I've been following this project for a few years and when it initially came out it was very buggy but the project has grown and more developers have joined the team. They recently (within the past year) launched version 2 and I only played around with it on my local computer and didn't seem to have nearly as many problems. In fact, I can't remember any specific, just that it had a few minor bug. I think it's a great piece of software, especially for FREE. I would definitely take a look at it.
We've been using OpenLP v1 for a few years at our church, and it works very well for us. Previously we were using PowerPoint but OpenLP makes preparation, navigation and last minute changes much easier.
I've since joined the development team and am now helping with the next version which will be the cross platform version.
As I haven't any experience with using commercial offerings I can't offer an opinion on how it compares. However judging from requests for song imports from software such as EasyWorship, there do appear to be some folk who consider it worth abandoning software they've paid for in favour of OpenLP!
Although I'm obviously biased, I do recommend you give the free options a try before spending money which could be used elsewhere in your ministry. I think it's better to do it that way around rather than spend money first and then kicking yourself if you find the free offerings were able to fulfil your needs
I tried them both out years ago, before buying a MacBook Pro in 2006 and ProPresenter3 about a year after that. Prior to that, we'd used Keynote for a while (also on the MacBook Pro), and before that had used PowerPoint for several years. At the time, neither was as good/solid as PowerPoint, and since we already had that, we had no reason to switch.
I'm glad to hear that these open source projects are making progress. It's great to have free options! And, like Jonathan said, if the free options suit your needs, then that's more money that can be used for other ministry...
Edited to add: I forgot to mention: ProPresenter4 (which I haven't tried yet) is also available for Windows: http://www.renewedvision.com/propresenter.php
Anyone use Mediashout?
How would you rate its learning curve?
What does it do?
It is basically presentation software similar to Power Point, except they strip away some of the business oriented features that power point has and they add in features that make it more church and media friendly.
It comes with a song library with somewheres near 2000 songs ready to go and a bunch of backgrounds some are static and some are video clips. From there you can create your own songs and you can use most any picture or video clip for te background. Songs are organized with verses, choruses, bridges and endings, from there you select what verses etc. that you want and assemble them into a song cue. Add a background and your done. If you want to get fancy, you can have a different background for every slide in the song. There are also some neat font tools like outline and drop shadow that make the text stand out against most any background. I generally organize the song exactly the way I want to sing it, that way the operator jut presses the spacebar to change slides and everything goes according to hoyle.
It also has the ability to play video and audio clips, and you can combine an audio clip with a background or a series of backgrounds or pictures as well. It will play partial clips from DVD's that can be set up ahead of time as well. I usually put a bunch of pictures together that tell the song's story and time them to coincide with the soundtrack, when I do a special. Or I will create a video file with the soundtrack in Adobe Elements and import it into Media Shout.
There is a bible utility as well, you select the version, and the beginning and ending quote and it will neatly organize it into slides. It comes with 66 open bible backgrounds, one for each book and a few general ones as well. Once you have it formatted the way you want it, just insert it into the script and it's ready to go.
Our Pastor does his sermon slides on Power Point. He brings it on a thumb drive and we import it into the Media Shout script a few minutes before the service.
There is also a utility to quickly put a picture up on the screen, and you can put text on it as well.
There are provisions to input live video from a camera onto the screen with provisions for text overlay. I haven't tried that one out yet.
And there are provisions to overlay a brief message on top of the slide being shown, such as a nursery call, or someone left their lights on etc.
We are using Version 3 right now, but we are looking to upgrade to something that will give us independent control of the monitors facing the platform. I have the choices narrowed down to either Media Shout 4.5 or Song Show Plus V7. Either program will allow you to download a 45 day trial copy for free.
Thank you Jim. I will download it and give it a run. It sounds simular to easyworship which we use.
I use this http://www.melodyloops.com/music-for/presentation/ for my presentations!