Tuesday, November 18, 2008

11.16 Reverb

We had another wonderful Sunday together, singing to the Lord and hearing his word proclaimed. As a reminder, here is what happened...

General Notes

Before I get into the details of this past service, I want to cover a few items that have been bouncing around in our blog discussions for the last few months.

Checklists | Even though we've been using our checklist system for a while, now, I do still review everyone's checklists each week. I've noticed a general downturn in the completeness of these checklists. As a reminder, the checklists have two purposes: 1) to help you remember the many details for which you are responsible; and 2) to help me identify whether mistakes we make are system problems or execution problems. When you don't complete your checklist, not only do you risk missing a responsibility, you also reduce my ability to see where our systems and plans are weak. With that in mind, please make it a high priority to complete your checklists each weekend.

Sidebar for last weekend: For various reasons, I didn't have checklists printed out for the lighting and sound crew on Saturday. I apologize for that. Just know that my comment above is not directed toward those Saturday checklist items that didn't get marked off.

Sharp Focus Award | We don't have a winner for the sharp focus award, yet, but everyone does seem to be getting better. I noticed only a few out-of-focus shots this time. Remember, I'm taking the first crew to hit perfect focus every time out to lunch after their next serving slot. Week 4 IMAG team, you have the chance to take the prize this coming weekend!

Drums in the PA | I had the pleasure of mixing again this weekend. I enjoyed the unusual band and arrangements. I tried to pay close attention to the level of the drums in the PA. Jesse was playing hard this weekend, but I tried to set the drums in the mix based on the more subjective intensity the provided as opposed to the more objective volume. I think the drums were definitely present in the PA throughout, but the overall level only broke 95dB once. What did you think of the mix overall, and the drums in the mix in particular? Remember, I need you to be especially critical of my mixes, so that I can grow and then help our mixing team grow.

Sound and Staging

Saturday evening was very productive given that the band was not as experienced with getting soundcheck done quickly and the overall time was shortened due to Jenn and Ricky's wedding.

I was mostly happy with the mix. I got one comment that the acoustic cello (yes, there was an electric one, too) sounded more like a violin than a cello during the first song. I definitely agree with that assessment. Does anyone out there have any suggestions on how I can get a really warm, full sound on an acoustic cello even when the musician is playing in the higher octaves of the instrument?

We had a ton of stage changes this weekend, and quick ones at that. I want to thank Nate and his team for being on top of it all, especially for getting up there quickly during the closing prayer to get all the band equipment back in place.

One note to all audio producers: let's keep the pulpit (or pulpits) down on the floor by the stage left confidence monitor, rather than over by the monitor board. When we are not going to use a particular pulpit any more, we can move it back to the monitor board area to declutter the front of the stage. But it definitely makes the transition smoother for the pulpits to come up and go down the front steps than across the stage.


Lighting was great again this weekend. Craig took the time to refocus every light he used, and that really does make all the difference. He used fewer fixtures, only had them at 80%, and he still had a very bright and even stage.

Craig's attention to detail this Sunday also revealed a somewhat mysterious dimmer issue with some house lights in the left gym. Who wants a problem to solve this week?

IMAG Video

The video team had a hard job. Jon is a walker. I'd seen him preach before, but I hadn't noticed that he was such a mover. Camera 1 had it hardest, for sure, but all the camera ops were working. Thanks for trying so hard to keep up with him. In cases like this where we have a new - and quick - pastor, I will allow you to zoom out a smidge (just a smidge) in order to make following little easier. It's going to be tough no matter what, though.

As a warning, Jerry Bridges is preaching next Sunday, and he hardly moves at all. That can be hard, too. Camera ops, make sure to drink your coffee before coming in this Sunday.

We had a few slide and graphics transition issues this weekend. Because I wasn't on headset, I'm not sure I'm clear on what happened. I do know the team doesn't yet have a playback operator (any takers?). Does anyone on the video team have an idea of what happened? I want to make sure we are setting you up for success as much as we possibly can.

Your Turn

If you read this far, I want you to know how grateful I am that you take serving Jesus with excellence seriously enough to spend ten minutes each week learning how to improve. If you've read this far, would you please leave a comment, even if it is just a note that you read the post. I'm curious to know how many of you make it through my ramblings.

Better yet, join the conversation, and leave a comment with one thing you think we could do better next week.


Cara said...

I read every single one of your so-called ramblings from start to finish, Babe--unless they become so technical that I might as well be reading Yiddish. (But that's rare.)

I just wanted to thank all of the volunteers who serve on the tech teams so faithfully... month after month after month. You make my husband's job a joy, and you serve our church so well, usually in secret. You are heroes in the Wilcox family's book!

Anonymous said...

Ed Martel:
I read these posts Dave, I like to learn how in particular ways I can improve in the position I'm serving. I have some thoughts about the playback station. To me it seems like the DVD player, and PC01, PC02 could also be setup at the playback operator station. It would make it easy for the person serving there to have all the resources in one spot, rather than having to run from one place to the other. This becomes an issue during the transition between worship and announcements/sermon.

Dave said...

Hey Dave: I didn't read the entire post but I did want to comment on the mix. I tought the drum sound was incredible. I liked how you were able to capture a sweet sound from the snare when Jesse had the snare off.
I do have one comment though ... last time you mixed it sounded like a band ... this time I could hear each instrument, but they sounded separate ... separate as if the were playing by themselves. Also, it could be the way they were playing, but I thought there could have been more high end in the overall mix too. Just some comments from a drummer w/ poor hearing.
Thanks for mixing!

John Schellhase said...

I read your posts here.
I generally don't have much feedback, but I do read them...

Chris said...

comments read, still processing. Most of what I see now is from the video room so the sound quality is difficult to judge.

From a video only view, second service tracking seemed pretty good and I don't recall him dropping off screen at all.

Anonymous said...


As the tech guy in a small Sovereign grace church in Miam, I find your posts particularly helpful and encouraging. I read your blog every week and have taken more ideas from your blog posts than I can count (including the checklists, great idea!) and have caught a vision from you of why I am building a team and where we are going. Thanks for serving the church, both local and global!

Anonymous said...

I remember two lapses on the IMAG. One was when the Producer (me) was talking to the House Dir, and caused him to miss a transition from IMAG back to Lyrics. The other was with slides. There may have been some switch bounce in the right arrow key. It skipped ahead two slides instead of just one. We used the spacebar to advance the slides after that.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wilcox, my name is Bryan Kirby. I get to run sound at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley and help with things like Shepherd's and Resolved conference. I love reading your blog. You all run a much more sophisticated tech ministry than we do normally and I love seeing you think through problems.

Regarding the cello sound, I'm wondering how you mic'd the cello? Large diaphram condenser? Clip-on lapel?

I find some EQ boosting around 125 Hz and some 2 kHz, cutting some 400 Hz and 6 kHz gets a good cello sound with a AKG-414 pointing at the sound hole about 8-12 inches in front of the cello.

Anonymous said...

Video transition booboos? It was me!!
And thanks for taking the heat, Robbie, but I was the one who initiated the conversation that caused the delayed transition to lyrics.

On the slides, I filled in on cpu3, and when I {cavalierly} pressed the arrow key, didn't see the slide advance, so pressed again, and it advanced twice. I don't think it was key bounce:
++I took cpu3 down during black period and played with it. As long as I pressed methodically, it worked fine.

++I haven't heard of it happening to anyone else before

I did not go to space bar after that - still used arrows.

Finally, I have a short-term answer to missing wk3 playback op. In Dec I will be swapping with wk1 HD, and in Jan, he will fill in for me while we are out of town. That would be Tyler Fogarty who comes with a playback op - my lovely granddaughter Elea.

So, does that pay back for the booboos?

(signing because don't know my user name/password)

Anonymous said...

Dave, I always read your posts. I like reading your views on how the it all went.

Dave Wilcox said...


Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement about the drum sound. Am I right to assume that the instruments sounding "individual" is not as good as sounding like a band?


Dave Wilcox said...


We were using a clip-on Beta98 on the acoustic cello. It's a small diaphram condensor. It's really nice for gain-before feedback, but maybe it's not the best for tone. Next time, I'll try a 414 or C3000 and see if I can get the gain I need. Thanks!


Latricia said...

I read your posts, and I definitely agree with Cara's comment. This team of volunteers are definitely superstars in my book. Tech teams, you are my heroes as well!

Daniel Garay said...

I read them here...

Overall it was very good. The drums WERE very good as others have said.

Tyler said...

Hi Dave and co.,
Just wanted to say that I subscribe to the RSS feed so I never miss an entry. It's great to hear detailed feedback from you and the other team members on how we can do our job even better. Thanks for leading!