Sunday, March 30, 2008

3.30 Reverb

Hello, Covenant Life Production Team Friends.

Reverb is my new attempt to serve you by providing timely encouragement and suggestions for improvement after each Sunday service. I know I've tried this before, but I have some friends helping hold me accountable on this attempt. Here goes...

First, wasn't Josh's message on The Fearful right on target? Who doesn't connect with fear in some way? I really think God was speaking to everyone this morning. If God spoke to you particularly, leave me a comment so that I can share that encouragement with our staff. Kenneth mentioned to me that he thought this was the most effective gospel presentation he's ever heard. From a former pastor of evangelism, that's a strong statement. You can listen again here soon.

Second, I loved the new set design for Psalms: Real Help for Real People. Thanks for making it happen, Julie! With the Joseph productions wrapping up this coming weekend, we'll be able to move the backdrop further upstage next Sunday, which will alleviate some of the crowded feeling this morning. We should also try to strategize a way to get the drums out of the way of the last word in the theme. Any suggestions?

Finally, I think all our teams did a great job this morning. With the late Saturday night turnover from Joseph, the additional requirements of baptisms, a few new "features and services," and the fact that it was a 5th Sunday, I was very happy with the way our teams played their part in making the gospel clear.

Sound

The sound crew worked the hardest this weekend. They had to completely reset from the show last night. And Andrew served through the three productions Friday and Saturday and then Sunday morning again. Thanks, man! The stage setup looked really good, and I am thrilled with the results of Jake's DJ rig table. Very clean! Thanks, Jim.

Ben and I have been working up some checklists for mic setup, but it would be worth mentioning a definition change that I want to implement as soon as possible: line check does not equal a mic check. What I mean by that, more specifically, is that hearing the mic in the headphones (line check) is not the same as hearing the mic through the speakers (mic check). The mic really isn't officially "checked" until you know all the routing buttons, VCA assigns, insert switches, etc. are selected in such a way that you hear that mic through the speakers.

We had two missed mic cues in the first service today because we didn't thoroughly check those mics in the mains. This seems to be a recurring issue, so - all mixers and producers - I need you both to own this and back each other up. Make sure you hear those mics in the speakers on Saturday. Please don't wait until the craziness of Sunday morning to check them because you may forget. In the sound world, this is one of the few mistakes that I don't ever ever want to become comfortable and normal. Our expectation: Zero missed mics.

Lighting

The lights looked good this morning. The band wash was a bit uneven, but I understand we were basically using the Joseph lighting plot. No biggie there. Great job hitting the cues on time Philip. I appreciated that I didn't have to cue you each time. You knew exactly what to do when.

I want to spend some time this coming week checking the sermon lighting wash. It seemed like its shifted again, this time to stage left. Craig, if you see this, and you pull the lift out for Joseph this week, can you make sure that all three sermon backlights have functioning bulbs. I think the center backlight is out. Josh looked a little flat on the IMAG screen this morning.

Video

The video crew also nailed it this morning. I was so pleased with the results. There was much to do, including work with camera 5 on the baptistry, the "new feature" of keying the lower thirds (the title or name bar) over the camera shots, and the Psalms intro video.

Dennis did a stellar job as house director this morning. Dennis, thanks for jumping in to learn the keying system in a just one morning. I could tell you were really thinking through your shots and screens this morning. Your extra effort served people greatly. I know you made one switcher error, but for all you had going on, I'd say you batted 1000.

One thing for future video crews: if we are doing baptisms, the camera ops should plan to arrive a little early to set up camera 5, get the intercom line run, and get it looking great. Latricia and I will try to warn you when we'll be having baptisms. Unfortunately, we ran out of time between 9pm last night and 9pm this morning to get everything set up correctly. The dark, greenish pictures of the baptistry during 1st service were the sad result. Sorry, folks. My fault. I definitely need your help to set this up.

Finally, does anyone know why the projector was off center? The lyric folks noticed that the words were running up at a slight angle. When I looked at the projector's grid pattern up in the projector room, I realized that the whole projector had been moved about 1 ft off center, causing a keystoned image. I can't even imagine what would have done that except a goat-sized rodent. Any ideas?

Thanks to all for making the gospel clear and effective for the people of our church.

Have a wonderful week. Comment below to respond!

Sunday Reverb - New Posts

Each Sunday at Covenant Life is a wonderful time together as a church family. God meets us and works in people's lives each week.

One of the ways that I want to grow is by taking advantage of each weekend experience to encourage the people on the production teams who make it happen and to spread the lessons learned to the whole group. In all honesty, I have tried several times to start up regular "Sunday in Review" emails, but I just haven't been faithful to keep doing them over time.

Regular encouragement and honest, forward-looking criticism are crucial tools for serving my team members, but I just haven't succeeded in providing this care. I need accountability, so I'm going to begin posting them here. God-willing, and by His grace, I will begin to write weekly posts called Sunday Reverb that will help encourage and strengthen our teams.

If you are from outside Covenant Life, I have two requests for you:
  1. If you see me NOT posting Sunday Reverb each week, please call me out. I'm not serving well! (This goes for you Covenant Life folks, too)
  2. Please understand that these posts may include terminology or applications specific to our teams here. For the sake of time on Sunday afternoons, I won't be explaining everything in these posts. Please feel free to ask questions, though, if there are aspects of what I write that you don't understand (or just don't agree with).
Thanks for your help, everyone!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Late Night Cool Down

Certain things remind me that I'm getting older.

One of those reminders is the percentage of thought I now put toward responsibilities as opposed to pleasures. Gone are the days of long reading blocks at the coffee shop, driving nowhere just for the fun of it, and talking with friends for hours about how physics reveals the glory of God.

Now my mind is full with thoughts of my wife, two children, three employees, five volunteer ministry teams, seven budgets, 12 mortgage payments, and 52 Sunday morning services. My mind is full of wonderful things, God-given things, gifts. But these many thoughts can also be temptations.

I've found lately that all these thoughts keep me awake at night. I don't think it's really out of anxiety - though I'm open to correction on that point - but I just keep mulling over things in my head. The most challenging nights are the ones when I come home after my wife and children have gone to bed. I have no way to debrief about my day, no distraction from the responsibilities, no cool down.

So, on those nights, I've begun to do something else - anything else - before putting my head on the pillow. I've found that the extra 30 minutes awake leads to a more restful night of sleep.

That's why I wrote this post.

Just cooling down.

Good night.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
- Psalm 127:2

Thursday, March 27, 2008

undistract

Well, folks. It's time to say goodbye to God | Media. Awwwww! I know you're heartbroken.

Sometime tomorrow (Friday) I will be cutting over this blog to a new location: www.undistract.net. You can check out the slightly altered design even now.

The God | Media web address will forward to the new site, BUT the RSS feed will not!! Please add this new feed address to your rss readers: http://feeds.feedburner.com/undistract. It will be fully functional sometime tomorrow.

Undistract will be my new tech stuff blogging haven, and although I can't promise a ton more posting, at least it will have a better name. Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tech Week Begins

Tonight began tech week for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Covenant Life Church. The week leading up to our youth productions are always particularly demanding, but shows like this are such a great opportunity for guests to become familiar with the church.

The sound requirements include a small band, choir of about 20 girls, six men vocalists singing backstage, and the cast. We have 21 channels of wireless, 20 headset mics and 1 handheld. Since the show is all song with almost no dialogue, it's a challenge to keep everyone's levels in the right place. But it sounds great when we find that "sweet spot."

Our lighting options are limited due to our available fixture types and setup, so it won't be a whiz-bang kind of lighting extravaganza. Nevertheless, the team did a great job with the initial hang today, and it looked really nice even though the lighting designer had only really programmed for the first act.

The performances will be this weekend and next, and you can buy tickets here if you live nearby. Hope to see you there.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Cost of Excellence

Bobby Gruenewald of Swerve has posted some insightful thoughts on the cost of excellence. Check them out.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Last Month

Well over a month has passed since my last post. I haven't forgotten about this blog, but I've been focusing on other things for a while. "Like what?" you ask.
  • IMAG Rebuild | Last month we tore apart our IMAG suite and started from scratch to get a simpler system with better image quality.
  • Resource Library | covlife.org 4.0 is coming at the end of April, and we've been working tirelessly to get our database of sermons ready for "searchability."
  • Baptistry | We just installed a baptistry in our main auditorium. Baptisms on Sunday are a great addition to our meetings. But it also meant moving cameras, lighting, and thinking through microphone support in our small pool.
  • Subwoofer Array | In the ongoing search for ever punchier bass, we are exploring the possibility of a new subwoofer setup. 10 Meyer subs along the front of the steps. Boom!
  • Stage Rebuild and Extension | In the ongoing search for a place to put the subs, and the ongoing desire of pastors to be "close" to the congregation, we are also considering reshaping the front of our stage. Watch out front row, here come the pastors!
Thanks for reading again, and keep your eyes peeled. Some changes may be coming to the blog.