I haven't been writing much about ProPresenter lately. Mainly because I haven't been using it that much since my transition to Coast Hills. Right now, we use Keynote exclusively for our presentation needs (at least in the main room). That's about to change, however. Recently, Renewed Vision announced Version 4, and have already revealed a few key new features that will be, in my opinion, game changers.
One thing that has kept us from making the change to ProPresenter is it's very limited type engine. Sure, you can align top, middle and bottom; left, center and right, but that's about it. We have a very talented woman doing our lyric graphics each week and she likes a little more control. ProPresenter 4 is going to make her very happy. Soon, we'll have the ability to have multiple text (and other) objects on a slide, wherever we want. Combine that with additional typographic controls and you have a new display engine that may at least come close to what we can do in Keynote from a layout perspective. That's a biggie, but the next feature is even bigger.
Right now, we run two presentation computers; each running a different version of our weekend graphics package. One goes to the big screen, the other goes to a stage display for the band and vocalists. The big screen is all styled and pretty with backgrounds, the stage display is white on black. I don't have to tell you what a pain it is to have to manage two Keynote files, on two computers, not to mention cuing them at the same time. Well no more. ProPresenter 4 will have the ability to output to a third display. The display appears to be pretty customizable, with the ability to do just what we need--big white type on a black background. It even includes a clock and a timer. I have to say, the timer is a huge feature for me. We have this crazy clock/timer that takes a masters degree in engineering to figure out how to set and run the countdown timer. I'm hoping the one in Pro4 will be something like, click on a timer window, enter a time and hit go. 'Cause that would be awesome! (OK, I've been struggling with the clock of late--what can I say...)
They also included new presentation views, including the ability to view your playlist as one continuous strip, much like MediaShout does. It looks like you can see just thumbnails or small thumbnails with text. Pretty cool if you want to just run straight through a program.
On Friday, it was announced that Pro4 will also include a PowerPoint importer. PPT files can be imported as JPGs will all graphics and formatting in tact, as new text slides that you can format yourself, or as text slides with the graphics and backgrounds. I asked Brad Weston about a Keynote importer on Twitter and he replied that Apple does not have sufficient communications abilities in Keynote for them to do it. Bummer! So that means we'll still be exporting as JPGs and running sermon notes that way. Unless the new version of Pro has sufficient tools to create the sermon notes right there. Could be!
As always, I'm excited to see what they come up with next. Renewed Vision has been announcing a new feature every few days. You can follow them on Twitter, or check out the special Version 4 page on their website. Actual availability is expected sometime in October (if I had to guess, they're shooting to have it ready by WFX). More to come as soon as I get my hands on a version to play with!