Tuesday, December 09, 2008

12.07 Reverb

We kicked off the Christmas season at Covenant Life this past Sunday with a new sermon series, The Glory of the Incarnation. What a wonderful morning.

Here's what happened:

General Comments

For RSS readers, what you can't see is a video called 12.07 Reverb - General Comments. Please click through to the blog to watch, and leave me comments on the video. Could you hear it? Did it play back smoothly? Would you like to see more videos?

Sound and Staging

Dave was handling the mixing again this weekend and had his analog tube compression on the sub feed again. I honestly don't remember the mix very well, so feel free to send along your thoughts, as always.

Gavin heeded my recommendations from last week. He said he felt somewhat silly standing on stage with the band at the end of the meeting, waiting for Jeff to finish his closing prayer before removing the pulpit. However, coming from backstage and ending up on the floor was more smooth than coming up from the floor. Thanks, Doc!

I also wanted to mention that Kami did a fantastic job as stage manager this weekend. She served the band so well that Devon took the time to email me about what made her work stand out. God-willing, you'll hear more about this in days to come.


Alex worked really hard this weekend since we had a new set design. Thanks, Alex, for making all the adjustments to light the new background. I thought it looked really good, especially on the screen.

We will be making some adjustments to the set for next week. Julie suggested we move all the curtains to the back wall and change the gel color on the stable roof goboes.


The video team did another wonderful job this week. As I mentioned last week, this team does a great job communicating. The only thing I wrote down for the entire morning was that their communication demonstrates that they make getting any speakers on the screen a higher priority than shooting the music well. I love to shoot the music well, but it's definitely less important than getting speakers up on the screen promptly.

Tyler asked via his checklist (yes, I do read your checklist comments!) about the possibility of getting help from the pastors at the ministry mic to cue ministry mic moments. I checked with the pastors about this, and they agreed to give the camera 4 op a notification when someone has been approved to speak at the ministry mic. The process will look something like this:
  1. When a person comes to the pastor at the ministry mic to explain what they want to say, we'll get camera 4 set up for the ministry mic shot.
  2. If the pastor doesn't believe this is the right time for their idea, we go back to music operation.
  3. If the pastor goes to get final approval, we'll hang tight.
  4. When the pastor returns from getting final approval, he'll notify the camera 4 op, which will be our final word that it is going to happen.
Please keep in mind that there may not always be time for this to happen. We still need to be ready to act quickly without notice. However, this should give us a little more warning in most situations.

On a more technical note, video producers and camera directors should check the controls on the camera switcher before the service begins. Sometimes the switcher is set to a wipe mode instead of dissolve. To change it, repeatedly press the "Take Select" button next to the T-bar until it says "Dslv :5" in the display.


Dawn and Bethany did an excellent job with the lyrics. Lyric operators, keep in mind that the worship leaders don't always know what you need to know. One question that you can ask the worship leader each time is this: Are there any songs that will not start on verse 1? We often get caught when they start with the chorus or with a different verse. The only way you'll know is to ask.

That's it for me. What blessed you from Sunday? What do you think could have been better?


Chris said...

Hi David. Just a note on the camera switcher. To cycle through the transitions you repeatedly hit "take select" until Dslv :5 shows up on the display. Hitting auto initiates the transition.

Dave Wilcox said...

Thanks, Chris. I'll correct it.

Anonymous said...

I could hear and see it fine.

Cara said...

The video looks good, Love. Matthew watched it with me and repeated, "Dada!" the whole time.

David MacKenzie said...

Evaluating the sound mix was interesting. I had a long talk between meetings about it with Bob, Ken, and Devon and Danny. During the first meeting, Bob couldn't hear enough electric guitar, keys, or loops from his seat at front stage right. During the third song, he went and stood behind the sound booth and thought the mix sounded more balanced there, but he wasn't sure whether I'd just improved the mix by then or whether where he was had a lot to do with it.

For the past few months I've been using Jim's hard-panning based on stage position technique. It's hard to figure out how to apply it when all the musicians are on one side of the stage except for the drums on the other, so I modify it and always put kick, snare, and bass (as well as all the vocals) in the center as a foundation. I panned Ryan's electric and Jake's loops to the right because they were the rightmost musicians on the stage. That probably contributed to why Bob had trouble hearing them from his seat on the other side of the bowl, although I understand that the panning in the speakers (in the XFrame) mixes in some of the other side's sound, so hard panning on the board doesn't translate to hard panning in all the speaker clusters, which partly defeats the purpose of trying to gain positional and phase clarity by doing hard panning. I might go back to album-style panning in the future as a result, making fuller use of the stereo field but being cautious about extreme panning.

I sat in as we discussed the arrangements between meetings, and found it helpful to explicitly ask the worship leader which instruments should feature in which parts of which songs rather than just inferring it from the rehearsals. Being sure of what the band is intending helped me mix better in the second meeting, so I hope to make it a regular practice.

I also adjusted some EQ and compression for the second meeting, and Bob liked that mix overall. He did think the guitars still sounded harsh, so I have some more work to do in the future on those. Conversely, Dave C thought Devon's guitar sounded better than usual (I ran it through the other channel of my tube compressor), so I'm not positive which direction to go with that.

It occurred to me after the second meeting that it would be helpful for the mixers to write down the levels of some critical faders during the first song of the first meeting, to aid in starting with a decent mix for the first song in the second meeting. We don't get the luxury of having the band go back to the first song to reset the mix for the second meeting like we do at the end of rehearsal before the first meeting. It took about the first minute of "God over All" before I had the mix sounding balanced again because it started out set for the last song of the first meeting.

I did a multitrack recording of the morning to get into the habit of doing it, not that we're likely to pull off anything from that particular set. I used Sovereign Grace's two HD24 drives because I know what's on them and what's free. I still think it would be a good idea to start recording every Sunday on the HD24s so we can remix the occasional special song or brilliant arrangement (like when we add strings or choir).

David MacKenzie said...

Oh, one other thought that came out of my discussions with Bob. I wonder what the frequency distribution is that people in the front rows of the bowl are hearing. They've got the subs in front of them and the front fills; how good are those at reproducing midrange? Instruments that live in the midrange like electric guitar might sound artificially low from that listening position if the system doesn't reproduce them as well there. I don't know.

Also, Bob did a walk around and said we have some definite hot spots in the room, but I didn't ask where he heard them.

David MacKenzie said...

On the positive side, I had no missed cues and no feedback this Sunday, so from that standpoint the mix was undistracting.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone else notice it but I found the volume on Devon's guitar strumming loud enough that I had to strain to hear what Josh was trying to say. Does it not get automatically turned down when a pulpit mic is in use?

Tyler said...

Thanks for reading the comments Dave! I felt this week went well. Eddie did a good job with the transitions and the camera ops did a good job getting the shots we needed.

Thanks for the opportunity to serve,

David MacKenzie said...

Tony, which meeting were you at and where were you sitting? Yes, we turn down the whole band when the podium or prophecy mics are being used. I did mix the second meeting 2-3 dB louder than the first, at Bob's request. It was peaking around 94-95 dB at the sound board in the first meeting, being conservative to avoid the tendency for levels to creep up, but he felt the sound lacked impact at that level, so I went back to my normal peaks at 96-97 for the second meeting. To me, the band was always comfortably in the background when people were talking.

Speaking of people taking, I think Gavin did a great job placing the DPA mic, and it was easy to make Jeff sound good.

Anonymous said...

Dave, the video "instructional" is awesome. It is certainly a powerful tool in future training and instruction! ONCE AGAIN- truly thankful to God for you & your team's hardwork in setting up this site and its extended communication through emails! LOVE IT!!