Team day

Today we made some time as a communications team to get out and have some fun.  We were also saying good by to Richard and John as well.  Even though it was hot it was good to hang out with good people.  

I want to say thanks to John for his service and wish him the best in Alabama.  I’m also pretty sure that he will really miss the Digico. 😉

Creating Successful Sundays – NASCAR Style Preparation

To the average viewer this last Sunday was a normal day. From a production standpoint we had a few errors. It is always my practice to review the issues on Monday and see what we can do in the future to prevent these types of issues. Sometimes these issues are hardware failures or operator mistakes that are going to happen and are hard to prevent. Sunday we had one of each. I really don’t loose any sleep over them. The ones that bother me are the ones that could have been prevented with some preparation. We also had a few of these this weekend.

Now some of them we could have not really foreseen, but hind sight is 20/20. Let me give you an example. A mic cue was missed. Being that I have mixed many services, I know that errors happen. Sometimes you get distracted with muting some channels and you forget the open up the next mic. Now being that I understand the error, I know that it can be helped by the producer reminding the audio team of what is coming up. This Sunday I was bothered when I reminded the audio team of the next mic cue and even let the engineer know what mic was being used. When the cue didn’t happen I was a little hot under the collar. After the service I debriefed with the Audio Engineer and found out that the cue was missed due the host using a mic that was on the praise team VCA that was muted. This is not the a normal mic we would use at that point in the service, and lead to the A1 missing the cue and taking a second to find the issue. Oddly enough this mic was used because we were out of 9V batteries. Such a simple thing can lead to preventable errors.

In my past, I raced cars and spent much time studying NASCAR crews and their processes. If you have ever walked through the pits during a race weekend you would see about 5 sheets of paper taped to the cars. Almost all of the teams have long checklists with everything that needs to be completed on the car before the race. I would bet that these lists started much shorter and have grown from experiences such as I had this weekend. I think that it is time to start a Sunday checklist that can be used in preparation during the week and on Sunday mornings. As we all know mistakes are made, we just need to make sure that we learn to prevent them the first time.

Line Arrays


Tonight I’m at a choir concert at Lamar Consolidated High School
Auditorium. Much to my suprise when I looked up, they have a line
arrary system. Two lines with seven cabinets hanging under a single
sub setup in a stereo configuration. Just seems like this is the only
speaker configuration that people what these days. I guess that I
will find out in a few if this was installed because of its function
or to be trendy.

UPDATE:  The choir concert was acoustic, didn’t even used the sound system so I guess I won’t know about the line array.

Speaker Repairs and Audio System Tune Up

Speaker RepairsThis week we are installing a couple of new DSP units in the worship center. BSS London Blue 80s are the new brains for our audio system. In the process of testing everything last night we found the the protection circuits are bad in three of our EAW MH-662iA speakers. This has been limiting some of the high frequencies from the main center cluster. Now we have to figure out how to fix them. So again I will be excited to hear what the system is going to sound like after we get this fixed and our system tuner James Young is done with the DSP upgrade and room tuning. Going to be a fun Sunday.

PERSONAL: Just a quick personal note, it was awesome to see Brittney (my daughter) worshiping on stage Sunday in the Edge service. It brought me great joy.

From Avo to Vista

AvolitesThis Sunday I will say goodbye to the first lighting console that I ever programmed on.  We have not had too much trouble with the Avolites Pearl console other then floppy drives going out.  So why make the change?  We have just made a switch in the way that we program.  When I started working with the lights it was very manual and not much programming.  Over the time that we have gone to the other extreme.  Today we program cue to cue for all three services.  Avo has a theater stack mode, but it is not the most user friendly to work with and I started looking for something different.  I spent much time reviewing products and got as many recommendations as I could.  All roads seemed to lead to one place, Jands Vista products.

Vista T2There is lots to love about the Vista product line.  You can start with a PC or Mac based solution with just 128 DMX channels or have a large console with 8 or more DMX universes.  We decided that it was a full range solution that we could standardize on campus wide. It also gives us the ability to make changes from our workstations.  We had a way to program the Avo on the computer, but it is very slow process.  Vista is almost as fast to program on your computer as it is on the console.

Vista S1So we bit the bullet and purchased a Vista T2 for the worship center and a Vista S1 for both the new gym and the LYF center.  Now our lighting operators should be comfortable in all the rooms with lighting on campus.  All should be in on Monday and ready to go for next Sunday.  Just remember, is it Jands Vista and not Microsoft Windows Vista.  Friends don’t let friends use Windows let alone Windows Vista.

Designing for Success

SignsI have been reminded over the past few weeks of why so much attention must be put into designing things and processes.  I don’t know where I heard it or who said it but it took me a while to understand the following statement “a properly designed road shouldn’t need traffic signs”.  If you drive, have you ever seen a sign that was only needed because the road was not designed right or because of it’s surroundings was forced to be built in a way that required some form of instruction?

Some years back when I was in high school and college, I had the opportunity to work in a millwork shop.  When we would build a cabinet door, we would usually install a door pull handle.  Many times the door was easily opened without the handle, but by adding it anyone opening the door nows how it will open and which side to pull on.  Same types of things applied to my IT positions.  Lots of coders and interface designers try to write software and design interfaces that don’t require a user manual.  Now as a producer that works with volunteers, I am constantly refining my processes and equipment to help the end user succeed.  Something as simple as the order of the channels on a sound console can make a big difference is the success of the audio engineer.

If you are the designer and the end user then you have a fairly easy task.  It never ceases to amaze me how something that I think makes perfect sense can be a challenge to some one else.  So what is the key to good designs and processes?  Observation and revision.  My Grandfather told me about serving in the Pacific in World War II and the developments in anti-aircraft shells.  A new shell was developed that could detect if an aircraft was in it proximity and it would explode.  This is great stuff and eliminated the need for altitude fuses.  The problem was if the shell didn’t find a plane it would not explode in the air and on its way down if a ship was in the area it would explode.  The designers didn’t think of this issue and only after observing it in action, did they decide to make a modification so that it would explode at a set altitude if no planes were detected in it’s proximity. 

Take the time to review your designs and processes in action with an open mind and make the necessary updates so that your users will succeed.



We had a great weekend with the new loaned and rented lights. Hereis what I learned:

1. Color fading light can have a great impact on worship.

2. I liked the operation and use of the Nexera lights, but wonder if they are bright enough for my uses. I think the next step I’d like to try out a SeaChanger.

3. Really liked using the color split LEDs. Again they were limited for what I was using them for. LEDs have lots of potential, but need a little more lumens for my liking. If we had netural colored walls they would be more effective.

We had lots of comments on the lighting and that means we need about 8 to 10 more color fading lights.

Checking out some new lights

NexeraThis afternoon I spent some time hanging lights we are trying out. I’m looking for some architectural lighting options as well as some added color changers. I’m somewhat new to lighting systems and design, and I have really enjoyed learning what I have so far. The one thing that I have learned the hard way is the value of color mixing fixtures. I spend much of my programming time building transition cues to compensate for lights that don’t color mix. The fixtures that I’m testing this weekend are the Wyborn Nexera and the Chroma-Q Color Split.Color Splt

So far I have basically got all of the fixtures patched and the Color Splits hung. I have only done some basic programming and have not fully tested the lights, but as of right now here are a few of my observations:

Wybron Nexera:

  • Bigger fixture than I thought
  • Fairly quiet
  • Uses a power supply and 4 pin scroller cable
  • Seems to mix colors well
  • Can’t seem to get a deep blue color as of yet

Chroma-Q Color Split:

  • PowerCon connectors and can be linked
  • 9 modes of operation, I’m using mode 8 which is dual mode with intensity and red, green, blue and amber.
  • Seem to have a very narrow beam. Would be very interested to see the option 20 and 30 degree accessories.

We will see how they work this weekend and I will post an update here.