Why Proclaim Won't Work for Us Right Now

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Posts 41
Rick Goettsche | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Oct 21 2011 1:00 PM

Hi, I'm the associate pastor at a small-medium (200+ member) church in rural Illinois. We have used multimedia in our worship services for a couple of years now and have found it incredibly valuable. We have been using MediaShout version 3.5 for about 5 years (we used it before we installed our permanent system in our sanctuary). That program does a lot of things well, but there are a number of annoyances we have often run into with it. We've been looking at upgrading our presentation software and were intrigued by Proclaim.

Probably the thing that most attracted us to Proclaim was the ability for multiple people to put together presentations from different locations. Our Senior Pastor and I currently have to sit down at the computer in the sanctuary to prepare our presentations if we want to be sure it will work properly. After trying out Proclaim, I have to say that feature really is nice. We had each done things to a given presentation from different computers at several different times, and those changes all showed up on our computer in the sanctuary.

Unfortunately, there are several other things that are deal-breakers for us at this point.

  • The inability to edit the formatting of text on a variety of different slides. While I have read Mr. Pritchett's explanation on trying to make Proclaim easy to use, I don't think that it's a good idea to completely remove the ability to make detailed changes, as those of us with more technical abilities would like to change things, but can't. An example of this was that I wanted to be able to increase the size of text on my song slides, but as near as I can tell, Proclaim locks me in to the size it believes is best. The same is true with the text crawl and nursery number features. I would like the ability to control how these things are displayed--or to at least set up my own defaults or templates that others can use to achieve the look I want with little effort. It's possible I am missing something, but without the ability to make these changes, the software doesn't feel like something that warrants its price tag.
  • No access to local content. While I understand the cloud paradigm requires that content ultimately be put online, that process is very slow, and it takes a while to synchronize. We don't have the fastest internet in our sanctuary, so if we have put any sort of media into the presentation remotely, it isn't ready to play right away.
  • Having to upload videos for transcoding. This is related to the previous point. Again, I understand that transcoding everything ensures that it will play properly (which was not always the case in Mediashout), but for a video clip of much length, the quality suffers because of the size restrictions. If we have a file in an HD format locally, it would be nice to be able to play it at or near that same level of quality. Also, the need for the lengthy transcoding process means that spur of the moment changes (which are frequent in many churches) can't easily be accommodated.
  • Powerpoint integration, or lack thereof. I may have missed it, but haven't seen the ability to quickly import a Powerpoint presentation and present it through Proclaim. Missionaries, visiting pastors, and other speakers almost always bring their slideshows in Powerpoint format, and we will generally get them about 15 minutes prior to the service. I need the ability to copy the presentation from their flash drive and quickly import it into the software so that it will work. This is another situation where waiting for an upload>transcode>download process seems unfeasible.

There have been other annoyances with the software that are not nearly as severe in my mind, and that I chalk up to my own inexperience at this point, but the things I mention above are more than minor annoyances to me--they will be things that will ultimately make me want to throw the computer out the window. I would love to see much more control given to users who won't be overwhelmed by it(maybe in some sort of advanced mode, so as not to confuse everyone else). One of the things I really like about Mediashout is that it gives me the ability to control the behavior of almost every aspect of our presentations. I understand that level of control can be overwhelming for many users, but still others will enjoy being able to tweak things the way they like. I am no expert in software, but I wonder if there is a way to allow finer control to those who want it while allowing it to be invisible to those who don't. Also, I'd love it if there was a way for us to import our song library from Mediashout. I understand the emphasis on using SongSelect (which we don't currently use), but it would sure be easier (at least initially) to just transport the library.

My intention really isn't to be negative or to be offensive, but rather to give the developers some input from my perspective. I am not completely writing off Proclaim, but at this point it simply is not a viable option for our church. Maybe our usage case is different from most, but maybe not. I don't frequent the user forums a whole lot, but will try to keep checking back to see if I have misunderstood or overlooked something. Thanks for striving to make software that meets the specific needs of churches!

Posts 8
Matt Mencel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Oct 23 2011 8:10 AM

Hi Rick,

This is Matt from over at Argyle...just a few miles away.  :)

Interesting observations and I pretty much agree with all your points.  We're trying Proclaim live in our service for the second week.  I like it for a lot of reasons, but there is still room for improvement.

For video and PPT stuff....for the moment we're just doing it externally, and switching out to the PPT program or VLC to play videos.  I don't think we've actually tried to do any of that live yet.  Just not possible to quickly do any of that in Proclaim yet.

Those of us at rural churches usually don't have the advantage of having 10Mbit+ Internet connections.  I think ours might be 1Mbit.  Uploading videos is really not an option for us either.

Matt

Posts 41
Rick Goettsche | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 25 2011 1:32 PM

Hey Matt! I thought it was funny to see someone I know reply to my post! I suspect you guys are in very much the same situation as us. We have slightly faster internet than we used to, but still it isn't anything blazing. I am also concerned about what the server loads will be like on Sunday mornings and on Saturdays (when I expect lots of people are finishing their presentations). It could really slow it down even more. We haven't tried running Proclaim in a live setting yet for a number of reasons, but it's primarily that I don't want to try to teach our media team new software until I know we'll actually be using it. If you find things that work for you, please let me know!

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