Tuesday, January 06, 2009

1.4 Reverb

One Sunday down. Fifty-one to go. I can't believe it's already 2009.

What happened on this first Sunday of the new year?

General Comments

January Meetings - Don't forget the first round of mandatory meetings this weekend. Come January 10th at 9:00a if you are on the sound, lighting, or IMAG video teams. January 11th at 1:30p is the sermon audio team meeting. Stay tuned for final locations, which are dependent on final RSVPs. If you opt not to attend this weekend, you must attend the second round on January 18th and January 24th.

Awareness Around Equipment - We experienced a surprising glitch this Sunday. In the third song of the second service, the lyrics froze. But they only froze in a few places: the mezzanine televisions, the confidence monitors, and the RF feed. The lyrics computers themselves were working fine, and so was the main screen.

After a bit of somewhat frantic troubleshooting, we located the problem. The center screen scan converter "freeze" button was on. To be completely honest, I am not sure exactly how it happened. Given it's location, I would not be surprised if an accidental and very light kick from a toe happened to turn that button on. Obviously, it was no one's fault except my own, and we'll protect that gear with some plastic covers as soon as possible.

This is a great opportunity to remind everyone to be aware of the equipment around you. Beware of Bibles on keyboards or lighting boards, involuntarily toe-tapping the camera tripods, stretching your legs out under an equipment desk, brushing the audio patch cable bay as you walk by, loose sleeve wristbands catching sound board faders, and the list goes on. These are all things we've experienced, and, though accidental, they can still easily distract.


Saturday rehearsal this weekend went well. The band wrapped up 15 minutes early, which is always a good sign. Gavin admitted, though, that the rehearsal didn't start off so well. The monitor team hadn't fully checked outputs before stopping to eat dinner, so there was some troubleshooting going on during the first twenty minutes of rehearsal. That definitely slowed down the official rehearsal start time, but the band was still able to get through all their songs in the designated time. Audio producers, please always make sure to do all line checks before eating dinner.

The mix was very good this weekend. Dave, I thought the sub frequencies this weekend were spot on. You are really helping us get this right, and I'm grateful for your hard work. The overall band sound definitely benefits from PJ's open drumming. He doesn't fill a lot, but just keeps a solid beat going.

I heard all the instruments when I expected to, and you didn't miss any microphones. My only thought on the mix at all was during the first song of the second service. When any song splits the men and women up, I think the women should be as loud, if not louder than the men. For instance, if the men sing first, the women need to be able to hear their line and sing over the guys, so the women may actually need to be a little bit louder.


Lighting was very simple this weekend because we had a new set which was, in fact, no set. Overall, it was a nice change. Did you like it?

I have two quick lighting thoughts:
  • Speech During Music - I want to make a change to our regular practice when someone comes up to talk during music. Until now, we have added the sermon lighting to the band lighting. However, the lights on the front line musicians often create hot spots in the sermon area which make the lighting for video less than ideal. From now on, I'd like to transition fully to only the sermon lighting whenever someone comes up to talk, whether planned or spontaneous.
  • House Light Changes - Sometimes, we have lighting cue changes that only adjust the house lights, for instance the transition between the announcements and the sermon. We have house lights at 90% for the announcements, then drop the house lights to 65% for the sermon. If you happen to miss a cue like this, please just skip the cue rather than make the transition at a random time. The difference between the 90% and 65% house lights is much less important than keeping the focus on the sermon once it's started.


I have a testimony from Tyler:
The pastor cam really makes an appreciable difference in the amount of lead time we get in preparing for a ministry mic moment. The extra time gives us a crucial edge in preparation and will allow greater consistency in getting the camera on target. In short, it rocks. Thanks.
Now that we have a much better view of what is happening in the front row, I want everyone to be aware of the ministry mic approval process, so that you know what to look for:
  1. A person comes to the pastors at the mic to get initial approval for their idea.
  2. The pastor considers if it is strong enough and if can be made to fit into the song flow.
  3. If they think it will work, they walk across the front row to consult with Josh or Grant.
  4. Josh or Grant will give the final approval on the content.
  5. The pastor returns to the aisle by the mic and lets the church member know whether or not they will be able to share.
  6. The pastor communicates with the worship leader that a person is ready to share.
  7. The worship leader decides exactly when they can make the musical transition to the ministry mic moment.
All of this may happen in the matter of 30 seconds or over a period of five minutes. The key for us is that at step 1, we should immediately get cam4 set up for the ministry mic. If at step 2 or step 5, the person leaves the lineup, we can return to normal operation. Cam4 ops, please don't forget to write down your preset focal length and iris levels for the ministry mic location, so that you can lock in the shot without lights or a subject.

On a different note, I've noticed that we are slowly shifting to an all-the-same shot setup. All three cameras have essentially the same framing, from just below the pulpit up. We need to change it up a little. Cam1 should stay close in, but cam2 should be wider, preferably waist up. This makes the cut from cam1 to cam2 less awkward and sets up for a nice transition from cam2 to cam4.

Finally, for lyrics operators, a few small but important details to remember:
  • All lyrics should be centered. Not only should they be center justified, they should be centered on the screen. If you adjust one side margin, please make sure to do the same on the opposite side, so that the text remains in the center and doesn't shift one way or the other. Also, please know that your operating position is severely off-center. If you are unsure if the image is rendering center on the projector, please walk to the center aisle and look from there. Don't try to make it look exactly center from the computer station.
  • All sermon notes should be left justified.
  • For sermon points, all complete sentences should end in a period. Sentence fragments should have no punctuation at the end. This is something we'll need to watch because the pastors are not paying attention to these deatils when they type their manuscript.
  • Please make sure that either Ben, Bram, Josh, or I look at the sermon notes before the service starts. We try to get there, but sometimes other things get our attention. It is very important that we look over them before the first service starts, and you can help by reminding us.
I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Sunday, also. Comment away!


David MacKenzie said...

Dave, thanks for making sure we're paying attention to the deatils!

I agree about You Are Holy; I gradually brought the womens' voices up during the chorus, but it was too gradual.

Once again, consulting with the band helped with the mix. I thought the first meeting mix was a little indistinct. Dave C commented that he thought the drums were a little loud and he couldn't hear the bass guitar well enough (though I thought I had it rather loud, but he was in the bowl so I guess not). In the second meeting, I turned down the drum overhead mics somewhat and turned up the bass guitar somewhat.

In the first meeting I also had trouble getting Ben's electric parts heard clearly; his tone and strums often sounded a lot like Judah's and sometimes I couldn't tell whether to feature Ben or Israel's violin on turns. I worked on Ben's EQ during the first couple of songs to thin it out and add more bite. Between meetings, Ben and I talked, and in the second meeting he refined his parts to be more consistent and defined, and used the overdrive more so his sound would cut through. That opened up the mix more and allowed me to make the keys more audible in the second meeting, while featuring Ben's leads more than in the first meeting.

So, I thought the mix in the first meeting was OK, but in the second meeting I thought it went really well as a result of those changes we made. I also benefitted from having the drum EQ already dialed in when I got there.

Judah did a great job of leading, keeping his vocal at the right level when giving directions, which made it easier for me.

Gavin once again did a very good job positioning the DPA headset mic. I didn't have to do heavy EQ to make Josh sound good.

Anonymous said...

Dave W, do you know if we decided to have the pastor at the prophecy mike always check with Josh and Grant first, or if that's something we've just gotten in the habit of doing?

Dave Wilcox said...

Ken, that is a great question. I'll try to confirm to clarify for the whole team.

Unknown said...

I don't think they always consult with the other pastors. What happened this last time was that they had two in a row during the second service and maybe people weren't expecting it because there was not an obvious consultation when the second person was waiting.

Anonymous said...

During the 2nd sevice - the drummer stand, that he used to carry the metronome & various shakers, was becoming veritical, and having him hold it up - through some troubleshooting, on-stage, it turns out that his MeMix headset transformer had blown.

1st time (going on-stage): Kami did an awesome job of getting the stand replaced

she comes down and says no headphone mix

2nd time (going on-stage): Gavin looking at the power, the transformer, the MeMix Box, the headphone connection and the feed from the monitor board.

all while PJ is playing along to the metronome!!!

3rd time (going on-stage): Gavin replaces the transformer

and all is right with the world!

Dave Wilcox said...

I forgot about that. Excellent job, Kami and Doc. This is where boldness and action are so important. Don't be afraid to go up on stage and make the world right again!

Anonymous said...

Yes to comment on that... I was a little apprehensive to go on stage while the band was playing. I didn't know what the problem was but PJ had said he couldn't hear anything and he had no power to the memix. I didn't know if I should go up again. Gavin went up the second and third time which ended up being a very smart. At the end of the second service I talked to PJ and he said that he couldn't hear anything except the metronome and was glad that Judah didn't do anything different from rehersal.
I want to say worship sounded great from the audience prospective. I think that the band did an excellent job during both services.
My question is this... We did multiple sound checks and run throughs, even a prior service. What could we have done differently in this situation so that it doesn't happen again in the future?
Thank you for your time and may each of you have a blessed day.

Unknown said...

Hi Everyone,

Though I typically do read these, I have never commented b/c I didn't have a blogger id.

Now I do -- so maybe I can make amazingly insightful comments like the rest of you do; or maybe not.