Category Archives: Technology
Time :: You Don’t Have Enough of It
It takes way more time to do an install than you think. Just the engineering and purchase of the system will take a major amount of hours, days or even weeks.
And then you still have to do the install. And should I remind you that you have weekends to worry about. Yep, Sunday comes around every 7 days wether you want it to or not.
Don’t kill your staff over a few dollars!
Smarts :: You Don’t Have Enough of that Either
OK. I’m not saying your stupid, but your not a professional in integrating systems. There’s a reason you and your team do what they do.
There’s also a reason why the professional integrator does what they do. There’s a reason why they have customers. And there’s a reason why they are still in business. They know what they are doing.
They know things you don’t know. And one of those things you don’t know my kill you or one in your church community. And there’s codes to follow. And you probably don’t know those either.
Money :: You Don’t Have Any to Waste
Am I right? I mentioned in Monday’s blog article that I understand all of our problems of short budgets. So, it’s true. You don’t have time to waste.
A good integrator will save you money. They will install what you need. And if they are really good. They will only install what you need and will advise you to stay away from stuff you don’t need. And I guarantee that this list is long and you don’t even know it.
A good integrator will also make sure the system is installed correctly and works efficiently and for a long time. This will also save you money.
Longevity :: You Don’t Want to Replace It Soon
The worst thing you could do is install a system that isn’t going to last. Or a system you are going to grow out of.
If money really is a problem — an it is for most of us — you want to make sure the right system is installed. One that will last a while. A long while.
I don’t to be that guy who has to go back to leadership in a few years and ask for more money to redo a project I just fought for. That’s not a good thing at all. Especially for a happy future with that leadership.
CYA :: Your Team Doesn’t Need the Blame
OK. Remember all the above reasons. If you allow your team to install for any of these reasons, then shut up if it doesn’t work. And don’t get mad if there are problems.
My team does small projects, but not the large projects without major input from professionals.
I know. You can’t afford to hire an AVL Integrator. Yes you can. Be patient with what you need. Take it slow and get what you need.
It will be the best choice for now and the future. Trust me!
Recently I visited a church and got the tour of their worship center. During the tour I was told about major lighting work that needed to be done. I was pleased that the leadership of the church understood the need and wanted to do something about it.
But then, I was told on how they were going to get the major lighting upgrade accomplished. Cheaply. In house. And yes without the help of a lighting professional.
Not a good decision.
Let me be clear. This is a big lighting renovation he described to me. Not just a few new lights. New everything. Even a ton of electrical work. New dimmers. DMX addition. Theatrical & architectural lighting integration. A big job!
I see and hear about scenarios just like this from churches often. And I get it. Budgets are tight and if part of the monies have to go to the professional designer and installer? Yep. That’s usually the conversation.
At Sun Valley, we find ourselves right in the middle of a major conversation about audio upgrades at our Tempe campus. And it’s a major and complete redo of the audio system. Every aspect of the audio system needs to be replaced.
Could we do this renovation alone — in house? Yes, my guys could. Absolutely, but in my years of experience this is stupid.
And do we have budget constraints? You bet we do. But that just means It’s gonna take us just a bit longer to get the RIGHT system installed — completely. So we are going to have to be patient. Because a bad system now won’t help us.
On Wednesday I’ll talk about what our plan will probably end up looking like. And I’ll also describe why I’ll absolutely use an AVL integrator even when funds are tight.
See you Wednesday.
But to win an Emmy. That little statue means something. It means your the best. It means you’ve done the hard work. It means your innovative, cutting edge. A craftsman. A leader in your trade.
These are the people I’d like to learn from, but I’ll probably never really get to meet these people face to face. And frankly I don’t have to. I don’t have to meet them in order to learn from them. Their craft is what I want to observe.
I want to learn from their expertise and an easy way to do this is to watch the shows that they have made famous. Shows that have made them famous. Shows that are good, well, because the artists hired were the best.
Lighting is a great illustration of this and probably one of the easiest and quickest to learn from and apply. As I stated in Monday’s blog, many, if not all of these shows have budgets and technology far beyond our comprehension. But it doesn’t keep us from learning from them. This shouldn’t keep us from gleaning some idea practical enough for our meager budgets and resources.
Be open. Look at all they do. Break it down into small parts. But also look at the big picture too. You’ll find something worthy of putting into your pocket.
Below are the Emmy nominees and winners in lighting in 2012. I have watched many of these shows on occasion. I picked up lots of ideas. My wife and I watch “So You Think You Can Dance.” I think that this is one of the best shows when it comes to their lighting. And the Emmy folks thought so too. They won an Emmy in 2012. Well deserving!
Check out this list and try to learn from these during their 2013 season:
Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction For A Variety Series
WINNER: “So You Think You Can Dance” – FOX
“American Idol” – FOX
“Dancing With The Stars” – ABC
“Saturday Night Live” – NBC
“The Voice” – NBC
Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction For A Variety Special
WINNER: “The 54th Annual Grammy Awards” – CBS
“84th Annual Academy Awards” – ABC
“Andrea Bocelli Live In Central Park (Great Performances)” – PBS
“Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show Starring Madonna” – NBC
“Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2011″ – CBS
If you’re like me you probably like viewing other church’s worship services online. So we pick through Vimeo and church websites looking for the latest sermon series video. We get tweets from our friends about the latest “new thing” a progressive church is attempting.
And of course we hear about the early adopters and their ideas on creative blog sites.
We want to see their sets, their lighting schemes, musical selections — you name it. We’re always looking and learning.
And I say, “Good for you. That’s commendable. And frankly–smart.”
Duh. The television. Billions and billions of dollars are spent on shows. There is almost a million channels now available to us. Shows directed by seasoned professionals; people in the business for decades with budgets and technology available to them at levels that we can’t even fathom.
And there’s the other side of the gamut: shows directed by … well … first time directors. Shows put on by college kids and amateurs. And let’s not forget Public TV. Now we’ve run the gamut. Completely.
I don’t watch a great deal of TV but when I do, I’m always finding ideas and seeing things that get me thinking about new ideas.
So what are you watching?
See you Wednesday, I’ll give you some very practical ideas of which shows you could learn from.
It’s an old adage that I know you’ve experienced. It’s really true, isn’t it.
I just experienced this as of late when we were going back and discussing the way we could “remodel” the Tempe campus worship center. This is a truly great facility that seats 1200+. It is somewhat dated though, both in technology and interior design.
The creative team of Sun Valley got the opportunity to do minor updates to the facility about 4 months ago. But only in technology. At that time we came up with some good ideas about what a phase 2 remodel would look like.
A couple weeks ago, we were revisiting the subject. This time — genius. We talked about it. Put the idea away. And then tried again. And POW!!
Try, try again! You never know what great ideas the later attempts will give you.
Without a doubt they are. The right A/V/L consultant is worth their weight in gold. Let me give you some of my thoughts.
Choose the Right Consultant
- Don’t hire a firm that is known for the gear they sell. Don’t hire them because they sell the name brands you prefer.
- Don’t hire someone who has a great resume and wants to transfer what they’ve done at other churches onto your church. Round pegs don’t fit into square holes.
- Choose a firm that will make your church’s vision better, brighter, more clear.
- Choose a consultant that will make your church’s message the best it can be. Not change it. Not tweak it. Choose a team that will make the message more clear to those who attend.
The Right Consultant will:
- Build the right system
- Provide the correct components
- Install accurately
- Service quickly
- Correct completely when mistakes are made
- Better represent your needs to vendors
I could go on and on talking about this subject. I really do believe a significant investment in technology requires a competent A/V/L contractor. Moving forward without them is — Stupid! Bottom line.
I have had three very direct discussions with church creative leaders over the past two weeks. The dialogue initially was about the upgrades we had done to our facilities at our three Sun Valley campuses. If you have been reading my blog, you know that they were significant upgrades. We adopted the virtual teaching model for two of our services and actually made this technology available for all three of our campuses.
So the conversation started there, but quickly moved from a discussion about what we were doing to what they were getting ready to dive into. Everyone of the church leaders began to layout their plans for new technology and the new methods and principles they were wanting to adopt. In every instance, a major shift in the use of technology. Let me clarify, all of the churches were making significant investments and taking real risk in their endeavors.
With that said, I thought I’d ask the next logical question: What A/V/L consultant have you engaged in this process?
All of them — every one — answered the question the same. In different words they all said that they were going to engineer the systems needed and purchase the components on their own. Really?
I pushed back. Strongly. I’ve been through this process on a multi-million dollar scale. I feel that I understand the process and frankly would never rely on myself or my team for such a significant endeavor.
Wednesday I will tell you why I feel so strongly.
What’s new? A couple of weeks ago we tried using the video playback for announcements. It was a week that Chad (our lead communicator) wasn’t speaking so we made him the “video host” of the service. We recorded the announcements and played them back in all the services — on all the campuses.
One of the reasons we did this was to share the “playback experience” with everyone. Remember we only playback at 10:30 at our Gilbert campus and always at our Casa Grande campus.
Again, it was well received and we “fooled” them again. Many didn’t even realize that it was video. As before, we had folks attending that knew it was coming and even they had to do a “double take” in order to convince themselves they weren’t insane.
Crazy huh? I know. I’ll keep you posted.
P.S. The picture posted above is Chad live. Compare the pics of the last two blog posts. It’s pretty amazing.
So this week, I thought I’d update on you on the progress and the continued comments.
We are still receiving great feedback. There is still a crazy amount of chatter from those attending the video venue how much they are fooled. They think that Chad (our lead communicator) is live and not on video.
One of the risks we took was putting the video venue on one of our highly attended services :: 10:30 Sunday morn. Update: still no drop in attendance and the comments are very, very complimentary.
What do we attribute the success? It’s a combination of several things:
- Excellent lighting (on stage and in the room)
- Center lock off, high definition camera
- Head to toe capture. On screen pastor is only a few inches taller.
- Pastor uses four legged stool for his Bible and notes (added depth)
By the Way: The picture posted above is a picture of our video venue. Chad is on video, not live.
We tried video announcements a couple of weeks ago. I’ll tell you how that went on Wednesday.
At the end of January 2012, we added a video venue experience to our Sun Valley / Gilbert campus on Sundays at 10:30am. We also opened a satellite campus in Casa Grande which has two video sermon playback services.
It’s simple. We project our Lead Pastor onto a large, high-definition center screen. He stands there in life-like proportions. The IMAGs on the Gilbert campus project close-up shots of him.
The technology wasn’t new. Frankly, other churches across the nation have used the very same setup. We weren’t surprised that the equipment installed worked well for us. We were shocked, however, by the comments.
The comments were overwhelmingly positive. Actually they have been insanely and outrageously enthusiastic. They have come in different forms: unbelief, complaints, and arguments. That doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement does it? Let me explain.
Unbelief: People just don’t believe it when they are told it really is a video and not Chad (lead pastor) standing there. They come back the next week just to prove their sanity.
Complaints: Our concerned Sun Valley members have been perplexed that we would spend so much money on 3D technology. We have actually had many people convinced that it was a hologram. Really!
Arguments: We have had 100s of stories about couples who argued after getting home about if the sermon was live or video. There were two from the Gilbert and Tempe campuses talking about the sermon. They both attended the 10:30 services on their respective campuses. They both thought that the pastor was live at their campuses. That’s impossible, we haven’t invented cloning yet.
As Executive Pastor of Creative Arts, I had the privilege to oversee this endeavor. I am pleased, very pleased with the results. It was accomplished because of my extremely talented staff and our partnership with excellent video companies.
I’ll keep you posted on what continues to happen. I can tell you the story is far from over!