Wednesday, August 22, 2012

TBC Stage Design on CSDI

Check out TBC's latest set design at ChurchStageDesignIdeas.  Thanks to all the volunteers who made it happen! It seems like just yesterday that this set went up, but our next one is just around the corner! Make sure to check out the other great stage designs at ChurchStageDesignIdeas.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

5 Things I Want My Worship Pastor to Know.

A few months ago, my worship pastor and I had the privilege of speaking to a group of technical leaders at the Gurus of Tech conference in Chicago.  The title of our session was "Working Effectively with your Worship Pastor" and we shared just a little bit about how we've successfully structured our relationship in order to promote healthy interaction.  Unfortunately, the relationship between worship pastors and techs can be a strenuous one.   But with intentional relationship-building it can actually be one of the most effective collaborations in a church.  But in order to harness that potential, we need to work on understanding the other person.  Sounds simple, but its huge.

We organized our session into ten points:

5 Things Every Tech Director Wants Their Worship Pastor to Know

followed by

5 Things Every Worship Pastor Wants Their Tech Director to Know

See, its a two way street.  Effort is required on both sides.  Today we'll unpack the 5 topics from the Tech Directors side of things.

#1.  You can never share too much information when planning services.

This is important.  As technical artist, our job is to support whatever is happening on stage.  We amplify, clarify, and enhance.  In order to do that effectively we need to know what the goal is.  What is the mood, the message, impact?  Where are we going with this?  What is the next element and how do they tie together? What's the worship pastor's vision?  These details determine choices made in audio,  lighting, graphics, video, from what color palette to use to transition timings.  When the techs understand the end goal, effectiveness can increase exponentially.

#2.  I'm an artist too. Collaborate with me on more than just tech.

Some of you may be saying, "Yeah but I don't know anything about music."  Well guess what.  The congregation is filled with people just like you who don't "know" anything about music.  But they know what they like and they know what feels wrong to them.  They know what feels fluid and natural and they know what feels disjointed and incoherent.  The tech perspective is important.  The technical director is ideally positioned to be a part of the "art" conversation.  They are there every week, for every service, and also see the inner workings of the service.  What that conversation looks like will be different at every church, depending on your strengths, experiences, and (gasp) trust earned.  But more on that later.

#3.  The way you interact with me will be a model for the relationship between the music and tech volunteer teams.

Mutual respect and civility is imperative.  If you need to have a disagreement or discussion about something, do it when volunteers are not around.  Always present a unified front and demonstrate to volunteer musicians and techs that this is a team effort and everyone on the team is valued and respected. If the worship leader is berating or belittling or blaming with the tech director (or vice versa), that attitude will quickly spread.

#4.  I will do everything I can to serve you and your team.  That means that when I say "no",  its for a good reason.  

BUT, this is one that has to be earned.  As the technical director, its your job to support what the worship pastor is trying to accomplish.  That means finding solutions, thinking outside the box, getting creative, and getting it done!  If your first response is always no, then your no will never be respected.  You have to earn the right to say no.  If your worship pastor knows that you go out of your way, stay late, work overtime, and pretty much do whatever it takes to "make it happen", then he knows that when you say it can't be done or needs to be done a different way, you aren't just throwing in the towel.  At that point you've proven that you're a team player who is looking out for the best interests of the ministry.  Oh, and always bring a solution to the table...

#5.  Be up front with me about technical frustrations, needs, or dreams.  I want to help!

Since the goal is to serve, its important for me to know what the needs are.  If my worship pastor dreams of "X" stage configuration or "Y" hookup for his guitar, but he never tells me, I can't help him out.  Again, it seems simple but is often overlooked.  If an IEM mix is bad, I'd love to fix it!  But I have to know about it.  Don't just grin and bear it; that's not helpful to anyone.  Its important for the tech director to take the lead on this.  Go to your worship leader (and your band for that matter) and ask what you can do to improve their experience.  What else can you provide?  What can you change?  What would make their lives easier?  Sometimes its an easy fix and sometimes its something that has to be put in the budget for next year!  But the conversations must be had.

These are things that Bryan (my worship pastor) and I had to be intentional about from day 1.  And its always a work in progress.  But building that relationship and trust will open doors for your team to be more and more effective.

In my next post we'll look at 5 Things Every Worship Pastor Wants Their Tech Director to Know.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Video World: Before and After

It's been 4 months since we overhauled our video system at TBC and since then we've been firing on all cylinders!  Our volunteers have been rapidly gaining experience and confidence on the gear and the video all over our campus has never looked better.  I thought it would be fun to post some "before and after" photos of the video booth, as well as of our video capture quality. 

This is before - 

Here's the makeover in progress -

And here's what the finished product looks like -

Now for the results of this makeover...

This is footage from our old video system, taken in 2009.

This is footage shot in 2011 with the same old equipment as the first picture. However, with some improved techniques, we're able to end up with a better end product.

This is footage shot in the past month with our new gear.  Dramatic difference, right?