Tuesday, May 06, 2008

5.4 Reverb

The reverb from T4G continues. Two weeks ago, we heard from Thabiti Anyabwile. This last Sunday, Dr. Albert Mohler preached. It is indeed an honor to have men of this caliber teach our church. Dr. Mohler spoke about the sovereignty of God in spiritual hearing and seeing. You will be able to listen to the message here soon.

As usual, I have some thoughts about the production aspects from this last Sunday morning. Please don't forget that you can share your thoughts in the comments section, too.

Communicate with the Musicians and Pastors

One of the strengths of our technical teams is the excellent relationship our teams members have with the musicians and pastors we serve. Please know that this is often not the case, and that we are very blessed to have people who are willing to work with us - instead of against us - to make things go as smoothly as possible.

With that in mind, I want to encourage any and all communication with the worship team that you think will help you serve them more effectively. Specifically, I would like to make sure that the sound team members have met the musicians and vice versa. Because the musicians and the sound teams are not on the same rotation, I'm sure there are many Sundays when the musicians don't know the names of who is serving them on the sound team or what roles each person is playing. That puts both the musicians and the sound team at a disadvantage. So, sound teams - and audio producers in particular - please take the initiative to introduce yourself to the musicians. Let them know what role you play and how you will be serving them that day.

Also, I would encourage the entire sound team to hang out with the band after the first service to give and receive feedback on how things went. Other possibilities: lighting operators, please don't hesitate to talk to musicians about where they are standing (are they in the light?); camera directors, always feel free to double check with worship leaders about who is doing solos in what songs or what instruments will be covering song transitions. Cool? Thanks!

A Special Visitor

We had a visitor to the second service this past Sunday who was hearing impaired and needed sign language interpretation. We haven't had anyone in this situation for a while, so it caught us a little by surprise. In the past, when we had a group of folks who needed sign language interpretation, we've always set out a music stand and a clip light for the interpreter. We scrambled to put the pieces together to serve them, but it was a joy to do so. Let's always be ready to jump in to serve new visitors in any way we can. Also, audio producers, lets have a music stand and clip light ready by the monitor board for the next few weeks in case our friend returns.

Food and Drink

This is a reminder that no food or drink other than bottled water is allowed in the auditorium on Sundays. Yep, that means you. Yep, that means your coffee! I know that you all arrive early and serve a long time, but I need to ask that you not consider yourself an exception to the rule. This can be a serious temptation to others, particularly because it makes them feel justified in bringing coffee in during the second service.

So, let me be more specific, just for the sake of clarity (I'm sure there will still be questions):
  • You may bring food and drinks into the auditorium when you arrive in the morning, but please consume them in the green room or in one of the practice gyms.
  • By 8:15am, all food or drinks must move to the green room or main lobby. No more eating or drinking in the practice gyms at that point.
  • Please do not take your orange juice, cookies, muffins, or fruit from the between-service break to your station in the auditorium.
  • No food or drink is allowed, ever, on the IMAG control desk. You can take your food up into the control room, but leave it over by the couches.
Thanks, everyone, for helping us keep the auditorium clean and the equipment functioning correctly!


Once again, special thanks go out to the week 1 sound team. They are faithful to come in to the optional setup time late on Saturday after the 10:31 meeting. I am so grateful for this initiative and sacrifice because they are much better prepared for the morning, having been there to help with setup.

I'm almost never downstairs during the soundcheck stage, so I depend on your feedback to let me know how things went. Comment here if you were serving and have any thoughts. I know there was an issue with one of the synth channels that was still being worked out after the rehearsal finished. What was the resolution to that problem?

The Sunday planning team has been trying to mix in some other types of musical styles recently. This was another one of those mornings, with only piano, synth, and vocals. How do you all think this went? I'm very curious to know what you, as members of the congregation, thought.

My personal take was that it was a nice change, but it seemed to lack energy. While I don't want to base the "success" of our musical worship on externals, as I looked around the congregation, people didn't seem as engaged. I'm not sure what exactly triggers that response. It was probably a combination of many things, including arrangement, lower spls, mix, and maybe more.

I did think that this arrangement worked perfectly for the new song, "O the Deep Deep Love," but it just didn't hold together as well for the first two songs ("Blessed Be Your Name" and "God Over All").

During the second service, Roger played a synth bass more often, and I think that helped a lot. But it still felt lacking. What do you think?


Just three quick things:
  1. For this last week, we went back to a staggered panel backdrop. After doing this again, I think that it's best to use one light per panel in this setup. Trying to cover more than one panel with a single light gets problematic in this setup.
  2. Please make sure you leave the stage diagram with focus arrows and the cuesheet in the lighting notebook for the next person.
  3. Craig had some questions about the lights backstage. Some of them do have three-way switches. On the checklist, it says "Off" or "On." Just make sure that the lights are off or on and don't worry about the position of the switches.

Excellent job this weekend, video crew. We had three spontaneous additions to the singing time this weekend, and you nailed each one by getting the speaker up there quickly.

Just one tiny thought in this area: if we are confident someone is going to talk, and we have the cameras locked in and adjusted, we can go ahead and put them on the screen before they say the first word. I'd love for it to feel planned, even if it is spontaneous. When we wait until after the beginning of the first word, it seems like we are responding rather than being proactive. This is such a little thing that, if it is all I have to comment on, it proves you all did a great job.

You also did a very good job with the video roll-in this weekend. We are still trying to sort out why the DVD was registering as having a "damaged area," but that certainly wasn't your problem. The second service was particularly smooth and I liked letting the audio roll all the way out, even though the lights came up when the video blacked.

It seems like we regularly have a slide go up early, regardless of the team. It is usually the guest reception slide or the cell phones slide. The typical reason I get is that the person thought they heard the speaker say something related to it. I know a lot is going on during announcements for the playback operators, so an honest question: are we asking too much of them at that time? Or is it reasonable for them to sit down and listen carefully to what is being said? I just want to set you all up for success, so if we need to rearrange some responsibilities during that transitional period, just tell me.

Thanks for another wonderful Sunday, friends. We couldn't do this without you! Comment away, and we'll see you next weekend.


Chris said...

I think one issue I've had with the slides is that the Playback operator is usually finalizing the worship DVD and/or prepping the DVD to record for the message during the announcements. Now that the desks are separated it makes it difficult to do both tasks. It might be advisable to have the producer handle the slides during the announcements to avoid the jumping back and forth.

In terms of the video of "spontaneous" times going up, we've tended to hold back to avoid the awkward moment where they were ready to say something and decided to think about it again. We can probably go up a little earlier though.

Nick Fitzkee said...

Thanks for the post, Dave. I'd like to add a couple things:

First, I too, am extremely appreciative of the week 1 Sunday team; typically I'm not able to stay very long after 10:31 ends, and my assistance on striking the set has been pretty minimal. Since I needed to be there early Sunday I wanted to get back home particularly quickly this past week. I'm so thankful that the Sunday folks were there to do the setup and cover for me. Kudos to them!

Also, while I understand your comment about the energy, I think it was helpful for the congregation to be reminded that worship doesn't always require a full band. From my vantage point, I noticed that people did at first seem surprised by the simpler setup, but by the end of the first song, it seemed like they were passionately worshiping God. It was good to mix it up, particularly if it got people thinking about the words.

That said, I'm excited about this coming Sunday, which looks like it will be the polar opposite of last week.

Anyway, that's my $0.02. Thanks again for the post and for serving us, Dave!

Dave Wilcox said...

Chris, thanks for replying so quickly. I wondered about the playback operator being over by the record decks during the announcements. Do you think it's more appropriate for the producer to cover the slides or the recordings?

And as far as getting the video up "too early," I'm OK with that. It's unlikely that they'll think so much about it that they don't say anything at all. I know that you all are working as hard as possible just to get the shots ready before they speak, so thanks for considering this minor detail.


Dave Wilcox said...


Thanks for comment. I appreciate that you saw something different from your vantage point, and I totally agree that it is good to remind the congregation that true worship has nothing to do with musical style or "impact." Would others agree that the change got people to think more about the words? If so, that's a huge benefit.


Unknown said...

Hey guys, this is in regards to the video going up late for spontaneous moments. As House Director, I'm usually tempted to throw up the CAM feed immediately, but will want to wait to make sure the Camera Director has his shot ready before putting it up--this usually costs us a couple of seconds. Perhaps from now on, we should do this in reverse (for spontaneous moments)--I should throw up the shot and notify Camera Director that he is live. What do you guys think?

David MacKenzie said...

For playback of DVDs that the Marantz rejects so you have to use a computer, it might be best to copy the DVD onto the hard drive for playback. For DVD-Rs, there's no copy protection so you can drag the VIDEO_TS folder using the Finder, and open it using Apple's DVD Player program.

We worked around the synth left channel dropout by running new lines from the S80's headphone out using an insert cable I brought up and different direct boxes. There wasn't time to troubleshoot an intermittent fault in the chained-together cables and the direct boxes hidden under the wooden platform, so we ran new lines with 50' mic cables to the back panel and repatched at the boards. Someone still needs to figure out what was going wrong with the normal wiring.

I was fine with the musical format, but felt the arrangements could have been worked out with more thought beforehand to make more effective use of the synths. I agree the change of approach in the second meeting was an improvement over the first.

Dave Wilcox said...


I think you have the right priorities. I'd rather see the shot go up a smidge late and be shaded, focused, and framed correctly. But as soon as all those pieces are locked in, we can put it up immediately.


Dave Wilcox said...


Good point on transferring the Video_TS files to the hard drive. That would be a huge improvement. Sorry I didn't think of that earlier!

From your experience with the S80, is there any chance that the problem could be the S80 itself? We've had those jacks go bad before.


David MacKenzie said...


It's possible the problem is the S80 jack. That possibility is why I used the headphone jack--it could be anywhere in the chain.

bill said...

re: getting a shot of a speaker up earlier - We've delagated the coordination of this more up to the house director and camera director. Perhaps the producer could be more active in calling this transition as they get to see the bigger picture and also can see when the camera director has a shot ready. That is one time I try to be especially vocal (as compared to almost silence :) ), but sometimes in the moment, I'll forget something is coming up and more direction from 'behind', for me at least, would be appreciated.

re: musical arrangement. I actually liked it. Wasn't so sure going into it as I lean more towards guitar/drums/some electronic genres normally. I think adding an acoustic guitar and maybe a little less synth would be great.

I liked the arragement better in the first service vs. the second service, personally.

Anonymous said...

...looks like the issues have been pretty well addressed, BUT...

Re: spontaneous speakers - in my experience, it has been very helpful when Dave gives a heads up when someone is approaching. Then, good communication between H-D and C-D, with the switch being the call of the H-D.

Re: worship team - I had the same reaction as "nicholas" (sorry, I don't know responders personally) that the lack of a big band did convey the focus is not the band. In fact, I'll have to admit that when there are a lot of interesting things going on in the band, I tend to watch the musicians (my bad).


Anonymous said...

On the timing of the slide question, I think there may be an advantage for that to move down stairs to PC-1. We can't see what's going on upstairs, are totally dependent on house audio being at the right volume, and if everyone else is talking in the room, as the Camera Director usually is, and add to that they are usually not sure when exactly the leadership wants the image up (is it right when they say the magic word, which one, or after, how long after, and how long to keep it up). PC-1 has the advantage of being in the same space and he/she doesn't having anything to do during announcements anyway.

Unknown said...

From Richard at richgreenblat@gmail.com
Personally did not care for that style of music. I know we had a visitor used to that style but it would have been better I feel if we did a combination of both styles with a band. Otherwise everything went well I felt.

Anonymous said...


First, thank you for your detailed blog and thoughtful discourse concerning all that is "technical" during CLC worship. I found your blog through "worship matters" and would like to comment on the service where Bob led solo at the piano.

I am glad that he chose to lead us in that way. Most of the time, we at CLC are incredibly privileged to worship with full band, orchestra, combo, etc. However, when we worship in care groups, we often don't have the gifted leadership or instrumentation and then we find our praise time lacking. This service was a good reminder that we can praise Him who is above all, without full accompaniment.
If anything, we learned that as a congregation, we are a bit rhythmically challenged!
Grace & Peace,

Unknown said...

I am just wondering if the slides can be done over where the rest of the playback equipment is.
I know there are two big monitors not in use.
Is there a specific reason why we can't have the laptops over there or use the tower that is already connected?
If that isn't an option I agree that the Sunday plus person could do a better job with the slides downstairs where it's easier to catch the flow of the announcments.