Archive for March, 2009

More Lighting Links

Most of these are form Church Production Magazine.  It’s a *free* magazine and I would recommend it to our entire tech team.  Reading articles written by anfd for people in the church can make a big difference as they understand the balance churches have to find to be welcoming, worshipful, exciting, and on the cutting edge of technology.

Lighting for Worship

Basics for Lighting for Video

Mood & Color

Lighting and Production for HD Video



March 7, 2009 at 10:26 am Leave a comment

I can see clearly now

unique2Hazers.  Not fog machines or smoke machines.  OK, smoke machines might be acceptable since you can set off the fire alarms with the hazers.  Oh, yeah, it’s true!  I’ve done it three times now!  The first time, the fire trucks actually showed up… color me embarrassed.

The hazers use a water based fluid to create small particles in the air that are essentially chemically enhanced water vapor (essentially steam without the humidity).  These particles act like dust in front of a bright light… like dust in front of a projector, you can see the beam of light.  This enhances the moving lights by letting the audiences see the beams of light (see picture, below).  So, the beam actually becomes a part of your tool set as a lighting designer.  


We have two hazers positioned on either side of the stage.  So, I’ve patched the hazers to channels 201 thru 204.  Channels 201 and 203 are the “pumps” for the hazers… the actual amount of “haze” being created.  Channels 202 and 204 are the fans pushing the haze away from the units and dispersing the cloud.  I have the fans programmed to run at 25% when the light board is turned on, even when their channel level is at 0%.  This accomplishes two things: 1.) The fans run at a much higher speed than the pumps, creating a better dispersion for the haze, and 2.) the fans become white noise and the speed up to 100% is less noticeable if you happen to speed them up in a relatively quiet moment (very unlikely).

I have programmed a submaster (labeled Hazers) to run the pumps @45% and the fans at 100% while the sub is at 100%.  I also  programmed the bump button on the submaster to run that sub to fade up for 5 seconds, run at full for 5 seconds and then cut off autoimatically if bumped.  During the rehearsal last night, this seems to produce a good amount of initial haze without setting off the fire alarm too quickly.  To maintain the haze, simply run the sub at 50%.  This runs the fans at 50% on the board, but their actual speed is closer to 75% since they started at 25% actual speed.

Unless BK requests otherwise, we’ll likely turn off the hazers during the message.  So, we’ll likely bump the sub again post message and go back to running the sub @ 50% until the end of service.  Between services, we’ll likely turn off the hazers again.  Them, during the 5 minute countdown, bump them and return to 50% maintain to prepare the stage for opening song.  This will conserve hazer fluid (expensive) and also keep the haze from being a distraction in any sort of way during the message.

While the sub will be the main control for the hazers, the hazer channels can still be grabbed and set to a higher rate than 45%.  *At this time, I would like to highly recommend against this.*  It only takes a few seconds at 100% pump for the hazers to set off the fire alarm.

We are currently in the process of designing and implementing work arounds for the hazers/fire alarm predicament.  But you should know (audio folks should know this too), that if the fire alarm goes off, the sound system is shut off automatically.  This is a safety requirement so that people can hear the alarm going off.  Additionally, to reset the air duct sensor that is triggered by the haze, you must go up on the roof of the building, open a panel with a 5/16″ nut driver and push a button.  Then, the alarm can be reset at an alarm control panel inside the building, and the audio system powered back on.  So, setting it off on Sunday morning would suck on an epic scale.  We are also working out how to make it so that the alarm system can reset the duct sensors without going on the roof.


March 4, 2009 at 11:42 am 1 comment


I got an email last night from a friend who is hard at work getting everything ready for our Grand Opening Day. Their email reminded me that these days are not just full of hope & excitement, though they are certainly present. But there is also stress & frustration, confusion & long hours, along with lengthy lists of things to be found & problems to be solved. And we are coming down to the wire…things that we could put off til tomorrow can no longer be put off! The learning curve is steep and the clock is ticking…


As I read his email I was reminded of something I had read … the story of King David talking to Solomon about building the temple of God in Jerusalem. There’s a little verse tucked in there that I wanted to share with you; something that I think God wants to encourage you with today. “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.” (1 Chron. 28:20)

I know that my friend is only one of dozens of people volunteering long hours & sacrificing a lot for the sake of God and his church here. Thomas Merton once wrote, “The spiritual life is first of all a life. It is not merely something to be known and studied, it is to be lived.” I wanted to say that all of you who are working so hard, giving up your time & energy in service to God here are not just “working” or “volunteering”… you are living a spiritual life! Letting your faith not just be words, but also actions…because you are building God’s home; a place where His people, and those who may someday be His people, will come and learn to love and live out loud for Him.

So, be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, our God, is with you! He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the building of His Church is completed.

[written by Rachel Mulder]


March 3, 2009 at 10:08 am 1 comment

Everyone loves to give advice

And today’s your day – I’m looking for some. The M7 is currently set up to interface with the Aviom via direct outs except where a mix is actually required. For example, the kick and snare channels on the Aviom come off the M7 via direct outs, since there’s no mixing that needs to happen to create those Aviom channels. The BGV channel on the Aviom, however, comes off the M7 as an aux send (or a mix send, in Yamaha speak), since a blending of multiple singers is required to create that Aviom channel.

Sounds great and fine, but something we’ve learned is that the direct out comes off the console pre-on (meaning, pre-channel-on). This means we can’t just mute the electric channel when a guitarist plugs in and prevent the pop in the monitor wedges (i.e., we can only prevent the pop in the house). Or when vocalists enter from off stage and pick up their mics, those seated in the front row may get to hear the rumble in the wedges.

According to the M7 book, you can mute the direct out on a channel if you select the channel and use the centralogic screen. That works fine for muting the guitarist when he needs to plug in, but it doesn’t allow you to rapidly mute the direct outs of multiple channels. This creates a lot of work when Curtis and the vocalists are entering/leaving the stage. You have to mute both the direct out and the channel for each channel, and muting the direct outs can’t be tied to a mute group. You can also combine the muted channels and direct outs into a scene, but that’s hindered by the possibility of, say Marissa praying instead of Curtis after one song (i.e., the scene would have Marissa and the other vocalists muted – both channels and direct outs – and leave Curtis live, but in this case, you’d need Curtis muted and Marissa live). What we really need is a way to mute the Aviom sends post-on (aka post-mute) so that when you mute a channel in the house, you’re also muting its send to the Avioms.

According to the manual, the M7 lets you create aux sends (mix sends) post-on. It’s not clear on how you do it, and it doesn’t mention whether these mixes can be pre-fade, which is what we really want for monitor sends. But assuming we can, I’m thinking we should replace the direct outs for the acoustic, CM’s vocal, and the lead female vocal with mix sends. Assuming stage performers keep their instruments silent, we could leave their direct outs alone (the example of the guitarist plugging in, earlier, can be accommodated by selecting the channel and muting both the channel and the direct out on the centralogic screen).

Does this sound like it would work? Anyone have other ideas? If only we had unlimited money and every performer wore in-ears!


March 2, 2009 at 8:53 pm 3 comments

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