Changes 4/27/08

Surprisingly this was the second hardest week I have had in this job and I really can’t tell you why. But God is good and services today were busy but encouraging. It is so easy in this job to get wrapped up in the technology and the issues and loose focus on what it is really about. I did a lot of work on technology this week, but none of that was very interesting or fulfilling. The trials of this week really help to bring focus to what I really enjoy: investing in people and being creative with in the limits that are in place.

We did make some technology changes this week:


  • Added a dual 18″ sub. Our 15″ drivers are still being re-coned. I was surprised on how hard this sub could kick. It was not enough for the big room, but it was better than nothing.
  • We upgraded from revision one Avioms to the newer version two systems. Wow what an improvement in sound quality.


  • Refocused all of the stage lighting for the minor stage reset that we did.
  • Finally got the lamp for the OS 600 light.

This was a “Sub” par day…ha ha

6 blown subs Last night at rehearsal I was behind the console mixing for the Edge band and heard a bad sound. I spent some time working on the the drums after Mario setup his kit, replacing the church’s set.  I just could not get the kick to sound right at all and then I remembered that John said that a sub might be blown.  I took a walk to the stage left side of the building to hear a subwoofer barking out what sounded like a kick mallet hitting a broken drum head.  The cone on the left side of the cabinet was shredded.  I grab some tools and pulled the driver.  Planned on calling the repair shop in the morning.  When I got the speaker back to the booth I noticed that this speaker had been re-coned in 2000.  I guess that it was just time.

I had a great plan when I got home last night and thought that it might be good to check all of the other sub speakers.  Sometimes it is just better to not know.  At the end of the day we found that six or our eight sub drivers were blown.  This is just some of the fun when you are maintaining a 14 year old sound system.  I have mixed feelings about this issue.  On the one hand, it is frustrating to fix blown speakers and not work on making improvements to the services.  On the other hand I have never been happy with with our subs and I have a little encouragement knowing that I have never heard all of the drivers kicking at once.  Some of the drivers appear to have been down for sometime.  So, there could be some light at the end of the weak sub tunnel.

Nya is taking the six speakers in for repair.  We will not have them for this week and will have to rent some subs, but they will return for the following Sunday.  I have to install and tune the rented 18 inch subs tomorrow.

Changes 4/6/2008

Just a sample of one of the lighting looks for Sunday
This is a big Sunday for the tech ministry at Sugar Creek. We are going digital. The Digico is installed and this will be the first Sunday running it for the services.  All is tested and ready to go and John is charged with making sure all works correctly. Over the next few weeks we will train the volunteers on the job. I think that they will be back running the shows soon as they become comfortable.  We have had two rehearsal with the digital system and both were successful and the musician said they can hear a difference in the monitors.  We have not even installed the version 2 Avioms yet. More to come on that next week.

We have a new (at least new since I have been producing) CG operator for the Edge service…welcome Janet.  The Digico took up a lot of time this week, but I did get to add some curtian slashes behind the drums.  I’m really looking forward to hearing the difference in sound quality over the next few weeks as well as how the A1 take to the new system.

Continued Learning – The Countdown

I was not a fan of school when I was a kid or a young adult.  Don’t know if it was just not enough of a challenge, but even college could not hold my attention.  It was only a matter of time before learning became a passion of mine.  One of the biggest reasons we made the move to Sugar Land was the opportunity to continue learning.  I’m convinced the continued pursuit is an important part of a fulfilling adulthood.  The ironic thing is that I’m so busy these days I have to make time.  I just got After Effect recently and I thought that it was time for me to check it out.

We have just started using countdowns to start all of our services.  I have always thought of them as being just for the attendees, but I was mistaken.  After using one for the Easter services we realized that it solved most of the issues we had with getting the services started in a timely manner.  Well, that lead to my first After Effect project, a countdown.  With a little bit of research and time I have built my first countdown…(sorry for the big download)

The graphics above match our current sermon series and I thought it would be good to have a countdown that matched.  In starting the project, I went to my usual starting point, Google.  Found some good tips on using the numbers effects and the time code functions which I guess is the recommended way.  Then I saw a little snippet of an expression and being a programmer that can recognize javascript when I see it, I knew I was heading in the right direction.  With one little piece of code I had the countdown working, then I just needed to add the graphics.  Here is the code for the countdown text layer:

// Countdown time in seconds
countdownTime = 300;

// Get the seconds remaining
seconds = linear(Math.floor(time) , 0, countdownTime, 300, 0 );

// Get the minutes
minutes = Math.floor(seconds / 60)
// Calculate the seconds
secondsRemaining = Math.floor(seconds % 60);

// Add a zero if it the number is a single digit
if(secondsRemaining < 10)
secondsRemaining = "0" + secondsRemaining;

// Return the code formated time remaining
minutes + ":" + secondsRemaining

Here are the easy steps to using the above code:

  1. Create a composition with a length 1 second longer than the countdown timer.
  2. Add a text layer and expose its properties.
  3. For the sourceText properity option or alt click on the stopwatch and enter the code above.
  4. Set the countdownSeconds to the number of seconds you want in the countdown.

That is it, the rest is just standard After Effects stuff.  This was a fun project to start with and I look forward to doing more with motion graphics.