Last week I had the opportunity to do audio recording for a short film. Recording field audio is a tough job and yesterday we were not having fun. We were shooting a scene where a man is leaving a conference room, going down stairs and out the building while talking to his wife on a cell phone. Well the location that was picked was very nice other then the incredibility loud AC system. Oh yea, it whistled and we didn’t have control to shut it off.
Due to the nature of the shots, a shotgun mic was out of the question so we used a lapel (Tram…Check them out, sounds great!). The actor was wearing a suit and We couldn’t find a hidden place where the mic didn’t rub on something. I continued to record with it, but Brandon came up with a great idea. Use the voice recorder on an iPhone to record the audio. The mic on the iPhone is not to bad and it would be in a great place to capture the audio. Just had to show the actor how to start and stop the recorder. I have not reviewed the audio we captured with the iPhone, but I figure we should use any tool you have to get the best audio you can.
We all know that stuff breaks at the most inopportune times. Currently, I’m flying solo in the production department and my favorite video switcher decides to go on the fritz. I don’t know if you guys are like me or not, but I just can’t leave well enough alone. Just not smart enough to follow the old “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” saying. I decide that this was a prime time to clean up the video racks, a project that has been on the list for a while. This turned out to be never ending project that ended up eating all of my week and most of my weekend. As of tonight, I’m very happy with the results.
Most of the work that was done had to do with cables routed on the outside of the rack. Yes you know what I’m talking about, the cables that get thrown in last minute with the intent of cleaning them up later. The Video booth just seems to attract these kind of cable runs. Most of the time I consider myself in the middle of the road on cable routing. Definitely not the most anal person that I have ever met, but I do like clean cabling. The cabling in these racks certainly made me understand how detrimental sloppy cabling could be. I think that a root canal might be more fun then debugging issues in these racks.
So it is beautiful now, right? Well not yet, but we made big headway and removed 99.9 of the poorly routed cable. We also removed about 50% of the cables inside the racks. Yes there is still much work to do inside, but we made it 100% easier to find issues in the racks. Next week I think that I’m going to tackle underneath the desk at the front of the booth. May the force be with us.
More pictures here
Last 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….
Wow!!! Today was video issues day. Our confidence monitor was not displaying the right content and was patched wrong. We found a really big short in the RGBHV cable that feeds the left and right side screens. This was causing the random blinks in the screens and finally the right screen just stopped displaying content. Last but for sure not least, the graphics coming from the CG machines are being washed out on the production switcher. None of this is going to be difficult to fix which is great, but it is strange how it all happens at once. For the past few weeks I have spent my limited tech time improving our system. Sometimes you have to step back and do some repairs before you can move on to the bigger and better things. It is good to have great volunteers that put up with me freaking out when something doesn’t work.