Wednesday, January 21, 2009

1.11 and 1.18 Reverb

This silly picture (silly only because I'm in it) showed up on Josh's blog last Saturday. The subtitle included,
[Dave] leads a small army of servants who make live video and sound happen throughout the building on Sundays.
I want to take this opportunity to again say thanks to all of you. This picture would be meaningless without all of you doing your part. I also want to point out that you do more than just make live sound and video happen each Sunday. You also make it happen at every other church event. And you don't just make it happen. You make it happen with excellence in both execution and spirit. Thanks for honoring God in your service. Note: my apologies to all the lighting folks who didn't get represented in the caption. You are not forgotten by the Lord!

I also want to thank those of you who came to the mandatory January meetings these last two weekends. We had a great response to the change in the annual serving cycle, with almost half of the team willing to extend their service into 2010. That is such a wonderful representation of God's heart for this church. He is working in you, giving you a sacrificial heart of service, to continue to provide for the church into the future. Thanks so much!

As we discussed, some of you will have your annual commitment decision come due in April of this year. By the end of January, we will assign everyone their month. And those of you who will come due in April will hear from us in early February.

If you were not able to make one of the meetings, I am creating a DVD of last Sunday's meeting for you to watch. Warning: this video will have zero production value, but it will be informational and will explain how to send us your response.

For various reasons, but primarily because moving my office was more work than I expected, I wasn't able to find the time to post my reverb comments for Sunday, January 11th. Instead of going through a blow-by-blow of the past two weeks, I thought I'd mention just a few of the little details that make the big difference. In some ways, these details are very basic, simple, and easily accomplished. At the same time, these are the first things we tend to forget when we start to get too comfortable.


First, I need to ask the forgiveness of the entire team. I looked through the checklists this week, which means I looked over my own. It was incomplete. That's unacceptable. Please forgive me for being lazy, and for setting such a poor example. I will make every effort to never do that again.

Why is it important that we read the checklists carefully and follow through with them? The checklists are our safeguard that we don't forget the small details. We had a prime example this weekend, when the house lights went up and down several times during communion. That could have been avoided if the lighting checklist had been fully completed.

Now, let me be clear that I'm not picking on our lighting operator from this last Sunday. It could have been one of my incomplete checklist items that caused the distraction. It could have been one of the other 6 or so people who didn't complete their checklists.

Let's redefine faithfulness. Faithfulness is checking every box.

Storage and Organization

As I always recount on our quarterly work days, the whole world follows the rules of entropy, meaning that things go from order to chaos unless they are acted on by a force from the outside. You can be that force of order when you return everything to its dedicated storage spot.

The Events Center is especially troublesome, so we used the last work day to organize the backstage area. Ben and Caleb also filmed a video to show how it should look whenever our teams leave. Each and every team needs to own this in order for it to work.

Go ahead, subdue the earth.


Since we have abandoned the flats as a stage backdrop, we can no longer hide disorganized piles of cables, cases, coats, and coffee cups behind them. Now, we need to return to ruthless removal of all unneeded items. To the green room with you.

Similarly, we need to be more careful with the neatness of cables. For the most part, all coils of cable should remain at the base of the mic or music stand. In some cases, extra snake cable should be coiled up at the main wall panels. Please avoid coiling piles of cable near a subsnake box, as the pile becomes tangled spaghetti when troubleshooting is required.

I will be posting a video soon about how to tape down cables, since this is a detail I have not stressed adequately enough. In the meantime, a few rules: 1) don't tape anything down until you are confident it works; 2) never tape anything down with a single strip of 2" gaff; 3) keep your eyes on your RSS feeds for that video.

Camera Shots

Back in November, we had a run of excellence when I told the video crews there would be a prize for the first team that went an entire morning without requiring Ben or me to use the phrase, "Focus Toward You." Unfortunately, since then, we've been back to our old ways. Several, if not many, shots are going up with the wrong exposure or with the focus obviously too far away.

While I know this is difficult to perfect, this is a basic necessity to avoid distraction for the congregation. The essence of the job of the camera crew is to be the eyes of the congregation. The human eye adjusts almost immediately to changes in brightness and focus, and we need to replicate that with the cameras.

This degree of excellence requires 100% of the team to be hard at work at all times. Each camera operator needs to watch those little monitors really carefully. The assistant director and the camera 4 operator must pay careful attention to the brightness of every shot. Camera directors must be pleasantly demanding, insisting that each shot be right before it hits the program. House directors can be that final line of defense. If it's not right, don't put it up unless you have absolutely no choice.

We can improve in this area, and Ben and I will be pushing you all to excel. Let's make the video great, every shot, every moment.

Lighting Setup

Another result of the non-existent backdrop is that our lighting has simplified significantly. The temptation could be to ease up a little on aiming lights on the band, since we don't have the panels there to accentuate sloppiness. Please make sure that you don't rely on last week's light plot instead of aiming lights for your stage setup.

The Little Things

Now, before I conclude, let me make clear that last Sunday was a great morning. People worshiped the Lord, and we heard his word preached. I believe that the Spirit used these things to strengthen and change people and to bring himself much glory. I write this post not primarily about the last two weeks, but instead to address some tendencies that I'm seeing across the teams. While they are just tendencies now, they could become bad habits if we're not vigilant to address them.
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corinthians 10:31
The little things do count to God.

What other little things could we do to improve?


Anonymous said...

Great, thank you for the video! It was very helpful, and I will make a better effort to leave the events center backstage cleaner. Thanks again,


Anonymous said...

yeap i agree

Tyler said...

Thanks for the post. As for suggestions, and this may have been mentioned already by Robbie, but it might be useful to have the ability to see what's on the confidence monitors. This way the house director could verify all is well with the presets (and not frozen!). Currently I'm looking at the pastor cam to see if the background color changed, but I can't see text.

Also, since I'm relatively new, I was wondering if I could find out where all the RF1,2,3,4 feeds go to just for curiosities sake. This way I'll know who I'm impacting when, for example, I switch the preset late.

As always, thank you for the opportunity to serve.


Dave Wilcox said...

Tyler - Yes, Robbie mentioned to me the ability see the confidence monitors. I have an idea on how to make that work. Thanks for the reminder.

As far as the RF channels, I'm going to add that to my list of blog posts to do in the near future, since it seems to be somewhat confusing to many people. The short answer is this: all RF channels go to all the locations outside of the auditorium. The viewers can choose which television channel they are watching.

It is slightly more nuanced than that, but I'll leave that for the blog post.


Unknown said...

Camera 4 has definitely been a lesson in paying attention for me. Besides the lighting issue that you mentioned the focus can change drastically from one side of the stage to the other. Also, with Josh speaking about every other Sunday it is usually a lot of work to follow him as he makes laps around the podium. Lastly I'd taken up talking to my director about the approvals going on at the prophecy mic even before the new camera was set up. Even with me talking to the upstairs it still took a few seconds to get the prophecy mic back on screen, so I don't think the new pastor-cam is any reason to relax during that crucial part of the meeting.

Unknown said...

I forgot to mention that was the instance in the second service when two people in a row were sharing.