Monday, October 7, 2013

How to Develop A Great Cue List (For the Church Without Movers)

Photo Credit: Facebook (Mike Fowler)
This weekend I had a great opportunity to go home and do lighting for my home church. First of all, let me start by saying it felt FANTASTIC not just being with them at Allison Park Church, but I got to be my family a lot as well. It was a great weekend and I can't wait to see everyone again in a few weeks!

Now on to the craziness of this past weekend. The church that I attend here/work with production on at Kent State has a pretty basic lighting set up. 4 Par Cans with Gels and 4 Parnell's for preaching lights...all on an 8 channel light board and 2 4 channel dimmer packs. Now at Allison Park, we're talking a mix of fresnels and ellipsoidals on a ton of dimmer channels and 16 LED Par Cans, 8 LED Bricks and 4 LED strips (I can go into details on the exact fixtures in later posts) all controlled on a fancy lighting console (Leprecon we don't have a Grand MA 2 Console...that's my dream console...but that's another story). In the past, lighting cues at APC have been mainly just changing colors on the back wall with the LED's. As I looked at planning center to see what the service flow would be like for the weekend, I noticed that the first song ALONE had 11 cues with in it (for the song Nothing Is Impossible). All together, the entire weekend had 60 lighting cues for worship, MC moments, Baby Dedications, message, and response time. For a church like Allison Park, the name of the game is discrete; meaning make lighting cues noticeable but not drastic. Here are some tips to add some "movement" to your lighting in your next church service:

  • Spot Light Specific People: If your patch on your lighting console is set to a 1:1 setting (meaning every 1 dimmer has 1 channel on the board), you're in a prime spot for this set up. If there's a guitar solo or a soft moment with one person singing, just spot light them or make all the other lights have a lower intensity than that one spot. Solo spots are great for these kind of moments as well. For example (and I apologize that I don't have any video from this weekend): We did the song At Your Name. Kate -- one of our OUTSTANDING worship leaders at APC -- led that song from the keyboards on top of a riser. When we re-did our lighting rig before I left for Kent, we added a solo spot light on that spot for that specific purpose. When she went to sing the first first verse, all the lights went down all the way to 0% except for that one light. It looked amazing!
  • Mess With Transition Timing:  Fade in and fading out at the same speed gets boring after awhile. Try messing with the timing a little. Generally we keep our timings to 1.5 second-2 seconds. But there are cases that just cutting to the next cue looks insane.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Part 2 of Last Post

Photo Credit:
In my last post, I show cased the title track music video to APC's Live Recording album called "Undying Love". This was a great project, and the videos that we got from this night were incredible. With the mix of video and pictures we got from that night, there may have been some "details" that drew your attention. What cameras were used? What kind of stage lights were used on stage and off? What was the audio track that you used? Let me answer those in hopefully the best way that I can.
  1. CAMERAS: We had a huge mix of cameras that were used for the entire night. There was a combination of Canon EOS T3i's, T4i's, 5D Mark II's, 7D's, and as well as a Sony HDR-FX1000 (which was one of our church production cameras). From there they were strategically placed along the back wall of our sanctuary, on tri-pods in the tech booth, as well as close in with the crowd. You maybe thinking too, what about the close up on stage shots? Those were captured the night before during a dress-rehearsal so that no one would have to go on stage and be seen during the actual event. For the most part, the camera men were only using 18-55mm lenses, but some of them did carry the ever so popular 70-300mm lens.
  2. LIGHTING: For video shoots like this, you would expect to have just fancy photography lighting. WRONG! Everything lighting was either pre-installed and belonged to APC, OR was special effect lighting that was rented for that night. For stage conventional lights, we had a mix of parnells and Fresnel's up in the air. The blinders we had to get a little creative with. Since we didn't really have budget money to rent actually "concert blinders", we just used 12 Par cans on dimmer packs. The dimmers we used were Elation Pro-Bar 4's (which are now discontinued from Elation).  In the air, we had hung 2 Chauvet Q-Spot 575's to use as spot lights. On stage we had 2 more Q-Spots and as well as 2 Martin Mac 300's.
  3. AUDIO TRACK: Everything was pre-recorded (or tracked) for this album. Once we got that track together, we spliced it with the recordings we have from the live night, and BOOM! You have your audio track. Once the video was put together, they lined up the audio with the video, do come color/audio corrections, and BOOM! You have a music video. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Video Production Meets the Worship Stage

Quickly before I go to class this morning, just wanted to post about how even cool looking music videos you see on MTV or other stations can look awesome for worship concerts as well. Here's one of the music videos from my church's live recording last May. This is the title track to the song called "Undying Love". I'll go a little more in-depth about it in my next post.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Transitions...both in ProPresenter and In Life

To get the sappy part out of the way first, this past week I had to say goodbye to the staff I have been serving with at APC for the past 2 years. It has honestly been the best experience I could ever have asked for in my high school career. Both from working with Pastor Gregg and Micah with the youth ministry at APC to Pastor Jeff and the rest of the APC staff for every weekend service, and especially Pastor Tim and Kristi with the Deer Lakes Campus and everything going on there. But I knew the day would come that I would have to say peace out and move on with my life. I miss every single one of you from Pastors, Staff Members, and everyone that's ever attended that church, I miss you. I can't wait to see you all in a little bit, but this was a much needed transition.

AND SPEAKING OF TRANSITIONS!!!! That's what I want to post about today.

Ever since ProPresenter 5 was released, I got the chance to download the demo and check out some of the new features that are in it. Overall, I'm extremely impressed with it. I even love the new transitions that they have included with it (SEGWAY TO WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT BEFORE!!!!!) Generally I like to keep it to just a crossfade when it comes to going in between worship slides, PowerPoint slides, and just slides in general. But if we're talking about Pre-Service loops, I think to make them "pop out" a little more, special effects may be your best friend. So when you're planning for stuff in your worship service this week, I challenge you to play with transitions. If it looks cool and not distracting, give it a shot!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Creepiest Video I've Ever Made

Over the summer, I got a chance to make some very...interesting videos for 2Twenty. During our summer camp, students started playing a game where if you got neck snapped (not for real of course), you were stunned and had to lay down on the ground for 60 seconds. One night after a great service of seeking after God, we thought, lets make a parody of it for the next evening service. It ended up being the creepiest video I got to film, co-direct, and edit. Take a look at it below.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

When You Self Teach Yourself Adobe After Effects

I've been self teaching my self Adobe After Effects, which I consider one of the most advance video editors known to date. I've made a few videos for 2Twenty with the software all from scratch and they've all turned out great! Take a look and feel free to comment with suggestions and...well...encouragement :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

To the Detailed Tech Director...I Commend You

I must take a minute and commend the tech directors out there that are the most detailed tech directors when it comes to timing. Brendon Robinson, who has been taking some of my producing responsibilites at APC with my transition to college, has gone crazy when it comes to the timings for everything in the service...and by everything, I mean EVERYTHING!!! And it's not just for songs. It's for: welcome slides sermon notes, videos, and so on.

I would honestly admit that I would not have time to do half of the things he's done inside Planning Center to make our weekend services timely every week. But he has really changed my perspective on how to time out my services both now at APC and 2Twenty, but in the future as I go into the ministry.

So to the other directors that are the same way, kudos to you! To the directors that are very loose, I highly recommend that you go this way.

And by very time oriented, here's a peak from our live recording last year.