Thursday, June 28, 2012

July Calendar Craziness

Just like in April, the July calendar is a bit crazy, so this post is to clarify who is serving on what weekends.

First, I want to mention the two crazy things that could catch you by surprise and how you can remedy them:

Surprise 1: The first of the month is a Sunday, which means that the first Saturday is actually before the 2nd Sunday, the second Saturday is before the third Sunday, and so on.

Remedy: Count Sundays, not Saturdays, when you are trying to figure out when you serve.

Surprise 2: There are five Sundays in July.

Remedy: Count Sundays from the first Sunday of the month. Don't think of yourself as "the last week of the month" or "the week before the last week of the month." Also, It's the week 4 team's turn to cover the 5th Sunday.

Here's the actual schedule:
  • June 30-July 1 = Week 1 Team
  • July 7-8 = Week 2 Team
  • July 14-15 = Week 3 Team
  • July 21-22 = Week 4 Team
  • July 28-29 = Week 4 Team
Thanks for serving, everyone!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Reverb 6.10

I want to being this review by saying that you, the Production Teams, have been doing a fantastic job. I know we've asked a lot of you over the last few months, and that you've been serving through a very challenging time in our church. Thank you for making things go so smoothly each and every week, each and every event, and for doing it with joy and perseverance.

I also want to mention that we've hit what I would call a "steady state" moment. What do I mean by that? You have gotten so good at what you do that we have made very few significant changes in the last year or so. That is a sign that you are doing exactly what you should be doing, and that you are doing it consistently with excellence. I don't mean to say that we can't improve, but I think it's important to state that any "areas for improvement" that come up in posts like this are small, and are truly minor details in comparison to all the many things that go so well each week. Well done, everyone!

Video Projector

Big thanks go out to the video crew from two weeks ago. Unfortunately, the video projector powered on in a failed state that morning. After about an hour of searching for a simple resolution, we swapped it out (took six guys to "swap" it) for our backup and now it's in the slow process of being repaired. My best guess at this point is that the integrator rod, a long piece of glass that shapes the light into a rectangle, has a flaw that is significantly affecting the brightness.

What do you need to know now that we're running on the backup projector?

  • The web interface that we normally use to power up the center projector is not available on the backup projector. If you need to power up or power down the projector, you will need to get access to the projector room and press the power button on the back of the projector. I know, that's old school!
  • The quality of the backup projector is significantly lower than the primary projector, so we need to push the iris levels up a bit just to get satisfactory brightness out of the image. However, that also risks blowing out the image. So, the assistant director position is really important, and getting feedback from the Tech Director out in the room is essential. Generally, we should be aiming for skin tones at 80-90% brightness instead of the usual 70-80% brightness.

Power On?

A couple times in the last few weeks, we've had some problems because a piece of equipment in the signal chain didn't have power or it's power wasn't turned on. In those cases, a lot of time was spent swapping out components in the signal chain on the stage side. This is just a great opportunity to remind us all, when troubleshooting, to do a quick overview of the entire signal path before starting to change out components. Also, rather than just swapping random components out, start at the source and step through one connection at a time to confirm that you have audio or video signal at each pont of failure in the signal chain.

Rechargeable Batteries

About 14 months ago, we changed over to rechargeable batteries. We are beginning to notice some cell failures. The batteries are not lasting through both services. Because batteries are essential to our wireless mic systems functioning, there are a few things we should all know and be looking for:
  • Each room has enough batteries to fill all of the wireless equipment twice. One set of batteries should be used for rehearsals, and then all batteries should be replaced with fresh ones immediately prior to the first service.
  • Sometimes the charger drawers don't fully latch into the chargers. Be careful that you make sure they lock in when you go to charge batteries. Also, be careful that you see a green light before you pull the batteries out. If you see no light (either red or green), then the batteries are definitely not fully charged. Don't use them.
  • The Wireless In-Ear receivers in the auditorium are much more power-hungry than the microphone transmitters (both handhelds and beltpacks), so we should expect to swap those batteries out between services each time into the future.
  • However, the handheld and beltpack transmitters should last through two services. Remember, if the indicator shows four bars at the beginning of the first service and then three bars at the beginning of the second service, they don't need to be changed. They only need to be changed if they are showing two bars or less at the beginning of the second service.
  • I have tested all of the current batteries for peak voltage. All of them will be charged up to "full" if you see a green light on the charger.
  • Nevertheless, just because a pair of batteries charges to full doesn't mean that they will last for both services, unfortunately. Over time, they may not hold their charge as long.
  • If you have to change out pair of batteries in a microphone transmitter between services, please get that pair of batteries into my hands (don't just mark them bad and set them aside). I want to run some tests on them.
Thanks for your careful attention to this!

Copy, Don't Type. Copy, but Don't Trust.

For those of you working on projection, I just want to give you a quick reminder to use the copy and paste functions when you are creating songs or sermon notes from documents or emails. While many of you type well and quickly, I can't remember a time when we had zero typos after someone hand-typed everything in. As an act of humility, I'd ask everyone to copy, paste, and apply the Pro template rather than type it in by yourself. At the same time, the pastors and worship leaders do make typos also, so don't automatically trust what they've done. Do a double-check of everything and then ask your Tech Director if you think there may be an error.

What else have you noticed in the last few weeks? Leave your thoughts in the comments.