Wednesday, June 14, 2006

IMAG :|: What I Like and What I Don't

Today's Topic: Tools and Techniques

When you have a 6-month old, you start reading things that manly men aren't supposed to read, like the blog girltalk, by Carolyn Mahaney and daughters. (Actually, I'd encourage guys to read this great stuff, unless they tell you not to.) They've been talking about children's schedules lately, and it's been encouraging to me as my wife and I try to get our beautiful little baby girl to stop waking up twice at night.

But they have made sure to qualify that their recommendations are just suggestions. Read how they introduced the topic here, especially the Carson quote, because...

Warning: Opinions Coming!

What you're about to read are just my thoughts on screen content and imag. These are not laws of good video, bad video or otherwise. If you do more, you're not necessarily being distracting. If you do less, you're not necessarily wasting your medium.

I would just encourage you to know why you are doing what you're doing.

Here are my various thoughts.


During Congregational Singing

Like: Show me the lyrics! If I'm supposed to sing along, I need to see the lyrics. Unfortunately, neither my friends nor I have the songs memorized.

Like: Show me they lyrics early! I challenge our folks to aim for 100% accuracy but still get the next lyrics up fast enough for the congregation to read the entire first line before they have to sing it. That's tough, but they do pretty well at it.

Dislike: I'm not a big fan of imag during congregational singing. I'd rather see more words and less people because the words help me think truth about God more than a picture of a person, even if that person is worshipping God. Even more distracting to me is the typical shot of the percussion player during the musical break or guitar player during his solo. I think it has the potential to cause people to notice the music more than the truth of the words. But that's just my take.

Like: A simple background behind the lyrics is a nice touch that can help bring visual coherence with whatever set design or bulletin theme you are using.

Dislike: Landscapes. Is it just me, or is this way overdone?

During a Musical "Performance"

Like: For more performance oriented music, I think imag can have an appropriate place.

Like: Slow camera moves. When I'm camera director, I describe the moves I want as impossibly slow. That's in part because our zoom triggers are not variable (things you learn too late), so slow is nearly impossible. But it's also because fast is can easily become distracting.

Dislike: TakeCamera1TakeCamera4TakeCamera3TakeCamera4TakeCamera2. As I alluded to last week, the music television culture has standardized using lots of quick, on-the-beat camera transitions. That tends to emphasize the musicality of the song rather than the content. I would instead encourage you to attempt to switch cameras for a content-driven reason whenever possible.

During Speaking or Preaching

Like: Switch cameras in-between sentences. This is the most natural and least jarring moment to switch cameras.

Dislike: Switch cameras when the person starts to move. One camera has the tight shot, which is used when the person is still. When he starts to move, they cut to the wide shot. This seems to subjugate the content to the equipment.

Like: Stick with cuts the whole time. Dissolves indicate a time or location change in our TV culture, and it also seems strange to see two of the same person on the screen in a speaking context. But I could be too influenced by the culture here.

Dislike: Cuts to graphics. Whoa. That's jarring. Dissolve back and forth between imag and graphics.

And some people accuse me of being too unopinionated!

I'm sure someone out there disagrees with me. I'd love to hear your comments, suggestions, rebukes. Remember, these are just my thoughts, not God's thoughts.

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Anonymous said...

I very much enjoy reading your blog everyday. I am the sound man for a small church about 200(I think) in Margaree Valley, Cape Breton, Canada.
I am the only person in my church who does the sound and I have been doing it since I was about 10 or 11. It is always good to learn things from other people. I also do sound for a Chritian Alternative Rock Band ( I enjoy very much. It is a great encouragement to see that there is someone like you who is willing to share there thoughts with the world.
Finlay Hunter

Anonymous said...

Your list is helpful as it brought up a couple of things I hadn't thought of before, as well as re-enforcing some of my own likes and dislikes as well. A couple of dislikes during musical "performances" that I would add are wipes, split screen, and Picture-in-Picture. Just a few things that I find distracting.