from my notebook

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Archive for the tag “church tech”

AV, Technology, & the Church – My Flipboard Magazine

Image representing Flipboard as depicted in Cr...

AV, Technology, & the Church – My Flipboard Magazine

I’m a big fan of Flipboard on the iPad. Recently they rolled out the ability to create your own magazine made up of articles you read on Flipboard, so I decided to create one with a collection of items I read pertaining to church audiovisual, IT, and other technology. It’s a mash-up of apps, software, hardware, audiovisual tips and resources, and pretty much all things church tech. So if you’re looking for some good info, check out AV, Technology, & the Church on Flipboard.

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How We Handled Quick Turn Around for Photos and Video at VBS This Year

For the last few years at VBS we have taken photos throughout the sessions then projected them each night during the wrap-up at the end of the day. Normally someone on the Tech Team with a real camera does the photography. This year, in order to have more photographers, I decided we would use our iPhones and the InstaShare app. I installed the app on our Media iMac ahead of time and tested it out. It worked great. We could take pictures anywhere on the campus and upload them to the iMac immediately. Once they were on the Mac, we simply dragged the pics we wanted to use into ProPresenter, put a timer on them, and voila, a photo loop for the end of the day. We even threw a short video clip into the loop a few times.

As far as video for VBS, I usually record with my Flip camera and work on the edits and final montage at home to be shown during the closing session. This year I recorded all the video with my iPhone. I used the native camera app, 8mm, and Videon. I did some minor editing on my phone (my old eyes don’t see well enough to do much), then uploaded them via InstaShare to the iMac. I did what editing I could in iMovie, then finished up at home in Premiere Elements.

It was really fun having several people taking pictures each day. We never knew what we were going to get. And the process of getting the pics from the camera to the computer couldn’t have been easier.

 

A Tech Director’s Plea to Guest Speakers

If you ever travel and guest speak at other churches or events, this post is for you. I want to offer some advice and make a very, very big request – if you need to use PowerPoint, videos, pictures, or any kind of multimedia, please don’t walk in at the last-minute and hand it to someone, expecting them to magically make it happen. I want to try to help you understand what it does to us mentally and spiritually when you pop in with a surprise.

This is an age-old problem in church tech particularly. We want to help make your talk successful and everything you dreamed it would be, but we aren’t magicians. Tech takes planning and preparation. While some large churches may have multiple people and computers to work on your last-minute surprise, that’s not the case for us little guys. Once the service (or pre-service) is rolling, we can’t divert that same computer to doing something else.

I haven’t had this happen to me in quite a while until recently.  Just as were getting ready to roll pre-service, the guest speaker for the day came up to the booth and asked us to show a video from his website. He seemed baffled when I tried to explain that it wasn’t that simple. Then he asked us to play something from a DVD. Once again he was baffled as I tried to explain that I couldn’t set it up in ProPresenter now because it was already running audio and video, and the DVD player would override all that. Then he asked if we could project a picture, which turned out to be PDF, from his website. I did manage that one but only after downloading it and converting it to a .jpg.

I could tell he was disappointed as he left the booth. I was disappointed too, so I spent the first half of the service trying to download his video from the web on an older pc in the booth…to no avail. When I finally gave up, I realized I had missed most of the musical worship, I was totally distracted, and at the end of the day didn’t feel like had even been to church. Tech is distracting enough and requires real focus to get the job done and still be able to participate spiritually. I found myself totally out of it and disconnected, resulting in me not doing my job quite as well as I normally would have.

Normally the Pastor or I make contact with guests earlier in the week to avoid these problems, but we were both out of town all week this time and failed to do so. I’m not saying the speaker’s requests were impossible, but they were for us at that moment. We simply weren’t equipped to handle it. One of those problems I set out to rectify later that day, but the others are simply a matter of planning ahead based on our capabilities.

I’ve experienced this from the other side of the coin as well. During the several years I spent traveling with a singer/worship leader, I always checked out where we were going beforehand. Rarely ever did I walk into a church or any other venue without knowing what kind of equipment was going to be available or if I needed to carry my own in order to to do what we wanted to do.

It’s best for all concerned not to assume, walk in blindly, or surprise those trying to support you. Plan, prepare, and help us be part of the service or event as well.

Low Cost In-ear Monitors

Brad Zimmerman has a very informative video below on budget in-ear monitoring for a band. Be sure to visit Brad’s site for more info – Low Cost In-ear Monitors. You can read my previous post on the topic here.

Competence Breeds Trust

English: A Sennheiser Microphone

English: A Sennheiser Microphone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’ve run audio for very long, you’ve no doubt encountered  timid singers. The ones who hold the microphone six inches or more from their mouths and get softer when they hear themselves. Experience will eventually help with part of this issue, but trusting the sound person is another important factor.

When a singer can be confident any sour notes they hit are not going to overshadow everything else, they tend to relax and sing more fully.

This requires attentiveness on the part of the audio engineer. Pay attention during rehearsals to who may not be as prepared as they should be or is just struggling with a particular part that week . Know if and when you may need to adjust their volume down. My mixing style tends to keep vocals close to the music anyway, but I try to be aware of spots where I may need to bury something for a second or so.

Obviously you can’t do this as much with a lead singer as you can background singers, and there is only so much overall we can do. But knowing you are going to “protect” them and not hang them out to dry, will help them sing more confidently. This reassurance from you, as the one in control of the sound, should always be accompanied with proper mic technique instructions and a brief lesson on the proximity effect.

The same goes for musicians and speakers as well. I’ve had to pull instruments out of the mix more than once because their playing was off. If the team knows you care and will handle those awkward situations to minimize the effect, they will become more comfortable quicker.

Sync Christmas 2012 – Church Technical Leaders

Hurry and check this out Church Techies.

Sync Christmas 2012 – Church Technical Leaders.

Worship Team Technology

The Worship Ministry is possibly one of the most technical ministries in the church. We are currently using four computers and the occasional iPad/iPhone during our services, not to mention the planning process itself.

Smart phones are becoming more and more useful. It isn’t a requirement to have one in order to serve on the Tech Team, band, or choir, but it sure helps.

We’ve been using Planning Center Online since almost its inception, and it has become more and more vital with each passing year. Not only are the two or three of us involved in the planning process better connected, but everyone involved in the service is able to see details of what is expected of them.

PCO has great mobile apps for the teams to listen to MP3s of the songs for the week. Our Worship Pastor also builds separate MP3s for the singers’ parts and creates his own song charts for the musicians. All of this allows the teams to prepare before rehearsal and be ready to bring it all together with the group.

PCO also integrates with your online calendar, text messaging carrier, and Facebook to keep your schedule at your finger tips.

We are blessed with great musicians, but there isn’t much depth, so when one or more is out, we used to be forced to go with a stripped down sound that week. Now we have a choice. We can run loops from a laptop on stage. Stripped down is fine, but it’s nice to have a choice, especially if those absences are last-minute after the set has been prepared.

Most people live busy schedules. The more technology can be used for communication and planning, the better. It may require an upfront effort to learn something new, but it will be time well spent.

Weekly Link-ups

Here are some recent finds around the web.

Tips For Becoming A Presentation Sensation

2 Reasons You Should Continually Ask, “What’s Next?” in Tech Ministry

4 Ways Technology Drives Discipleship

Top 10 Church Sound Problems

Weekly Link-Ups

 

A few links from around the net.

What Caffeine Really Does to Your Brain

8 TV Shows All Geeks Should Have Watched

5 Essential Technology Podcasts That Geeks Should Listen To

8 Movies Every Geek Should Watch (And Love)

Stream Thousands of Video Bible Studies Anytime, Anywhere with Right Now Media

A Glossary of Technical Sound Terms

 

The Church TD’s Prayer

Just had to post this creation from fellow Twitterer @churchmediaman.

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