Someone asked me if I would share our organizational structure for our ProPresenter machine. I’m happy to do so, but it should be noted that the overall system isn’t original to me. Most of it was in place before I arrived at Coast, and because it worked so well, we’ve only made minor tweaks.
Let me start with some perspective. In our Main Auditorium, we run Pro4 on a MacPro. We have a great Communications Director named Ken Hammond who produces most of our graphics for the weekend (save the sermon notes; those are made on Saturday in Keynote by the presentation tech). Ken has a MacPro in his office to create on. We also have a media server on our network that acts as the storage hub and archive of weekend graphics.
Inside the media server, we have a folder labeled Weekend GFX & Videos. Inside that folder is a folder for each year. Inside each year is a folder for, you guessed it, each weekend.
Inside each weekend folder, we have two additional folders; Pre Roll & Verbals. Every week, Ken pulls together all the slides needed for the walk-in pre service loop and puts them in the Pre Roll folder. All the slides for the announcements (read live during the service) go in the Announcements folder. To make sure we always have the right slides in the presentations, every week we delete any existing slides from the PreRoll and Verbals (the shortened form of Announcements) presentations, and drag the entire contents of those folders into their respective presentations. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
On the Pro4 MacPro, we have a similar structure. At the root of the hard drive, we have a folder called Keynote (a holdover from the days when they actually used Keynote for presentation). Inside we have the same folder structure as on the media server. Each weekend, the presentation tech copies the weekend folder from the media server to the local HD, leaving it loose inside the Keynote folder. We keep the current weekend folder loose in the Keynote folder as we are in and out of there a lot on any given Saturday. The previous weekend’s folder is filed away in the appropriate archive.
Once the files are local, they are dragged into the appropriate presentations. Also in the folder on the media server might be a video or two, and any other special graphics that might be needed for the weekend. As Ken prepares for the weekend, he’ll file the previous weekend’s folder in the archive on the server. It’s all quite orderly.
Once everything is in ProPresenter, we have a simple system for keeping things organized. Of course we have a complete library of songs that we sing on a regular basis. We keep this library pretty clean and purge it once or twice a year. To my way of thinking, it’s so easy to pull in new songs, there’s no sense in letting the library get into the thousands of songs. If we do a song once, it will live in the library for a while, but if we don’t do it again in six months or so, we kick it to the curb.
Each weekend, we create a new Keynote file for the sermon graphics. That file goes in the local weekend folder in a folder called Message. When the slides are created, they are exported to that message folder with the clever name of message.XXX.jpg. ProPresenter will auto-sort the slides when we drag it into the Message presentation (that has already been purged of last week’s slides).
Our Presentation Coordinator, Monica Castorena, will typically create the templates for each series. She picks out a collection of backgrounds that can be used for the songs and makes up a playlist for them in the Backgrounds/Video tab. Our presentation techs can then pull from those backgrounds for songs. They can also apply a template that works with the background. Usually, she’ll create 2-3 templates per series to work with the varying backgrounds. Again, we try to keep the template menu pretty sparse; having too many is just confusing and we like to minimize confusion.
We have a Weekend playlist and a MidWeek playlist. Those get updated each week with the new songs; though on the weekend, we always use the same playlist for verbals and pre-roll (the slides always all change, however).
Getting back to our image library, we have a huge library locally on the MacPro, and have that organized by image type. Sometimes Monica will pull a collection of backgrounds from there, other times she’ll buy new images. Either way, we typically only populate the library in Pro4 with images we are using for the current series. Each series lasts 8-10 weeks or more, so we’re not moving stuff in and out a lot.
So that’s pretty much it. It’s not particularly magical, nor is it hard to implement. But it is elegant and effective. It’s easy to find things, and we have a high degree of consistency. We also have shortcuts in the sidebar to each folder to make things easier to get to.