When Musicians Mix

How to create the right conditions for success and train your musicians to mix sound.

 

The time is right to train your community’s musicians and artists to mix sound. Over the past 50 years technical systems within most churches have increased in complexity to meet the ever changing demands of modern ministry. This lead to the introduction of a new role within the Church: the audio technician, the working professional with the appropriate technical background to make it all work together in harmony.

However times are changing. With the advent of digital audio workstations, music producers have taken on more and more of the engineering responsibility as the tools they use have evolved to better support their creative workflow. Now that many churches have transitioned their mixing systems to digital, technical directors have a unique opportunity to create the conditions your musical community needs to participate in mixing sound.

What follows is a 10 point plan designed to create the conditions for success and train your musicians to mix sound:

1. Pre-qualify – There are folks who are going to take to mixing sound and some that won’t. Start by looking for empathy, a servant’s heart, emotional maturity, tech savvy-ness and experience with modern music production tools (DAWs). Then test them: Pull together a great mix, then put them behind the board for a rehearsal or service. Coach them through it, but be listening to see if they have sufficiently developed “ears” for the job. Empathy, service, music production experience, ears.

2. Resist the urge to train your artists to be technicians - Focus the scope of their training and involvement to the essentials: mic’ing up instruments, following the procedure to setup & sound check, and mixing sound. There is no need to start them with a Physics of Sound course. Teach them the ART of sound. You are the TD, the master of the technical domain.  And while undoubtedly they will need you to bail them out when they hit a snag, what YOU need is a break. Train them to do a specialized job, not your job. Then…

3. Stack the deck in their favor – You are going to have to create the conditions for your artists to succeed. They will not be able to solve the myriad of technical challenges you’ve faced in your career, however if you prepare, and update your system to be setup as a matter of procedure, then you too can make this work. It’s all about preparing a system to be setup in a repeatable, predictable fashion. Develop stage plots for each of the bands. Pre-wire sub-snakes that always show up in the same places on the console.  Label, label, label and develop an assembly instructions and tools that make the whole process repeatable. Take photos of what it looks like when it is correctly connected, when mics are positioned and monitors are correctly set and create an assembly instruction photo book.

4. Reduce the technical stuff down to a clear procedure – For example: start with mic’ing instruments, then line checking, phantom power, ground lifts & setting the HPF, setting monitors, adjusting signal processing, eq’ing, and building a mix. In the same way you’d prioritize a mix, prioritize your instruction to the channels that matter most:  vocals, kick, snare and guitars. The order of items in a procedure is really important but may be different for each configuration. You know that you don’t want to set monitor levels then adjust mic trims – they might not – so teach them the importance of honoring the order of your procedure. Pre-dial in whatever you can, and should you have one, setup a scene in your digital console that gets them off to a great start.

5. Triage & priorities –Setup a mix priority to keep them focused on the mix and off continual eq’ing…Vocals on top, harmonies balanced and tucked under the lead vocal, kick, snare and bass driving the song, lead lines pushed at the appropriate times, rhythm guitars and keys supporting the whole endeavor, then subtle effects to give it depth. Teach them that they can to do 80% of the job simply by adjusting levels. Then take them deeper into eq and dynamics. Raise the bar for them with each interaction.

6. Going a littler deeper – If your console has a sweep-able HPF start there. Teach them to use the HPF judiciously to clean up the bottom end of their mix. Then show them how moving the mic can often be more effective at tone shaping an instrument than eq. Teach them to visualize the frequency spectrum by breaking it down into big chucks.  Help them to think about what instruments that need to be present or dominant in each band. Keep dynamics really simple. Dial in some compressors for your vocal, acoustic and bass channels then train them to adjust the threshold for the right amount of compression.

7. The same things that make for a great arrangement make for a great mix

Here’s some advice I have offered to artists: “The rhythm section is the foundation, so build that first, then bring in the lead vocal and surround it with the guitars and keys.  Contrast will help the listener focus on the melody. Keep the mix uncluttered, and celebrate the negative space in the mix. Know the song, know who is going to take the lead, and be prepared to push the appropriate lead instrument between vocal sections. Ride the vocal and the harmony background vocals. Make sure you’ve got notes from your worship leader on who’s taking the melody in each song.”

 8. Coach them – Break the whole operation down into separate jobs: setup, mic’ing instruments, house mix, monitors, etc. Focus each individual on one job at a time.  Coach them until they’ve mastered that position. Then move them on to the next. They won’t need to have the technical breadth of knowledge you have, so help them surpass your abilities in the artistic area in which you focus them.

9. Practice and self-evaluation. Setup a recording rig so they can multi-track or capture the stereo pair for each rehearsal or service. Teach them to assess their mixes and learn from their successes and mistakes. Go back to the multi-tracks and re-mix for success. This is a great way to facilitate putting your worship leader in the audience so they have the opportunity to provide feedback first hand.

10. Become a consultant – Imagine a future where your artistic crew is getting the work done and calling you from time to time for advice or to solve a technical issue that came up. Identify the technical and procedural gaps that stand between that future and where your facility is at today. Then go to work on making it real.

So that’s it. Armed with a clear sense of priorities, a handful of procedures, and some basic techniques, you can empower your artist community to mix sound and build out your technical ministry.

 

AVB?

Kungpow has extensive experience with Digital audio networks, specializing in Dante, Ethersound and MADI integration. It remains to be seen if Dante and AVB will co-exist, or if one will emerge the standard for networked audio. Given that both share the same physical layer, most devices that commissioned Dante or AVB could be adapted with new firmware to run the alternative protocol.

AVB Primer Part 1

AVB was birthed from the realization that Ethernet was not suitable for AV Distribution.  The architects of Ethernet understood that the industry would work around the limitations of ethernet unless they went to work and fixed the network’s capability to handle the precision timing AV requires.

AVB is inherently bi-directional in nature, data flows both ways on the network.  AVB is quick to install.  You’ve got many signals on one wire, which makes for quick termination!  And AVB gives you “splits” for free.  One source can speak to many listeners.

At it’s simplist, an AVB network needs three componants to operate:  A talker, a listener and a bridge.

The talker is a source for audio/video content on the network. The listener is a reciever for audio/video content on the network.

A bridge to the future

The bridge manages the conversations on the network, acting kind of like an old school telephone operator.  The Bridge is where the magic happens on AVB.  In fact the bridge is the key componant that makes the AVB spec work.  Now in the IT world, they call their bridges “switches”, or sometimes routers or hubs.  And there Ethernet switches will look a lot like our AVB switches however there is a critical difference that we need to understand.

Ethernet was designed to get data from point A to point B.  The architects weren’t really concerned with how long it took to get there, so long as it got there.  Ethernet switches default to sending all data recieved at one port to all the other ports.  The switches act as a traffic cop to ensure that data from different ports doesn’t step on each other.  And yes enterprise switches can be tuned to focus certain types of data onto particular ports…. however…Ethernet switches, even high end enterprise switches were not designed to handle the precision time and bandwidth reservation that audio/video systems need to operate.

AVB Bridges have special hardware that allows content to be performed at a particular time.  That buys us consistant low latency, and lip syncing.  AVB bridges automatically reserve the appropriate bandwidth for a given stream.  They are designed to ensure that every talker on the network will have the needed bandwidth at all times.  And they leave 20% of the networks bandwidth for “legacy” communication, i.e. Ethernet, so you can still move some control data around the network.

In addition the bridge handles the “one to many” part of the AVB specification.  It will route a talker’s content to any and all listeners who want to hear it.  If no one’s listening to a talker, the bridge will tell the talker to standby.

Terminology

  • Talker – As stated before a talker is a source for audio/video content on the network.
  • Listener – A listener is a reciever for audio/video content on the network.
  • Endpoint – A device on the network.  An endpoint can be a talker , listener or both
  • Stream – A flow of AV media between a talker and a listener, or many listeners
  • Bridge – The device that manages all the talker/listener conversations on the network, otherwise known in the IT world as a switch.
  • Cloud – The local AVB network in its entirety.  It’s the walled off garden that will be a safe haven for your AV media.  ( This cloud has nothing to do with the internet.)
Part 2 of our AVB primer is on its way.  Stay tuned!

AVB Background

AVB on Wikipedia

No-Excuses Audio/Video Networking: The Technology Behind AVnu

AVB for Professional A/V Use Whitepaper

Is InfoComm 2012 AVB’s Coming-Out Party?

Video over AVB

AVB at InfoComm 2012 – Enough with the Hype

Why Meyer Sound Likes AVB: A Chat with John McMahon

Networking, The Future, and AVB – David Gibbons

Sound & Video Contractor – Ethernet AVB 

Put an In-Ear kit together…

A DIY approach to a complete touring in-ear monitor system

Power up your touring in-ear monitor package

You’re an indie band mounting a tour and you want to introduce in-ear monitors to the band and minimize setup time at each gig.  There’s a great technology approach to handling this situation that many regional acts have worked with companies like Tour Supply to design and build out.

If you’re more the DIY type, with a bit of time and some technical background, here’s my shopping list for a complete 6 stereo mix In-Ear kit.  This kit is mean to fly.  It’s heavy, but it’s portable and capable!

Ecclecia

What sort of environment do we want to create in which to meet the living God?

It seems to me, that at one time the church considered all the ways they could communicate their core stories of Christ, Redemption, Love & Sacrifice. Visitthe ancient churches of Europe, and the story is told in the architecture, thourgh sculpture, paint and song. Apon entering the ecclesia, the ancient church was emmersed in the story of God. Of course back in day, most of the common folk couldn’t read the word nor did they have access to the word (pre-printing press) – so I guess they decided to unleash the artistic community out of necessity. Wow, what an outcome. The story of God masterfully told through beauty and craftsmanship.

So why is it today, in our modern expressions of ecclecia, we’ve exchanged beauty for a more “corporate” approach with neutral painted walls, simple symbols and power point?

Is it really possible to distill the complete story of God down to the symbol of the Cross, (no doubt is the central symbol of the Christian faith) – the only remaining symbol in many churches?

I wonder what church would look like today, if we commissioned our artists to visually integrate the story of God into our environments using modern technology for visual communication?

If you like you can compare a Google Image search of “Stained Glass Religous” or “Stained Glass Cathederal” to a google image search for “church auditorium”. With the exception of Saddleback Church, you’ll get my drift.

Rolling Tricaster Rig

Reality LA is a “portable church” that meets in the heart of LA.  They run a 2 camera (Sony EX1) shoot to capture video for the web and simulcast to a cry room.  The product team cuts live to an AJA KAI Pro that’s neatly tucked into a rack we build for them a few months back.

Reality LA has an amazing volunteer crew that never ceases to amaze me, however they were spending an hour building the video rig each week, and then trouble shooting the video and audio connections right up until the service started.  Yuk!

Andrew Hummel, the ever fearless leader of the media ministry, commissioned Kungpow to build a video rack, and I took this opportunity to simplify the system and help RLA build for the future.

The Video Rig is built around a Newtek Tricaster, which made the video side of this build out fairly straight forward.  HD-SDI is feed  from the cameras into the Tricaster.  Out out the Tricaster into the KAI Pro.  Return from the KAI Pro for confidence.  I came up with a sexy way to interface to the Tricaster using some 90 Degree BNC adapters.

The Tricaster isn’t necessarily the right switcher for the RLA video ministry.  It has a lot of features that are not currently relevant.  The ministry had already acquired the cameras and switcher long before we got involved.  There are a number of lower cost ways to handle simple switching on a multi-camera shoot these days.  New products from Panasonic and BlackMagic Designs can get the job done with simplicity and elegance.

Its all about the audio…

When I got on the scene the team had stuff the back of the FOH Midas Venice full of cables, taking separate feeds for a CD Recorder, the Tricaster and a Zoom H4 and pushing them down a snake to the control room from which the video team operates the rig.

Around this time the sound department upgraded to a AVID Venue, so we set up a special Matrix output on the Venue that would feed the a special recording mix to the video crew.  The recording mix had the stereo mains running about 15 dB down, and the wireless feed at unity.  We then tickled a multi band compressor on the way out and encoded to Ethersound with a Digigram ES220.

The ES220 is bi-directional 2 channel Ethersound node that allows us to pass audio back and forth on an Ethernet (CAT5) network.

Back in the control room another Digigram ES220 feeds a Rane DA16 audio distribution amp which in turn feeds the CD recorder, A Tascam Flash recorder, Tricaster , KAI pro and a overflow speaker system…

A front mounted connector panel gives access to power, Ethersound and the audio feed to the overflow speaker system.

We also caped off the unused BNC’s on the front of the Tricaster to eliminate the remaining confusion.

The rack is pre-wired and ready to go and setup time in dramatically reduced and the extent of trouble shooting is greatly reduced.

If you’re ready to reduce the time it takes to setup your production rig, get in touch with us. We’d be honored to design a system that gets the job done and frees your volunteers from the tyranny of the technical!

For Pastors: How does one know when to switch from Analog to Digital?

Media Ministry can be a real sink hole for resources.  When poorly designed they consume money, time and burn out volunteers.  When production systems are pieced together without a master plan, especially by technology generalists, you may have a looming disaster on your hands.

It seems that every pastor has a person in their life who knows much more about technology then they do.  And in a technological work that’s changing as fast as ours you need a trusted source for good advice.  Wether it’s a lay person in your congregation or your tech director, I encourage you to get second opinions on big purchases and always, always ask for clear written communication on how these purchases fit into a long term master plan.

A number of key technologies are transitioning from technologies that have been around for 30 years to new digital technologies.  With these new technologies comes five massive benefits for you, your volunteers and your pocket book:  They’re easy to use, they simplify complex production systems, they reduce the time it takes to get the job done and they use a lot less energy to do it.

There are at least four major areas of media ministry that are going though a digital revolution, Mixing consoles and signal processing, digital wireless, wash lighting, and HD Video Production Equipment.

Now is them time to consider upgrading key parts of your production systems to new digital technology.  Even with giving down, and your current systems seemingly  functional, planning to upgrade is a much better approach waiting for something to fail, or worse continuing to burn out your volunteers.

Why is now the time?

1. Ease of Use – We’ve all experienced moments where the technology prevented us from getting something down.  It’s one thing when it’s in the privacy of your office, but when technology lets your down and you’ve got 1000 people sitting in a room waiting to start the service, it’s really stressful.  It’s this kind of stress that burns people out and invites the return of a couple of old friends: “fear of failure” and “frustration”. Save you nerves and engage your volunteers with digital systems that are much easier to use.  One of the  top benefit of digital systems is their ability to distinguish the two levels of operation: operations that are essentially simple and creative, these are jobs that many volunteers can be trained to do in the audio, video and lighting departments; operations that are fundamentally advanced: things like the setup, configuration, programming or tweaking of audio, video and lighting systems.

In the digital world most of the advanced stuff can be handled by an consultant/expert that’s called when needed.  This doesn’t always have to be someone on yours staff.  For example, with some of our clients we handle the advanced stuff remotely over the web.  When properly designed, a digital system can free your volunteers from the tyranny of the technical.  Let them concentrate their effort on serving their community with the creative gifts they’ve been given to share, and let’s work together to eliminate the complex systems that unnecessarily increase the possible points of failure.

2. Simplicity – It’s frustrating when something that you don’t really understand fails you.  How did this happen? How did we build a system that we can’t make work in our 1 hour and 15 minutes of need?  When designed properly, digital can dramatically reduce the amount of gear needed to get a job done. That means less gear, less wires, less heat, reduced points of failure, and most of all, less time to train volunteers on a system.  OK it’s time for the men in the blogosphere to confess:  We all love our “man caves”.  For some it’s tools, for others its books, for some it’s technology for me it’s musical instruments.  To make the man cave truly impenetrable and impressive to men and women alike it has to be formidable and intimidating!  How many of your media ministries have been transferred into man caves over the years? How many of you have a single person in your ministry who is able to make it all work or even knows what it all does?

I am happy to tell you, it doesn’t have to be like this.  A well designed digital system makes key production job much simpler to accomplish.  It’s time to dis-assemble the man cave and put up a system that will engage your volunteers, reduce their stress and release their creativity.

In part two we’ll explore how digital systems can better honor people’s time, offer versatility and save you energy.

Until then.  If there is anything we can do to help you make your media ministry easier to use for your volunteers and staff, please get in touch with us at helpme@kungpowpro.com.

Calvary Spokane’s Vi1 Console and the 3 Headed Audio Network

It’s been a few weeks since we put in the Soundcraft Vi1 in Calvary Spokane. This was an inspiring project that incorporated 3 different audio networks and my new favorite digital console to get the job done. The job was to address a common issue many churches face today. Our mandate was to remake their sanctuary sound system into something that could be easily managed by volunteers.

In northern Spokane you’ll find the welcoming campus of Calvary Spokane. In a re-purposed mall, this 2500 seat sanctuary is flanked by a massive family center with a full kitchen and coffee bar, as well as youth and children’s ministry rooms fully equipped to engage today’s families. Calvary’s 56 channel Allen & Heath ML5000 analog console presented a formidable challenge for training volunteers. For many years the church resorted to hiring in professional engineers to fly the console on Sunday mornings.

Recently a new generation of tech savvy musicians had entered their ministry internship program and were eager to engage the media ministry at Calvary. And so we werecalled in to design a system that would empower the musicians, who were taking turns leading the Worship service, to mix for each other. After carefully considering a number of approaches, we settled on the Soundcraft Vi1 for two main reasons: Number one, it sounds phenomenal and two, its so easy to train volunteers on this desk. In the end the Vi1 proved to be an intuitive mix surface, providing the powerful routing I needed to configure the complex system, and the ability for the volunteer crew to easily re-configure custom fader banks for each of the operators and their associated worship team. And here’s the amazing part: We had them up and running after a couple hours of training. That’s pretty remarkable considering how new they were to mixing sound.

The new console was only the beginning. It attached to a Soundcraft Compact Stagebox with MADI. We then integrated an Digigram Ethersound card into the Soundcraft Compact Stagebox networked to a Yamaha DME24N (speaker processing) with an Avitran AVY-ES100. From there Digigram ES network nodes provide multichannel audio feeds to and from the video production room and nearby family center. The Avitran AVY-ES100 also connects to a PC running Protools at FOH via an ASIO over ethernet connection as an affordable way to track and playback rehearsals and services via the Vi1’s second input on every input channel.

In the weeks that have followed I’ve had a solitary call to get instruction on splitting the wireless lag to multiple channels strips. Something we were able to walk though over the phone in a minutes. This is a testimony to the straight forward operation of this desk, especially for this generation of tech savvy artist/mixers.

Footnote: During the integration we setup remote access to the Yamaha DME24 as well as the Ethersound network configuration application. Should Calvary Spokane require exceptional routing one day, I will be able to take care of that request from my home office. The benefit: We take care of the technical burden so that those mixing sound can focus on their artistry and creating the conditions for engagement.

If you’re interested to see the network layout click here.

AVL Design for Reality LA

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I’ve been delighted to work with the fine crew down at Reality LA (“RLA”) on the design and implementation of their new audio and lighting rigs, as well as improvements to their video capture rig as well.

BACKGROUND
Reality LA is a church plant of Reality Carpinteria. Tim Chaddick started praying about planting a church in the heart of Hollywood in 2004. January 2006 RLA launched its first Sunday morning service. RLA now packs out 3 services each Sunday at the Helen Bernstein High School. Brian Ortize is their music ministry pastor; he’s a talented man with an ear for tone and a heart for the Lord. RLA is blessed with a roster of pro touring and local session musicians to draw off. What ever you might think a Hollywood church might look like, let me tell you what I’ve been blessed to observe… The worship at RLA is unpretentious, beautiful and an authentic response to what God is doing in their community. FOH is located in the middle of the room, and so I’ve been treated to be able to mix in the middle of an engaged congregation as they worship their King. More about that later…

The Helen Bernstein High School courtyard is the tiered courtyard that you see on the TV drama GLEE. This school was masterfully built in an inner-city part of LA. The soft seat auditorium holds about 1000 folks, with theatre style diffusion panels from 8′ up and dense fiberglass absorption from 8′ to the floor. The room is quite tight from 200Hz up. The bottom end tends to ring out, and so we run a little light on the subs to keep things together.

RLA rents the facility, so everything needed to pack up and be kept in local storage. Kungpow Production was commissioned to build a system that could be setup by volunteers in 45 minutes, and stored in a room though a couple standard door ways. Nothing could be attached to the structure, which ruled out flying the PA, lighting or projection. In addition, we had to run the whole rig on the 20A Edison outlets available around the stage.

PA
When I got involved, the sound team lead by Brian Garcia was considering a ground stacked 8 box Nexo GEO S12/RS18 rig. Given the dimensions of the room, the limited stage thrust, and the fact that the rig had to be setup and torn down each week, the Nexo engineering team recommended that the church limit the rig to 2 GEO S12’s stacked in a horizontal array on 2 RS18’s per side. While this rig would have been a huge improvement over the Mackie SR1530’s, the team was concerned that the rig might not provide the kind of SPL they were out for.

Enter the Tannoy VQ NET60‘s. From the moment I first heard the VQ’s I knew I was in love. The VQs are a point source array. They’re terribly efficient, articulate and smooth in the vocal range, and punchy. We chose to run 2 VQNET 60’s, 2 VQ MB’s and 1 VNET 218DR per side, which is a lot of PA for a room this size. GC PRO masterfully sourced the gear, and let me tell you, everyone was impressed the day we lit the fuse on this rig. The PA run on available power. We’ve got all 4 tops on one 20A circuit per side. Each Sub runs on it’s own 20A circuit. Once I got the MB’s dialed in using the VNET software controller, I listened to a handful of my favorite songs at a range of volumes and eq’ed the boxes with the available parametric eq. This rig presents detail that I’ve only ever heard on audiophile systems. Later that afternoon, a handful of musicians and pro mix engineers ran the VQ’s through there paces. Everyone was impressed, some commented that the rig occurred like a mastering monitor system. Oh yeah and it can get scary loud.

CONSOLE
Four consoles were considered for this project: The Allen Heath iLive T112/iDR48, Digico SD9 & stage rack, Soundcraft Vi4 and the Avid Venue Profile. Since a number of the sound mixers made a living using Protools for film and television work, the Profile console emerged as an early front runner. I must admit, initially I protested selecting the Venue, mainly because I have had great experiences training volunteers on the iLive desk, and/or when a more sophisticated approach is needed I prefer the workflow of the Vistronic interface on the Soundcraft Vi series. The decision for the Venue was pretty much made when the Digico SD9 entered the fray. Perhaps using Waves plug-ins via Soundgrid would get the mix operators enough of the plug-in experience they knew so well… In the end after each approach was costed out, the support policies understood and factored in, and after collecting the opinions of a number of touring FOH mixers that the team knew, we decided to go with the Venue Profile system.

NOTABLE
Total Structures did some incredible work building custom rolling speaker carts for us. The Tannoys roll out of storage stacked and pre-wired. This configuration trimmed 30 minutes off the setup time and eliminated operator error when hooking up the PA.

The Radial Engineering Custom Shop built us four 8X4 sub-snakes that are pulled to each of the key positions on stage. The sub-snakes terminate with Veam connectors at the stage rack and keep the stage clean. It’s a clean system that goes together quickly and allows our volunteer teams to work in parallel to get our mics and powered monitors situated and cabled quickly.

Digigram ES220’swere implemented to carry audio to and from the video room over CAT5. The Digigram Ethersound system has worked flawlessly offering us a low-latency, reliable connection that eliminated the grounding issues we previously struggled with.

VIDEO
RLA uses a pair of Song PWMEX1s and a Newtek TriCaster 300 to archive the sermons for podcasts, and to send a feed to a cry-room. Kungpow was given the opportunity to consolidate their video production switcher, and we did just that. We racked the Tri-caster, added a SSD audio recorder and a AJA KAI PRO to capture the HD-SDI signal from the TRI-Caster. The whole system is pre-wired in a rolling rack that sets up in seconds, shaving another 30~45 minutes off the setup time.

LIGHTING
I love the fact that RLA has a focused strategy for lighting. The elect to use CYC lights and side lighting for the worship team. With no front wash, the musicians fade into the shadows on stage. It’s a great look, and an approach that’s very conducive to
clarifying that it’s not about the people on stage. We run a 8 Chauvet Colorado 1 Tours on stands, and 8 Colorado Batten 72‘s for the CYC. We’re using the Jands Vista software with an M1 console on a Mac to control the lights, and a couple W-DMX transceivers to get the DMX signal to the stage.

I’m on a mission to help people like you

I’m one of those guys who’s spent a lot of time on both side of the mixing console. Sometimes as a worship leader or house musician, sometimes mixing FOH or tracking the band live.

Over the years I have observed the interaction of musicians, technicians, production equipment and venue staff.  Like many of you, I’ve experienced the gamut of outcomes from pure bliss to utter despair.  I’ve learned the patterns that show up when it’s all working in harmony.  And I delight in the opportunity to share those patterns with you.

I am driven to excel at production design because I have come to recognize that most churches don’t have a clear strategy or clear outcomes in mind when they go about sorting out their production needs.  Over the years I have come to stand for a holistic approach to production design, one that keeps the artists, technicians and financiers in mind.  I stand for:

1. Production Design that generates freedom for musicians and speakers from the tyranny of the technical.
2. Production Design that respects and honors technicians, their artistry, time and energy.
3. Production Design that achieves a careful balance between performance excellence and financial stewardship.
4. Production Design that is aesthetically pleasing, efficient and sustainable.
I would like to apply these principles to your situation, and help you folks put together an audio system that can achieve the outcomes you’re looking for with consideration for all involved.

A Word Study

I enjoy exploring the origins of language. Here’s a quick word study I did for a presentation that was insightful….

Technology (Technologist)

1 a: 1615, “discourse or treatise on an art or the arts,” from Gk. tekhnologia “systematic treatment of an art, craft, or technique,

1 b: the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area : engineering

2: a manner of accomplishing a task especially using technical processes, methods, or knowledge

3: the specialized aspects of a particular field of endeavor

Etymology: Greek technologia systematic treatment of an art, from techn? art, skill, techno- from Gk. tekhno-, combining form of tekhne “art, skill, craft, method, system,” probably from PIE base *tek- “shape, make” (cf. Skt. taksan “carpenter,” L. textere “to weave;” see texture). -logy “a speaking, discourse, treatise, doctrine, theory, science,” from Gk. -logia, TECHNE – Greek Godess of Art

Technique

1 a: the manner in which technical details are treated (as by a writer) or basic physical movements are used (as by a dancer) ; also : ability to treat such details or use such movements

2 a: a body of technical methods (as in a craft or in scientific research) b: a method of accomplishing a desired aim

Etymology: French, from technique technical, from Greek technikos, 1817, from Fr. technique “formal practical details in artistic expression,” noun use of adj. technique “of art, technical,” from Gk. tekhnikos (see techno-).

Technical

1a: having special and usually practical knowledge especially of a mechanical or scientific subject

Etymology: Greek technikos of art, skillful, from techn? art, craft, skill, 1617, “skilled in a particular art or subject,” formed in Eng. from Gk. tekhnikos “of art,” from tekhne “art, skill, craft” (see techno-).

Technician

1: a specialist in the technical details of a subject or occupation

2: one who has acquired the technique of an art or other area of specialization

Etymology: 1833, “person expert in the technicalities of some question,” from technic “technical” (1612), from Gk. tekhnikos (see techno-). Meaning “person skilled in mechanical arts” is recorded from 1939.

Musician

c.1374, “one skilled in music,”

Music

c.1250, from O.Fr. musique (12c.), from L. musica, from Gk. mousike techne “art of the Muses,” from fem. of mousikos “pertaining to the Muses,” from Mousa “Muse.” In classical Greece, any art in which the Muses presided, but especially music. Meaning “film or theater piece of which song is an essential element” is from 1938. The use of letters to denote music notes is probably at least from ancient Greece, as their numbering system was ill-suited to the job.

Artist

1581, “one who cultivates one of the fine arts,” from M.Fr. artiste, from It. artista, from M.L. artista, from L. ars (see art). Originally used especially of the arts presided over by the Muses (history, poetry, comedy, tragedy, music, dancing, astronomy), but also used 17c. for “one skilled in any art or craft” (including professors, surgeons, craftsmen, cooks). Now especially of “one who practices the arts of design or visual arts” (a sense first attested 1747). Artistic first recorded 1753; artistry 1868.

Word Endings

  • -cracy - from M.L. -cratia, from Gk. -kratia “power, rule,” from kratos “strength,” from PIE *kratus “power, strength” (see hard). The connective -o- has come to be viewed as part of it.
  • -phile – via Fr. and L. from Gk. -philos, common suffix in personal names, from philos “loving, dear,” from philein “to love.”
  • -phobe – comb. form meaning “fearing,” from Fr. -phobe, from L. -phobus, from Gk. -phobos “fearing,” from phobos “fear, panic, flight,” phobein “put to flight, frighten” (see phobia).
  • -sophy – suffix meaning “knowledge,” from O.Fr. -sophie, from L. -sophia, from Gk. -sophia, from sophia “skill, wisdom, knowledge,” of unknown origin.