Friday, June 29, 2007

The Buzz

I'm not the first and probably not the last to blog about Buzz 07. I got to meet a few of my favorite bloggers today at Buzz 07, to many to name actually. You can see who the main speakers were and take it from there. Now I'm NOT a morning person but I managed to get up and leave my house before 6am and make the trip into DC in order to go to the early morning Bloggers Breakfast session with Tony Morgan. He discussed the 10 reasons to stop blogging. I already knew I was mostly clueless about blogging and writting in general and Tony helped to reinforce that in me. I have much to learn.

Know your primary audience
Stay Positive
Don't make long posts (ug, I stink at this)

Much more of course but those stuck out to me.

Craig Groeschel just plain brought it today. This guy just rocked my world and I am pretty sure EVERYONE else in the room as well. Considering there were no slouches when it comes to leadership there that is saying something. My senior pastor Kent, our new associate pastor Rod and I were all there and came away feeling like he was talking right at us. God knew what we needed to hear and Craig said it. He wrote a book called "The Confessions of a Pastor" not long ago and here are some highlights as he continues those thoughts and I suspect you may see very similar lists from all those that attended. I must admit that this list just rings with me. The journey is life long as Kent told me today.

New confession: "I am a practical atheist." I believe God exists, but I live like I believe He doesn't (and I do ministry as though I believe He doesn't)

Practical atheism leads us to rely more on our own efforts than on God's power.

Practical atheism makes us believe that our private life won't affect our ministry.

It just takes 1 thing to take us out. What is the one thing that can take you out?

Use culture to hook people, but keep God's truth thru scripture as the most important thing.

Step into authentic confession. Confess to God for forgiveness, but confess to people for healing. (wow)

He finished up by say he is a recovering practical atheist. He is totally in love with Jesus, but recognizes that one slip can put him back off the wagon so to speak.

Thanks to Mark Batterson, who also spoke right to my heart, and all the amazing volunteers and staff and National Community Church for hosting such a great conference.

I may share some geek stuff about the 2 venues that were used as a part of the conference later.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wireless Issues

** Begin sound nerd speak **
Over the past couple of years the FCC has been selling off some of the more popular wireless mic/IEM frequencies. Despite significant efforts by several large manufacturers, Shure, AKG, etc., the FCC is taking ownership of the 698Mhz - 804Mhz band. As you know for many of the UHF wireless systems sold over the past 10 years fall into this area. There is a possibility that right now you could experience some interference, I know I have, and more importantly, as of Febuary 2009, it will be ILLEGAL to operate unlicensed wireless systems in that frequency range. What does all this really mean?

You will need to replace all your wireless systems that operate in that range. While you may not have interference problems, the legalities should cause you concern. It might end up being a nice chunk of change but start now putting aside money, go to the money person at your facility this week and make them aware of this issue and how it affects what you are doing and some idea of the cost to replace them.

I have spent the last 2 years preparing my leadership for the event since we have 8 channels of Shure UHF systems in our main worship center, the U4 series to be exact. Nearly all new system that have been purchased since I came here are outside the coming closed frequency range. Last year I purchased a dual receiver Shure UHF-R system to upgrade our main 2 worship leaders microphones, both with Beta 87 capsules. It was a major difference in sound quality and I knew I needed to change the rest of the systems as soon as I could both for the quality upgrade and to get everything out of the restricted range.

Recently I purchased 3 more dual receiver UHF-R systems with one beltpack for our pastor, 4 of the Beta 87s and one of the KSM9 mics. I am so impressed with the KSM9 I really wish I could have more of them. The sound is so warm and smooth, way more natural sounding than the Beta 87s, which as I mentioned were an big jump from the previous U4 systems with 87s. The KSM9 doesn't have the harsh 2.5K like the 87 does. Don't get me wrong I still like the 87s in general but the KSM9 is a significant step up. One that is well worth it for a main worship leader for sure. It also doesn't have as much of a proximity effect, which greatly reduces the amount of EQ and compression that are typicaly used. Can I justify changing a couple of the other capsules? Right now I doubt I can but perhaps in time I can get another one or 2.

** End Nerd Speak **
These systems are expensive, but considering that the message is the main thing, whether by song or spoken word, I consider it well worth the money. People in general may not know the details of why something sounds good but they do notice. Part of my job is to help create an environment where people can her what God has for them. It means the enviornment has to be free of distractions and something that is culturally normal for people. Technology that can help do that is vital to the mission of the church.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Am I Blue?

As promised a quick review for the new Blue Man Group show in Orlando. My wife and I attended opening night and had a great time. The show was very well done. The audio, which included a full rhythm section live as well as the BMG and all their toys was mixed top notch. Several parts of the show were in full surround sound and created a wonderfully wide sound scape. I was pleasantly surprised at the solid volume of the show. It was loud when it needed to be but never overwhelming. The mix was warm and smooth all the way around. I didn't notice one bit of harshness or boominess the entire night, even in some of the very rockin' parts. BMG continues to impress me with the wide variety of their performances. I have seen several shows on TV over the years and this show takes parts from many of the previous shows and adds in a few new elements that I have not seen before. This was to be expected since the audience for this show will be a little different than what might attend in Vegas or on their road tour. I'm sure they want to take the best elements and use them here. Video and lighting were very effective in carrying the show along. Never assaulting you, but enhancing the experience. Toward the end there was a major stobe light effect going over the whole room as the audience participates in the show. For some this could be the only place where the lighting may have been a bit much, but for most, myself included, it fit well with the environment. Bottom line, GO SEE BMG. Take a trip somewhere they are playing, catch them on tour, some how go see this show!
I totally love they way that BMG creates an interactive experience. The audience is part of the show. At times it may just be an individual they bring on stage to the all out finale' with the enitre audience involved. It makes me think about how a church experience could be enhanced. I'm glad we do encourage people to worship. I think people just need the freedom to know its ok and it makes God happy to see his people praising him. Hmmm.. more to this line of thought I'm sure.

(Begin geek speak)
Well, being the geek that I am and since this is supposed to be about production stuff I'll share what I discovered at BMG.

FOH was the good ole' (can you say that already?) Yamaha PM1D. All effects and processing were handled in the console.

Meet Roger. Roger is the house engineer for the show. He has been with BMG for 2 years and previously mixed the Toronto show. He gave me the skinny on the system. No outboard gear other than a couple of sound effect generators. There were 94 channels used for the show. The system was all d&b, including the new Q1 d&b line array. In the main array each side had 3 of the Q-subs on top of 6 of the Q1's all flown. There were some other smaller boxes for delay's toward the back. I couldn't tell which series they were from. I've been a big fan of the d&b stuff for a long time now, this show just reinforced my already preceived quality with their products. As I mentioned above the sound was outstanding. The warmth and intelligibility of the system was impressive. The bottom end (and its all about the low end, more on that another time) was solid and never overwhelming, but LOUD, the way we all like it. I want some of these boxes! All the system processors were Lake (drool) and the system was tuned as well as if not better than any system I have heard anywhere. I just can't say enough good things about production quality of this show. I would love to know who the system designer was for it. If anyone knows please tell me.
I guess the only blue I am is blue with envy. :)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I'll Fly Away

My wife and I are off to Florida for a few days of rest. I plan to mostly sit by the pool, read, listen to music and enjoy the day, as does my wife. We do have tickets to see Blue Man Group and I am going to do my very best to meet some of the tech crew and perhaps get some more info on the show and perhaps some pictures. Hopefully I can fill you all in on the details. A show review for sure.

I have thought about trying to get over to Northland Church while I'm there but I think I will wait as this is a rest and recharge vacation for us. My wife is in grad school in addition to an overly stressful job as a social worker. I don't want to add to much stuff to this trip. Perhaps another time I'll schedule a trip up to Northland.