Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

New Keynote / ProPresenter Workflow

As most of you know, we switched from MediaShout to ProPresenter a few months ago. The process has been very smooth, and I’m very glad we made the change. The only small wrinkle in the system is how we deal with sermon note slides. With MediaShout, we created the slides in PowerPoint, then imported that deck into MediaShout.  MediaShout played the PowerPoint presentation back just like we were actually in PowerPoint. This was both good and bad. It’s good because if we needed to make a last-minute change to a slide, we switched to PPT, made the change and refreshed the cue in MS. That worked well. The bad was that the integration never felt that tight. Sure, it worked, but if you had a build slide, MS only shows one thumbnail and no indication that it is a build. And random access to slides was dicey (then again maybe your pastor never changes up his or her sermon on the fly?).

With ProPresenter, we use Keynote for creating sermon slides. We could use PowerPoint, but Keynote is so much better there’s no point. After we build the slides in Keynote, we export them as JPGs (Keynote automatically serial numbers them, including build steps), and import them into Pro. Once the slides are in Pro, they act like any other element. All steps of the builds are visible and accessible, we can access any one at any time and it’s generally very easy to move through a message. Except…

The fly in this wonderful ointment appears when we need to make a change. Normally, we create the slides in the early afternoon on Sunday (we meet Sunday nights, remember) and import them into Pro. During run-through we proof the slides. It’s not uncommon to find a typo at this point. Thankfully, these are easy to fix, we simply switch to Keynote, make the change and re-export—overwriting the existing files. On playback, Pro calls the new files and all is well in the kingdom. Except…

There are times when we need to add a slide. Sometimes as the pastor is tweaking his message he changes a few things. Other times, we discover there is a better way to present a build (like I did this past Sunday), and we need to do a wholesale re-arrange. This is where it gets sticky.

It all comes down to how you build your Keynote. If you create your build steps manually, it’s not that big a deal. You can delete your existing slides from the Pro presentation, and re-import the whole lot of them and be fine. If however, you employ Keynote’s build feature to create the builds for you, there often needs to be some re-arranging of slides in Pro. Other times we’ll start a build, step out to a scripture slide, and come back to the build. Rather than create multiple copies of the same slide, I just duplicate it in Pro (which simply calls the same file multiple times). The long and the short of it is this; exporting the slides early in the day often leads to a few more steps of exporting and re-arranging. This Sunday, I hit on the solution; Don’t do it. Well, at least not until the last minute.

Our new workflow, starting this Sunday will be to keep the slides in Keynote right up until a few minutes before doors open. We will freeze the presentation at 4:30 (service is at 5:00, doors open at 4:45), which means no more changes. We’ll do a quick export, set it up in Pro (which normally takes a minute or two) and we’re done. We’ll proof the slides in Keynote during run-through, so if there are changes, they can be made on the fly right there, saving us a few steps. Once I get the pastor’s sermon at 4:30 I can scan it to see if we need to make any changes to the way we’re built, then export. I’ll let you know how it goes, but I feel really good about this change right now.

The alternative of course, is to just run the sermon notes from Keynote. My problem with this is twofold. First, when Keynote is in Presentation mode, it takes over the graphics card, and changing from Pro to Keynote causes the screen to dip to black for a second. I don’ t like this (call me a perfectionist if you want…). Second, while I like Keynote’s presentation mode better than PowerPoint’s, I like Pro much better because you can see the whole deck at once. In our world, random access is important. Your mileage may vary.

Looking back over this post, I realized it took me more time to explain it than it will take to implement the change. Hopefully it will save someone some time! 

20 Comments

  1. daniel.m@ranchocommunity.org

    I have a serious love/hate relationship with these kinds of moments. It’s good to know you’re improving your system, but you also realize you’ve been doing things the hard way for a long time!

  2. daniel.m@ranchocommunity.org

    I have a serious love/hate relationship with these kinds of moments. It’s good to know you’re improving your system, but you also realize you’ve been doing things the hard way for a long time!

  3. rusty@rustik.com.au

    That’s really interesting using Keynote and ProP. Our church is pretty much doing the exact same thing, but using keynote for the word, as we want to keep all the animations (during and transitioning slides). Would I be correct in assuming there are no animations if you export keynote slides as jpegs?

    We have had the same problem you mentioned with keynote though – not being able to see the whole presentation (or at least 5 slides) ahead. I can’t find out anywhere how to change this, have you heard anything?

    Thanks

  4. rusty@rustik.com.au

    That’s really interesting using Keynote and ProP. Our church is pretty much doing the exact same thing, but using keynote for the word, as we want to keep all the animations (during and transitioning slides). Would I be correct in assuming there are no animations if you export keynote slides as jpegs?

    We have had the same problem you mentioned with keynote though – not being able to see the whole presentation (or at least 5 slides) ahead. I can’t find out anywhere how to change this, have you heard anything?

    Thanks

  5. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Hey Rusty,

    You are correct, we loose all the animations when we export as JPGs. This doesn’t really trouble me as I’m not a huge fan of animations during a sermon anyway (I find them more distracting than helpful).

    As far as I know, there is no way to see slides any further than the next slide (or the first step of the next build) in Keynote. Keynote is great for individual presentation, that is when the presenter is cueing the slides. I like it less for following along with someone else. That’s why we run the presentation from ProPresenter. If the pastor jumps ahead, we can get there directly, without punching through any slides in between.

  6. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Hey Rusty,

    You are correct, we loose all the animations when we export as JPGs. This doesn’t really trouble me as I’m not a huge fan of animations during a sermon anyway (I find them more distracting than helpful).

    As far as I know, there is no way to see slides any further than the next slide (or the first step of the next build) in Keynote. Keynote is great for individual presentation, that is when the presenter is cueing the slides. I like it less for following along with someone else. That’s why we run the presentation from ProPresenter. If the pastor jumps ahead, we can get there directly, without punching through any slides in between.

  7. awhitespace@gmail.com

    We use both regularly for our presentations at the Luis Palau Association. We toggle between them – our presentations have many animations and embedded video clips.

    Dipping to black isn’t evil! It’s all how it’s handled. Make a slow fade to black first in PP, then switch to KN. It looks intentional. Our speaker and I will have a handout of the slides, so he knows what’s next; I can jump to a slide if called upon.

    Not every kind of presentation needs this, of course. I find exporting from KN necessary sometimes (such as logo slides, announcements, etc.). Keynote is a great design tool. I just try and find the right combination for the needs of the moment.

    If I really need a Keynote animation in PP, I render it out as a movie, then import into PP.

    I know the Renewed Vision guys had hoped for a “Keynote API” that would let PP directly play Keynote files (like Mediashout + PPT does, sorta), but Apple never released one. =(

  8. awhitespace@gmail.com

    We use both regularly for our presentations at the Luis Palau Association. We toggle between them – our presentations have many animations and embedded video clips.

    Dipping to black isn’t evil! It’s all how it’s handled. Make a slow fade to black first in PP, then switch to KN. It looks intentional. Our speaker and I will have a handout of the slides, so he knows what’s next; I can jump to a slide if called upon.

    Not every kind of presentation needs this, of course. I find exporting from KN necessary sometimes (such as logo slides, announcements, etc.). Keynote is a great design tool. I just try and find the right combination for the needs of the moment.

    If I really need a Keynote animation in PP, I render it out as a movie, then import into PP.

    I know the Renewed Vision guys had hoped for a “Keynote API” that would let PP directly play Keynote files (like Mediashout + PPT does, sorta), but Apple never released one. =(

  9. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Allan,

    You’re right, a dip to black isn’t evil. As long as it’s done at the right time and in the right way, it can serve as a great way to mark a transition. In our context, we could get away with it based on how we do our transitions, but I prefer having the entire collection of message slides in front of me, something I don’t get with Keynote. Plus, I’m not a huge fan of transitions, so I don’t miss them.

    The great thing is, there are many ways to get to the same end, and we can choose how to get there based on the results we want. That’s one of the many reasons I chose this as our presentation platform.

    Thanks for reading!

  10. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Allan,

    You’re right, a dip to black isn’t evil. As long as it’s done at the right time and in the right way, it can serve as a great way to mark a transition. In our context, we could get away with it based on how we do our transitions, but I prefer having the entire collection of message slides in front of me, something I don’t get with Keynote. Plus, I’m not a huge fan of transitions, so I don’t miss them.

    The great thing is, there are many ways to get to the same end, and we can choose how to get there based on the results we want. That’s one of the many reasons I chose this as our presentation platform.

    Thanks for reading!

  11. mattrdudley@myrealbox.com

    Just a quick question for those doing their “talk” in Keynote… how do you pop up announcements? Please forgive me for perhaps asking a simple question but we’ve not got Keynote on our Mac (yet) and I was wondering about this. It’s important for us to be able to fire up an announcement as we run a kids ministry and we may need a parent’s attention mid-sermon.

    Thanks

  12. mattrdudley@myrealbox.com

    Just a quick question for those doing their “talk” in Keynote… how do you pop up announcements? Please forgive me for perhaps asking a simple question but we’ve not got Keynote on our Mac (yet) and I was wondering about this. It’s important for us to be able to fire up an announcement as we run a kids ministry and we may need a parent’s attention mid-sermon.

    Thanks

  13. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Hey Matt,

    In Keynote, there’s not an easy way to do this. It’s not really designed for that kind of functionality. You would have to end presentation mode (which would blank your display screens), edit the slide to put up a child number or announcement, and re-enter presentation mode. It wouldn’t look seamless at all.

    Most church presentation software has a provision for this. Our church actually uses a restaurant-style pager system, but if we needed to, it would be easy to pop up a quick announcement over whatever is on the screen.

    –mike

  14. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Hey Matt,

    In Keynote, there’s not an easy way to do this. It’s not really designed for that kind of functionality. You would have to end presentation mode (which would blank your display screens), edit the slide to put up a child number or announcement, and re-enter presentation mode. It wouldn’t look seamless at all.

    Most church presentation software has a provision for this. Our church actually uses a restaurant-style pager system, but if we needed to, it would be easy to pop up a quick announcement over whatever is on the screen.

    –mike

  15. mattrdudley@myrealbox.com

    Thanks for the very quick response Mike. I think we’ll have to export Keynote slides into images for the time being then.

    Many thanks,

    God bless!

  16. mattrdudley@myrealbox.com

    Thanks for the very quick response Mike. I think we’ll have to export Keynote slides into images for the time being then.

    Many thanks,

    God bless!

  17. bpetersen@pureheart.org

    Would I be able to get a keynote file from you. I took over the job of Tech for our church and have been using Powerpoint for a while now. However with us moving to ProPresenter this week…I have heard alot about keynote. So was just looking for a sermon build on it…so i can see an example and maybe move that way.

    Thanks in advance –

    Ben

  18. bpetersen@pureheart.org

    Would I be able to get a keynote file from you. I took over the job of Tech for our church and have been using Powerpoint for a while now. However with us moving to ProPresenter this week…I have heard alot about keynote. So was just looking for a sermon build on it…so i can see an example and maybe move that way.

    Thanks in advance –

    Ben

  19. djohnson@newlifechurch.tv

    We use ProPresenter for everything.
    Video
    notes
    worship lyrics
    dvd playback
    We take the notes and copy them, then create a new pres. from copied text. We then will use a image for our background.if you use different images for each slide you can assoiciated it to change automaticly. this makes changing the notes on the fly super easy.

  20. djohnson@newlifechurch.tv

    We use ProPresenter for everything.
    Video
    notes
    worship lyrics
    dvd playback
    We take the notes and copy them, then create a new pres. from copied text. We then will use a image for our background.if you use different images for each slide you can assoiciated it to change automaticly. this makes changing the notes on the fly super easy.

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