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Interesting Church Service - RonO's Ramblings

May. 31st, 2009 04:46 pm Interesting Church Service

Today's church service was, at least from the perspective of the tech booth and to some extent the worship team, very interesting. Anyone who also follows me on FaceBook probably already knows more or less what I'm talking about.

Last night's service -- the first of three marginally identical services -- went pretty well. Most of the kinks were worked out and service itself ran smoothly. The only problem was that they didn't clear the house between the service and the comedy show afterwards, so I didn't have time to check a graphics fix with the cameras until this morning.

This morning, I showed up at 7:00, the crew call time as far as I know. The only other person in the entire building (the building with the worship center and the offices, I don't know about the buildings with the school functions) was the staff person who has been newly moved to full time and in charge of the media services, who was setting up the stage. Since he was also playing bass this weekend, he was also the only representative of the worship team at 7:00.

Over the next twenty minutes or so, the worship team started drifting in. I noticed that we had a different person coming in to lead -- from the back. We were also missing a person to run sound. This was when I sent my first prayer request out on FaceBook (I have friends there from Wheaton Bible, including Tech Crew and Worship Team people who would 100% understand the need for prayer if they saw the message -- I have very few followers on Twitter, and Live Journal is too difficult to quickly from my phone). We made it through the worship set by not touching much on the mix, and having the tech director/bass player run back and forth adjusting the monitor mix and to some extent the house mix. I had to adjust the bass, since he couldn't -- for obvious reasons -- really hear the mix with the bas in it. The morning sound check and rehearsal ran long, ending about 10 minutes or less before service was supposed to start.

It was during this break that I made my second FaceBook posting. I was about half way through when partial relief came in the form of someone drafted to do what she could -- which mostly amounted to watching the mute groups that were out of my reach. During first service, I had to set so that my left hand was on the computer providing the lyrics feed and my right hand was where I could adjust the mix. I didn't do a lot of adjustment, mostly pushing the flute during one song where her sound needed it, and then pushing the flute, electric guitar and bass during the final song.

Between services, about a forty minute break, I got a roll and a diet coke from the food stand outside -- I was unusually hungry this morning at that point, and I often avail my self of a snack. Once I returned to the booth and made a couple of adjustments and got ready for the next service, preparing myself to cover one and a half positions again. Fortunately, before the service one of the people who had observed the service the night before came by, and I briefed him on what he might have to do with the sound board (where the mute groups were, what the cues were, etc.). I was then informed by one of the other church staff people -- I have the impression that she may be the pastor's assistant, but I'm not sure, at any rate she was singing and providing some direction to the worship team from the booth this morning -- that someone was on their way, but might not be there in time to start. That was when I sent my final FaceBook posting, thanking people who had (I hope) been praying.

Third service ran much smoother since I could focus on my job. On the other hand, to get the service done on time, I was having to get edits on nearly every song (which actually made one of them shorter than needed, and brought the rest to a reasonable number of repeats) and so missed a couple of cues.

I definitely think that there was some grace involved in this. First, I was able to get the verse order into Media Shout -- at least for the first service -- before services, so that I could mostly hit the space bar at the right time, which is a much easier task than trying to click on a single little button on the screen. This allowed me to split my focus between the computer and the sound board. Second, we at least had the tech director in the house to so I wasn't having to try to figure out where the monitor sends were. Third, the board was left set up from last night, with the basic mix in tact.

But the biggest grace of all may have happened in the middle of last week. After some stuff got messed up during the kids program the week before, the desk in the booth was rearranged for the purpose of putting a computer used to record the sermon for the website onto the desk, rather than the floor. This resulted in the arangement here:

New Venture Christian Fellowship Tech Booth

The graphics/lyrics computer is just left of center, with the mixing board to the right. The vocal and band faders are on the left edge of the board. (The fuzzy image was taken with my phone quickly between services)

Before, the CPU had been in between which would have made it much more difficult for me to reach the sound board.

Just to add to the fun, the video director ("Producer" in NVCF parlance) and I spent a fair amount of the time before first service trying to see if we could solve the problem that resulted in no audio on the video recording last week (solved) and the longer term problem that has led to very low audio levels on the video recordings for several weeks. The one problem turned out to be some cables that got plugged into the wrong side of a mini-board (they were plugged between tape in on the board and audio in on the DVD recorder). The other problem appears to require pulling out much of the system which the staff tech guy wants to do, once he has the volunteers or crew and an idea of how things are supposed to be.

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