Audiovisual Upgrade Part 2: The Presentations

In the prior blog in this series, we introduced you to the audio portion of our upgrades done earlier this year.  This blog will be quite a bit shorter, but is covering another important aspect - not a piece of equipment so much, but what we use to enhance the worship experience for both long-time members, and those walking in the door for the first time.  I am speaking about the presentation that is displayed on the LED screen.

As we worked through the process with our AV contractor, it became more and more obvious that a simple "PowerPoint" solution would not provide us our needs.  Some of us looked/spoke with other churches in town; some of us did online research, but we quickly came to a consensus of what we needed:  A software package called ProPresenter.  ProPresenter is basically the gold standard of church worship graphics, meeting not only all of our current needs, but providing us with so much room to grow in the future.

We realized early on that the laptop we had been using with the old system would not meet the needs of the new upgrades, so we began searching for solutions.  We finally settled on a system powerful enough to handle our needs, but that would not be prohibitively expensive.  In my car I jumped, making a drive to Kansas City to pick up our new systems at MicroCenter.

This computer is a PowerSpec Intel i7 10th generation processor with 16GB of RAM and 1TB of onboard storage, more than enough to meet our needs.  Once I picked it up, I ran it through all the necessary Windows updates and upgraded it to Windows 11.  We then added one more piece of hardware into it:  a DECLink Duo card from BlackMagicDesigns.  This card is what sends the ProPresenter feed to our video switcher.  It also provides expansion for up to 3 more video feeds if necessary.




We are a little limited in this, meaning that we cannot show video from outside ProPresenter, such as something from YouTube, or movies.  However, our AV contractor did think of of that.  We have the ability to tie in other computers into our video switcher, both back at the AV area, and also from behind the organ.  We have devices known as Decimator SDI Cross-Converters that allow another computer to "talk" to our video switcher.  This allows us a great deal of flexibility in putting information up both in-house on the LED screen, and also out onto our live stream.

The weekly presentations in ProPresenter are developed throughout the week and are usually done by Wednesday.  We convert the hymn lyrics and psalms into ProPresenter, usually at home, bring them into the church and import them into ProPresenter.  Once that is done, the announcements and Title Screens are updated, and then separate "playlists" are built for Saturday and Sunday worship services.  

The end result is a series of screens that the graphics operator moves through to show, when appropriate, the liturgy, psalm, and song lyrics.  The Graphics operator has to work in close coordination with the camera operator to switch between ProPresenter presentation screens/camera shots during the worship service.  That is done using the video switcher - but that is a topic for another blog!





Bryan Irvine
Production Coordinator

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