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June, 2018
Feature Preview: Preview Display

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Feature Preview: Image Rotation

November, 2017
Feature Preview: Slide Show Artisan

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Feature Review: Audio Chain

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Feature Preview: SongShow Drive

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Feature Review: Slide Scheduling

December, 2015
Feature Preview: SongShow Synchronization

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Feature Review: SongShow Signage

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Slide Show on the Run

July, 2015
From Full Screen to Lower Thirds

June, 2015
Using JavaScript in a Presentation

January, 2015
Feature Preview: Slide Builder Toolbar Update

December, 2014
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June, 2014
Feature Preview: Environmental Projection

May, 2014
Feature Preview: Customize Stage Display

November, 2013
Using Text Styles on Non-text Objects

October, 2013
Using Text A, B, and C to Position Text

September, 2013
Enhancement: Pan / Zoom Multiple Paths

August, 2013
Enhancement: Using a Machine-local Access Point

Feature Preview: Authentication for Mobile Apps

July, 2013
Feature Preview: Control Window Panel Arrangements

June, 2013
Feature Preview: Other Song Importer Enhancements

Feature Preview: Microsoft Word Import

Feature preview: PDF Import

May, 2013
Feature Preview: Even More Displays

April, 2013
Feature Preview: Shift Worship Import

Feature Preview: Planning Center Online Import

Feature Preview: SongSelect Import

March, 2013
Feature Preview: Video and Image Properties in Themes

Feature Preview: Slide Properties Themes

Feature Preview: Media-specific Slide Properties

February, 2013
Dropbox, Google Drive, and Sky Drive

January, 2013
Feature Preview: Background Layers

December, 2012
Feature Preview: Fill in the Blank Animation

November, 2012
Feature Preview: Grid Line Enhancements

October, 2012
Feature Preview: Color Selection Enhancements

September, 2012
Feature Preview: Secondary Display now a First Class Feature

GoFishMedia ProKey Systems: HD Ready, but SD while you wait.

August, 2012
Feature Review: Media Uploader App

July, 2012
Remote Control of the iPad App

June, 2012
DeckLink Support Enhancements

May, 2012
Video Device Support Enhancements

April, 2012
Feature Preview: Audio Track per Slide

March, 2012
Feature Preview: Transport Control for Slide Shows

February, 2012
Feature Preview: Video Fade In/Out

January, 2012
Feaure Review: SongShow Plus Control iPad App

December, 2011
Feature Review: Quick List

November, 2011
Feature Review: Slide Previews

October, 2011
Feature Review: Keep Display Windows Visible

September, 2011
Feature Review: Secondary Display

August, 2011
Feature Review: Keyboard Navigation Mode

Feature Review: Tablet Stage Monitor

July, 2011
Feature Review: Multi-language Support

June, 2011
Feature Review: Undo/Redo, Auto Save

May, 2011
Feature Preview: Unicode Support

April, 2011
Postmortem: October 2010 Edition

March, 2011
Feature Review: Mobile Control, Color Improv

Feature Review: Mobile Control, Background Improv

February, 2011
Feature Review: Mobile Control

January, 2011
Feature Review: Presenting Slide Steps

December, 2010
Feature Review: Metadata Search

November, 2010
Feature Review: Color Search

October, 2010
Feature Preview: Video Chain Enhancements

September, 2010
Some Nice Fonts

Live Presentation Tips

August, 2010
In Action: Send The Fire Background

PhotoShop: Content Aware Scaling and Fill

July, 2010
Feature Review: YouTube and Vimeo support

Feature Review: Color Key

Pictures from the God and Country Festival

June, 2010
Feature Review: Transparent Color Tolerance Setting

Feature Review: Split Monitors

Dana Key

May, 2010
Feature Review: Blink/Scroll

April, 2010
Feature Review: Control Panel Tabs Arrangement

March, 2010
Feature Review: Audio Improv

Feature Review: Instant Message/Stage Message

Feature Review: Overlay Improv

Feature Review: Color Improv

February, 2010
The Live Video plug-in Still Has Life at CFN

January, 2010
Reflection Effect, PhotoShop vs. SongShow Plus

Feature Review: Reflection Effect

December, 2009
5 Minutes With Doug Reece

The December 2009 Edition

November, 2009
Tips & Tricks: Have a D: drive

October, 2009
Frio Suite

Feature Review: Pasting from Zip Files

Photos from the United Pentecostal Church International Convention

Photos from FUEL Event

September, 2009
Feature Preview: Basic Global Display Properties

A Better Alternative to Anti-virus Software for Projection Machines

Feature Preview: PowerPoint Import

Feature Preview: Re-running Slide Show Builders

Test Your Video Files!

August, 2009
VBS at EagleNaz: The Giving Slides

VBS at EagleNaz

July, 2009
Networking the Social Networks (attempting to anyway)

In Action: Capital Christian Center

Paul Baloche Live

Feature Review: Clipboard Paste Formatting Options

June, 2009
Chill Cafe

Feature Review: Title Slides for Songs

Revelation Song

Feature Review: Stage Monitor Output

Yet Another Blog

Feature Preview: Easier Hue Adjustment

Feature Preview: Hiding Objects on a Slide

Feature Preview: HTML Export: Custom XSL


Feature Preview: Enabling/Disabling Effects Layers

May, 2009

Feature Preview: HTML Export, Custom CSS, Part 2

Feature Preview: HTML Export, Custom CSS

Have a Backup Plan

Feature Preview: HTML Export

Windows 7

April, 2009
In Action: The Transformed Life

My Church's Favorite: Paul Baloche Songs(?)

March, 2009
Feature Review: DeckLink Plug-in

February, 2009
Feature Preview: Importing External Media

Feature Preview: Enhanced Copy/Paste for Media Files

Feature Preview: Importing from Zip Files

Feature Preview: Invoking Slide Show Builders from AutoPlay

In Action: Margin Adjustment Saves the Day

Working with PhotoShop Artists

January, 2009
The Waiting Kind

So do we need keyboard certification?

Windows 7, or 6.1?

Windows Vista: 2nd Anniversary

December, 2008
In Action: Savor the Season, Part 2

The 2008 Christmas CDs

Two of my favorite hymns arrangements

Blu-ray won, but will it matter?

Micheal W. Smith Christmas Concert

In Action: Savor The Season

What not to do: CD Players

In Action: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

November, 2008
In Action: Praise His Holy Names

In Action: For All of Life

In Action: Using Stained Glass as a Background

Feature Preview: Gaussian Blur

October, 2008
Using Shake and Grain in a Promo Slide Show

The Grain Effect

Feature Review: Video Sequence Builder

A Weekend at Trinity Fellowship Church

September, 2008
Feature Review: Shake

Photo Slides Builder vs. PhotoStory

Feature Review: Pan / Zoom Effect

Review: Integrity Music's Flexx

Feature Preview: Edge Blend and Edge Blur

August, 2008
Further explanation of Hue Adjustment

Feature Preview: Huescale

Feature Preview: Hue Colorize and Hue Tint

July, 2008
Feature Preview: Import from SongSelect Download File

Explaining the difference between the Hue Adjustment and Color Filter effects.

Feature Preview: Hue Replacement

Feature Preview: Hue Adjustment

June, 2008
Farewell Tim

In Action: Father's Day

May, 2008

April, 2008
Roll your own Top Ten List

Photo Slides with Captions Builder

Improved scripture text support for slide shows

New and improved slide builders

March, 2008
Converting Songs to Slide Shows

Comming next: Slide show feature enhancements

Frosted windows

Video examples of CinFX 2

Using video files as a fill for text

February, 2008
Enhancements to the wish list

The History of Auto Cue

Adding three-year olds to the test team

Presentation Trifecta; Part 3

January, 2008
Presentation Trifecta; Part 2

Target aspect ratios

Enhanced spell checking

Happy New Year, January 2008 Edition

December, 2007
A year in the life of SSP: 2007

Merry Christmas and other tidbits

Rethinking the right-click

Presentation Trifecta; Part 1

The New Christmas Ornaments Tranistion

November, 2007
An oldie but goodie for the Christmas season

Hymnal give-away

Enhanced clipboard capabilities

Distinct Effects for Fills and Outlines

October, 2007
It is time to say "so long" to DirectX 8 hardware.

Build your own gradients

Service elements for programs

Enhancements of the fills technologies

September, 2007
Selecting videos and images using thumbnail previews

The new search mechanism

The new Display Properties Window

No more font smoothing (option)

Detour: Amazon's Unboxed Service

August, 2007
Wrapping up work for the next edition

July, 2007
The influence of the Wish List

June, 2007
Re-using old motion backgrounds

May, 2007
Old Blur, New Blur

April, 2007
Feature Preview: Flare Effect

Feature Preview: Negative Effect

Feature Preview: Transparency

Feature Preview: Sepia Effect

March, 2007
Feature Preview: Image Mask

Feature Preview: Gradient Mask

Feature Preview: Color Adjustment

Feature Preview: Image and Text Rotation

Technology Preview: Background Effects

February, 2007
Technology Preview: Watermark Effect

Package-to-Go and external files

A slide editing enhancement

SSP and Windows Vista

January, 2007
Is it time to say "So long" to DirectX 8 hardware?

RipFX conversion nearly complete

A brief history of the SSP graphics engine

Giving Rhapsody a try

Four words:

December, 2006
It's been a good year, so -- thank you!

Performance testing


Don't forget those Christmas Goodies!

November, 2006
One baby down, one to go

GIFs, PNGs, and RipFX


Microsoft Office and the new UI

Enhancing thumbnails and previews for slides

October, 2006
My own SSP/PowerPoint lock-up event

DVD Enhancements, Phase 1

DVDs and aspect ratios

September, 2006
Back into DVD code

What we're doing now: video playback enhancements

August, 2006
CinFX this week!

New Features and the role of the Wish List

New widescreen control panel layout

July, 2006
Releasing latent capabilities

(Don't) keep reminding me of this

Something else I didn't mention

A system-crash-free vacation

June, 2006
Working on the next evolution

The wish list is live

Hooray for PhotoShow Builder!

Let the evolution begin!

May, 2006
On track for the 31st!

The long-lost ProModule

April, 2006
Stock Hymns and Christmas Carols

Visualizations 5: Sparkle and Panorama

Recalling the barely-out-of-prototype debut once again

Visualizations 5: Kaleidoscope

Ease-of-use at men's retreat

March, 2006
User specific preferences

Audio file support in V7

Color adjusting background video using opacity

Final word on the unlock mechanism

February, 2006
In the Role of the End-user

Vista on the vista

Working Through the New Unlock Mechanism

Blog hiatus...and catch up

January, 2006
The Interactive Wish List!

I can see the light...

The New Year of DVD

December, 2005
End-of-year tidbits

Looking Ahead: 3D Animations

SongShow Plus at the GMA

Looking Back: The debut of SSP

November, 2005
Video clips: Fair use or not fair use?

Looking Ahead: What happend to the green diamond?

Looking Ahead: Background Improv

Pictures from Seacoast Church

Even I can learn something...

October, 2005
V7 Required System Configuration: A Tough Question to Answser

Pictures from Moody Church

Looking Ahead: Video Placement Properties

Looking Ahead: Video Effects

Pictures from The Rock Church Event

Another Day at NNU

Looking Ahead: Video Chains

SSP + SLI = don't go there yet

September, 2005
The Weekend at The Rock Church

Looking Ahead: Customizable Toolbars, part 2

Looking Back: An early skeptic turned early advocate!

Looking Ahead: Customizable Toolbars

August, 2005
Microsoft threw us for a loop

The other day at NNU

A few pictures...

July, 2005
Well, I can finally relax...

It's about to start!

So What Happened to Version 6?

A Week Ago Today...

June, 2005
Looking Back: In the beginning…

Welcome to my blog, or as I like to call it, a ssplog.

Blog Entry

Presentation Trifecta; Part 1

Dec 7

Written by:
12/7/2007  RssIcon

This last week, I participated in a podcast with The topic was worship presentation software. Brad Weston and Greg Dolezal of Renewed Vision (ProPresenter), Paul Jackson of MediaComplete (MediaShout) also participated along with FaithTools regulars Rick Pepper, Van Metschke, Josh Gaughen. The event was hosted by Colin Burch of FaithTools.

The recording session lasted over two hours and apparently will be edited down to three separate podcasts. I enjoyed the experience and the discussions remained congenial. Each of us was able to talk about issues regarding presentation software as well as talk up our products to an extent without getting into a "shoot-out" type discussion. (No software wars at this event.)

Unfortunately, my audio feed was horrible. I apparently had a bandwidth problem and perhaps a hyperactive microphone which made me sound very bad. It's almost painful to listen to. If you want to listen the the podcast (part 1), you can do so at the podcast site. Because it's often difficult to understand what I'm saying, I've transcribed my comments and also included follow up comments. The transcribed comments have been edited for readability.

We were asked to give a history of how our products were conceived: 

Yeah, very similar situation again. The church I was attending at the time, which was Capital Christian Center in Meridian, Idaho, had just built the new facility. We were still using transparencies at the time. Finally the funds came in to put in the projection system. This was actually in ’95 when we were discussing this. And of course, all of us tech-geek types started talking about how we could do [lyrics projection], and naturally people were saying “well we’ll just use PowerPoint to accomplish this.” Well, I was a professional programmer at the time and I’m ... thinking, “I don’t know if this is really going to work because...”, also I was part of the worship team – Capital Christian at that time particularly had a very spontaneous worship setting – and I thought, “I just don’t see how PowerPoint is going to be able to do what we need it to do. We need the flexibility; we need a little more ease-of-use than what you can do with statically built slides.” So I kind of gave it some thought and started putting together a little prototype. We set a target to have the whole video system in place, well, by Easter in ’96. Some people were a little skeptical. Its like, “Well Doug, how can you compete with the legions of programmers at Microsoft.” And I said, “Well, I’m going to give it a shot anyway.” So I was a little bit white-knuckled on that first Sunday, which was also Easter Sunday -- which I would not recommend to anybody. [Colin laughs] We unveiled [not] just the software, it was also the whole video system. That’s where it got started, and the people who were pro-PowerPoint were converted. And, just like the [others] mentioned here, [I] saw commercial potential for this [product], [and] that other churches would definitely benefit [from it]. Through a little more work and hooking up with a company to market, we got the product out in ’97, so we’re kind of celebrating a 10-year anniversary here.

 I have previously blogged about the beginnings of SSP as well: In the beginning..., An early skeptic turned early advocate!, and The debut of SSP.


We were then asked what role products like PowerPoint and KeyNote have in presentations for churches:

One of the advantages that PowerPoint really has is its ubiquity. So to build a slide show in PowerPoint [you probably have a] good chance you’re going to be able to take it to a church or give it to somebody and they will be able to play it. But for the churches that are using – I’ll just speak on SongShow’s behalf at this point – is that there are advantages to using the slide show capabilities that we built into the software, because then its integrated – you’re not switching between players. Some of the really cooler high-end features such as motion backgrounds, 3D transitions, and things like this that, PowerPoint doesn’t even provide. [With these] you can spice up like your announcements slide shows. You can do [this] by getting beyond what PowerPoint can provide and use some of the more advanced features that SongShow can provide. But the reality is that PowerPoint is a good general purpose tool, and there are a number of features in PowerPoint that we don’t have in SongShow. But I think that we cover 80% of what a church would need.

My 80% statement was not precisely what I meant to say. I actually believe that the slide show capabilities of SSP provide 100% of what 80% of all churches need. When you consider that typically, sermons simply needs visual illustrations and bullet points -- SSP provides that. And for announcements, while PowerPoint provides some cheesy 2D animations and things like that, this is mitigated by the fact the SSP provides non-cheesy, professional quality effects, transitions, and animations. So perhaps even the 80% estimate should be higher!


Next question was about hardware and more specifically about video cards: 

I have a general answer and a specific answer. I agree with Paul that we, right now, favor the nVidia line. [It] actually goes back and forth – there are times that ATI does better than nVidia, and there are times when nVidia does [better]. One of the problems we have in answering that question, is [that] its really more about. “well what do you intend to do?” In SongShow, we have such a list of [features] – we have real-time effects we call RipFx, we have CinFX which is high-end professional-level transitions and things. You can layer these, [but] what you want to do is [run at] 60-frames a second. The reality is that there are so many things you can do in SongShow that you can bring even the highest-end nVidia card to its knees. But if all you are going to do is just put words up with like a soft shadow and a motion background, probably...the older generation cards, like the 6000 line in nVidia, for instance, will be adequate. But if you want to really push things to the limit, get some really professional looking presentations – all real-time – then definitely the 8800 GTX. It’s the top-line for nVidia right now. 

We’ve taken the approach – Paul was talking about there are so many options [out there] that it’s problematic. People think that they can go to Dell, or they can go to BestBuy, pick something up and expect it to work. [Colin interjects]. One of the things we didn’t mention earlier – I’m a co-founder of [the company] ... We are selling a line of computers that we’ve taken, and we’ve run these computers through a lot of test to really stress test them, performance [test] them with SongShow and other graphics software. What we’d like to do is provide, rather than all the different options out there, here are the things that – if you buy [our computer], you can be sure its going to work, its going to work well, its going to perform well, its going to be stable. We think that is really important because that’s what people want to deal with. They don’t want to have to deal with [things like] [incompatible drivers], or this latest update [breaking the system] – its amazing that even an Internet Explorer update can actually break a worship presentation software [installation]. You wouldn’t think that’s the case, but it can happen. [Colin interjects]. Anyway, it’s a constant battle for us trying to keep up with all of this, and we think we [need] to narrow the field a little bit here and say that not any video card out there is what you should use. Yeah, it might be the latest generation, but if its like a 7200 or an 8200, those are really the defects that didn’t qualify as the [8600] or the [8800] so they stick them out there as an 8200 – do you really want to use defective hardware. So, that’s how we kind of approach that.

After the session, I wondered to myself, "Is there actually an nVidia 8200 video card model." After some quick research, I see that there is not. What I should have said was 7200 or the 8400.

The hardware testing process is described at


Finally (for this part) we were asked about the trends we saw in the types of video formats being used along with other issues regarding video formats:

Definitely, the trend will eventually be for streaming hi-def, but I think that for most churches, that’s a ways off. I’d agree with Paul that we’ve found that the Windows Media 9 format really works the best on the Windows systems. MPEG-1 has been around for awhile but doesn’t really do well when blown-up to the size of a projection screen. MPEG-2 is always a hit-and-miss whether you actually have a system with an MPEG-2 codec on it, and even if there is one, if it is actually going to work. So we’ve found that Windows Media format works [well]. AVIs are always a mystery too because you don’t know what [codec was used] the AVI [file]. To go along with what Brad was saying, to get into the HD, and those kinds of videos – the video card almost becomes not as big of an issue because what you really need is good fast hard drive, bus speed – especially if its being decoded on the CPU, you definitely need a good CPU, which that could really be promising with the new 2 and 4 core CPUs available here shortly.

Clarifications: SSP will work with the newer Windows Media formats, not just 9, but Windows Media 9 is what came to mind as one of the first we really supported beyond AVI and MPG formats. Also, obviously 2 core systems have been around for a few years and 4 core are just emerging but are also available now.

Parts 2 and 3 will be posted within the next couple of weeks.