Now that COVID-19 has dramatically limited in-person meetings for some churches and eliminated them altogether for others, live streaming has become the norm, even in more traditional denominations. Worship software, which used to display merely lyrics and scripture to people attending in-person on a screen, is now the backbone of the online or video church service.
Faithlife’s Proclaim 3.0 worship software is no exception. Previous versions of Proclaim have boasted advanced features like cloud-based presentation syncing so that team members from volunteers to the pastor can work on their individual portions of the service and end with a unified order of worship effortlessly.
That was a good start, but Proclaim later added online bulletins, and built-in podcast recording, polling, and other great features. Proclaim was already on a trajectory of using the power of the internet to make the church’s job of delivering the Good News easier.
Now, Proclaim 3.0 has added in live streaming:
Proclaim 3.0 Video Review
Live streaming and Recording With Proclaim 3.0
Where encoding software like OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) fails is that while it can easily encode live video so that it can be sent online to be distributed, it can’t display lyrics and sermon notes as easily as worship software like Proclaim can.
Likewise, while video editing software (a.k.a. non-linear editors, or NLEs) can rearrange, trim, and manipulate video clips, adding in new text is a laborious process.
So whether your church live-streams or records and uploads your church service for those who can’t be there in-person, worship software like Proclaim, which fuses live elements with prerecorded ones and overlay lyrics and sermon notes, is a substantial improvement over the workflow of using either a software encoder or an NLE.
But as people return to church, you might notice that it causes a new problem that strictly online or strictly in-person services didn’t have. The needs of your in-person congregation are different from the needs of your online audience.
In-person, you can see the pastor and musicians, so you don’t need live cameras on the screen unless you’re in a larger room (like those used by churches of several hundred or more people).
Replacing an encoder is currently a beta feature on Windows. What Proclaim is able to do on Mac and Windows is support NDI, basically meaning the software can send only overlays to a live stream. Readers can learn more here.
Any solution that allows you to display lyrics and sermon notes needs to take this into account and allow you to have both backgrounds for people worshipping in the same room AND a live video source for those doing so online.
Again, Proclaim allows you to do just that. Through their use of “virtual screens,” a tech can assign Proclaim to show an output for recording or live-stream that is the same as the output for the screen (as you might do during announcement time), just the background, or the lyrics/sermon notes, with a live video feed behind it.
How to Emphasize Things On-Screen
There’s still another problem that having a hybrid online/in-person service that you might have realized this doesn’t solve. In-person, your pastor might want to show scripture and gesture to it. For short verses, a lower third might suffice as a way to show the pastor and scripture at the same time, but for longer verses, like those in the Old Testament, it might prove difficult to show both.
Instead, Proclaim has added a new on-screen annotation feature that lets your pastor underline and circle words on the screen in real using the Proclaim remote app. In that way, both the in-person congregation and those online can see points that need to be emphasized.
Enhancements to the Confidence Monitor Feature
The new features in Proclaim 3.0 aren’t limited to live streaming and recording enhancements either. They’ve addressed some shortcomings of previous versions as well.
In the past, confidence monitor arrangements were limited to certain presets, so if you needed something different, you had to make do with what was available to you.
Another valuable update is the ability to display chord charts on the confidence monitor. Readers can learn more here. I’ve attached a recommended screenshot for this.
With Proclaim 3.0, that’s changed. Now, you can format Proclaim 3.0 to show exactly what you need on the confidence monitor and change it automatically with each segment of your church service. So, if your musicians need chord charts during one song and just lyrics in another, that’s no problem.
They’ve also added the ability to send messages to people on the platform that show only the confidence monitor, so you can remind the pastor to turn on his mic or tell the person giving the announcements at the end of the church service that another denomination is beating you to the buffet restaurant (or not…you know, whatever).
Finally, Proclaim 3.0 also adds the ability for you to have arrangements of songs so you no longer have to clog your library with five versions of “Amazing Grace,” three of which you rarely use. Now, you can have an arrangement of the lyrics based on what you actually need and hide the rest.
All of these enhancements come with a standard subscription to Proclaim, so you don’t have to consider if you really need to spend the money for a major upgrade. If you’re already a Proclaim user, you should have access to it already.
Consider if Proclaim 3.0 is Right for You
Since its introduction, Proclaim has been a viable player in the worship software market, but especially so in mixed OS churches where you might need to present on a Mac one day and a Windows box later in the week. That continues to this day. All of the features mentioned above are available on both right now…with one exception. Encoding for the live-stream doesn’t work on Mac…yet.
If history is any indication, that will soon change. In the meantime, Mac users can still send the output out of Proclaim via NDI to either encoding software running on the same or a different computer. So, this isn’t a limitation that will hit MacOS harder than Windows. It’s just a little different.
All in all, Proclaim 3.0 is a great update that will enable churches that use it to worship together, whether they’re doing so in-person, online, or even both. New features like confidence monitor improvements and song arrangements will also make it easier for you to run it for your service, giving people more of what they need, no matter their role.
If you’re in the market for worship software, and need live streaming, too, Proclaim 3.0 joins a short list of other players that are able to accommodate that need and in 2020, that helps it stand out.