For churches looking to streamline their production process from ideas to delivery on Sunday mornings as well as other events, there’s a new product in town that I recently had the privilege of reviewing. The soon to be released AirStream production software, the latest new product offered by Seraphim Software, maker of church management software solutions, aims at taking production to a new level.
Because AirStream was developed by a church management software company, their approach is perhaps a little different than other worship software available currently on the market.
Essentially, what would happen if everything your church needed for Sunday services was present in one solution?
While technically one product, AirStream actually consists of five components that come together as a full church production suite.
The five (5) components are
For the sake of my review, I’d like to dive into the elements of each piece.
Design is AirStream’s solution for slide and presentation creation. Based in the cloud, the solution allows team members to create a presentation anywhere they have internet. Changes made remotely and downloaded to the presentation computer for viewing.
Ease of creation is just the start. If you’ve spent time fighting to create visually appealing presentations, AirStream knows your pain. They understand the challenge of static images and boring loops that aren’t editable. To help, they’ve built the Design window as a PowerPoint meets After Effects meets Photoshop. The dynamic editor allows you to stack layers of images, videos, text and special effects together to create one of a kind presentations.
Once created, you have several ways to access your presentations; My Community which allows you to share with your team, The Exchange which allows sharing across the network of AirStream users, and Media Bin for your own personal use.
I found the scripture feature to be a welcome change after the frustration of working with other presentation solutions. No more typing in the scripture reference and hoping you didn’t make a typo with the book name. It works quickly and visually; pick a book from the list, pick a chapter, visually see the text and check the verses you want to include. Not sure of the reference but know the text? Use the keyword search and identify all verses containing the phrase.
Present is their event-driven presentation solution. You create presentations based on the event type and time. This allows dynamic content, like countdown timers, to work intuitively.
The Present window itself gives you immediate access to several things; the library of songs, thumbnails of the service order, and slide previews for ease of following. Real time editing allow you to change effects, add real time annotations, and alter text during the presentation.
Second monitor support gives you freedom to add a stage display without being locked into text only mode or full mirrored. You can assign elements to the display such as a countdown timer, text fields, and video.
There is also an integrated instant messenger portion that gives your production team real-time communication via the interface or the AirStream mobile app.
Service Flow is where AirStream really begins to set itself apart as a production option. Created to bridge with Seraphim, Service Flow gives you the ability to plan your services in one workflow. Think Planning Center on steroids.
You can plan your service, manage and schedule volunteers, track job assignments, and follow up within the software framework. For teams utilizing the AirStream app you can even make real time service changes and have them viewable by only the pertinent people.
Direct is software based video switcher, stacker, live streaming, and service archive workflow. Included with the standard subscription, Direct has some features that are only accessible by computers with specific hardware specs. That said, it replaces a stack of equipment and software with one solution.
Utilizing a special video card, Direct allows you to input your video sources into the program. You can then stack and build transitions for all service elements, overlays, logos, and background images. As your service is progressing, the software ingests the video feed and creates a coded version for live streaming. At service end, the saved video is seamlessly uploaded to the cloud for archival and viewing by all device types. One of the only solutions currently supporting 1080p, streaming packages are also available for churches wanting to take their video message further.
Immersion is the AirSteam version of environmental projection. For a refresher on what that entails you can find details here. This solution is interesting because it handle all edge blending and stiching in real time, allowing you to import standard or triple-wide media on the fly. If an image isn’t wide enough, AirStream scales and crops it to fit.
For continuity, they’ve included the editing features from the Design piece to allow stacking of layers and effects. Oversized images and videos can also have panning effects added to create more depth and creative movement.
Unlimited masking layers and shapes give you flexibility to project onto any surface or shape in moments. Masked shapes even support image and video drop-ins to give a picture in picture effect without additional software.
For churches looking to bridge the gap between presentation software and video production AirStream is a great solution. There is no other solution incorporating the feature set in one workspace.
Save yourself the headache of investigating and implementing multiple solutions to accomplish similar things and check it out.
Currently built on the Windows platform, a Mac version is set to release next year. The public release date is December 1 and you can join the launch list here.