This site was created with the hope of helping the ministry AV community by sharing info that is worthwhile and will help others. Along the way I’ll post what I’ve been up to at my home church, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale and anything else I think is cool.
Got a project or helpful information worth sharing? Reach me through the contact page, I would love to hear from you!
For Not So Silent Night this year we played around with using a projector as a light source. We took a 17,000 lumen projector, put it upstage center, and faced it towards the audience. With the room hazed out we were able to create some pretty sweet animations. Stuff you just can’t do with a normal moving light.
We used Qlab since it is a very reliable media player and the new version adds a lot of on the fly controls for manipulating content. It’s also controllable from a variety of ways, MIDI notes, keyboard shortcuts, MIDI Show Control, iPad app, lots of options. This made it easy to add into our Ableton show control rig.
We loaded up some content into Qlab and tried full color, complex stuff along with black and white, really simple stuff. We started to find that the simpler the better since we’re trying to discern images in mid-air using haze. The more negative space in the image, the easier it was to read.
Think of your moving lights. The gobos that give the most distinct beams are typically the least busy ones. The really busy gobos may look good on the ground or wall as a texture but probably don’t look as good in the air through haze generally speaking. Instead of individual beams you can end up with a frosted look.
Not that all colored content look bad, color bars through the air actually looked really cool, ha ha. I was really interested in beams for this show so white graphics with a black background seemed to work best. This gave us the most contrast possible for the beams to cut through.
White is also easy to color correct into other colors. Take away green and you’re left with magenta for example. Taking away a color from white to change the look is way easier than creating content in a specific color and then trying to get white instead.
After seeing what worked and what we liked I created some simple stuff in After Effects. Things rendered nice and fast since they were so simple. Creating everything ourselves also gave us full control over the look. Searching through stock content is sometimes more work than just creating stuff yourself if you know what you want.
Below is what we made. I’m pretty sure we didn’t use everything but we wanted lots of options. Feel free to rip them from YouTube and play around with a projector you may have lying around. You don’t need 17,000 lumens (but it helps, ha ha) you can try it out with a smaller projector just to see the effect.
I think that my favorite effect was the small dots falling. This created an awesome starry, twinkly, kinda look. We actually used it on a song where it was the only light in the whole room and it was great.
The moving line was probably my second favorite. Real laser like effect waving around. The OE logos came out nice too. Always cool when you can incorporate a little branding into the effects.
Just a short video showing one of the songs from Not So Silent Night. Between the kids jumping around and the lights going crazy it was a fun song!
In some parts you can see a little bit of the projector that we put upstage shooting towards the audience. This gave us some really cool motions kinda like a laser. It gets washed out at some points in the video but you’ll see it. Content was simply white motion graphics on a black background, really easy to make.
Well, it’s been a crazy week! Lots of long hours but the service went well and lots of people came forward to receive Jesus! I’ll post more details later but here are a couple of pictures from the night.
In looking at the pictures I went back to my rendering in Light Converse and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the render and reality were very similar. I added one render from Light Converse with a wide angle type view like the GoPro shots for comparison, pretty cool!
This year our big Christmas outreach is at the BB&T Center which is the home of the Florida Panthers NHL Team. With 17,500 seats we hope to have a full house to celebrate Jesus’ birth together! The arena is also a great outreach for those people that don’t want to go to a church but will go to an arena.
We had the last of our rehearsals on campus. Lots of prep work and planning out details. It takes a small army to make an event like this happen and go well!
Load in is tomorrow at 7am. The arena is covering the ice now and setting the stage up. Once again Special Event Services is helping us out with all lighting, projection, and audio for the event. I’ll post more info as things progress.
It’s that time of the year! 2013 is ending with a bang here at Calvary. Lots of big events leading up to Christmas!
One of these December events is Oceans Edge School of Worship’s Not So Silent Night. This is their annual Christmas concert and it’s the first big concert of the school year. It’s the students time to apply what they have learned so far and push themselves.
For us on staff it’s a chance to try and do some new and cool things on the tech side. We pretty much get free reign with all the toys we have at our disposal, ha ha. This year I got to try something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time, using a projector as a moving light.
We happened to have a spare projector that’s pretty bright, 17,000 lumens! We positioned this upstage and shot it forward over the stage and over most of the audience. With lots of haze in the air the results were some pretty awesome beams that were very laser like if we wanted that effect.
Since it was a projector (and not a gobo in a light) we could put out any content we wanted. Anything white on a black background looked like nice sharp beams cutting through the air. The results were really cool and couldn’t be done with a moving light or even a laser. It also allowed us to project words that were actually readable in the air which was really cool.
The projector provided some very high tech kinda looks. To contrast that we used a lot more conventionals than we normally do. We had a flown row and a ground based row of pars which we used as audience blinders. We also had 10 lekos with gobos spread throughout the room to put out some nice, warm, beams.
Between the usual intelligents we have, the projector, and all the additional conventional lights we had lots of options. I like to try and create variety to keep things from getting repetitive. Even if something is only used on one song I think it’s worth the effort.
We also had fun with other effects. Lots of haze (of course), plus low lying fog from a pair of Martin Glaciators, and confetti cannons. Our rigging system had a lot of cues, bringing lights up and down for different looks. Plus some different flown backdrop elements that the students created which flew in and out.
Another cool element was some “screens” made out of recycled pallet wood. This gave a stylized look to all of the projections. Not everything looked great on it with the texture but once we found the right content it was a cool look. We purposely left some gaps between the panels so that a light could be put behind the screens and shine through. this create beams through the cracks and gave us more options.
Once again we made Ableton Live our master control for all click, loop, ProPresenter lyrics, lighting, and projection. One machine ran Ableton, another ran the two side screens with ProPresenter, a third computer ran Qlab for the stage projection that faced the audience, lastly out ETC Ion controlled lights.
A combination of MIDI notes and MIDI show control was used for all of these commands. Some devices were hardwired and some were sent commands over our WiFi network using Apple’s built in MIDI over Ethernet. An iPad with Qlab’s remote app was our backup control for the projector on stage. Everything worked great!
This seems like a lot of extra work but in the end it’s actually less work. Start one machine and several follow in perfect harmony. It also let us hit cues that just aren’t practical when everything is human controlled. We had lots of hits on specific notes that were hit perfectly every time with this system.
We had two sold out nights in our theatre and it was a lot of work but a lot of fun. Now it’s time to get ready for our main Christmas outreach service in the BB&T center! Load in starts tomorrow, I’ll be sure and post some info on that as well!
Check out Oceans Edge’s Instagram for some more pictures. I’ll post some more pictures and videos as soon as I can.
My roll has changed a little at Calvary Chapel and I’m busier now than I’ve ever been. Part of that busyness is my fault. I try to hang onto things too much. Part of the reason is that I know I can do a good job with whatever project it is.
I think that my challenge, and maybe yours too as someone involved with any leadership, is to let things go. My problem is that I don’t let go soon enough. I wait until I have to let go because I’m just at my limit.
This is tough for me, maybe it’s a pride issue, mostly I think it’s that I love tech and I enjoy my work. Letting something go is letting something fun go. I need to let it sink in that I’m giving someone else the chance to do something fun and take ownership. I’m slowly getting there.
I bring this up as a word of caution. Don’t let ministry burn you out, especially this time of the year. My goal that I’m working towards is to hands things off and create some margin in my weekly schedule. So when things break or projects pop up I have that margin in my schedule to take those things on.
I also want to get back into the creative side of tech. Lately I think that I have gotten bogged down with the nuts and bolts side of researching and installing tech. That’s still fun to me, but that’s not what I’m passionate about.
Especially this time of the year take that time to get refreshed and rest. If you work in ministry like I do that can be tough. I’ve found that you just have to be intensional and get away. Find rest and get your mind off of the things that need to be done at least for one day. Play video games, work out, ride a bike, sleep in, ha ha, something!
With Christmas coming up that’s hard to do I know. I’m getting ready for an arena Christmas service the week before Christmas. Planning audio, staging, lighting, and projection for (hopefully) 17,000+ people to attend. Then normal weekend services followed by 5 Christmas Eve services at our main campus. Plus a New Year’s Eve concert and back to normal services. Things are busy, ha ha.
My challenge, maybe your’s too, is to let some things go and let others step up. Do so in steps, you didn’t get to your position all at once and neither will anyone else. As I have started to let things go I’ve been pleasantly surprised by people and I think you will be too.
In the end I’ll gain that margine that I need so I can step up. At the same time others will too and more people will be able to take ownership. That’s my goal for the next few months. At some point I’ll follow up and let you know how it’s going!
I meant to post this sooner but it slipped my mind. Things are busy! I just wanted to follow up on the Echo Conference I went to a little while back.
Overall I think that Echo was a very well organized conference. Honestly I went out there without setting the bar too high in my mind. Figured then I couldn’t be dissapointed, ha ha. At the very least I’d get to go on a trip and see someplace new!
First of all, Watermark Community Church is an awesome place with an awesome staff. They were a great host to this event and their facilities are amazing. I wouldn’t have any hesitation visiting them again.
Echo turned out to be a great conference. While it focused on the tech and creative side of church production there was still enough variety in the main sessions and breakouts to not get monotonous. I went with a friend of mine and we split up between different breakouts and we were able to find unique and interesting things each time.
All that to say if you’re on the tech or creative side of the church and you’re looking for a little creative boost, extra knowledge, or just some networking then check out Echo. Not that my word has any authority, ha ha. But if you search around I’d be willing to bet that the overall response to Echo is positive and that’s it’s a worthwhile conference.
Following our first trip to Club Revolution for our Eikon Downtown event we decided it was time to go back. This time we added some more lighting in the form of 8 Clay Paky Sharpys. We also had 3, 12,000 lumen, projectors as our backdrop again.
While I’ve been a fan of the Sharpys for a while now, they’re in shows all over the place, I hadn’t used them yet. They are awesome! Ha ha. Any time a light comes with a warning about setting things on fire from 12 meters away you know you have something special!
We rented 8 of the Sharpys and set them up in 2 groups of 4 lights stage left and right. This let us make some cool random looks as well as some nice symmetrical looks. With our Haze Base hazer pumping nice haze into the room we got some amazing beams and effects from the lights.
Projectors were fed with ProPresenter and a Matrox Triple Head 2 Go. While this did work fairly well we did have some playback issues with ProPresenter when trying to change speeds of clips. Even on a newer MacBook Pro with an SSD. Next time we may try something different like Qlab or Resolume Arena.
Technology aside it’s a really cool event. We saw over 800 people show up and over 50 people dedicate their lives to Christ. That kind of response is what it’s all about. Hopefully people had fun, learned, were challenged, and left one step closer to Jesus.
Next time out we’ll probably add on a little more to what we did this time. The Sharpys looked great, we may go with 8 on the ground again and add 8 in the air. 16 total would be pretty amazing!
If you have Instagram you can search #EikonDowntown and find a lot of cool shots and short videos from the night. You can also check out my personal Instagram account for more pictures and videos.
While playing with the Sharpys we aimed them at a mirror ball in the venue. We got some cool results!
This year we headed back out to Marco Island for another Married Couples’ Retreat. Over 400 couples converged on the resort for a time of teaching and worship. I headed out to oversee all of the AV for the event.
Overall it was a pretty simple event. That said we needed audio to cover 800+ people worth of seating. We had some environmental projection and standard IMAG projection to help provide the “look”. Between all that and switching between live video and PowerPoint / ProPresenter we stayed pretty busy, ha ha.
The event went well and everyone was happy. Next time we’re looking at making the event even bigger. Hopefully that will mean some more gear such as lighting and a larger scale projection system!
Here’s my second video tutorial for Light Converse. This time I walk through configuring the fixtures in Light Converse to talk to a lighting console. Once you have this step done you’re ready to start programming cues in your lighting console!