Tag Archives: Tech

Game-Changer

20110416-212539.jpg

Well its been more than 3 weeks since I got back to a very busy season at Grace. I got to attend the “Gurus of Tech” technical arts conference in Chicago, as well as spend a couple of days with the team at Lakepointe Church in Dallas, and a few more days at Willowcreek, South Barrington.

Many people have asked how the trip was, and its really hard to quantify the experience into a sentence – other than to say it was game-changing.

To sit in a room with 500 other church technical artists, and to learn from them, to hear about their struggles, and to bask in the presence of like-minded people was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

To see the excellence, the intentionality, and the dedication these churches put into their work is inspiring. It turns the “anything-will-do” attitude on its head, and really forces you to go back and grapple with the ‘why we do” questions.

I have started and restarted this specific post for weeks, trying to summuries what I learned, and I’ve realized that it’s not going to happen in a paragraph. So I’m going to crack-on and keep the posts coming, hopefully ill get to expand on one facet at a time, and share what I learned in a way that you guys will find useful!

Have any of you visited a church recently that challenged you to think about how church could be done better?
I’d love to hear about it!


Awesome resources part 3…

www.goingto11.com – Dave Stagl’s blog. FOH guy at Northpoint. You can learn tons from this blog whether you’ve been working in audio for 10 mins or 10 years!

www.creationswap.com – formally creative cmyk. Lots of free and paid Christian design material. Often the first stop for our DTP people.

www.churchmarketingsucks.com – Sad but true. Check out the site to see what you can do about it!

www.productionmusings.com – Stunning stage design and audio blog. Only just getting into it. Thanks to Grant Leonard for the link!


Awesome resources part 2…

www.stufficanuse.com – the creative guys at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville make a bunch of their beautiful bumpers/video loops/photoshop graphics available for free download.

www.sermonspice.com – a huge resource for creative video. Be prepared to spend some money here.

www.alreadybeenchewed.net – graphic design blog. Inspiring. Beautiful. So good it’s depressing!

www.willowproduction.org – the willowcreek production blog. Another church who are honoring God and inspiring people though excellence in technical/performing arts. Take a look – you’ll see what I mean. (also check out their youtube channel)

www.churchmediadesign.tv – a ton of resource mostly around graphic design, motion graphics, video and 3d animation. Freebies include brilliant video loops.


No church tech guy is an island…

In many ways one of the most defining elements of last year was realizing that I’m not alone as a church technical director. I discovered I’m part of an international community of tech guys who are facing the same challenges I am week after week.

They understand the exhausting and often thankless work, the huge expectations, tight (or non-existent) budgets, and the imminence of yet another Sunday service. They understand RTA, SDI, SPL, DMX, PFL, ADC and DVI – and they want to talk about it! There are church tech guys with invaluable advice, who have just finished dealing with technical challenges we are just about to confront at Grace Family Church. At the same time, there are churches who are just starting projects that we have finished, and could benefit from hearing about where we succeeded, and where we went wrong.

I can’t overstate the fundamental way this realization changed the way I look at the work I’m called to. It opened me to more collaborative thinking, and the benefit in the sharing of creative and technical resources, from audio and lighting to stage set/scenic and graphic design. There are people who can help you where you’re at – and there are people who desperately need your help.

I am convinced that together, not only we can be more effective in our individual ministries, but we can further the cause of the big ‘C’ church.

I have included some of the most useful resources I’ve come across, (I’ll put up a few more everyday this week) and if they are even half as useful to you as they were to me, it’s well worth the time of checking them out! I have to give a special thanks to the ChurchTechTalk guys, who, in my opinion really embody the idea of reaching out to engage church tech guys around them.

www.churchtechtalk.com – a team of great guys who podcast weekly around church tech and whatever else pops into their minds. They give away tons of free media and a ‘creative kick in the pants.’

www.npccproduction.org – awesome blog run by the production team at North Point. So encouraging seeing guys pushing the tech boundaries for the glory of God.  So much info to be gleaned from their experiences/systems.

www.churchstagedesignideas.com – churches from all over the world send their set design ideas/photos/plans in to share on this site. Almost limitless inspiration here.

www.churchcrunch.com – no matter what field of tech/creative arts you’re into, there is something here that will blow your hair back.

http://open.lifechurch.tv/ – amazing resource from an amazing church who make their video/graphic/creative elements available for free download.

If you have any of your own to add, comment, or drop me a mail – I’d love to hear from you!


Always better on the big screen

We just recently came through a season of reassessing our video projection system at Grace. Well the truth is – our old projectors had come to the end of their (somewhat miserable) lives and needed replacing. We probably wouldn’t have messed with them if we didn’t have to!

They were used to rear-project from small backstage rooms. To my great surprise – we discovered that try as we might we could not find a replacement projector that would fill the screen from the projection distance dictated by our room size – even if we bought from the same manufacturer! There was always the option of non-standard lenses, but anyone who has dabbled in the field of data projectors can tell you the lens often costs almost as much as the projector itself, and often has a negative effect on the projector brightness. We decided to experiment with front projection (which of course also meant replacing our screens!), bump up the brightness, switch to 16:9 projection, and move to HD.

We soon discovered that not all lumens are create equal – 5000lumens on a panasonic projector was very different to 5000 lumens on a sony, sanyo, epson or NEC projector. The spec sheets weren’t very helpful in the real world, so we resorted to as many onsite demos as we could arrange. In addition – good service from the vendors became a critical factor in our decision. We had really shocking experiences with Partserve – the support guys for Epson, and we weren’t going to go down that road again.

Eventually we settled on NEC projectors through digital voice processing. The projectors looked brighter than the similarly priced counterparts and came with a great feature-set, letting us tweak almost everything, and with amazing wireless network integration. (My projectors now email me when they are unhappy – no kidding!). The install guys really went above and beyond, and helped us with loan units as our old projectors floundered.
We’ve been on this system for around 6 months now, and have for the most part had our expectations surpassed. Obviously I have a lot more to include around the pros and cons of front projection/16:9/HD – but I’d love to hear about your experiences with your projections systems – feel free to comment!
Lastly a big thanks to Steve and Brian at Digital Voice for their help.