TFWM: How did the company Renewed Vision get started?
Brad Weston: ProPresenter was created in 1999 specifically for Passion Conferences, which was having their OneDay event in the summer of 2000 and had a touring worship band with Steve Fee and Candi Pearson that played at a different college campus every night to promote the gathering. Given the varying nature of their audiences, the videos and other media they wanted to show during each stop, and the lack of space in their traveling rig, they wanted a program that could dynamically control the worship set (sing choruses repeatedly, jump around and end songs early if desired). It was from this desire that ProPresenter was born. Renewed Vision was incorporated in 2000 and I continued to develop the software on the side until 2005 when some good friends of mine decided to join me in making presentation software development a full time endeavor.
TFWM: What was the main focus behind developing the Pro Presenter software?
Weston: Throughout the OneDay awareness tour, there were constant needs of revisions in the software as more and more songs became needed so I radically redeveloped what was intended for a specific purpose into a multi-purpose tool. This caught the eye of the production staff at my church, North Point Community Church, where there were ample ideas for its further development for use in traditional Sunday services. I am extremely grateful to North Point, Passion, Catalyst Conferences, and the many other ultra-creative ministries that share the vision of making the Church the most creative place on the planet, and for thinking outside the box and giving us the opportunity to answer the “what if we could…?” questions with more and more new features.
TFWM: Are you intending to bring out a PC version of Pro Presenter?
Weston: Our intention is to make the best, most stable presentation software for the Church. Larger companies like Microsoft and Adobe have entire teams of developers working on products that will work cross platform but not be a compromise to either one. We made the decision to focus on the Macintosh platform because of its superb development tools, our previous development experience on the platform, and the desire to focus on innovation, rather than what may have been the better “business” decision of developing a PC version. That said, it is interesting to note that when we reviewed a recent article listing the most innovative churches in America, we were pleasantly surprised to find that 9 of the top 10 were Renewed Vision customers, as were 18 out of the top 25. I can’t speak to future development, but we never intend to sacrifice innovation for “market share”.
TFWM: Are churches able to “test drive” the software before buying it?
Weston: Yes. The software is freely available for download from our website as a fully-functional demonstration.
TFWM: What secrets can you impart about the future of Pro Presenter?
Weston: It is amazing to see the Church embrace media in such incredibly innovative ways. Much like the introduction of moving lights has radically changed stage design, video elements are becoming used more and more not only to enhance church experiences, but often making the entire service possible (such as is the case for video church venues).
As a company that focuses on the Church, our market is somewhat unique. Normally, when churches ask AV suppliers for equipment suggestions, they’re shown the low-end products, or last-year’s models. Usually, the higher end products start out being used at the corporate trade show level and then trickle down into the Church. The reverse of this process is starting to happen more and more, and we are happy to be a part of this paradigm shift in the industry. Our work for the Church has caught the eye of major corporations for which we have developed solutions for large stage shows, corporate events, retail displays, and some of the out of the box thinking that can happen with an unlimited budget. Our endeavor is to make attainable what used to be out of the reach of church budgets.