Tentmaker Ministries and Publications produces a lot of resources for those in the world who are hungry for spiritual growth. To collect, prepare and send the information all around the world, we use a lot of software and equipment. We thought it might be helpful for others to know about some of the products we use to get our message out. We are involved in publishing internet sites, booklets, books, CD’s, DVD’s, art, music, Bible software, mp3 files, blogs, podcasts and God only knows what else. As you can probably imagine, we use a lot of “stuff.” Tentmaker Ministries also does product and book reviews, especially products related to ministry, Bible study and spiritual understanding. This page is devoted to stuff we highly recommend to those who are trying to impact this world for the better.

CAMTASIA STUDIO 7.1 BY TECHSMITH (for Windows)
(Also available as Camtasia for Mac 1.2)

Reviewed by Grady Brown on behalf of Tentmaker Ministries

Bible teaching has certainly changed in my 40+ years of Christian ministry.
As a kid I remember itinerate Bible teachers who came to our little rural community church with their big canvas charts that they would string up on clothes-line wire at the front of the auditorium. The two primary subjects back then were “The Tabernacle Plan” and “Bible Prophecy.” I later learned that all those elaborate timelines on the prophecy charts came right out of Clarence Larkin’s Dispensational Truth, but at the time he wasn’t given credit. I guess the teacher wanted us to think that his presentation was a revelation straight from the glory-world!

For a while a few teachers even tried to use flannel-graph boards, but they weren’t big enough and they looked more appropriate for a Primary Sunday school class.

Then came the age of the overhead projectors. Boy, we had a field-day with that technology. I still have stacks of overhead transparencies stored away somewhere. I haven’t bothered to look for them—the theology is probably as dated as the technology.

With the advent of the computer projection systems and presentation software like Microsoft Office PowerPoint, the overhead projectors starting fading away.

Today, I have almost become dependent on this current technology. I never preach or teach without my PowerPoint presentation to keep me on track. And it adds a little zest to what I have to say. I never carry a Bible to church because all the Scriptures that I will be using are formatted into my presentation. It almost seems to be the ultimate teaching tool.

That is, until somebody invents a wrist-watch hologram device. I’ll line up to get the first one of those.
But for now, the next step in Bible teaching presentations will be taken by those who have Camtasia Studio. This software was designed to enable computer application instructors to produce tutorials by recording the instructor’s entire computer screen (or any portion of it) as a video. The instructor can mouse around through the software while providing an audio narrative, and all of it is captured as a movie, which can then be edited and processed, posted on the internet via YouTube or one’s own website or blog, or even packaged as a CD or DVD to be sent out to clients or students.

For presenters, the newest version of Camtasia has the capability of recorded directly from within PowerPoint itself, or from within Camtasia Studio. With this add-in you can record your PowerPoint presentation, Record the audio for the PowerPoint slides, Record using a camera with the PowerPoint presentation, and display the camera preview during recording.

Recording options include adjustments for specific settings for recording, including:
·         Recording the mouse cursor
·         Video and audio format
·         Audio source
·         Camera setup
·         Hotkeys for Record/Pause and Stop

Every progressive Bible teacher will immediately see the benefits of such technology. Now, in addition to live presentations at conferences or churches or small group gatherings, you can also extend your teaching ministry to the world wide web. You can have an impact on native pastors and Christian workers in any country of the world with internet reception. You can use Camtasia Studio to broadcast a live webinar (with outfits like GoToMeeting.com) or archive your teaching videos on free servers like YouTube.com, GodTube.com, Blip.tv or Vimeo.com. Using webcam software like Yawcam (free from Yawcam.com), you can have your “talking head” as a picture-in-a-picture while your PowerPoint is in slide-show mode.

The possibilities are endless. Anything that you can see on your screen can be captured as a video and distributed to parishioners, students, or conferees. Camtasia Studio is very intuitive—you don’t have to be a techie to operate it. After a little practice, you will be able to devote yourself to preparing the content that is the heart of your calling as a teacher, and be able to distribute it to the world with a minimum of technical know-how.

Reviewed by Dr. Grady Brown, founder of God Talk Blog on behalf of Tentmaker Ministries

Techsmith.com

Because we do a lot of creative things in many different media, Adobe software is one of our favorites. Almost everything we do can be done with one of Adobe’s software packages. Our volunteers are all over the world. It is much easier to work together if we are all using the same creative software. There is hardly a creative field that Adobe doesn’t have a high-powered piece of software for. One of the features we value is that their various pieces of software work together. Photoshop, Flash, Fireworks, InDesign, Illustrator for example all work with Dreamweaver, our web page program. Whether we are publishing a new book, creating a new DVD or developing new pages for our internet sites the Adobe family of creative products, which they have bundled into various suites for different creative communities has the solution for us.

Christian Ministries have been known for producing cheap quality productions. Part of the problem is that often they use cheap software and hardware. Investing in better software could possibly get rid of some of that poor quality. Using Adobe is one solution.

http://www.adobe.com

There are many Bible software packages on the market. I have looked at quite a few over the years. We have even helped develop one and have produced content for a couple. If you want to have the resources available to really get at the meaning of the ancient languages of the Bible, then BibleWorks is the one for you.

Whether you’re preparing a sermon, doing complex morphological analysis, or writing a seminary paper, scholars agree that BibleWorks is the best tool available. For close exegesis of the original text, BibleWorks is indispensable. You’ll find everything you need in its 190+ Bible translations in nearly 40 languages, 35 original language texts and morphology databases, 29 lexical-grammatical references, plus a wealth of practical reference works! Instead of providing a loose collection of books, BibleWorks tightly integrates its databases with the most powerful morphology and analysis tools.

I think all Bible College and seminary students as well as Bible teachers and seminary professors should have this program. I must warn the average Christian, this program could be overwhelming—especially at first. It’s loaded with tools, many of which one may never use. It takes time to manage this software. They provide tutorials, a help menu and workshops.

http://bibleworks.com

Over the many years Tentmaker Ministries has been around, we have printed many thousands of booklets. Most of the time we produced the copy in a word processing program such as Microsoft Word and then printed it with our HP 5 Laserjet duplex printer. There are very few pieces of equipment I have owned in my life that have made me want to write to the manufacturer congratulating them for their fine product. This jam proof printer has brought so many smiles to my face over the many years we have used it that I am smiling again as I write. I dread the day that wonderful machine dies.

These many thousands of booklets and tracts we have printed were put into booklet or tract form with an inexpensive software package from Blue Squirrel named Clickbook. We use it primarily for making tracts and booklets however, ClickBook, a powerful yet easy-to-use printing utility, lets you print customized day planner pages, wallet booklets, church bulletins, brochures, greeting cards, posters, business cards, flipbooks, catalogs, manuals, trifolds, address books, banners, microfiche, CD covers and more from Internet, Windows, or CD-Rom files! ClickBook, helps you scale and rotate digital photos, e-mails, documents, favorite on-line content, or other critical information into 170+ mobile and convenient layouts. You can even design your own custom layouts and save up to 75% in paper costs! Some of the new features with ClickBook 11 are:

Works with any Inkjet or Laser printer.
Create Custom Letterhead.
Create Custom Forms to print
Create Custom Backgrounds to print your planner or booklet pages.
Quick Click Printers to instantly print booklets, brochures and pdfs.
Vista Compatible.
Instantly e-mail PDF files to family, and friends.
Carbonless Printing - Print triplicate forms for invoices, purchase orders and more.

At the price of $49.95, this software is a very good investment. I would especially recommend it for ministries and churches. Any business or organization would benefit as well.

http://www.bluesquirrel.com/products/clickbook/

Another product we often use is Nuance’s Omnipage Professional Optical Character Recognition Software. We have many old wonderful books and writings that we want to make available to the world. We scan them using our Epson 1660 Scanner with Omnipage Professional OCR. This software allows us to scan the material through our word processor which happens to be Microsoft Word 2003. As the scanner scans the pages, it converts the image into text that can be formatted and rearranged to our liking. We store these texts in our large database. Sometimes we reprinted the material.

For example, one of the favorite downloads on our tentmaker.org site is “100 Scriptural Proofs Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World.” This writing was first written in the early 1800’s. We scanned it from an old book, converted the text through Omnipage Optical Character Software, changed the fonts and formatting for modern eyes and then reprinted the work into booklet form using Blue Squirrel’s Clickbook. We also converted it into html format and put it on our web sites. Today, many other web sites have copied that old excellent writing from our web site thus making it more available. One day (if it hasn’t happened already) people will take the English version and translate it into some other language. This is an example of the tremendous power available to those who want to touch this world and make it better. Software, like the ones I’m writing about, have so much great potential for those who are trying to impact the world. Many of the fine writings on our Scholars Corner Page at tentmaker.org were originally old books scanned using Nuance’s Omnipage Professional Optical Character Recognition Software. From that format, we put it into html using Abode’s Dreamweaver to make them available to the whole world.

Omnipage has greatly improved since we first began using it. Today, they have a standard and professional version. The latest version of Omnipage (16) goes far beyond scanning and optical recognition. Omnipage 16 allows the user to take photographs of text with their digital camera which can then be converted to text that can be reformatted. Old pages of text and images can be scanned and converted to 30 different forms. They call this “repurposing.” The software takes the material on a page, breaks it up into different components allowing the user to format each piece individually to create a new page that can be reconstructed into many different forms using various extensions such as such as Word DOC, PDF, JPG, GIF, XML etc. When scanning, the software recognizes 119 languages including Greek which is helpful when scanning text that contains references to the Greek New Testament and Septuagint.

Of all the various types of software we use at Tentmaker, OCR technology has been the most frustrating, because it is far from perfect. Nevertheless, this technology has allowed us to resurrect old writings and art that would otherwise be lost to most of us today. The Internet would be far less valuable to the world if OCR software was not available. Omnipage is a leading OCR software.

http://www.nuance.omnipage


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