Tuesday, September 22, 2009

9.20 Reverb

Yes, the long-lost undistract blog has a new post for the first time in a couple months. I apologize for the delay, but I've been out of pocket for quite some time.

Here's what the end of the summer looked like for me:
  • Last week of July - Prepare for WorshipGod09
  • 1st week of August - WorshipGod09
  • 2nd week of August - Do two jobs (my own job and my administrators)
  • 3rd week of August - Train Jenn, my new administrator
  • 4th week of August - Vacation
  • 1st week of September - Vacation
  • 2nd week of September - Welcome Esme Rose to our family (take more time off)
  • 3rd week of September - Try to catch back up.
  • 4th week of September - I can't believe it's here already and haven't blogged even once. But such is life.
Anyway, that's my excuse, and I want to get back into blogging. Minimally, I'll be reviewing Sundays again. Hopefully, I'll be able to do a little more writing also, but that's always a little sketchy.

General Notes

Welcome Intern, John Behrens - Two weeks ago, John Behrens, a member of the Sovereign Grace church in Pittsburg, came to Gaithersburg to do an internship with Sovereign Grace Music and the Covenant Life music and production departments. You can expect to see him around on Sundays and other events while he is here. Make sure to introduce yourself, thank him for his help, and fill him in on what you do on the teams.

Checklists Updated - I spent some time last week doing a major checklist update. Every checklist has been updated, improved, and plain old neatified. Please look over them carefully next time you serve, and keep sending in your comments on the checklists, so that we can make them even more useful to you.

Weigh In on IMAG Video Team Changes - We are considering some significant changes to the IMAG Video Team that could affect IMAG, SundayPlus, and Sermon Media volunteers. The ideas for these changes are in the infant stages. We can't make any decision successfully without your help, so we wanted to offer you the chance to weigh in on this early on. If you are interested in being a part of the discussion, please comment below or email Dave Wilcox.

Sunday Morning

What happened last Sunday?
  • Judah Groveman led us in singing.
  • Dave Brewer helped us pray for Mexico.
  • Mark Mitchell mentioned a few pastoral priorities for the whole church (aka anouncements).
  • Josh Harris preached on The Sluggard, helping us spot the sluggard within us all. If you are too busy to listen again to this message, you may be the one who most needs it!


The sound team did an excellent job this weekend. The rehearsal and both services went very smoothly, except for when I failed to unmute Josh's mic in the second service. Ugh!

The only other thought I had relates to starting rehearsal on time. The musicians are instructed to arrive at 6:30pm to begin soundcheck and rehearsal. That doesn't always happen. At 6:45, I called down to the monitor board to see if we could begin soundcheck, and Bryant's accurate response was that the musicians seemed to still be milling around.

The fact is that none of the bands will start soundcheck on their own. Let's own the responsibility to get them started at 6:30 by beginning to set gains with whoever is there at the time. Through the point when all the mixes are set and ready to go, the sound crew is in charge and should be leading. Sometimes we need to stop the musicians from attempting to get into actual rehearsal too quickly. Other times we need to push them along, so that they actually get to rehearsal before the evening has withered away.

Producers and Stage Managers, this is your call, your responsibility. Let's get soundchecks started at 6:30p or before.

The biggest challenge with the mix this weekend was the vocals. The two singers had very different tone. In order to make them similar, I put a significant amount of pitch shift on Shelley's mic to detune it a bit, making it less sweet and pure. This did seem to help it fit with Judah's vocal, but it also made the vocals a bit more "awash." Did anyone notice the difference, and did it cause any problems, specifically for the women to follow the melody lines?


I don't have any significant suggestions for lighting this weekend. Great job, Craig!


We are still without our good video projector, and we probably will have two more Sundays without it. After a long back-and-forth with tech support, our projector will be on its way to California any moment now for some TLC. Please pray that they are able to revive the projector without killing our repair budget for the year in the process.

Thanks for working with the less-than-ideal older projector. There has been less room for error in shading the cameras, and each team has eventually caught on to the mental adjustments required to make the shots look as good as possible.

Overall, I thought the video was very good on Sunday. The slides were timed well, and the cameras looked good. Camera 4, in particular, looked unusually well-matched, and I was glad to see more of it live. Well done, Susannah!

One note for all camera operators: don't forget that every time you put your hand on the tripod or take it off, we can see your action. The shot jitters. Even though it's slight, it's definitely noticeable. Whenever possible don't touch (or de-touch) the tripod while your shot is live. It is especially noticeable if the subject begins to move and then you grab the tripod to begin to follow. Not only does it shake, but you end up a little behind them. When you're live, don't move, but always be ready to move. You have a tough, tough job.

Two quick thoughts for SundayPlus operators:
  • I think you all should plan to arrive earlier. My observation is that we are regularly rushed, trying to prep the songs and get sermon notes entered up until the last minute. Please plan to arrive at 7:30am or come in on Saturday night to prepare the songs. That may seem too early when you have a weekend without much to do, but we need to be ready for the worst case scenario when the sermon notes are complicated or the songs are in shambles.
  • Second, on busy Sundays, please try to divide and conquer. I know it is nice to be able to talk and work on things together, but that isn't always the most efficient use of time. If one of you can run lyrics and learn the songs while the other person enters sermon notes, that gets things done even faster.

Sermon Media

We had an issue with the computer this last Sunday that made it impossible to record the first service directly into the computer. Please know that we do have a backup recording running at the main board for exactly such a situation. By 15 minutes after the second service, we can resurrect a slightly lower quality recording of the first service for you to use.

What did you notice this Sunday? Any thoughts for the team. Comment here.


Unknown said...

I've done 2 weeks so far on Camera 2 with the "bad" projector and I've noticed that the shading is not too bad as long as you don't get too close to saturation. I've switched on my headset to give shading tips more often than usual though. Sounds like I may get another chance.

I think the biggest problem with the shakiness is the amount of play in the vertical axis on the tripods. When the pastor(usually Josh) paces back and forth across the stage the camera may only need to be lifted a tiny bit to keep the headroom, but the tripod doesn't actually move with regards to the vertical axis. This is great when said pastor returns to the podium because when you release pressure the headroom goes back to what it was. When the speaker is stationary and you need to adjust the headroom just a tiny bit that's when you can get the shakiness because you know the tripod actually has to give a little before you can release pressure and then when it does give you get more movement than you wanted. A thing I've been doing a lot more lately is erring on the side of a little more headroom than needed when the speaker is stationary (which is not usually for long) so that when the pastor is moving no vertical adjustment/pressure is needed during a move. It's also easier to move down if the pastor goes right back to the podium rather than pushing up and hoping that it doesn't jerk around too much.

Dave Wilcox said...

Thanks for the explanation, Dave. Do you have your vertical tilt locked?