Review: Worship Media Creator

June 24, 2013 — 9 Comments

I was asked┬áby┬áJordan Mederich of WorshipMediaCreator.com to review Worship Media Creator, a church worship presentation creation tool. For disclosure, they sent me a copy of the program free of charge in exchange for an honest review. It’s taken me a while to really get into the nuts and bolts of it, (no fault of the software) but I finally have a good feel for the capabilities of this tool and wanted to let you all know what I’ve found. Catch my review after the break.

What does it do?

Worship media Creator lets you create presentations for worship services. You can also create media to use in other presentation software, like a video countdown, in which case you would probably export to video. You can also export to a stand-alone executable presentation. Not only can you create presentations, but you can use the software as a presenter, either in single screen mode, or on a separate screen if you have the computer connected to another screen or a projector. Currently, the software only runs on Windows PC’s, which is probably fine because the target market (smaller churches), probably would more likely have a Windows PC than a Mac. Since we use Macs at Thrive Church, I’ve been trying to get a handle on this software on a PC after hours where I work.

What’s it like?

This is the start screen. The layout is pretty straightforward. The top-bar controls are self-explanatory. Hit the green “+” icon to get started, or you can use the file menu to grab a presentation you’ve already saved.

wmc_01

Worship Media Creator has a number of template slide types to get you started, or if you prefer, you can start with a blank slide.

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Once you are in the slide editor screen, you get more tools at the bottom of the interface. From left to right: Pictures, Movies, Standard Text, 3D Text, 3D Cube Effect, Text Countdown, 3D Countdown, Delete Selected Object. Note some of the tools I mentioned are hidden because I squeezed the window size down.

wmc_03

Here’s a simple slide I made with a custom image and standard text. Pretty simple. There is another row of controls just above the slide view, in the form of tabs. You can use these tabs to control the background images and transitions. You can also include audio files and control how they play back.

wmc_04

Here’s another screenshot with a video and a countdown timer. Notice on the right, every object has an properties inspector on the right side. The properties that display are dependent upon what type of object you have selected. For instance, a countdown object will let you set the amount of time to countdown, but this property would not exist for an image.

wmc_06

Here’s a view of the presentation control panel. You can only open/present one slide set at a time, but you can freely roam between slides.

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The program is really simple to use. They have a ton of helpful tutorial videos on their site that do a much better job showing you how the system works than I felt like I could, and they have a user forum for even more help.

Who’s it for?

I’ve been corresponding pretty regularly with Jordan as I’ve been reviewing the software. While I am sure he would love churches of any size to start using the product, he made the point often that they designed this software for churches that could not afford the more expensive church presentation products out there. I did a check on current prices for these other products and Worship Media Creator is definitely priced significantly lower than these other products. So if you are a smaller church, trying to get started with media presentation, or if you are needing to step up from an office presentation software, Worship Media Center may fit the bill.

What’s awesome?

First, the software is REALLY EASY. I had absolutely no trouble creating slides, and presenting them. The interface is very straightforward and intuitive. And, if you need help, the video tutorials are concise and helpful.

Second, the ability to export to video is quite an awesome feature. Even if you never use this software to present, you can use it to create custom countdown videos. If you’ve ever purchased these from a stock media site, you know you can spend anywhere from $15 – $25 per video. You’ll probably use this feature so much that you’ll pay for the software in no time. They also have an add-on pack called the Loop Builder Stack Pack that gives you a ton of extra content to use for making awesome countdown videos or back ground video loops. it contains particle effects, lens flares, grains, textures, etc.

Third, I really think these guys want to make an awesome tool for churches. I mentioned earlier that I had been in contact with Jordan often. He was very open to listen to feedback that I had (see below), some of which will make it into a near-future release.

Fourth, it remembers what you do. When you create a slide or a text object, etc., the system remembers your last settings for that object and using that setting as you create new objects. Saves a lot of time!

What’s not awesome?

I do have a few “issues” with the package.

First, it is Windows only. Jordan explained that they want to be able to make a Mac version, but they need to see how well this initial release is received before they do that. We use a different product at my church, but I can honestly see myself using this product for making countdown timers – seriously. The problem is that I really do not want to run to my day job, after hours, to get to a Windows box to do this. So… windows people, BUY this so they can justify a Mac version (grin).

Second, there is no “show” management feature. In other presentation products, there is a part of the program where you can string many separate presentations (i.e. sermon slides, various song slides, announcement slides, etc.) into a control center, where you can choose from different presentations and control each one individually without having to invoke the file system. Unfortunately, there is no such control center in Worship Media Center. You have to go to “File” then “Open” on the menu bar to get to other presentations. Granted, they give you the ability to import presentations and create sort of a master presentation, but this is not an ideal process in my opinion.

Third, standard text handling shortcuts don’t apply. I am pretty handy navigating text using keyboard shortcuts. I was annoyed trying to navigate text entry boxes, not being able to do things like CTRL+A to select the entire text-box contents, etc..

Finally, imported video quality is lacking. This final issue has to do with the item of feedback I mentioned above. When I was trying to create a countdown video, I noticed that no matter how high I set the bit rate, the video quality was lacking from what I am used to. It turns out that the video resolution was standard def, not high def. For the churches in their stated target market, this is probably fine as most probably won’t have high def gear. But for me, this was a deal breaker as my church, even though small and budget-limited, is full of videophiles and gear heads. Fortunately, Jordan’s team is open to feedback and let me know that a soon to be released iteration will double the video resolution. That’s awesome. Bravo, guys.

What’s the verdict?

If my church were a small church (we are), if we had a tight budget (we are), if we weren’t already use a higher-end projection software (oops), if we didn’t expect HD video display (oops), and if we were a windows house or wouldn’t mind getting a windows machine (oops), then I would suggest this software to our tech team. Apart from the few not-awesome items above, I like Worship Media Creator. It is definitely more affordable than the other options, has some unique features, and they are going to address the video issue. Sweet if you ask me.

I already have some great ideas for countdowns, and I look forward to the update (addressing video resolution) to do a “second look” review, as I try to actually produce some countdown videos for church use. I might even do a tutorial/review sort of thing. We’ll see.

herbhalstead

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Herb is the lead pastor at Thrive Church. Herb also does freelance web design, 3D architectural modeling, and works as an architectural designer.

9 responses to Review: Worship Media Creator

  1. looking at their price it is comparable to the full version of easy worship and other for licensing. Not to sure speaking from a small church point of view that it’s priced for smaller churches. It looks like it has a lot of potential but for those of us in need of something like this that would run better then what we have the price just is not an easy one to take.
    You mentioned it’s only standard video, but they say on the site it outputs HD?
    How are the system requirements, small churches as you know often don’t have high tech budgets so we run off laptops or older systems.

    • I mentioned that they told me a soon-update would address the video issue. So maybe they already edited their website for that? Not sure. As far as system requirements, I can’t answer that. I do not see that information listed on their web site. the computer I used was a graphics workstation, because that is the only windows box I have access to. So, I have not clue how it would run on a run of the mill laptop. Also, easy worship’s site list the prices as 399, that’s 150 more than WMC.

    • Hi Jabenroth,

      You can run WMC on any simple laptop, it’s been optimized to work on computers that most small churches would own… though, you’ll always get performance increases with better computers. We’re releasing a new update this week to provide a subscription based pricing system for those who can’t yet afford the $249, and we’re also improving the video resolution system.

      If you have further questions, I’d love to help you out. Email jordan@sermongear.com. Thanks again to Herb for the kind review!

  2. Jordan,
    Thank you for your response. It’s exciting to hear about the changes that are being made.
    I’ll be interested to see your subscription system. From a small church point though in the long run those can cost us more. I’ll be interested to see it though.
    At this point cost drives us to use products that do less but don’t cost as much. For example right now we run openlp, even with its limited abilities it gets the job done.

    • It’s always a balancing act, and it’s a choice to make… the subscription model makes it affordable in the long term, buying outright makes more sense long term. Perhaps the most important thing to note, is that we’re producing tools for your church that produce incredible value. If you see the value in it, it’s worth paying for, so we can make even MORE great tools. That’s the goal, to help folks just like you.

  3. Jason I really understand that coming from a Tech background in Computers, and Film. Though if the goal is to help churches that are small then keep the price small. Make the package one that could be bought in parts i.e the main part allows you to do video files, and presentation slides for say $75, but if your church wants to be able to make custom count downs then there is an additional module that can be added for “X” amount.

    The model of let us cram everything into it and then sell it for hundreds of dollars is what makes it hard on small churches. Remember when you talk about small churches your talking about churches with less then 50 to 100 people. Statistically that means only 20 to 30 percent of them are regular tithers and add to that most of the smaller churches are older in who attends that means fixed incomes.

    I think the product is a great start I think though that if you are marketing to “small” churches then it should be done in a way that a small church can afford, and then build on.

    Also the tech support model needs to be one that is more then a year. The competition lets you have access to the forums long after one year. I have worked with Easy Worship before and their tech support and forums are always open even if you don’t own the product for questions and help. Now granted I’m just reviewing off what I have read about your product, I admit I have not worked with tech support. I have known Herb for a long time though and stated that your response was quick that’s good to know. My thought is long term what happens in a year when the computer crashes and the person who set it up in on vacation and fill in person needs help? I know they are the odd situations but it’s the tech in me thinking about it.

    Honestly I would love to try it, after reading the review that Herb wrote. But the price is right up there with other products like it and when I look at the price break of site license vs. no license, I think it’s a better idea to just cough up the extra once your talking about that dollar amount. If the price were lower and people could get their hands on it in a way that helps them that would be a great way to start your word of mouth business as well.

    Just a few thoughts take them or leave them. I do wish you the best in your endeavors.

    • Hi Jabenroth,

      I appreciate your thoughtful response. Like I mentioned, we’re about to roll out our subscription model which will help with some pricing questions. In terms of support, I like to think we’re at the top of the heap. Anyone who knows us, knows they can call or email us for any reason, anytime. That’s just what we believe is right.

      We’re going to be RIGHT HERE to support our products, for the long run.

      Our goal is to let a church get going free, get going with a single license ($150 less than other softwares) and then get the site license if need be. Fact is, we could lower our price to $4.99, but even then, some folks would still call it too expensive. Our support is top tier, and there’s no way we could offer such great support for $4.99.

      Like I mentioned, we want to make it simple and affordable for churches. We’re in our second month, and have already made substantial improvements to our product and model. In the end, we want churches to believe in our goal to Create media, instead of always buying it… that’s where we’re headed.

      Thanks again, let me know if I can help you into the software, you’ll love it.

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