Paul Clifford’s Top 7 Reasons to Switch to ProPresenter 7
I don’t work for Renewed Vision, but I’m a long time ProPresenter user.
When I first tried ProPresenter 7 I realized so much had changed about the software, and the more I have used it, I realized those changes are for the better. The more I used it the more I began to realize all the reasons why it was changing, and also started to get really excited by what it could do and what that would mean for churches and other organizations.
Even so, I still hear people ask why they should upgrade to ProPresenter 7 if ProPresenter 6 is working for them.
So, let me outline some of my favorite features and tell you why you should consider it. Maybe you won’t need all of these things, but take a look and see if a few of them don’t spark your interest. Keep in mind… there are hundreds of reasons to switch, these are just some of my personal favorites!
1. Alpha Keyer
With ProPresenter 6, if you wanted to do a linear key and send separate key/fill signals out of the software, you didn’t have a lot of choices. You needed to buy the appropriate Blackmagic hardware (probably the $999 UltraStudio 4k or $500 HD mini) and then pony up another $999 for the Alpha Keyer module.
Maybe you had a hard time convincing your church that you needed worship software in the first place. You could convince them to buy a computer, a switcher, and hardware for live-streaming or recording, but another $1,000 for adding another capability to software you already have, is a hard-sell, harder still if you have multiple venues that needed it.
That all changed with ProPresenter 7 because now that capability is included. Sure, you still need the hardware, but that’s not as much as buying the Alpha Key module, too.
With NDI included as an option, you might not even need additional hardware if you’ve already got a software encoder like OBS running and connected to the ProPresenter computer with a dedicated, hardwired gigabit network.
Either way, if you ever considered buying the Alpha Keyer module and didn’t because of the price, upgrading to Pro7, even the site license, is like buying the Alpha Keyer module and getting a better version of ProPresenter for free.
I alluded to it earlier, but the SDI/NDI module was extra too with ProPresenter 6.
If you needed to send the output of ProPresenter elsewhere on the network, NDI was the right way to do it, but it too cost money.
Now, it’s included. So, if you hadn’t used NDI with ProPresenter before, you can now. Whether you’re sending it to a software encoder on another machine or across the building on the network, adding a new NDI screen is just as easy as adding a new screen that’s physically connected to the computer and THAT is incredible.
Marry it to a Birddog or Magewell NDI to HDMI adapter and you can send the output of ProPresenter anywhere on your network and output it to any display.
3. Multiple Screens
ProPresenter 6 had the multiscreen module which enabled you to send up to three different screens different information using a Matrox TripleHead2Go (or DualHead2Go or Datapath x4).
For stage display, you were limited to one physical screen, although you could use the stage display app for iOS, Android, or AppleTV to do more.
ProPresenter 7 strips away a lot of those limitations.
First, depending on the hardware you have connected to your computer, any output can be any regular resolution up to 4k. What’s even more exciting is that you can mix and match resolutions, so you could have a double-wide center screen at 3840×1080 AND side screens at 800×600, for example.
Pro7 can also do more than three outputs. Maybe you have an LED wall that’s 3840×2160. Pro7 can do it. Maybe you need to send one double-wide output to the center projector, another for the side screens, a third for the live-stream, a fourth for the lobby, and a fifth for distribution in the building to the nursery and family care rooms. Pro7 can do that too.
In fact, the limitation of outputs Pro7 can send is how many the computer can drive, not how many the software can. That means that in five years a beefy computer could be sending a lot more outputs than one could do now, and Renewed Vision won’t have to make big changes to make it happen.
Likewise, stage screens aren’t limited in number and resolution anymore either.
Imagine you want to create a stage screen that’s perfect for the producer, then another that’s perfect for the band, then another for the pastor, who might be in the office until after worship starts, Pro7 can easily send those three distinct stage screens out at the same time on different outputs without the need for the iOS/tvOS/Android apps (although you could still use them if you want).
4. Stage Screens
Stage screens aren’t limited to text or lower resolution live versions of a single output anymore either. You can easily create your own multiview that shows current text, next text, the output of every screen (or just the ones you want to see) as well as any other information you as the ProPresenter operator want to see.
Personal anecdote: When ProPresenter 7.1 came out and it started having the ability to live-stream by itself, I wondered how far I could push the “multiview” concept. So, I added 8 live video sources to it and then set out to create a screen that could preview all eight of them at once as well as show which one was currently active in another window on that screen. Finally, I added in current and next text previews, too. My 2019 MacBook Pro ran it without a hitch. I don’t expect that many churches would need that ability, but it’s surprising that it’s even possible.
5. Windows Support
One of the things I hate the most is a thread on a group that devolves into a platform war. Adults playing their own version of “my dad could beat up your dad” is a truly pitiful thing to behold.
That said, there is one thing that’s worse. That’s when you truly love a piece of software like I love ProPresenter, but you don’t feel right in recommending it on one platform. I was in that spot with ProPresenter 6. There were good reasons why the Windows version wasn’t as powerful as the Mac version, but that didn’t help explain to the church that just bought a tricked out Windows computer why it wouldn’t run Pro6 as well as the old Mac that it replaced.
That’s a thing of the past.
Pro7 is so good on Windows that the Official ProPresenter Users’ Group has had platform wars discussions. Maybe they’re annoying, but at least both players are equal participants now.
Imagine that you use something a lot. You know the ins and outs of it… and then it stops working.
For some of us in production, software can do that. Sometimes software is a labor of love or something that a lone developer works on until he/she doesn’t have free time anymore.
A podcast consultant I’ve listened to for years actually includes “can’t be free” in his bare minimum criteria for podcast hosting for this very reason. He’s seen too many podcast hosts disappear because “free” isn’t a good business model.
Renewed Vision has taken the step necessary to make sure ProPresenter continues on for years to come with ProPresenter+.
Look, I get it. I’m a user too. I don’t now, nor have I ever worked for Renewed Vision, but support and updates cost money.
Imagine if Pro7 came out without ProPresenter+. It didn’t have live-streaming at launch…and it probably wouldn’t have gotten it until Pro8 came out in 2023 or whatever (note: that’s just a guess). Big features need to be held back until the next release to justify their existence…unless you can have users pay a regular, but smaller fee.
That’s what ProPresenter+ is. It’s a regular, but smaller fee that ensures they can keep adding features, fixing bugs, and providing support.
Maybe you don’t like software subscriptions, but they enable constant improvement.
What Renewed Vision has done with ProPresenter+ is even better than a subscription though. Other worship software has a pay every month or your software quits working model.
ProPresenter will keep working even if you quit paying. You won’t get updates but you will still have software that works…until you upgrade the computer or its OS past what your version of ProPresenter can support.
That provides a reason for Renewed Vision to NOT hold back new features as they create them and to continue to provide support for years to come.
7. Live Streaming
With Covid-19, churches all over have discovered that technology isn’t the boogeyman they’d made it out to be. For most, that includes live-streaming.
There are churches that haven’t even had microphones before which now realize they have to skip from the 19th century to the 21st in a very short time.
Pro7.1 makes that a lot easier. If you want to have lyrics, liturgy, and lessons projected, why not add live-streaming, quickly and easily.
For years, doing so meant that you had to employ external software or hardware encoders and capture the output of ProPresenter somehow.
Now, that’s no longer the case. Pro7 is your encoder. It’s an all-in-one solution.
Maybe it’s not as flexible for some churches, but that’s okay, with alpha keying to a hardware switcher, it’s still a great solution for them, too.
Perhaps 2020 will be remembered as the year of COVID-19, but for so many churches it’s also the year of the live-stream, and Pro7.1 makes that a breeze no matter where you are in the spectrum from simple to complex.
These are just some of the features that ProPresenter 7 has brought to market, leaving the competitors in the dust. Maybe you won’t use them all, but I’d bet one or two in this list would make your production faster and easier…and that’s a great reason to upgrade to ProPresenter 7.