Changes 3/2/08

Here is the list for this week…


  • Moved the catwalk color scrollers to the down stage pipe adding a color wash to the stage extension.
  • Hung the seventh scroller in the down pipe focused on the stage extension center.
  • Moved the old back lighting back to the black curtains as architectural down light and gelled them blue.
  • Started programming the Avolite Pearl using Theatre Stack mode and cues.
  • Added new lighting in the drum shield.  Two par 38 did the trick and I hope will not add too much heat.


  • Thanks to the help of facilities we moved camera 2 to just right of center aisle. This will get us a much better back drop for video when Pastor is near center stage.

Tomorrow is light programming day.

Changes 2/24/2008

One of my goals as a technical producer is to make weekly improvements to my ministry. So I figured that I would keep a log of what is going on. These will be short posts of changes. Might be interesting to look back over the year and see how for we have come. Right now I have been really be focused on getting the lighting in a better place. Here are the improvements for this week.


  • Added pipes going from down stage to upstage just behind the front truss and going just past the first cloud
  • Hung six source fours on the new pipe as backlighting for the praise singers and pasto
  • Refocused all of the front of house lecos cross lighting for better coverage for pastor and praise team.


  • Brought in a video engineer to review the system and he did some quick tuning. All of the cameras are much better balanced.

Adapting to the new job and fear

Today I was working in the lift as I have been doing often these days and realized that I might just be too comfortable. Some know that I’m not a big fan of heights. My friend Eric knows this two well. A number of years ago Eric and I were in Prescott, Arizona and Eric decided that he wanted to bungee jump. Now doing this didn’t interest me at all, but Eric talked me into riding up in the crane to about 75′ or 100′ feet above the ground. I was scared out of my mind and I was not even jumping. Eric looked over at me and I was clinging to the sides of the basked and was white as a sheet. He didn’t even get to see the worst of it. When Eric jumped the entire basket was shaking all over the place. I almost needed to clean out my shorts after that.

We currently have three on the technical production team and each of us maintains different areas of the campus. My area is the worship center. Just to give you some perspective, the floor of the worship center to the front of house trusses is about 35 to 40 feet. Needless to say I was wondering if I would be able to handle this part of the job. It has taken until recently, but now I don’t think twice about going up and fixing things. Now I question that maybe I might just be too comfortable. Since I started working in the air I wished that my fear would subside. But now I realize that a little fear is a good thing to keep us in the safe places. Just like the fear we should have in the Lord.

Open Source Software

MacHashMany people know that I have been a big fan of open source software for a long time.  I have been using one form or another for about 10 years now.  Windows was my bread an butter back in the 90’s.  Starting in the year 2000, more and more of my work was moving to open source solutions in the form of Linux and PHP web applications.

Back in 2005, I decided that it was time for me to try out Apple’s OS X and I was hooked.I couldn’t just use the operating system, I had to learn how to code OS X applications.  Wow was that a great experience.  Cocoa is one of the nicest development frameworks I have worked on.  I was somewhat suprised to find out that there was not many good open source Cocoa applications. So I decided that I would write one.  I released MacHash in 2005.  It has been on the back burner for a long time.  I’m bringing it back and will start releasing new versions soon.  If you want more information click here.

Today I have many open source applications that I live by day in and day out:

Adium (iChat could learn much from this application)
Cyberduck (Best Mac FTP client)

Time Machine

Time Machine IconI have had an interesting 2008 when it comes to data problems.  When I got back from Christmas vacation I found that my laptop hard drive had died. What a bummer.  This was a brand new 200gb drive that was less then a month old.  I had the 100gb drive that I could have recovered from, but that was a month of data that would have been lost.  Fortunately I had just started using Leopard’s Time Machine before vacation. I got the replacement drive and crossed my fingers that Time Machine would work.  Booted from the Leopard install CD and recovered from my attached fire wire drive.  Up and running again in about 2 hours. Very cool.

Last week I was doing some testing with OS X server and setup a mail account.  I moved all of my archived mail from the Exchange server over to the OS X mail server.  All was going well until I decided to recreate my server user in Open Directory to fix an issue with my home folder forgetting that I had about 6000 mail messages sitting in that account.  Well, tonight I recovered all of the mail using Time Machine and a few mail tricks.  If you have not started using Time Machine, give it a run.

Sunday 2/3/2008

Stage shotLast Sunday was again a great day of worship.  The choir was again sounding better than before the EQ change we made last week.  Today we moved some of the worship to the end of the service and the songs were an extension of the message.  It was an awesome change.  I had spent most of my week in the lift working on refocusing some of the lighting.  We also hung some new source four pars for color wash.  My goal was to get even video lighting for Pastor Mark and really improve on the praise team lighting.  The praise team wash was a big improvement.  I don’t know if I will ever get it “perfect,” but it was much improved.  Our pastor wash was not awful, but over all was a little dim and had a few dark spots on the edges of the lighting.  When I was up in the air, I found that we had a mix of 19 degree and 26 degree ellipsoidal fixtures in the lighting for the pastor.  This was leading to some hot spots.  I was able to replace all of the tubes to 19 degree but two.  This left me 2 spots on the stage that were only covered by 26 degree fixtures and gave us big dark spots.  You can guess where Pastor wanted to stand…  Yup in the dark spots.  My video directors, Tim and Jason had their hands full shading the cameras.  19 degree tubes replacing the 26 degrees are on my list for this week to fix.On Wednesday, Tim and I decided to move one of our cameras to a new position.  This camera’s previous position was only really useful for shooting up stage and was very limited during the message.  We moved the camera back about 15 feet and over toward the center about 25 feet.  We can now take down stage shots until about the center of the stage. Still not great, but a much better position.I would love to know how many church technical production teams are using light meters to set wash lighting for video….

1200 Watt Mover

1200 Fixture BurnedLast Wednesday, I moved the lift to the front of house and started working on refocusing the lights on the FOH trusses. While I had it out, I was planning on replacing the burned out lamp in our 12oo watt mover. After replacing the lamp, the fixture would still not strike. Not good! Well, that means that it is time to take it down and see what it wrong with it. Taking it down is not that fun being that the fixture is about 35 feet in the air on a truss that we can’t lower. Yes I would love to have chain motors. Got to give thanks to one of our lighting volunteers, Greg, for taking it down. Let me tell you that is a very heavy light. When Greg got the instrument on the ground he started taking it apart for cleaning. After removing a panel on the side of the head, Greg found some burned leads and what we think is a temperature sensor that was also burned out. Could it be a symptom of a bad part, or is this just a sign of a bigger issue with the instrument? More to come later.