll call for a scripture and say “guys can I get that in a second?” while moves into his lead up, by the time he’s ready for it, it’s already on the screen.

  7. saundersryan@gmail.com

    I’m playing around with ProPresenter now. Also, take a look at LiveWorship (www.liveworship.com). Our church uses LiveWorship now, and it seems to offer many of the same features as ProPresenter at a lower cost.

  8. saundersryan@gmail.com

    I’m playing around with ProPresenter now. Also, take a look at LiveWorship (www.liveworship.com). Our church uses LiveWorship now, and it seems to offer many of the same features as ProPresenter at a lower cost.

  9. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Great comments, guys. Here’s a question…what’s the best way to get the exported sermon slides into a presentation format in PP3? I exported a sample Keynote show that I did as JPGs, and imported them as backgrounds.

    So far I can’t find a way to select all 29 slides and sequence them quickly. I have been able to make a new Presentation (called Sermon Notes) and I can create a ton of blank slides and set foreground, but that seems tedious.

    I’m guessing I’m just missing a simple workflow thing here.

    Thanks!

    mike

  10. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Great comments, guys. Here’s a question…what’s the best way to get the exported sermon slides into a presentation format in PP3? I exported a sample Keynote show that I did as JPGs, and imported them as backgrounds.

    So far I can’t find a way to select all 29 slides and sequence them quickly. I have been able to make a new Presentation (called Sermon Notes) and I can create a ton of blank slides and set foreground, but that seems tedious.

    I’m guessing I’m just missing a simple workflow thing here.

    Thanks!

    mike

  11. john@jaustin.cc

    I create a new presenation and drag them in like I would a picture or video. Your still able to put announcements and timers over them as well if you need, just not another slide. We do ours in keynote so they export in a numerical order which PP3 pics up.

    All I do is open the folder my jpgs are in [cmd]+A and then drag them all into the new presentation. each image gets its own slides. If you’re creating 4:3 slides in power point you’re going to want to make sure you have the aspect ration preservation setting enabled before you do the import.

  12. john@jaustin.cc

    I create a new presenation and drag them in like I would a picture or video. Your still able to put announcements and timers over them as well if you need, just not another slide. We do ours in keynote so they export in a numerical order which PP3 pics up.

    All I do is open the folder my jpgs are in [cmd]+A and then drag them all into the new presentation. each image gets its own slides. If you’re creating 4:3 slides in power point you’re going to want to make sure you have the aspect ration preservation setting enabled before you do the import.

  13. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Oh yeah! That’s sweet. Much better than the way I was doing it. I have to stop thinking in Media Shout mode (how can I trick it into doing what I want to do) and re-start thinking in Mac mode (hmmm, it should work this way, let’s try).

    We’re going to really like PP3. Not to mention the fact that h.264 video looks WAY better than the AVI files MS was stuck playing… (and are smaller to boot!).

  14. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Oh yeah! That’s sweet. Much better than the way I was doing it. I have to stop thinking in Media Shout mode (how can I trick it into doing what I want to do) and re-start thinking in Mac mode (hmmm, it should work this way, let’s try).

    We’re going to really like PP3. Not to mention the fact that h.264 video looks WAY better than the AVI files MS was stuck playing… (and are smaller to boot!).

  15. Daniel@ITforSmall.Biz

    Wow, I don’t know where to begin.

    I’ve been using MediaShout for years and years, and have been forced to use ProPresenter for the past year or so, and I want my MediaShout back!!!

    I am an avid PC user, my for-profit job is supporting computer networks for small businesses so I know more than the average user about PC’s. I’m not one of the religious anti-mac zealouts, I’ll agree that they are generally more reliable and user friendly. But they are not more productive, there’s a reason why most businesses stick to PC’s…they’re far more customizable.

    Pro is a good program, and though I personally find MediaShout easier to use, everyone believes the opposite, so I’ll accept that as true (for the general population).

    But here’s the real irony, last Saturday, a group was using our building for an event and I was enlisted to help them with the technical stuff. I brought my laptop (which has MediaShout installed), but was anticipating using it only to kill some time while the Pro computer does all the work. But unfortunately, Pro decided to crash a couple times when clicking on a graphic (an ongoing problem with this particular computer that we haven’t been able to solve…quite random). But that we’re used to, it’s been doing it for months, and usually it will work after restarting the program a couple of times. But I also tested the DVD clip that was supposed to play. It’s only 8 minutes long, so I decided to run through the whole clip in advance to make sure it works, because this is another area that Pro has been giving us trouble. After 6 minutes, the whole computer freezes, just like a PC. I’m sure Mac’s have a “three finger salute” alternative, but I don’t know it. I didn’t bother restarting, I put the graphics and DVD into my computer and ran the event from MediaShout.

    Yes, I’m saying I felt I had a more reliable system on my PC/MediaShout than with Pro on a Mac. Weird, huh?

    Where I volunteer, there are four pro computers, and all of them have been crashing on periodic graphics, but three of them seem to have gotten better since re-installing the whole program. This particular one still has issues. I’m sure it’s some weird fluke and not necessarily ProPresenter’s fault.

    Bottom line: No one is perfect, not even macs. I hope Pro works out for you, and I’m sure it will. There’s no arguing that it’s a good program, and easier to train volunteers on. But I’m still a fan of MediaShout and will be using it as often as possible.

    (Figured someone had to chime in with an opposing view!)

  16. Daniel@ITforSmall.Biz

    Wow, I don’t know where to begin.

    I’ve been using MediaShout for years and years, and have been forced to use ProPresenter for the past year or so, and I want my MediaShout back!!!

    I am an avid PC user, my for-profit job is supporting computer networks for small businesses so I know more than the average user about PC’s. I’m not one of the religious anti-mac zealouts, I’ll agree that they are generally more reliable and user friendly. But they are not more productive, there’s a reason why most businesses stick to PC’s…they’re far more customizable.

    Pro is a good program, and though I personally find MediaShout easier to use, everyone believes the opposite, so I’ll accept that as true (for the general population).

    But here’s the real irony, last Saturday, a group was using our building for an event and I was enlisted to help them with the technical stuff. I brought my laptop (which has MediaShout installed), but was anticipating using it only to kill some time while the Pro computer does all the work. But unfortunately, Pro decided to crash a couple times when clicking on a graphic (an ongoing problem with this particular computer that we haven’t been able to solve…quite random). But that we’re used to, it’s been doing it for months, and usually it will work after restarting the program a couple of times. But I also tested the DVD clip that was supposed to play. It’s only 8 minutes long, so I decided to run through the whole clip in advance to make sure it works, because this is another area that Pro has been giving us trouble. After 6 minutes, the whole computer freezes, just like a PC. I’m sure Mac’s have a “three finger salute” alternative, but I don’t know it. I didn’t bother restarting, I put the graphics and DVD into my computer and ran the event from MediaShout.

    Yes, I’m saying I felt I had a more reliable system on my PC/MediaShout than with Pro on a Mac. Weird, huh?

    Where I volunteer, there are four pro computers, and all of them have been crashing on periodic graphics, but three of them seem to have gotten better since re-installing the whole program. This particular one still has issues. I’m sure it’s some weird fluke and not necessarily ProPresenter’s fault.

    Bottom line: No one is perfect, not even macs. I hope Pro works out for you, and I’m sure it will. There’s no arguing that it’s a good program, and easier to train volunteers on. But I’m still a fan of MediaShout and will be using it as often as possible.

    (Figured someone had to chime in with an opposing view!)

  17. john@jaustin.cc

    Daniel, If these machines have 10.4.11 on them, that is your problem, and RV is working on that. Just head on over there to see the number of problems people are reporting that are similar to yours. If your not running 10.4.11 I’d do what I did and start with a fresh install of the OS and the software, rebuild your BG library (basically just re import the files) this dramatically fixed my issues.

    Also, it is imperative that you make sure all of the media you are trying to play is in the right format. While yes it’ll play whatever quick time plays, you should still look at what RV recommends as the preferred file codecs to use. that also makes it incredibly stable.

    The beauty in worship presentation software is that not 1 program works for everyone. Different strokes for different folks.

  18. john@jaustin.cc

    Daniel, If these machines have 10.4.11 on them, that is your problem, and RV is working on that. Just head on over there to see the number of problems people are reporting that are similar to yours. If your not running 10.4.11 I’d do what I did and start with a fresh install of the OS and the software, rebuild your BG library (basically just re import the files) this dramatically fixed my issues.

    Also, it is imperative that you make sure all of the media you are trying to play is in the right format. While yes it’ll play whatever quick time plays, you should still look at what RV recommends as the preferred file codecs to use. that also makes it incredibly stable.

    The beauty in worship presentation software is that not 1 program works for everyone. Different strokes for different folks.

  19. jeff@runwithgod.com

    Been using ProPresenter for years (I think I had an early beta…) – We add in the “Flip4Mac” Quicktime Codec that allows you to play WMV files through Quicktime, thus ProPresenter can play WMV files. This is very useful for churches that are in transition between Windows and Mac.

    But yes, 264 is glorious. Enjoy your newfound freedom.

  20. jeff@runwithgod.com

    Been using ProPresenter for years (I think I had an early beta…) – We add in the “Flip4Mac” Quicktime Codec that allows you to play WMV files through Quicktime, thus ProPresenter can play WMV files. This is very useful for churches that are in transition between Windows and Mac.

    But yes, 264 is glorious. Enjoy your newfound freedom.

  21. mike@churchtecharts.org

    I’m glad you chimed in, Daniel. As John said, no one software package is right for everyone. Having been “forced” to use Media Shout for 2 years and now using Pro for 2 weeks, I’ll never go back. However, a lot of people must still like Media Shout, as they are still in business.

    I’ll say a few things about Pro. One thing I’ve noticed in the month or so I’ve been testing/working with it, it’s the most actively developed and supported software I’ve ever used. Ever. Since I downloaded the demo version to test in mid-January, they’ve released 4 new versions. Each one fixes a few bugs and offers new features. I think we’ve gotten about 6-8 new features that other companies would have charged an upgrade fee for.

    Plus, when I had a question about an issue, I posted it on the forums and had a response from Renewed Vision in 5 minutes. Faster than phone support! Moreover, a question I raised during my testing phase turned into a new feature (the space bar now advances through the play list–thanks guys!)

    I disagree with your assertion that Macs aren’t more productive. Having used both Macs and Windows extensively over the last 2 years (and Macs for 20 years before that), I know for a fact I get more done on my Mac. With Windows, I always feel I have to trick it into doing what I want it to do, or give up and do it their way. The Mac interface stays out of your way and lets you work.

    I think businesses stick with Windows for 2 reasons. First, the hardware is cheaper initially (though I would argue the overall cost of ownership is lower for Macs). Second, because Windows keeps IT people employed.

    I look at Windows as the hot rods of the 21st century. 30 or 40 years ago, guys would be in the garage tweaking their cars on nights and weekends. Now, that’s pretty much impractical, so guys have turned to computers. Windows is great if you like to spend time tweaking and optimizing and repairing stuff. I enjoy that sometimes, but most times I want to get work done on my computer, not work on my computer. I feel Macs let me do that more effectively.

    You’re right, though; neither is perfect. Just today, our pastor tried to sync his iPhone to his Mac and somehow wiped out all his contacts. I spent an hour today moving contacts from Outlook to Address Book and back to his iPhone. Still, I’ll take a Mac running ProPresenter over a Windows machine running Media Shout any day. Then again, that’s me!

  22. mike@churchtecharts.org

    I’m glad you chimed in, Daniel. As John said, no one software package is right for everyone. Having been “forced” to use Media Shout for 2 years and now using Pro for 2 weeks, I’ll never go back. However, a lot of people must still like Media Shout, as they are still in business.

    I’ll say a few things about Pro. One thing I’ve noticed in the month or so I’ve been testing/working with it, it’s the most actively developed and supported software I’ve ever used. Ever. Since I downloaded the demo version to test in mid-January, they’ve released 4 new versions. Each one fixes a few bugs and offers new features. I think we’ve gotten about 6-8 new features that other companies would have charged an upgrade fee for.

    Plus, when I had a question about an issue, I posted it on the forums and had a response from Renewed Vision in 5 minutes. Faster than phone support! Moreover, a question I raised during my testing phase turned into a new feature (the space bar now advances through the play list–thanks guys!)

    I disagree with your assertion that Macs aren’t more productive. Having used both Macs and Windows extensively over the last 2 years (and Macs for 20 years before that), I know for a fact I get more done on my Mac. With Windows, I always feel I have to trick it into doing what I want it to do, or give up and do it their way. The Mac interface stays out of your way and lets you work.

    I think businesses stick with Windows for 2 reasons. First, the hardware is cheaper initially (though I would argue the overall cost of ownership is lower for Macs). Second, because Windows keeps IT people employed.

    I look at Windows as the hot rods of the 21st century. 30 or 40 years ago, guys would be in the garage tweaking their cars on nights and weekends. Now, that’s pretty much impractical, so guys have turned to computers. Windows is great if you like to spend time tweaking and optimizing and repairing stuff. I enjoy that sometimes, but most times I want to get work done on my computer, not work on my computer. I feel Macs let me do that more effectively.

    You’re right, though; neither is perfect. Just today, our pastor tried to sync his iPhone to his Mac and somehow wiped out all his contacts. I spent an hour today moving contacts from Outlook to Address Book and back to his iPhone. Still, I’ll take a Mac running ProPresenter over a Windows machine running Media Shout any day. Then again, that’s me!

  23. MediaShout vs ProPresenter, Ro

    […] as far as video clips and such go, but it handled the job just fine without any complications. I even played AVI’s, FLV’s, and SWF files on it. MediaShout will play anything as long as you have the proper codec installed. Posted by […]

  24. dmorton@rmcconline.org

    We swapped from SongShow to MediaShout about a year ago, and MediaShout has definitely been an improvement. (To be fair, we may not have had the LATEST version of SS, but we do try to stay updated…)

    One of the best features for us has been it’s ability to play pretty much any video we can throw at it. ESPECIALLY AVI’s… There are different codecs for AVIs, but I always install the K-LITE codec pack on any computer we install, and that seems to cover most. It’s easy to find on google…

    Our youth guy is a major mac guy… Has a brand new macbook pro, newest OS all that stuff… Updated ProPresenter as of yesterday and it crashed 3 TIMES last night… And all we’re doing is lyrics. No video. No moving backgrounds. Static lyrics. And it crashed.

    We’ve had MediaShout crash once since we’ve had it, and it was our tech’s fault… Had the same powerpoint show open in powerpoint, AND imported in mediashout… So the two programs were fighting over it.

    We do use quality hardware though. The reason Mac hardware costs so much is that it’s quality hardware. There are alot of really shotty pcs out there. Spend the money to get a good one, and you’ll be impressed.

    We VERY RARELY use DVDs… Only video files. It takes to long to get the disc spinning… and scratches etc. It’s always better to rip it and know that you got it.

    Our Kids’ Pastor was DVD freak, so we built a machine with 4 dvd drives, and he used all of them every week with MediaShout with no issues until the last couple months. Then MS started crashing when he’d try to hit a dvd cue. Not sure what the issue was, but I started getting upset.

    Anyway, after working with Pro for a while, and knowing MS here’s my review-

    Stability- MS

    Interface- Pro

    Video Playback- Tie (as far as i can tell)

    ON THE FLY CHANGES- PRO BY A MILE!

    Ease of use- Pro

    Song Database- MS (we have the db on the network, ability to reorder songs and save, different libraries, search ANY lyric, not just the first of a slide, or title, etc.)

    Bible- Tie

    Video feed- Tie (depends majorly on hardware)

    STUFF PRO HAS THAT MS DOESNT- Built in countdown, Background changes on the fly, transition changes on the fly, drag and drop slide order, easily accessable and viewable background library,

    STUFF MS HAS THAT PRO DOESNT- Song order, copy multiple slides, less chance of screwing up the show by accident (double edged sword), DUAL PLATFORM (with bootcamp)

    FOR ME, stability wins though. MediaShout stability with Pro Interface would be awesome… My 2 cents.

  25. dmorton@rmcconline.org

    We swapped from SongShow to MediaShout about a year ago, and MediaShout has definitely been an improvement. (To be fair, we may not have had the LATEST version of SS, but we do try to stay updated…)

    One of the best features for us has been it’s ability to play pretty much any video we can throw at it. ESPECIALLY AVI’s… There are different codecs for AVIs, but I always install the K-LITE codec pack on any computer we install, and that seems to cover most. It’s easy to find on google…

    Our youth guy is a major mac guy… Has a brand new macbook pro, newest OS all that stuff… Updated ProPresenter as of yesterday and it crashed 3 TIMES last night… And all we’re doing is lyrics. No video. No moving backgrounds. Static lyrics. And it crashed.

    We’ve had MediaShout crash once since we’ve had it, and it was our tech’s fault… Had the same powerpoint show open in powerpoint, AND imported in mediashout… So the two programs were fighting over it.

    We do use quality hardware though. The reason Mac hardware costs so much is that it’s quality hardware. There are alot of really shotty pcs out there. Spend the money to get a good one, and you’ll be impressed.

    We VERY RARELY use DVDs… Only video files. It takes to long to get the disc spinning… and scratches etc. It’s always better to rip it and know that you got it.

    Our Kids’ Pastor was DVD freak, so we built a machine with 4 dvd drives, and he used all of them every week with MediaShout with no issues until the last couple months. Then MS started crashing when he’d try to hit a dvd cue. Not sure what the issue was, but I started getting upset.

    Anyway, after working with Pro for a while, and knowing MS here’s my review-

    Stability- MS

    Interface- Pro

    Video Playback- Tie (as far as i can tell)

    ON THE FLY CHANGES- PRO BY A MILE!

    Ease of use- Pro

    Song Database- MS (we have the db on the network, ability to reorder songs and save, different libraries, search ANY lyric, not just the first of a slide, or title, etc.)

    Bible- Tie

    Video feed- Tie (depends majorly on hardware)

    STUFF PRO HAS THAT MS DOESNT- Built in countdown, Background changes on the fly, transition changes on the fly, drag and drop slide order, easily accessable and viewable background library,

    STUFF MS HAS THAT PRO DOESNT- Song order, copy multiple slides, less chance of screwing up the show by accident (double edged sword), DUAL PLATFORM (with bootcamp)

    FOR ME, stability wins though. MediaShout stability with Pro Interface would be awesome… My 2 cents.

  26. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Hi Dave,

    Some really good comments there. I totally agree that stability is a major issue, and a driving force for making a choice. We have different experiences with that, however. I have seen Media Shout crash far, far too many times, and when it does, it seems to take the whole OS down. So far, ProPresenter has crashed on me once (in 3 months of heavy use), and I was able to restart it without rebooting in a matter of seconds. In actual use, you may be right that it comes down to hardware. My experience is just that ProPresenter is far more stable.

    I was also never able to get Media Shout to play much of anything in the way of video files, even after installing other codecs. Perhaps it’s that I lack any serious Windows skills (I’ve been a Mac guy since 1986…). Then again, with the ProPresenter, I don’t even think about it. They just play.

    I’ve also experienced the DVD cue crashing issue. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. It got to the point that simply inserting a DVD in the drive brought the whole OS down. Again, it could have been a hardware issue, but my Mac has yet to pull that stunt.

    You’re right about the song library, MS does have a good one. I also like that in MS when you edit a chorus (for example) one time the changes ripple through to the other chorus instances. On the other hand, it’s nice to be able to create custom choruses easily.

    Personally, I’m glad we have both. It keeps both companies innovating and developing new features, and it gives guys like me something to blog about!

    Thanks for reading!

  27. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Hi Dave,

    Some really good comments there. I totally agree that stability is a major issue, and a driving force for making a choice. We have different experiences with that, however. I have seen Media Shout crash far, far too many times, and when it does, it seems to take the whole OS down. So far, ProPresenter has crashed on me once (in 3 months of heavy use), and I was able to restart it without rebooting in a matter of seconds. In actual use, you may be right that it comes down to hardware. My experience is just that ProPresenter is far more stable.

    I was also never able to get Media Shout to play much of anything in the way of video files, even after installing other codecs. Perhaps it’s that I lack any serious Windows skills (I’ve been a Mac guy since 1986…). Then again, with the ProPresenter, I don’t even think about it. They just play.

    I’ve also experienced the DVD cue crashing issue. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. It got to the point that simply inserting a DVD in the drive brought the whole OS down. Again, it could have been a hardware issue, but my Mac has yet to pull that stunt.

    You’re right about the song library, MS does have a good one. I also like that in MS when you edit a chorus (for example) one time the changes ripple through to the other chorus instances. On the other hand, it’s nice to be able to create custom choruses easily.

    Personally, I’m glad we have both. It keeps both companies innovating and developing new features, and it gives guys like me something to blog about!

    Thanks for reading!

  28. John

    Finally, a voice of reason. We recently migrated to ProPresenter from MediaSHout.
    Yep, it is a freeze to TEACH! WOW! Big whips.

    The one 2.5 minute video gradually slowed by about 4 nano seconds every second. Thankfully, only the pros in the AV booth notice. BUT really by about 5 minutes it would start to become pretty obvious to the entire audience.
    PLEASE, don't try to blame equipment or releases. We have the current TOP of the line stuff and IT and AV professional support. We are a large church in a very rich area.

    The only transition is a gross blast it out.
    There is no way to edit without being live.
    The font is not try type. We have to work in the church to see what it looks like on the screen.
    There is no way to time screens by the clock. Now we need operators for events that were totally timed by the computer. The music min went up and started and the show ran in media shout.

    ProPresenter does not recognize a title screen. What is up with that? Every song has to have a title.
    But the Apply to All destroys the title.

    All in all for the power of backgrounds being easier, I'd rather have my MediaShout back.

    And the MAC crashes too. Who started the rumor that MAC's are wonderfully stable no matter what. In the middle of a program today it just shut down!

    I feel like the only human left after the apocalypse!

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