Friday, September 14, 2007

Creating song slides in Propresenter

Putting a song into slides has never been easier. When you are using propresenter it is as easy as finding the song either from a pre-formatted CCLI layout (if it is available) or by googling it and doing a select copy to clipboard action. either way you can use a text editor to double check your layout and make corrections before implementing the 'create presentation from clipboard' function.

The best benefit I can tell you about in previewing the song, is that it is easier to edit raw data then formatted and laid out into individual slides data.

Ok lets get started then, Find the song that you want to put into your data base and select the whole song from the title on down to the very last period and use the "

+ C" combination to copy the data and open up your text editor and paste it there. Now if you are certain the layout is already good, you can skip this part and from the propresenter menu do the edit drop down and select create presentation from clipboard function and at every carriage return a new slide will be created till you reach the end of the data on the clipboard. If one of your lines is too long the words are going to be cramped in the slide and you will need to duplicate the slide and edit both so that you have 2 slides instead on one cramped slide. This is the reason behind using the text editor to view and change the layout before you create the presentation.



From you text editor run the song through an mp3 player unless you already are familiar with the song (which is why I always attend the band practice and set up the shows then) While the song is playing listen for the breaks and see if the breaks align up with the end of the lines that you are reading if the rest in the song doesn't line up with the layout in the text editor, select the break point with your mouse so your curser is blinking at the rest and hit the enter key. This creates the carriage return mark that propresenter looks at when dividing the song into slides. when all of the carriage returns line up, then you can do a "Apple A" to select all and then copy it to the clipboard and then from propresenter select the edit drop-down from the menu and select create presentation from clipboard. The first sentence on the document becomes the title for the song and also the first slide. If the title is different, double click the title to open its edit properties up and type the new one in. Drag the newly created song out of the data base and into the playlist and look over the slides again you can now edit some more to make the presentation user friendly.



To make your song presentation easier to use bu your operator, I color code the verses in Blue and the choruses in red, but you can use your own color schemes so while holding down the apple key, select every slide in verse 1 and right click (ctrl click for single button mice) and select color and a drop down of colors appear and select you color. all the slides information panels now will turn that color. go to the first slide and select it and right click and using the drop down select the label and click on the appropriate title for the group either verse chorus, etc. if it is not in the list create a title by using the other. once you have your slides formatted it is now time to view the background elements for your slides to find one appropriate for the song. We use .mov's and have animations created and saved as a QuickTime file play as our background elements and we use the ones that play at as close to the same tempo as the song.



So far this is the basics for a good presentation. Make sure that your dual monitors on you Mac are not set to Mirror, use the 800 x 600 settings as that is the recommended setting for propresenter and lets see how it looks. If you need some good animations to play for the background elements you can go to Free stock footage .com browse through their large collection of animations and etc, download the low res ones for free and if you like them they sell high resolutions for about $25.00 each. but as far as 800 x 600 resolutions are concerned, they look good using the low res ones.



Once you start building up you data base with songs that you use on a regular basis, just search for them using the search function just below the data bases index and as you type letters out for the title, songs that don't meet the search disappear from the index making it easier for you to find the song you want. Then if it is not their, go out and get it and go through the create presentation steps that I have laid out above. Enjoy using the program, It is one of the best if not the best for displaying songs and just about anything else that can be done in a .mov format.



Speaking of movies, you can clear your text, hook up a sound link into your audio out port and play anything through your propresenter that is a .mov ( the .mpg's work too but quick time file are superior to mpegs.) so from the + at the bottom of the backgrounds section, browse for your QuickTime file and make sure you have it saved locally from the network onto your desktop or somewhere easy to find. Network connection are slow usually and if the network goes down during the service, you lose your file if you haven't downloaded it to the desktop. Create a backgrounds play list and apple drag (hold the apple key down and drag using the mouse) the backgrounds into your playlist. They show up in the list and can be moved or even deleted without affecting your master library because these icons are merely shortcuts to the actual files. I usually line up my backgrounds in the order I need them so that I can just go from left to right down the list until the service has finished.



You can use your keynote program to create movies as well. We use a pre-service slide show before and after service to keep our members informed on up coming events and to remind them of the different services offered and to shut their electronic devices while the service is in progress. one the keynote slides are laid out, set them up with preset times and them use the file drop down and select export, click on the QuickTime icon, loop option to create a looping movie. This i now place as the first background in my propresenter backgrounds playlist that I have created. I also have taken the logo for the church and the announcement slides and also have put those in the backgrounds playlist and then I organize them by the order that they are needed which usually is determined by the pastor in charge of the service layout and had a program sheet with the layout for the service mapped on it.



Click on your pre-service .mov and you are up and running. when the first song is getting ready to be played by the band select the clear all from the propresenter menu above the slides layout section and select the first song in your playlist. It doesn't show up on the screen until you select a slide from the layout.so I usually start a background movie first then the first song slide as the singer hits the first word in the song. and so on till you are done. If you like using multiple backgrounds in your songs you can scroll to the next background by using the apple key and the arrow facing the direction you want to go to get to the next background. and that background will start playing. This is a great benefit to keeping your songs looking great.
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