Archive for November, 2012


I have seen the stage light

Stage Lighting

Alright, I wanted to move away from the digital mixers and return to the topic of lighting. Specifically, stage lighting.

I recently started focusing the lighting rig at the church for the upcoming kid’s Christmas production. Of course, I was that one guy working up in the lift trying to be lighting assistant and light designer at the same time.

I used many of these tips to focusing stage lighting while I set each lamp. It’s a really helpful article. I learned much of the same stuff in Stage Lighting 101 at the university.

Advertisements

There are so many digital mixers on the market right now. So many, that I don’t know what all I need and/or will want as soon as I figure out everything that it does.

 

I discovered the Behringer X32 and a chart comparing it to some other digital mixers.

We have had good experiences with our other Behringer products. From FullCompass.com a Behringer X32 and a digital snake is under $4000. I was pretty excited by this. From my other post, I thought I might have to spend more than $25,000!

 

Behold, the mighty digital console!

The end of the year is fast approaching. The financial year of many churches will be turning over soon, and that means new budgets.

This is the time to start answering those questions, “What new equipment do we want?” and “What equipment will best suit our needs?”

I mentioned yesterday the possibility of our church buying a new digital audio console. As I was researching, I found some considerations when buying audio consoles. He has suggestions on what size of console to buy as well as an overview of the many options to ponder when buying a console.

Happy Cyber Monday! I hope everyone found some great deals online.

It seems to me that everything is going digital. And I don’t think it is just me. Small venues could only dream of a digital audio console a few years ago. Now, they are much closer (though still out of reach for some) to being a regular feature of not-so-mega churches and theaters.

I had a conversation with a fellow tech person this weekend as to what the next step should be for our sound system. Going digital was the main theme. My question was, how do we go digital?

The obvious answer is the digital audio console. And I was surprised to discover that going digital did not mean getting rid of all analog components. Instead, it meant we could move our analog equipment to a different area and use a digital board as a remote control for the system.

I can’t wait to find out about all this digital equipment.

So you have a DSLR and want to buy a new lens. Of course there are gobs of lenses out there. And a gob of manufactures that make gobs of lenses. Basically, a lot of choices.

The folks at Crisislab have experimented with the workhorse lens of the photographer (24-70mm f/2.8) and compared four brands side-by-side.

These lenses are not cheap, but they could really improve your shots. And if you are looking to upgrade your DSLR, a new lens is usually at the top of the list.

These guys do a great job of comparing the lenses not only for still photography, but also for video. Which is important because so many people are using DSLR to shoot HD video.

Spoiler: They don’t even pick the Canon or the Nikon. They choose the Tamron! The deciding factor was the Optical Stabilization on the Tamron. Spoiler 2: They destroy lenses with baseball bats!

Christmas lights inspiration!

This weekend is  right before Thanksgiving; which marks the official beginning of the Christmas season.

That means that this weekend is the weekend to get Christmas lights up in order to be ready for opening night on Friday.

 
 

Here’s some inspiration to help you get started on lights.


 
I absolutely love this video. Every time I watch it, I get a big stupid smile on my face because it is so awesome and inspiring. Someday my house will look like this. For now, my house only has 20 channels and a few thousand lights. But I’m slowly building up.

Now get outside and hang some lights!

Radio Shack amp used at camp

I am blessed to volunteer at a church with a fairly modern audio video system.We have no more jury-rigged contraptions, and the Radio Shack equipment is finally being phased out.

A couple years ago though, I worked at a camp out in Colorado. Its sound system was a stack of Radio Shack amplifiers with in-line faders, old 70’s PA speakers, and an early Shure wireless system that kinda worked. What a fun summer of troubleshooting and jury-rigging!

These tips for making the most of the outdated sound system sure would have come in handy out there at camp. I think it was a good experience for me to work with that old equipment (especially as a beginner). It gave me an appreciation for the new stuff and helped me to figure out how to troubleshoot problems. (I also realize how important those tips are.)

 

Many venues are preparing for the Christmas season. A lot of hard work goes into producing the various plays, concerts, and cantatas that are presented this time of year. Because of all this work, it it nice to have a video of the presentation. You and I, as the volunteer tech person, are generally placed in charge of this task. So why not make this year’s video a little cooler.

Instead of using one camera to record the show, get a hold of several cameras. Borrowing cameras from friends or people in your congregation is a great way to go. Another option is to purchase a couple mini HD cameras. They are fairly inexpensive, and take full HD video.

Now, during the production, it is unlikely that you will get to run around the stage getting close ups of your instrumentalist or the view from the choir loft. However, with the mini HD cameras, you can discreetly place them around the stage to get cool shots of the piano player’s hands or close up of the timpani or a the view looking into the crowd from behind the actors.

But how will you get the cameras to stay in place? With the clip lamp camera mount, of course!

In this video, The Frugal Filmmaker shows us how to make a cheap clip-on camera mount. It looks useful for clamping small cameras in areas where a cameraman would be distracting.
 

Have fun making an awesome multi-camera Christmas concert video!

  A technical director doesn’t just know everything about the equipment. No, it is much more than that. Learning the equipment is really the first step to being a great technical director. Technical directors should work on skills besides just the technical ones. The article calls the technical director a “technical artist.” I think that is a great term for that position. Yes, the director has to lead his team, but he also must craft the presentation aesthetically.  

It is so easy to become bored or apathetic to our practice. Turn up these mics, dim this light, here we go again. But we fail to realize that each event is a new chance to impact lives whether with the morals from our play or the message of the gospel. Of course, being a creative artist takes more work, but the rewards are worth it. Remember the reason why you volunteered in the first place.

Mini shotgun mics for a DSLR
Many venues are changing over from the shoulder-mounted video cameras and the hand-held cameras to the DSLR. They are relatively inexpensive, and they take wonderful video. They’re also versatile and can be mounted to any number of tripods, rigs, and jibs. However, they don’t record very good audio.

Maybe we can’t decide which one is our favorite, but we can integrate them together by using different types of mini shotgun mics. I would love the ability to attach a small but effective mic onto a DSLR or a hand-held camera, like my Canon HV30. These mini shotgun mics would allow me to record way better audio than the on-board mic.