Sunday, April 06, 2008

4.6 Reverb

Today was another wonderful Sunday at Covenant Life. We heard the next message in the series, Psalms: Real Help for Real People, from Robin Boisvert on Psalm 40 called "The Addicted." I so appreciate his God-glorifying gratefulness for the Father's power to deliver anyone from bondage to sin. He also brought such compassion to a subject where self-righteousness can often turn away someone who needs help. You will be able to listen here soon.

Now, for the reverberations from the morning for the tech teams.


New checklists are here. Thanks to everyone for trying them out and for giving good feedback on how to make them more user-friendly and accurate. As a reminder, the checklists are intended to serve you in two ways: 1) to more clearly assign different responsibilities to specific roles; 2) to remind each person what he or she needs to do to be most effective in that role.

Sometime next week, we will send out an electronic copy of your checklist(s) to each of you. Please review them before your next serving assignment, so that you can come in with a framework for what you will be doing. The checklist won't be drastically different than you would expect, but there probably will be some additions and clarifications that will affect your work.

On somewhat of a sidenote, will be creating a second set of sound and lighting checklists for weekends when the band does not rehearse on Saturday. Hopefully that will clarify some of the specific questions from this morning.

Some tips on using the checklists:
  1. Read Them Early | When you arrive to serve, make it your first task to read and review the checklist for that weekend. It may be different than last month, so you should look it over to gauge what new may be required of you. Ask your producer right away if you have any questions.
  2. Own Your List | Please claim each thing on your checklist as your responsibility, even if it is something others on your team have typically done. In certain cases, you can ask someone else to do a task on your list, but please take the ownership to follow up with them to make sure it was done correctly and completely.
  3. Use Integrity | Someone will be looking over your checklists, but we don't want you to be afraid of us. I'd rather you fear God, and leave something blank if you didn't do it. If there is a specific reason you didn't do it, please note that on the checklist. You probably won't hear from us about each unchecked box, but we will follow up if there seem to be consistent problems.
  4. Aim for Excellence | Even though you may not hear from us each and every time you skip a box, please don't get comfortable with leaving things undone. Each person's contribution is significant to the overall effect, so make sure to fulfill your commitment to the team as completely as is humanly possible

As was the case last week, the sound team members are the heroes of this weekend. A late setup last night, an early start this morning, and new checklists to go through. That's a lot of extra work. Special thanks to Jim, Vicki, and family for staying after the show last night to help set up.

My involvement in the sound aspects this morning was very limited, so my comments will be as well. Everything seemed to go very smoothly since rehearsal was essentially over even before I made it down from my office. Does anyone else have any thoughts on how rehearsal went?

The mix seemed good. The vocal mix was very good and the instruments were balanced most of the time. Dave, as we discussed, it seemed like the synth was a bit hot at times. It makes me think of something that I'd like all mixers to keep in mind. The "modern sound" we want to produce is more founded on thick electric guitar than on synth pads. Sometimes both will be happening at the same time. In that case, lean on the guitar instead of the synth.

Also, Dave has mentioned to me in the past that he feels like our mixes generally have shifted back to our pre-punchy-bass days. I would agree. Even though we're not getting extra subwoofers right now, please continue to try to make the kick and bass have impact. I still want to feel the low frequency energy, and it seems like we are getting away from that.

Finally, a small preacher mic question: is it possible to make it so that the wire from the new DPA headset mic doesn't come all the way around the headband and then loop back? Is it possible that it can just drop down the shirt from the center of the headband? It looked a little goofy on video.


Lighting looked almost exactly the same as last weekend. Personally, I love the new backdrop. But we did get some comments that, when seen from camera 1, the set made it look like Joshua was preaching from the moon. Ken lowered the lights on the backdrop during the announcements and message, so it looked less like the lunar landscape and more like a texture. I'm not sure we really got there, though. I think we'll need more drastic measures to resolve this issue.


Another excellent job from our video team. Bill, thanks for always having the important shots ready. One thing I appreciate about Bill's directing is that he does not get so wrapped up in directing the music for the in-house broadcast that he misses the simpler stuff that the whole congregation sees on the big screen.

Also, Dave and Eddie, excellent job on cuing the Psalms intro video. The folks who made it were concerned we might miss the pre-video sound, but you nailed it. The video timing does make a huge difference, so thanks for your attention to detail in that area.

Once again, I forgot to ask the worship leader if he was planning to introduce any of the songs. (Where's my checklist?!) There is a consistent lack of planning and communication in this area, and I take full responsibility. Don't let me get away with failing to ask the worship leaders when they are going to speak instead of sing.

My only thought for video this Sunday is for playback operators. The pastors are trying to grow in making announcements warm and engaging. This often means leaving their notes, which also means they may not follow the script precisely. Please look over the slides in the presentations ahead of time. Make sure you know the content on those slides, so that you can be listening carefully for how it fits into what the person is saying.

For instance, this morning we had two slides for school fundraisers, one for a golf tournament and one for a 5K race. Joshua, however, spent a good deal of time talking about the school itself before moving on to the details of the fundraiser. The golf tourney slide went up too early, probably because we were following the script and Joshua wasn't. I will encourage Josh to stick closer to his plans, but we need to be able to follow, too.

Now, to be completely fair, our playback operator this week was at a disadvantage. Due to late edits on the slides and changes to the order of the announcements, the presentations weren't ready until just 15 minutes before the service. This does happen on occasion. However, when you do have the time, please scan through them and get to know them.

Thanks so much, everyone. You all are the best volunteer teams a tech director could ask for. I am blessed to work alongside you each week for the sake of the kingdom of our Savior.

Comment below if you have any thoughts, questions, or suggestions.


David MacKenzie said...

Wow, Dave! Such a detailed review so quickly! I'm impressed. Thanks for working for excellence.

About the new earset mic, I was wondering whether we could get it switched to the left side of the face so it wouldn't be so prominent on camera 3 shots.

About the electric guitar, sometimes it just isn't possible to get that modern sound if it's not what the band is playing. Today Dave Campbell was holding back and playing mostly sparse textural parts on electric; the songs where he was going to be featured ended up getting cut. The songs we did do featured the acoustic, trumpet, and keyboards more. When he did play a distorted sound, it wasn't very thick because he was playing a Telecaster, which is a bright sounding guitar. The worship team and I talked about it between meetings. In summary, the arrangements need to have strong electric parts in order for the mix to have them, and this week they didn't.

I confess I sometimes feature the synth players here and there when I mix because some Sundays when I'm not mixing I barely hear them at all and I start to feel bad for them. And I love organ. Keep letting me know how well you think I'm balancing the band.

I guess we should weigh medium-term trends more than a single Sunday to describe the sound of our mix, because of factors we might have on a given week. If we hadn't had three strong vocalists (and some weeks we don't) we wouldn't have had as strong of a vocal mix, for another example.

bill said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Dave! It always a joy to serve with you, because you are so encouraging in addition to being very gifted and humble.

I realized something -- I checked 'called shots' on the checklists for both services, and I am not sure I actually called any shots. I'm more of a silent switcher camera director rather than a typical TD... I guess I may have called one or two. Hopefully I don't need to repent for lying on the checklists. :)

It always helps for a camera director to have great camera operators. I really appreciate Bob Banks on camera 1. If you don't have a good camera 1 operator, it can be a rough morning -- or at least more challenging. I've had the joy of serving with 2 of he best these last 2 years. Thanks Bob and Kathe! You'v made my 'job' much easier.

Unknown said...

For the preacher mic the wire was accidentally looped over the headset an extra time which extended it a inch or two.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave, is it possible to see an example check list?

Seems like an interesting idea