Monday, November 1, 2010

EasyWorship (or not)

Our church has begun using EasyWorship presentation software during our worship services. The price isn’t bad, $379 for a site license, and from what I’ve seen of it, it has some nice features. I haven’t been actively involved in using it during the services, but in case you haven’t noticed, when you take on the task of being the church webmaster you are taking on the task of being the church’s computer helpdesk too. I suspect that as we see churches use more and more technology that we’ll see more of that kind of thing. I won’t say we’ll keep calling ourselves church webmasters in the future, but most medium to large sized churches will have a go to guy for technology. They may have a whole team of people.

Anyway, the reason I got pulled in on the EasyWorship thing is because we’ve been using Power Point to put sermon notes on the screen. For that to work, EasyWorship has to import the Power Point presentation so that the projectionist can select which slide he wants on the screen. When it works, it works nice, but our music director ran into a problem in which he tried importing the Power Point presentation and rather than importing all the slides the software duplicates some of the slides. He was able to get around the problem by splitting the presentation up before going through the import process, but that is troublesome.

I didn’t know what to tell him other than to contact the EasyWorship tech support, but I went ahead and installed the software on my home computer to see if I could duplicate the problem. I couldn’t get it to import the Power Point presentations saved with the new format (.pptx), but using the old format (.ppt), I didn’t have any problems at all. I used a presentation with over three hundred slides. I used one that was as much like the ones we’ve been using at church as I could get it (short of obtaining a copy of one of those) and I used a shorter one. I used the import process several times and I didn’t have any issues at all with the .ppt files.

So, at this point I can only hope that EasyWorship’s tech support knows what is going on because I’ve run out of ideas. If I could duplicate the problem on my machine, I might be able to look for a cause. As it is, I’m left comparing my machine to the one we’re using at church and there are more differences than I can count.