Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

ProPresenter 4 Workflow Tips

While running ProPresenter this past weekend, I was reminded again of how much I like that program. Both powerful and easy to use, ProPresenter 4 gets words on the screen like nothing else. I haven’t written about Pro in a while, and I thought it was time to revisit the topic.

The first thing you’ll notice about ProPresenter at Coast Hills is that the songs are all color-coded. As you probably know by now, I’m a bit CDO (that’s OCD in alphabetical order), and I like to keep things organized. There are a few features in Pro that help facilitate that. 

Click for largerAs you can see in the screen shot above, each element of the song is colored differently. I developed this method at Upper Room while I was TD there. Our worship leaders there had the tendency to randomly jump around in the song. To make it easier when they looped back to a chorus, I color-coded each element. There’s nothing significant about the colors, it’s just what I chose.

  • Blue=Verse
  • Purple=Chorus
  • Pink=Pre-Chorus
  • Orange=Bridge
  • Yellow=Blank (or instrumental)
  • Red=Tag
  • Black=Blackout
  • Green=Anything else

At Coast, our worship leaders are really quite good about sticking to the order they rehearse in. Still, it’s nice to have a quick visual reference of where we are in the song, simply by looking at the colors. 

You’ll also notice that each slide is labeled with the part of the song it represents. Songs with multiple slides in each verse would be named like this:

  • Verse 1-A
  • Verse 1-B
  • Verse 2-A
  • Verse 2-B

If there is a single verse, chorus or bridge, I just use A, B, C, etc.. The reason go to this level of labeling is to ease moving songs parts around. I found when dealing with volunteers who don’t do this every week, it’s best to keep things as organized as possible. Because there can be a lot of slides for a song, it’s easy to accidentally get a few of them out of order and not realize it. Labeling them not only by what section they are (verse 1, chorus 2, etc.) but by each slide helps make sure everything stays organized.

It used to be a little tedious to color code and label each slide. In Pro4, we have the ability to build a custom label menu that includes color coding. So while it took me 5-10 minutes to set up, I can now completely label a song in under a minute.

Again, you can see my CDO coming out in the organization of the menu. They also include an “Other…” option if you have a very unusual section, or if you like to make notes. I use the Other… label a lot to write a note about how long an instrumental bridge might be (8 bars). That keeps the  operators from bringing the next slide up too early.

Those are a few of my favorite, or at least most useful features of Pro4. What tricks and tips do you have to share with the class?

Today’s post is brought to you by the Roland R-1000. The R-1000 is a multi-channel recorder/player ideal for the V-Mixing System or any MADI equipped console or environment. Ideal for virtual sound checks, multi-channel recording, and playback.

18 Comments

  1. andy@andrewc.info

    Great post Mike! I'm going to put this exact method into practice as well as share it with the appropriate people at my church so they can consider using it as we transition into using ProPresenter4 on a weekly basis.

    Also curious, how does your church handle CCLI information as far as showing on screen?

  2. andy@andrewc.info

    Great post Mike! I'm going to put this exact method into practice as well as share it with the appropriate people at my church so they can consider using it as we transition into using ProPresenter4 on a weekly basis.

    Also curious, how does your church handle CCLI information as far as showing on screen?

  3. quattlebaum@me.com

    I love this technique. I think I picked up your 'Verse 1-A' practice from an earlier post, but I've been doing the color coding for a few years now. It's such a help when volunteers (I say that like I'm not one) are running the system. Default colors for a label were the feature I was most excited about.

    On a related subject, I was wondering whether you (or your volunteers) use the continuous view or move from one song to another.

  4. quattlebaum@me.com

    I love this technique. I think I picked up your 'Verse 1-A' practice from an earlier post, but I've been doing the color coding for a few years now. It's such a help when volunteers (I say that like I'm not one) are running the system. Default colors for a label were the feature I was most excited about.

    On a related subject, I was wondering whether you (or your volunteers) use the continuous view or move from one song to another.

  5. madmoe@gmail.com

    We use ProPresenter as well and recently upgraded to version 4. You can advance from slide to slide using the right/left cursor keys. The thing that takes new trainies by surprise is that if you hit the up/down cursor keys, you move between songs, not rows of slides. We tell the new users to think of the song slides as chained together side, from slide 1 to the last slide. You move along the chain, but across the chain.

    I usually avoid the issue by using the mouse to click on the slide I want to go to.

    As for the CCLI, number, we have a CCLI slide we always display at the end of the song with all the copyright data.

    Some other cool things, countdown timers, instant messages (like nursery calls) ability to que a DVD to a particular segment.

  6. madmoe@gmail.com

    We use ProPresenter as well and recently upgraded to version 4. You can advance from slide to slide using the right/left cursor keys. The thing that takes new trainies by surprise is that if you hit the up/down cursor keys, you move between songs, not rows of slides. We tell the new users to think of the song slides as chained together side, from slide 1 to the last slide. You move along the chain, but across the chain.

    I usually avoid the issue by using the mouse to click on the slide I want to go to.

    As for the CCLI, number, we have a CCLI slide we always display at the end of the song with all the copyright data.

    Some other cool things, countdown timers, instant messages (like nursery calls) ability to que a DVD to a particular segment.

  7. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Andrew,
    We've been bad about that. We show the title of the song and the author at the beginning, but that's all.

    Ryan,
    We don't use continuous view. I never really liked it, and I think that was included to appease those coming over from Media Shout. To me it's an out-moded way of viewing it. But that's just me.

    Michael,
    Here's another one; use the numeric keys on the keyboard to jump directly to any slide in a presentation. For example, "2" "1" "enter" will take you directly to slide 21. Cool.

    mike

  8. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Andrew,
    We've been bad about that. We show the title of the song and the author at the beginning, but that's all.

    Ryan,
    We don't use continuous view. I never really liked it, and I think that was included to appease those coming over from Media Shout. To me it's an out-moded way of viewing it. But that's just me.

    Michael,
    Here's another one; use the numeric keys on the keyboard to jump directly to any slide in a presentation. For example, "2" "1" "enter" will take you directly to slide 21. Cool.

    mike

  9. filip.suciu@gmail.com

    How do you guys handle sunday-morning-10-minutes-before-service Powerpoint presentations?

    I'm also wondering if there's any way to migrate a 200+ song library from powerpoint to propresenter that doesn't involve me cursing like a sailor? (PPT import somehow doesn't work on my mac).

  10. filip.suciu@gmail.com

    How do you guys handle sunday-morning-10-minutes-before-service Powerpoint presentations?

    I'm also wondering if there's any way to migrate a 200+ song library from powerpoint to propresenter that doesn't involve me cursing like a sailor? (PPT import somehow doesn't work on my mac).

  11. nickross95@gmail.com

    Hi Mike,

    Great post we just converted over from SundayPlus to ProPresenter and I'm now in the process of converting all 1,800+ of our Sunday+ songs to Pro. Perhaps you could do an article about how you organize your background slides, both motion backs and stills.

    Thanks!

  12. nickross95@gmail.com

    Hi Mike,

    Great post we just converted over from SundayPlus to ProPresenter and I'm now in the process of converting all 1,800+ of our Sunday+ songs to Pro. Perhaps you could do an article about how you organize your background slides, both motion backs and stills.

    Thanks!

  13. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Filip,
    10-minutes before the service PowerPoints? We have a simple way of handling that. We don't. That's way too much stress to put on the tech team, and it's not a recipe for a successful service. So we don't do it. Our pastor knows he needs to get his info to us by noon on Saturday for a 5 PM service. That gives us enough time to build the slides. In previous churches, I had a pastor who would try to email his notes for the 5 PM service at 4 or 4:30. I finally negotiated that back to 2 PM. Any later and I had the option of saying, "Sorry, we're too late."

    As for the PowerPoint import, perhaps the easiest way would be to export each song as a text file (or copy the text in outline mode in PPT), then select "Import copied text…" from the File menu in ProPresenter. It's a bit tedious, but better than retyping.

    Nick,
    1,800 songs!?! Yikes! I think we have fewer than 200. Do you really sing that many or is that the default library that came with Sunday +? If it were me, I would cull that list down to the songs that actually get used.

    mike

  14. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Filip,
    10-minutes before the service PowerPoints? We have a simple way of handling that. We don't. That's way too much stress to put on the tech team, and it's not a recipe for a successful service. So we don't do it. Our pastor knows he needs to get his info to us by noon on Saturday for a 5 PM service. That gives us enough time to build the slides. In previous churches, I had a pastor who would try to email his notes for the 5 PM service at 4 or 4:30. I finally negotiated that back to 2 PM. Any later and I had the option of saying, "Sorry, we're too late."

    As for the PowerPoint import, perhaps the easiest way would be to export each song as a text file (or copy the text in outline mode in PPT), then select "Import copied text…" from the File menu in ProPresenter. It's a bit tedious, but better than retyping.

    Nick,
    1,800 songs!?! Yikes! I think we have fewer than 200. Do you really sing that many or is that the default library that came with Sunday +? If it were me, I would cull that list down to the songs that actually get used.

    mike

  15. nickross95@gmail.com

    Mike,

    We have both traditional and contemporary services so we had all 200 of the contemporaries, 388 of the current hymnal and almost 400 of the old hymnals. About 700 were the ones that came with S+. I weeded it down to about 600 or so but it still took about a week. Hopefully, it will be a MUCH better improvement… Just getting to a Mac instead of a PC is a better change in my opinion πŸ™‚

  16. nickross95@gmail.com

    Mike,

    We have both traditional and contemporary services so we had all 200 of the contemporaries, 388 of the current hymnal and almost 400 of the old hymnals. About 700 were the ones that came with S+. I weeded it down to about 600 or so but it still took about a week. Hopefully, it will be a MUCH better improvement… Just getting to a Mac instead of a PC is a better change in my opinion πŸ™‚

  17. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Nick,
    Makes sense. I think Sunday + and Media Shout included hundreds of old songs to make it look like they were providing a great value. But if no one sings them anymore…

    And you're right, going from PC to a Mac is a win any day of the week!
    mike

  18. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Nick,
    Makes sense. I think Sunday + and Media Shout included hundreds of old songs to make it look like they were providing a great value. But if no one sings them anymore…

    And you're right, going from PC to a Mac is a win any day of the week!
    mike

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