Wednesday, February 04, 2009

2.1 Reverb

Braden Greer taught the fifteenth sermon in Covenant Life's series in Ephesians this last Sunday. You can listen again to hear how the new birth makes new actions possible. As a reminder of what else happened, here's the list of items from this weekend's very full Sunday:
  • Bob Kauflin led us in singing with an "acoustic" band.
  • Bob introduced our new hymn for memorization for February, Be Thou My Vision.
  • Isaac Hydoski shared an exhortation regarding our adoption into God's family.
  • Adam Malcolm prayed for Tajikistan. Due to time, this got cut from the second service.
  • Joshua Harris led the church in praying for President Obama based on Albert Mohler's prayer.
  • Joshua shared some pastoral priorities, aka announcements.
  • Braden preached. Did I recommend yet that you listen to it again?
I want to begin with an encouraging note. Because I am not usually in Discovery Land, our children's ministry, I don't often get to include details from that room in our Sunday follow-up posts. However, I wanted to pass on this note from Sue, who helps Mike Bradshaw coordinate the music and drama teams in Discovery Land:
I worked with the Week 4 team this past Sunday [actually 2 Sundays ago now] and was amazed at how smoothly and quickly everything came together. We were able to follow the schedule Mike had laid out with almost minute-precision. There were only three techs there: Dan, Mark, and Caleb. Honestly, I can't tell you exactly HOW they made it all fall together so smoothly but it did seem that everyone knew exactly what they should be doing and how to get it done efficiently.
Any thoughts from that team on how everything came together so effectively? What did you do to prepare the equipment and yourselves? Please comment on this post to teach us all a thing or two.

Second, I found a note on one of the checklists that went something like this: "It would be nice to be able to IM Dave." You can! Let me introduce you to Twitter. Twitter is a simple messaging service that allows you and me to connect, whether we are at our computers or not.

Here's how to get set up:
  1. Go to and sign up for an account.
  2. Go to your account settings, then devices, and sign up your cell phone for text messaging. Important note: this could cost you money, so make sure you know what your calling plan allows for text messaging.
  3. Go to and click on the follow button. Then select "On" for device updates. This will allow you to receive my updates on your cell phone.
  4. Then, I will follow you back, so we can communicate. Please choose a logical username or fill in your profile, so that I know who you are. I don't follow random people (aka spammers).
  5. Then you can send me a public message by texting 40404 with a note starting with @davidjwilcox, for instance, "@davidjwilcox Will there be a song at the end of the service?"
  6. Or send me a direct (private) message by texting 40404 with a note starting with d davidjwilcox, for instance "d davidjwilcox Your hair looks really goofy after you take off the intercom headset."
Also, if you don't want to sign up for an account, but you do want to receive my updates from Twitter, simply send a text message to 40404 with "follow davidjwilcox". You won't be able to send me messages, but you can read the updates I'll post.


The sound crew did a good job this weekend. Not having a Saturday rehearsal always pressurizes the Sunday rehearsal time, but it seemed like this weekend's team handled it peaceably.

The mix was very good, Dave. Whatever you did with Ben's acoustic guitar was exactly what we were looking for in the "acoustic band" sound. Did you use the tube compressor for that? How did the AKG 535 work for the Cajon?

One reminder for monitor operators: No mix output peak lights should ever come on. This will cause at least uncomfortable compression in the person's headphones. Many times, it will distort the mix.

What typically happens is this:
  • There is a leftover mix from the last week, which was pretty loud.
  • The musician comes in and immediately turns the entire mix down at their box or wireless in-ear pack.
  • They then proceed to turn up the instruments that they want to hear.
  • Quickly, this will lead to peak lights on the meters because we are overdriving the outputs of the mixer.
The remedy is this: Turn each input down in that mix at the board. (Do not turn down the overall mix level). Then have the musician turn their box back up. Then adjust the mix as necessary.

All musicians should have their volume levels at minimally 75%. Don't forget that the wireless in-ear receivers' painted volume "markers" not very accurate. Make sure to turn the volume all the way around (with in-ears OUT!) and then turn it back to about 75% of the highest level. Audio producers, we need to make this a weekly reminder to the musicians. They should not be expected to remember this from week to week.


Lighting was pretty simple this weekend, and Alex did a great job. By the way, did you know that Alex was the 10:31 award winner? That means that, of all the high school senior guys, Alex was chosen by his classmates, teachers, parents, and pastors as the one who best exemplifies the motto of our youth ministry: "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." Congratulations, Alex! You have our deepest respect. Thanks for your example of godliness and service in secret.


The video work was very smooth this weekend. Special thanks go to Isaac and Ryan for jumping in at the last-minute to camera direct. The first shots we saw were solid, without much shading happening after they went live. That was a very good thing.

I think, however, that we can still be faster to get the shots right and then get them live. Two reminders for the assistant directors:
  • All stage lighting changes are indicated on your service rundown worksheet. Whenever there is a number indicated in the line of the service item, a lighting change will be happening. That's when you need to be most ready to adjust on the fly.
  • The lighting cue indicated as "Sermon" on the sheet is such that you can safely start by setting the iris knob at the 12 noon position. When you see "sermon" as the coming lighting cue, for instance when a pastor is coming up on stage, take the next camera shot to the 12 noon iris position, wait for the lights to change, and then adjust slightly to lock in the brightness.
Remember, you are the eyes of the congregation, and most people will open their eyes when someone comes up to speak. The goal is to get each shot right and live before they say the first word. It's a tall goal, but you can do it!

What would you like to suggest from this last Sunday?


David MacKenzie said...

Hi, Dave,

Yes, I ran Ben's guitar through the ART PRO VLA tube compressor. Kerrin ran his guitar through his own ART single channel tube compressor onstage. It's funny, even with a small band I can find it hard to get acoustic guitars to sit where I want them in a mix. The compression definitely helped as the guys frequently switched between open strumming and muted rhythmic chords and lead runs.

I think the C535 worked OK on the cajón. That's not to say another mic might not work better, but it was good enough.

I was happy with the mix this weekend. The band used dynamics effectively, which made it easier for me.

It was a little challenging not having the dbx compressors. Some of the PreSonus channels didn't pass signal when I tried to use them as inserts, and I didn't have time to diagnose the problem source (the channel insert? patch cords? compressor? operator error?). So, I didn't compress Renee's vocal, just rode the level. Same for the podium mic.

Anonymous said...

ud here - Susan was being very gracious to our team. The band folks were gracious to us techies as well - we scrambled through some issues with connections, etc throughout rehearsal. and drama chose not to rehearse Saturday night that weekend. but God does and did pour out grace; and the band was able to rehearse by-and-large "undistracted" (except for my repeated PA feedback issues...). Mark is a new producer; but with years of experience with recording - he gets right to and through set-up - and has been spending significant time getting video and lighting to work with a new operator there; Caleb is new to the monitor board but diligently and intelligently works through any and all set-up and troubleshooting challenges. maybe because we have been a small team, I think we might feel a bit more challenged to "stay on target". certainly haven't been over-staffed, so possibly feel less liberty to "coast"... and with grace from all parties, it's typically a very enjoyable evening working shoulder-to-shoulder.

Unknown said...

Black shirts are very bad.

Tyler said...

Regarding Twitter, does that mean if I send you a tweet during the service that you'll get it in near real time?

Mark said...

Well, I have agree with Dan on all points regarding grace and everyone just "doing that thing they do" - meaning, their job on the team. I don't have experience working on any other team being that this is my first and just my third Sunday. But, having such an a skilled guy like Dan to lend help where ever needed is fantastic and he's done a great job mentoring Caleb. I like the small team. Ya, we are short a stage manager but we all just come and do whatever. Honestly, not sure what another person would actually do. It's really a matter of everyone being responsible and serving each other and NOT just doing YOUR role. I think that's the biggest thing. We all just do what needs done and I get no sense of anyone drawing lines around 'their turf'. Dan even let's me turn the knobs sometimes - COOL!!! If we all just work to serve God and other members of the team then it always works out. The other point that I think is important is to be involved with the other members and know their jobs and responsibilities (at least to some degree). That allows you to better understand how what you are (or are not) doing might impact another area at a particular time during setup sequences or practice. Basically, major in your main role but minor in all the others, too. Finally, be gracious and appreciative to all involved. That's pretty much the norm around CLC but we all need to remember that we it never hurts to show and communicate extra thanks. Suzanne actually communicated in an email the week prior her thoughts on how smoothly the practice goes when this and that are done in order and one time so that the band, singers, and drama folks practice goes without road blocks. That email prompted me to try to be as diligent as possible at meeting her desire so, thanks, Suzanne, for stepping out and setting a high standard.

Mark said...

Sorry, Susan. I work with a Suzanne and IM her all day at work so my fingers seem to go to that spelling automatically. :)

Dave Wilcox said...

Tyler, from my experience, I will receive most tweets within 1-2 minutes. Not instantaneous by any means, but sufficient to answer most questions.

Unknown said...

djw: thanks for the monitor op instruction on controlling the mix output. that makes sense, and i'll make a note so we can monitor that from the get-go.

also, thanks for the twitter lesson; maybe i'll actually do it now that you made it look so easy! :)