Media Made Easier on Chris Tomlin Tour
Music director and video director both using ProPresenter 5 in new ways on Contemporary Christian music's biggest tour
When Chris Tomlin's latest album, Burning Lights, was released this past January, it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, making it only the fourth Christian album in history to do so. To support the new album, Tomlin and his band are once again back out on the road for a two-month, 36-date U.S. arena tour.Tomlin's production team has been relying on Renewed Vision’s ProPresenter lyric and media presentation software for well over a decade. The band and crew say the expanded feature set of the software's latest version, ProPresenter 5, is helping them find new ways to improve the concert-going experience for fans.According to Matt Gilder, Tomlin's musical director and keyboard player, one of those improvements has been the ability to trigger video clips for the tour's 13'x40' LED wall directly from his keyboard. Running Ableton Live on an Apple MacBook Pro, which also contains the show's click and supplemental tracks, Gilder interfaces the laptop with his Roland A-500 PRO MIDI controller and to one of the tour's video computers offstage running ProPresenter via Ethernet.Gilder says, "For video playback on tours in the past, we've had to use SMPTE timecode and lock everything down to a click track with no getting off the map, "Gilder recalls. "But ProPresenter 5 enables us to set up a bunch of video cues in advance that I can easily trigger during performances simply by playing a predetermined note.”He continues, "To illustrate, 'God's Great Dance Floor' has typically been the lead song on our set list for this tour. At the beginning of the show, I bring up the initial bank of videos I'll be accessing by hitting a MIDI note at a certain velocity. Partway into the song, when I play a C#5, the first use of that note triggers the appropriate video to be displayed on the LED wall. Then, when I hit my second cue note--say G5--it triggers the next video right on time. Not only does this make life easier for our crew running the video switcher and lyrics, but it also ensures that video content is perfectly in sync with the songs, even if we stretch out a verse or chorus somewhere along the way."