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Detailed help for Mac vs. Windows
Hello all! Long time reader, first time poster, long time server for our Lord!
I've searched and searched and searched all over the spider web trying to figure out what would be the best decision for our church's main sanctuary computer with no real answers. I'm sure this will be a lenthy question so please bear with me.
I will give you our situation and what our goals are, the best I can. btw, I've never used a Mac.
My church is a multi-generational church with around 300+ attending each sunday. Right now we are using Windows 98 with 2003 power point (kill me now right!?). We use sound forge (i think?) for our sermon recordings and make cd's for our congregation. As of right now we're using a yamaha 24 channel analog board. I do not know what brand but the stage lighting board has around 18 sliders.
Things we are wanting to change:
We already have money for the Behringer x32 once it comes out. We will be running cat6 with extenders/splitters all run with hdmi to our main projector, 3 overflow tv's, 1 cry room area in an other room and foyer. The foyer tv will only have announcements and live video sermon- no song lyrics. Cry room will have announcements, lyrics and live video. The 3 over flow will have announcements and lyrics. The projector will have announcements and lyrics.
I would like to run ProPresenter because we use Planning Center Online and from what I see, the integration is great! We would like to use moving backgrounds, web videos and 'home made' videos. Possibly using pro tools to mix/master the audio of both sermon and music.
Now---- If I missed some important piece of this puzzle, please let me know so that you can help guild my decisions. I know all about the mac/windows most common arguments as they are all over the web.
My question is what would be in the best interest for our music ministry given the equipment/programs we have and will have? What is the better choice for recording the music audio after the x32 is purchased? What is the better choice for recording the video? Price of course is always a factor but we have around $2000 for a new computer setup including everything that goes along with the computer eg. external display, software etc.
So sorry for being so long but I figure you can help the best with all the details! Thanks SOOOOOO much everyone!!!
You can probably see by my avatar what I am about to tell you, but... Macs rock, IMO.
To be perfectly honest, I have never used ProPresenter on Windows, but I hear it's just not quite as good. (excellent choice of presentation software, btw, been using it for ~8 years now and LOVE it). The thing is, it seems that the way you want to break up different mediums to different screens, you would need to add some modules to propresenter, which adds to the cost, and pretty much boxes you into using a MacPro (for support of PCI cards, etc.) A PC desktop with PCI support would be MUCH more affordable.
I could better discuss your options if maybe you were a little more detailed about how you will be presenting announcements/live sermon footage. Do you have a video mixer?
When doing live video, does your pastor use powerpoint/keynote or other sermon notes? Are you planning to push those to the cry room/nursery too?
What is your native format? 4:3 or 16:9 HD? Is everything HD? In particular are your cameras for the live video 16:9 HD? If not, I'd stick with 4:3 - I know 16:9 is the rage right now, but being consistent is more important to me - and 4:3 can look just as good, especially on a projector.
As for Mac vs. Windows - with ProPresenter just be aware it was programmed on a Mac first, and that's the version that comes out first with new features - then they get ported to Windows. Since Mac and Windows OS's are pretty different architecturally in the graphics sections that Pro Presenter relies on, they are essentially two different programs with two code bases. Having said that, RV seems to be doing a good job with feature parity - I think the only major feature missing is the edge blending module for multiple projectors - there may be a few other minor differences, but there aren't that many.
I'm running a Mac right now - an older Mini to be precise, but most Mac's will do just fine. Yes, if you wanted alpha channel support for generating graphics for use with your video switcher and some other things you had to get a Mac Pro for PCI card support, but with thunderbolt and the black magic ultra studio 3D even a run of the mill iMac can do what was required of a Mac Pro a year ago.
I like to use our matrix switcher to put a mirror of the operator console on our rear stage display when our paster is in Keynote - not as easy to do on an iMac without adding another video output over USB or Thunderbolt, so I'm still looking at either a new Mac Mini or Mac Pro (yikes!) to upgrade my now lagging Mini. My chief complaint with the Mac Mini is it only has 256MB of video RAM - and software like ProPresenter really benefits from having more video RAM. Just like not having enough system memory can cause your system to slow down as the OS has to page to and from disk, not having enough VRAM can really slow down or cause pauses/stuttering/artifacts in software like ProPresenter. Especially if you are going to be going at larger HD resolutions (we are 1024x768 4:3 and still have occasional issues). If you are thinking about using a Triple Head2Go to chain projectors together, then don't scrimp! Get a machine with at least 1GB of VRAM.
And now that I think about it, with ThunderBolt I could mirror the operator console to a second ThunderBolt display and that would still probably work just fine - I may start considering an iMac again... That's the one area Apple really sucks at - up until recently, they have been VERY stingy with Video RAM - my late 2008 MacBook Pro is limited to 256MB which is annoying. ProPresenter 4 works fine on it, but ProPresenter 5 is a little more demanding and even with 6GB of RAM and an SSD as my primary drive it can stutter - mainly because I think it's starved for VRAM. CPU use never goes above 50% - which also makes me suspect the graphics subsystem. So pay attention if you go Mac (or PC) and ensure you have at least 512MB of VRAM - 1GB is even better.
I've been Mac for a decade and I love it, but that really doesn't have anything to do with what I have in mind. The HDMI spec is a maximum of 10 meters. That's around 32 feet and probably won't go from your computer to your projector without some amplification or transitioning it to cat5 using baluns.
If you do go PC, make sure your PC stays off the internet. For mission-critical stuff, you want to make sure there's no chance of viruses, malware, root kits, etc. Macs aren't immune to all that, but just be extra careful with a PC.
ProPresenter runs on both, but it started on Mac. Propresenter was written by a programmer that ran lyrics in his church on the weekend and it feels like it because it just makes sense from the standpoint of someone who does this.
Both OSes are very mature and robust now, but I'm a little worried about Windows 8 for production. It might be great, but they're trying to change the metaphor, so it could be tricky.
I had been a PC user for somewhere around 20 years and switched to MAC a couple of years ago.
My current goal is to replace every PC we own with a MAC.
The problem is the MAC's are more money up front but really seem to be less to maintain.
In the end they are tools so you really need to decide which hammer you are more comfortable with.
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If you're looking to buy a Mac for personal use, there are basically four options: the MacBook Air or Pro, and the Mac mini or iMac. (Yes, there's also the Mac Pro. But Apple's line of quad- and 12-core computers, which starts at $2500, is mostly meant for professionals.) These are all first-rate, beautifully designed pieces of hardware, and as long as you know what you want up front you can get them packed with competitive internals. But upgrading Mac hardware after the fact is not for the faint of heart. Some tinkering is just downright impossible without special tools and training, and iFixit tends to rate their repairability worse every year. If you're looking at a MacBook or an iMac and you think something might go wrong with it, that Apple Care plan might not be a bad idea.
Thanks a lots,
Last edited by skstarkiller; Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 at 08:13 AM.
FWIW: One factor to consider is redundancy -
Note first, I've never worked with Macs in a serious way.
At my church we use a PC desktop to run projection, a pc laptop to run the video switcher , and will use another older desktop to feed lower thirds to our webstream when we get rid of the free webstream service's lower third ads.
And I bring my laptop to time AM service slide changes for guidance when wew webstream the evening service.
I have my laptop configured so it can be quickly plugged in for substitution in case one of the primary PCs fails.
FWIW, we're considering going to an Apple and ProPresenter for running the projection (although we do plain stuff and, for the present, don't really need Apple and ProPresenter for our current plans.) If we go that route, we'll be left without redundancy.