Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Overdrive 10.18

This Past Sunday...

Greetings! Thanks for coming back to read another post about our efforts to clearly proclaim the gospel message.

This past Sunday contained the following:
  • Bob and Devon Kauflin leading our time of singing
  • Bob Kauflin leading our time of communion
  • Josh Harris leading our announcements and mission offering
  • Braden Greer preaching on Proverbs 12:18: Proverbs and Our Words

Sound

Our music team and production team has recently been discussing different sizes and types cymbals. In effort to reduce cluttered noise and harsh sounds, I’m wondering how much of a difference different size cymbals would make. It seems that smaller cymbals (16”) tend to be brighter and harsher, while larger diameter cymbals (18” and larger) have a darker, fuller sound. Additionally, larger ride cymbals don’t tend to ‘swell’ nearly as much, reducing some of the clutter.

I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts or experiences using different cymbals, and any suggestions you may have in producing a clear drum kit sound with minimal cymbal abrasiveness. (Just for reference, we use a drum shield, but the shield is not enclosed.)


Lighting

I don’t have anything to comment on in the lighting department. Thanks to Dave for his patience in between services amidst multiple lighting changes.


Video

The video elements this past Sunday were nearly seamless. Any moments that were not planned for were accurately caught and projected with timeliness, and the transition into the last Mission Presentation DVD was perfect. This again highlights the importance of watching the entire DVD and testing it in the house before the service to eliminate any guess work once its real time for the congregation.

Also, typically we default to using Camera 1 for initial on-stage shots (i.e. any time Bob spoke to the congregation during worship this past Sunday). However, because our bass player was in the background shot of Bob from Camera 1, we had to find a less distracting alternative. Thanks to John and Susannah for finding and recommending the Camera 4 shot down front. It actually turned out to be the best shot during Bob’s speaking moments.


SundayPlus

As of recently we’ve been receiving more detailed outlines to project on the side screens. Typically when this happens we’re not able to spend ample time formatting the points and checking them on the side screens. So you’re aware, we’re talking about how we can more effectively communicate the preaching pastors’ sermon notes he would like projected to help minimize last minute formatting and input. Thank you for your faithfulness to input these elements, which often comes late in the game, and for your patience as we try to find more effective ways to relay information.

Why is this important? If you think about it, projecting notes on the side screens is an incredibly important communication device. It’s basically the pastor saying to each member of the congregation, “From the passage I’m preaching on, I want you to write this down pay careful attention to this.” In other words, its not just a tool that tells people when to write things (though it is that), but more importantly tells people what the pastor specifically intends for you to meditate on.

For anyone using Sunday Plus: Please don't hesitate to leave feedback regarding this discussion.


Your Turn

Thanks for reading our thoughts, now we would love to read yours.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reverb 10.11

We had a great Sunday Celebration at Covenant Life this last weekend.
  • John David Maresco led us in singing.
  • One woman was baptized in the second service.
  • We saw the next video in Sovereign Grace's Mission Presentation.
  • Wayne Grudem preached on The Greatness of God.
Just to shake it up a little, I'm going to do the review in reverse order this time. General comments are at the end, so makes sure to read through. Crazy, I know!


Sermon Media

Nice job this weekend, Joe and Tom. There was only one issue that I noticed after you two left. You accidentally saved the sermon mp3 file without the CLC Web Settings compression. This means the mp3 file size was 42 megabytes rather than the typical 10-ish megabytes. Be comforted that this is not the first time this has happened. In order to attempt to avoid this in the future, I'm adding an item to the checklist: we should always double-check the file size of the mp3 file just to make sure the compression settings worked correctly.

Also, the sermon media team now has the privilege of being able to serve our prison ministry each week. According to the church website, "Every Wednesday evening, a dedicated team of men extends friendship, care and compassion to male inmates in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Clarksburg." Typically, someone preaches a short message to challenge and inspire them. However, occasionally no one is able to preach, and they use DVDs of a recent Sunday sermon instead. Often, that DVD is then given away to another group for use in the prison in the future.

We get to serve this dedicated team by providing a DVD of the sermon each week. Even if they don't show the DVD that week, it will likely be used in the future or given away to serve other inmates in the prison. On the checklist, you'll see the changes to reflect this addition.


Video

The video team did a good job this weekend. It was great to have some cross-training happening during the first service singing time. They rocked the ministry mic moments, getting the shots up there quickly, in focus, with good iris levels each time. They also nailed the baptism in the second service. Usually, it takes us one baptism before the shots all lock in, but they only had one baptism to get it right. And get it right they did. Well done!

Now, there was this moment when Isaac said, "We're going to hear about this in the Reverb next week." Indeed, he was correct. During the first service, the team ran the wrong Sovereign Grace Mission Presentation video. They re-ran the video from last week instead of this week. They caught it pretty quickly, and they hustled to get the right one on the screen. However, there was definitely that awkwardly long "re-cuing" pause that makes pastors and congregation alike nervous for the video folks. Will it play? Do we have to cover? In the end, it played successfully, and no serious damage was done.

However, this instance brings up just how important every detail is to execute video smoothly. If I understand correctly, the person cuing the disc thought he had hit the right arrow to move the selector to the second video, just as he had done successfully for two previous run-throughs. However, in fact, it had not moved, and pressing enter meant he was unintentionally and unknowingly cuing the wrong video. Now, this was a completely honest mistake, and there is no shame in it. I do think, though, that this should bring a few more healthy butterflies to the video playback team. Let's not assume anything.


Lighting

Thanks, Craig, for making the lighting happen again this weekend. I took two things away from this weekend: 1) We should probably create a permanent stairs and floor wash just in case someone surprises us by coming down off the stage like Dr. Grudem did this Sunday. 2) we need to explore ways to light the ministry mic subject from below. When people look down at their Bibles, their faces end up in shadow. Any suggestions on accomplishing this are welcome!


Sound

Honestly, I have little to say about the sound crew, which means they must have done a great job. Setup and rehearsal went smoothly, as did both services. We did have one snafu when the worship leader didn't bring out his guitar's wireless beltpack. Ken ended up on stage to steal the mandolin line for him. In the future, I'd love to see the audio producer jumping up to handle that rather than Ken having to go up on stage. However, Nate, did you have the pack at one point? I saw you poke your head out and then go backstage.


General Comments

I have one general comment related to implementing a NASA development into our technical services. We are now officially using...Velcro. After many requests from the team, I finally got around to purchasing a roll of 6" wide velcro with hooks on one side. I've cut long pieces of this to use as cable covers. A few notes on this:
  • There is a case on the rolling sound shelf labeled "Velcro Cable Covers." This is where you will find them, even if you are a member of the video team.
  • Each roll is labeled on the end for it's specific use. Because they are cut to length for specific purposes, please don't just use one randomly as you desire. You will likely be taking one that is needed somewhere else.
  • When you pull them out, please take the small velcro "tab" that holds the roll together and attach it to the velcro strip in the case lid, so we don't lose the tabs.
  • When you are putting them away, please roll them up and return them to this case. Remember, even the video-related cable covers go into this case on the sound shelf.

Your Turn

Thanks for reading all this way, and make sure to add your thoughts here.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Video Evaluation: Testimonies from Sunday, 10/4

Covenant Life Church's communication staff is posting more videos from our church meetings online, which presents an opportunity for the production teams to receive some constructive encouragement and criticism, specifically on camera work and directing.

Here is the video from the testimonies this last Sunday. Leave a comment to let us know what you think is great and what could be better.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

10.4 Reverb

This weekend was another great one at Covenant Life. God met us again, as he is always faithful to do.

Sound

The sound team did an amazing job this weekend. They managed to flawlessly add a 32-person orchestra to the normal Sunday band. And, yes, each musician in the orchestra had his or her own microphone. I was astonished at how well it went:
  • Setup was done at 6:10pm, giving them enough time to eat dinner before the 6:30 start.
  • Rehearsal started promptly at 6:30. Thanks, Christie!
  • The string line check went so smoothly that we were able to add the orchestra to the soundcheck fifteen minutes ahead of schedule.
  • After troubleshooting a few small issues during linecheck, we found no more issues in the setup except for one drum mic that was acting up.
  • Dave worked hard to dial in each of those mics and make the orchestra sound great.
Thanks to the Week 1 team: Doc, Dave, Karen, Christie, and Caleb. And thanks also to Bryant, Nate, and Justin who came in on their off week to assist with the orchestra setup. Each one of you helped to make the orchestra a great success. I don't think it could have gone more smoothly.

One quick note for all stage managers: We've added something to your checklist. Many of the sound team members have requested that we list headphone and in-ear preferences for the musicians, so that they can get them pulled out before the musicians arrive. In order to build that list, we've added an item on the stage manager checklist to write down what each musician uses. Each Sunday, we'll add that person's preference to our master list. When they play next, we'll include that information on the monitor patch sheet.


Lighting

Since John Behrens and I did the lighting ourselves, I don't have much to say about lighting except this: We are definitely in need of a week 1 lighting operator. If you know anyone who might be interested, please send the name my way. If you have suggestions on the lighting, please comment away.


Video

The video team also did a great job this weekend. The Sovereign Grace Mission Presentation Video went flawlessly. They responded quickly when Bob spoke between songs and for the two ministry mic "moments" in the second service. The week 1 video team does a fantastic job communicating, too. I love to hear the chatter as they all confirm what they think is about to happen.

They also did the best they could with the first service testimony segment, which surprisingly happened on the floor instead of the stage. There was miscommunication among the staff that caused that change in plan, for which I'm very sorry. Thanks for adapting to the unexpected.

A quick note for SundayPlus operators: We want to avoid "dangling" single words, both in the song slides and the sermon notes. If only the last word of the line or sentence happens to run over to the next line, please enter a carriage return before the second to last word, so that two words are on the last line. This may seem nitpicky, but there is something strange about the way it looks to have a single word on a line.


Sermon Media

The sermon media team is earning my vote for most sacrificial team. They frequently stay well past 2pm on Sunday afternoon to get the editing and mastering done. Thanks, guys, for your work. You are spreading the gospel all over the planet!

This weekend took an extra long time because of a special edit to the online sermon. Thanks, Olu, for going the extra mile to make that happen.

One quick note for all sermon media team members: It is your responsibility to get the pre-printed DVDs up to the IMAG video room for recording. I've heard from a number of the video teams that this isn't happening yet consistently. Sometimes you get them up there, but sometimes they don't see them at all. Please make sure you are arriving in plenty of time to print all the discs and get them up to the video room before the service starts.


Your Turn

What do you want to say about this weekend? Encouragements and critiques are both welcome.