ProPresenter + Matrox TripleHead2Go

So last week we switched the presentation setup in our chapel. Our chapel isn’t like most chapels. It’s where our youth meet on Wed PM, our Junior High meet on Sun AM and our Young Adults meet on Sun PM. Plus other meetings.

It was a few years ago we made the switch from 1 screen to 3 screens. At the time the best solution for us was the following:
-2 PCs running Easy Worship
-2 Kramer VP719 switchers (one for the center screen and one for the outside screens)
-1 Kramer VP-72 a 1:2 distribution amp that pairs nicely with the VP719 switchers.

This was working OK. We had problems with Easy Worship, mainly it was old hardware problems I think. But the setup was confusing at time for our operators.

So we made a change. We put an iMac running ProPresenter and the Advance Module with a Matrox Triple Head 2 Go. We still use one of the Kramer switchers for the center screen. I have to say I’m very impressed with the results.

Somethings I’ve figured out:
-ProPresenter seems to like the secondary display set at it’s lowest setting (1920×480).
-I’ve also had to tweak the left and right text margins to get the text to line up properly (it’s currently set at 80 and 25).
-I like writing in bullet lists.

When you start creating your sermon graphics in photoshop at 1920×480 and video files at that size, you can unleash some very cool media.

And here are the pictures, they were taken with my phone so they’re not the greatest:


August 28, 2008. Tags: , , . Tech Stuff, Video. 5 comments.

Dallas After Effects User Group August Meeting

We have a new location for this month’s Dallas Area After Effects Group Meeting. We will be meeting at BBGun Interactive (google map here) on Thursday, August 27. We start at 7pm. I’ve heard rumors that there will be a give away from Magic Bullet

If you’re in the Dallas Area hope you can make it. I’m planning on being there.

August 27, 2008. Tags: , , . Personal Growth, Video. Leave a comment.

Video: GPS Intro

It seems I’m starting to get this request from my pastor more and more. He gives me a list of facts or wants a topical background on a subject then tells me to make a video.

Like the Mind Games intro video we did last fall:

Well last weekend we started a series called GPS: God’s Positioning System. I was asked to give a brief history of how GPS was unveiled, how it works and then something to engage the audience. And I was given the movie Enemy of the State as a visual reference.

So I thought about a way to tell this story. The route I came up was a computer interface to tell the story. So the video is an overview of a computer screen and jumps to sections to break it up and bring focus.

I should have started at my close up dimensions and work backwards, but I didn’t. I wanted my close ups to fill the screen with out cropping but the don’t. I feel the style was very similar to the mind games video. Any ideas on how I could have done it better?

And I know this copy has 2 typos in it. Caught one after Sat service. Didn’t catch the other one until Monday. My wife usually proofs all my content but this one came down to the wire.

August 27, 2008. Tags: , , , . Video. 5 comments.

iPhone Mail Tip

OK this should be my last iPhone post for awhile. This is a tip I’m posting if not for anything else to remind myself if I need to setup my iPhone from scratch again.

My work does zero spam filtering on the server level. This annoys me to no end because I’ve had the same work email address since 1999. Back before spam had hit full force. Before I realized not to give my email address out when signing up for every little thing…… OK I’m back from my rant. But to say the least about 75% of my email is spam. I’ve tried several times to get the IT department to see the value of postini but it’s lost. Even though Google has great non-profit pricing…. OK I’m back from that rant too.

So here’s what I do. I forward my work email account to a gmail account I setup. In gmail I turned on IMAP. You’ll need to setup your gmail account as an other account using IMAP, not as a gmail account on the iPhone. This means that when I check my email in one place (gmail on the web, Apple Mail, or iPhone Mail), whatever changes are made in all places. So I don’t have to wade through the same emails in Mail and my iPhone. Google has a great spam filter. I saw my spam drop from 75 emails a day to 1 or 2.

Now here’s the tricky part. I want my email sent from my gmail account to look like it was sent from my work account. In gmail preferences online you can turn on aliasing, and enter your work address. On the iPhone you just change your email address under IMAP account information. Tada it’s internet magic!

I do have a media related post coming later today.

August 27, 2008. Tags: , , , . Tech Stuff. 1 comment.

More iPhone Frustrations

1) Corrupted Backups:
When restoring both my iPhone and my wife’s iPhone iTunes said the backups were corrupted. I don’t know if that’s a fluke but it doesn’t give me the greatest amount of trust in the iTunes/iPhone backup system.

If you’re wondering what’s lost when a backup is corrupted. So far I can see it looses:
-User Names and passwords for applications
-Wireless networks and passwords
-Home screen layouts
-Any customization: Favorites list in phone, ringtones, wall paper etc…

Which leads me to my second frustration:
Syncing photos doesn’t seem to work both ways.
I don’t know when it happened but iPhoto used to always pop up when my iPhone was connected. Now it doesn’t. I thought when I chose to sync my photos through iTunes it was syncing photos I took and would put them in my iPhoto library. It doesn’t. So along with loosing the above I also lost my pictures.

So the moral of the story is if it’s important to you, don’t trust the iTunes backup. Make sure you have a copy of the info or files elsewhere.

August 26, 2008. Tech Stuff. Leave a comment.

iPhone Frustrations

I had a few frustrations with my 3G iPhone today and my wife’s 2G iPhone over the weekend. I tweeted about them but I’ll expand them here. So hopefully if you run across either problem you’ll know how to fix it.

Problem 1: Wife’s 2G iPhone
My wife is a 9th grade English teacher and her school district runs an exchange server. Out of curiosity of Apple’s new support for exchange in the 2.0 software we plugged her information and used the web access address as her exchange server. KaPow! She had full access to her email, calender and contact through Exchange. She was the bomb on campus because tech support being limited didn’t support this. She found out when one of the principals saw her check her email on her iPhone and said he had asked for it to be setup on his smartphone and tech support for the school said no.

Well over the weekend they rolled out Exchange 2007. New web log in and from my understanding they can now turn off active sync separately from web access. I’m not a computer network guy so if I’m wrong in my ideas or explanation feel free to correct me.

But loosing contact with the exchange server also meant that her contacts, which were being sync’d over the air were lost. No problem we’ll use the backup in iTunes but it somehow was corrupted. What’s the point of a backup that becomes corrupted. And I couldn’t find a way to pull an older backup through TimeMachine.

She lost some contacts, pictures and notes. So the moral of the story is if it’s really important, don’t put it just one place.

Problem 2: My 3G iPhone
Turned my iPhone on this morning and got the icon saying to connect to iTunes. I connected to iTunes and I got this error:

I then tried a hard restore (reset your iPhone while connected, then when it comes back on just hold the home button). This puts the phone into recovery mode. But the problem wouldn’t go away. Tried removing and reinserting the SIM card. No luck.

Luckily I work 10 minutes from an Apple Store so I made an appointment at the Genius bar. After arriving they quickly recognized the problem. The SIM reader was broken. Don’t know how but 20 minutes later I was walking out with a new iPhone.

So the moral of this story is new iPhone is better than a broken iPhone.

August 26, 2008. Tags: . Tech Stuff. Leave a comment.

Quick Tip: Audio for Video

I don’t know why I never thought of this. And I may be late to the game. You’ve probably already figures this out. But here it goes. I picked it up from the guys at

We have a mono sound system. When mixing sound for video pan your dialog hard left and the music bed hard right. That way if the music is too hot or soft your sound engineers can adjust it on the fly.

This is a great idea because I know my edit room doesn’t sound like our worship rooms. The only thing you have to make sure is your vide feeds into your board are stereo and the board your your DSP are doing the summing.

August 25, 2008. Tags: , . Video. Leave a comment.

Sermon GFX: GPS God’s Positioning System

We’re starting a new sermon series this weekend. Funny thing is one of our LIFE groups switched their name from PrimeTime (focused on marriage) to GPS (focused on life issues). Their branding and marketing played off the GPS devices so I went another route.

I like the look of the design, but it’s still text on a stock photo. I really want to get past designing like this. I’m thinking I’m going to have to put more thought and planning into my designs instead of starting in Photoshop.

The satellite is going to tie into the sermon intro video I’m working on. Hopefully I’ll have the time to make it look how I want it to. But I’ll post the video when I finish it.

August 22, 2008. Tags: , , . Graphic Design, Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Echo-ish Background

Funny at a conference for creative media types in the church, one of the pieces I liked the best was the simplest. One of the background loops they used was a simple loop that faded from one primary color to another. A simple loop yet very visually appealing. What was also funny was how many requests they got for it.

I made a quick version of it and used it last weekend. My pastor loved it so I thought I’d share it with you guys.

If someone can tell me how to post a zip or archive file I can put up the CS3 file I used to create it. Not that it’s that complicated of a project. It’s 15 second solids with a 5 second fade from each color. Then a soft vignette applied over the top.

Here it is. You can download it from vimeo:

August 21, 2008. Tags: , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Echo Thoughts

I had a great time last week at Echo. For me I had been burned out by church conferences but this was just what I needed. If you’re involved in the creative arts or technical arts this is the conference to be at next year.

Tim Stevens was not only a breakout speaker but a great note taker. Coincidence? I think not. But you can find Tim’s notes on Mark Steele, Donald Miller, Todd Wagner and Mark Batterson.

God did an amazing work in my heart. Hopefully in the future I’ll be able to share what He’s beginning in my heart. But it’s not ready now.

The main walk away point I have from this conference is don’t let _______ (fill in the blank) limit you. The focus shouldn’t be on our tools but on our message. The message we communicate everyday with out lives and the one we prepare for on the weekend.

When was the last time you walked into a restaurant and asked the chef what pots and pans she used to cook with? I know when I walk into a facility I’m checking out their tech gear. I’ve asked other artists about the tools they use. I’m more interested in their process and inspiration right now.

I don’t want to be limited by the tools, the systems, the structure, etc… from me doing my best (with the time, talent and resources I have) to creatively communicate the life changing story of Jesus. We can limit ourselves by thinking if we only had a better sound system, video camera, software, etc… we could make this better. While there is some truth to that I also don’t want to get locked in to always using a tool a certain way (I bought this filter now I want to use it on everything!)

The other major take away point is how awesome community is with other creatives. And how technology can enhance this. I was able to meet up with some great people through comments on blogs or twitter. Can I just say I’m a huge fan of twitter now! And I’ve had an explosion of people I’m meeting through twitter.

I hope to get back to blogging on a regular basis. Personally I like to have 5 posts a week. If I find something worth writing about it’s because I’m learning something. Since early July I’ve been in survival mode. Hopefully after this week I can get back into my routine of regular creative intakes.

August 20, 2008. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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