Many of you in smaller churches don’t realize how awesome using midi devices over a network with propresenter can be! The reason isn’t because you are a small church – it’s because you probably don’t have an audio guy who understands midi. If you do, rock on!

Why Using Midi Devices Over a Network with ProPresenter is Awesome

First off, you can cue things from across the room. No seriously! Long story short, your musician who cues your loops with ableton can cue lighting as well! Or, your propresenter person can cue ableton and lighting. Or your lighting person can cue ableton and advance propresenter slides. In fact, your sound person could even do it all – though they might become suicidal at the thought of wrecking everything with a wrong keypress.

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How to Set Up Using Midi Devices Over a Network with ProPresenter

Odds are you are running ProPresenter on a Mac. So this post will detail setting that up to connect with another machine (even a windows machine – like we use to run our lights). You can find the basic concepts in some other places, but I want this post to give you a step-by-step guide to getting the things to work. Because of the basic how-to guide style I’ll need to tell you what devices I’m using so that you can see where to adjust the process for your context.

My Setup

I’m using a Midi Device (Behringer BCF2000) plugged into my lighting station (windows machine). There is nothing special about this device – it’s just the one I had.

Using Midi Devices Over A Network with ProPresenter

That Midi device cues my lighting scenes in the worship center. I’m also running ProPresenter on a Mac on the other side of the booth. These computers need to be on the same network (or different sub-nets that can talk to each other – ask a network person). In our case we want to send Midi commands FROM the windows lighting machine TO the Mac ProPresenter machine. If you are doing the opposite, you’ll want to reverse some of the sends/receives as described below.

The Process for Using Midi Devices Over a Network with ProPresenter

You can start by reading this post on churchtecharts. It will get you on the right track. However, we did not need VPMK (as that post mentions).

Our Setup on the Mac looks like this:

Using Midi Devices Over A Network with ProPresenter 2

Notice the “Live Routings” menu at the bottom right. On our mac we wanted them both left as blank (default). What that should mean is that the mac will receive midi commands from any device on the network and pass midi commands on to any device on the network.

Our Setup on the PC looks like this:

Using Midi Devices Over A Network with ProPresenter 2

Notice that the output (bottom right of the window that says BCF2000 with a right arrow next to it) we have the BCF2000 selected, that is our midi device on the PC that we want to send commands to the Mac. When you select the dropdown you should see your midi device show up. You can leave the receive portion (the bottom selection) blank, which should in theory mean that the computer passes commands to all available midi devices connected to it.

Note: You actually shouldn’t need to select your midi output device, as leaving it blank should send all midi commands from any device out to the network. For some reason this was not the case in our situation, so by process of trial and error we found that selecting the actual midi output device worked.

How will I know if it’s working at this point?

When we press a key on our midi send device (BCF2000 connected to windows lighting machine) we see red bars light up next to where it says latency on the Mac’s midi session. That means that Midi commands are being received by the Mac from the Windows machine!!

Using ProPresenter with a Midi Device – Caveats

ProPresenter (at least in my experience) wants to send/receive note on/off commands via midi. My BCF2000 wants to send/receive control messages, not notes. After about an hour struggling to figure out a solution, a simple one dawned on me. You can use the “Learn” function on the midi controller to “learn” what signal to send. So I knew that I needed to do that…

To “learn” the right command I had to do the following. 1) I setup a cue on a propresenter slide that would send the midi note on command that I wanted the BCF2000 to learn. For this purpose it was the note that advances the slide. 2) I changed the Windows Machine’s Live Routing Settings to have a blank on the top. Then I selected the BCF2000 on the bottom. If you miss this step you’ll be kicking yourself for getting stuck. 3) Your device’s keypress will be different than mine. But for me, I did the following on the BCF2000… I simultaneously pressed the Learn button and the button I wanted for PP Cue for Next Slide. That puts the device into learning mode. 4) I clicked the slide with the cue in propresenter. Then, I watched the midi device light up with the word “good.” That part is probably unique to my BCF2000.

Now I set the live routing back to what I had described originally on the Windows machine. When I pressed the button, it changed the slide. Presto!!

Catch Part 2 next week to see some of what you can do with your newfound Midi goodness!!

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