In the years since ProPresenter 6 was launched, streaming has become very popular. More and more churches and other organizations are wanting to get into the streaming space, and as such, they are continuing to turn to ProPresenter to provide lyrics and other media for their streams.
There are several ways to send your lyrics from ProPresenter to your streaming device. This article is intended to be used as a rough template to provide ideas about how to set up a streaming service; each organization will have a unique setup which will require time and consideration about how to adapt this information to your needs.
(Note: Should you need to stream in ProPresenter7, please check out this article)
While not most people’s first choice, many users find that providing the lyrics and other media from ProPresenter onto the stream in a “Picture-in-Picture” mode is often the most cost-effective and easiest solution to set up.
To create a Picture-in-Picture look, you would simply need to copy ProPresenter’s output to your streaming software. One way to do this would be to take the signal that is already being sent to your in-house audience and run it through a “splitter” (sometimes called a “distribution amp”, or “DA”), then take one feed out of the splitter and plug it into your streaming hardware. (The process for plugging it into your streaming hardware would depend on your streaming software/hardware; you would need to reach out to your streaming provider to get more specifics about how to set that up.)
Another way to set this up would be to send the signal out of ProPresenter as a digital feed via NDI. NDI is a method for sending a video feed (such as a copy of what ProPresenter is sending to your in-house audience) over your network to another device. Using this method would require the SDI/NDI Module inside of ProPresenter ($99), a streaming solution that supports NDI (such as Wirecast; check with your streaming software to see if they support it), and a network connection between your ProPresenter computer and your streaming hardware. You can find out more about this type of setup here.
The most common way to show lyrics and other content onto a stream is by showing them as Lower Thirds (named such because the content is normally limited to the lower third of the screen).
This is a possible setup inside of ProPresenter, however, there are several items to consider first. You will need to decide if you want to use a Chroma/Luma Key (cheaper) or an Alpha Key (more expensive but looks better), and you will need to consider if you will output the content from ProPresenter using the Multi-Screen Module (less control, more automatic) or using a separate computer and the Master Control Module (more control, more work). Let’s dive into these options.
To create the Lower Thirds look you will need to remove the part of ProPresenter’s output that you don’t want to cover your video (IE: the upper two thirds). One way to do this would be to use a Chroma (color) Key or a Luma (brightness) Key. Basically, the idea here is that you tell your streaming software “remove a specific color (such as blue or green)” or “remove all black” so that what is left is the content that you want to see on the stream.
The benefit of this system is that it is cheaper; because this is being controlled by the streaming software, you don’t need to do anything special inside of ProPresenter.
The limitations of this system are that your streaming software must support a Chroma or Luma Key and that this solution does not look as nice as using an Alpha Key. (Because the streaming software is using a color to “guess” what you want to be removed, sometimes it will guess wrong and you may get jagged edges around text, as an example.)
To use the Chroma/Luma Key option, first read the below sections on Multi-Screen Module vs. Master Control Module, then you would leave ProPresenter as a standard video feed or an NDI feed ($99); see the Picture-in-Picture section above for a deeper explanation on these output options.
Alpha Key Module
The other option is to use the Alpha Key Module inside of ProPresenter to send a full Alpha Key from ProPresenter directly to your streaming software/hardware. This option can be a bit more expensive, however, it will provide a cleaner output to the screen; ProPresenter will tell the software/hardware exactly which pixels to keep and which to remove, thus your streaming solution does not have to “guess” at which ones to keep.
The benefit of this system is a cleaner looking output, and you don't have to worry about the streaming solution removing the wrong thing.
The limitations of this system are that it won’t work with all streaming solutions, and it is more expensive.
You can use the Alpha Key Module via hardware or software (NDI). To use it via hardware you would need a video processor such as the Ultrastudio 4k (see full list of supported devices here); from the hardware you would take two SDI cables (one being the Fill and one being the Alpha) into your video switcher and have the switcher apply the Alpha to the Fill. To use the Alpha Key Module as software you would need software or hardware that supports NDI; make sure that your computers are on the same network, enable NDI in the Alpha Key Module, and search for an NDI stream in your streaming software.
(Note: The Alpha Key Module is no longer being sold at this time, so if you are needing to use this functionality you would need to upgrade to ProPresenter7 as it includes this functionality.)
Multi-Screen Module vs. Master Control Module
The next step to creating a Lower Third stream is to determine how you are going to create an output from ProPresenter that is different than your audience screen. There are two primary ways of doing this; using the Multi-Screen Module to create multiple outputs or using a separate computer to create a custom output.
One option would be to use the Multi-Screen Module ($199) to create multiple outputs; one that the in-house audience will see, and one that your stream will see (Lower Thirds, as an example). The Multi-Screen Module requires the use of a piece of hardware called the DualHead2Go or the TripleHead2Go; these devices will take one signal from ProPresenter and split it to multiple outputs. You can then send one output to your in-house audience and one to your stream.
The Multi-Screen Module has a feature called Alternate Template; using this feature you can have your in-house screen look the same as before, but then you can apply a Template to the screen going to your stream; this will reformat the text to look exactly like what the Template is set up as. For example, you could create a Template that has text in the lower third of the screen; set the Multi-Screen Module to use that Template that you created and all of your text and lyrics will automatically be reformatted to show on the bottom third of the screen.
The benefit of this system is that it is automatic; you don’t have to do any extra work each week to get it to run. Just turn on your computer and you are good to go.
The limitation of this system is that because it is an automatic system, it can sometimes format things in ways that you don’t want it to. For example, if you want your in-house screen to show four lines of lyrics per slide, then the stream must also have four lines of text; you wouldn’t be able to change it or make it unique if desired.
Master Control Module
The other option for creating a separate output for your stream would be to use the Master Control Module ($299) to have ProPresenter on your main computer control a second computer that is also running ProPresenter; in this way you can have the second computer format the text however you want to, and you only have to have one operator controlling one copy of ProPresenter (the Module would have one computer control the other computer).
The benefit to this system is that you have more control over your output for your stream; because it is not simply applying a Template to it (it is a stand-alone computer), you can really customize how the text looks on your stream. This solution is also required for some users that (for example) are already using the Multi-Screen Module to create three screens.
The limitations of this system are that it requires extra work each week (there is no automated system to set up the data on the second computer), and it can be more expensive (requires a second computer, the Master Control Module, and possibly an additional license of ProPresenter).
I hope that this guide has provided some things to think about as you get ready to set up ProPresenter to stream to an audience. Using the above guidelines will help point you into the right direction for how to use ProPresenter in your unique setup. If you have more questions about specific features please let us know and we will work with you to help find the perfect solution.