Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Month: June 2007 (Page 1 of 2)

Compressing Pastors and Good Memories

Two completely different topics—I know. Stay with me. I am writing this from an undisclosed location near Nashville. My family and I are here for a wedding of a dear friend of mine, Zach (of Zach and Sarah fame from John and Sherry in the morning on K-Love if you hear that where you live…). It’s really fun because I haven’t seen Zach in some time and he is one of the first people I ever trained in audio. Last night I was invited to his impromptu “Bachelor Party.” I have to tell you it was great to sit around with his peers and hear how much of an impact he has had on their lives. I thought back to 15 years ago when I was leading the youth group and he and I had so many deep discussions about theology and leadership. I was reminded of the verse, “Know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” What a joy to see how God used what I had to give years ago to now be such a blessing in others lives. Zach is truly one of the “good guys,” and it is truly an honor to know him. Zach, I wish you and Sarah all the very best God has in store for you.

I write this not only to indulge my sense of nostalgia, but also to encourage you, dear reader, to continue to invest in the lives of others. At times it may not seem like it makes a difference, but when we give of ourselves to others in the name of Christ, it does not return void. God will use even our most feeble efforts to accomplish His goal. What a privilege to be part of that.

Now on to our topic at hand—Pastors (OK, speakers) and compressors. I’m not speaking of a magical device that will shorten a 40 minute message to 30, rather the magical device that keeps the level of the speaker’s voice under control.

I’m a firm believer in compressing the spoken word. If I have enough channels of compression, I will compress everyone on stage who talks. I do this for two reasons; to make sure that the voice levels are high enough so that everyone can hear every word and to keep the listeners from becoming fatigued. Let’s tackle one at a time.

First, compression will help ensure the level of the speaker is sufficient to get over all the other noise in the room. It’s seems counter-intuitive that a device that lowers gain will help you keep levels up, but work with me.

Pretty much any room will be noisy, even when it’s “quiet.” People rustling papers, coughing, HVAC noise, babies crying; all of these things (and more) add to the noise floor of the room. In order to make sure the pastor can be heard, we need to keep the level above the noise floor. Placing a compressor on the insert of that channel gives us the ability to keep the average level up while not allowing peaks to get too loud. The compressor keeps the level more consistent, and more listenable. It’s not possible for a sound tech, no matter how good, to “ride” the level of a speaker and keep it smooth. The compressor does it more quickly and more consistently while the sound tech can keep an eye on the big picture.

You see, the challenge of putting the voice through a system capable of generating ear splitting levels is that the voice can easily get so loud that it hurts. In our room for example, we have a few speakers who can easily fill the room with just their voice, especially when they are making an enthusiastic point. All of those dynamics add up to listener fatigue when run through the sound system. The speaker gets so loud that it is plain uncomfortable to listen to. What I try to do is keep the speaker’s voice supported with the sound system when he (or she) is speaking quietly, and let their natural voice do the work when speaking loudly. The compressor allows this to happen smoothly and (if set correctly) transparently.

So how do we set it up? It varies a little from speaker to speaker, but I like to put the compressor on the channel insert for their mic. After I set the gain on their mic, I will start with a mild ratio of 3:1-4:1, and start lowering the threshold of compression until I get between 2-4 dB of gain reduction. This “leveling of the peaks,” is enough to lower the overall dynamic range and make it more easy to listen to. When loud passages come along, or if I’m dealing with a more dynamic speaker, I like to let the compressor take out enough so that the increase in energy is apparent, but doesn’t result in the hair of the audience being blown back. Sometimes this means 6-9 dB of gain reduction. If you get into too much more than that, it will start to sound unnatural. Keep in mind, gain reduction of that magnitude is for brief periods of time, as in a word or two. You don’t want to run a steady state of 6-9 dB reduction.

I may accomplish this by lowering the threshold, or by increasing the ratio. If a speaker is mostly steady state, with occasional flashes of energy, a higher threshold with a higher (5:1-6:1) ratio may keep those loud moments under control. There is definitely some experimentation to be done here.

As for attack and release times, I will often just use the “auto” setting on the DBX 166XL I use for this. If you aren’t happy with that, or don’t have a good auto setting, try 30 milliseconds of attack and 100 ms of release. This may or may not work for your speaker, but it’s a good starting point. You want to keep the release time short enough that a loud word doesn’t kill the volume of the next sentence.

One thing to be aware of is that you want to set the gain on the channel with no compression or gain reduction (or gain increase on the compressor). Either pull the insert out, or set the output at 0 and raise the threshold all the way up (on the compressor) while you set the gain (on the board). The danger is that if you set gain with the compressor active, you can end up overloading the pre-amp while still seeing 0 dB on the channel. The compressor will just compress whatever you send it, lowering the volume back to the channel, meanwhile you can have the gain on the board cranked into nasty distortion zone. So be aware of that. If you see red clipping lights flashing even though your level appears in the green, that’s what’s happening.

I also recommend that if you are not familiar with compression that you do some experimenting at a time that is not the service. In fact that’s a good rule of thumb: Don’t try out new technology or settings during the service (don’t ask me how I know this).

So there you go—a brief (yeah right!) tutorial on compression. Happy mixing!

Useful Podcast

For a few weeks now I’ve subscribed to Terry White’s Creative Suite Podcast. I have to say it’s been a generally good experience. If you use any of the Adobe Creative Suite products (which keeps getting bigger each release), there is going to be some good information here for you. For example, you raced out and bought CS3 because you wanted Photoshop Extended so you can work with video. But how does it work? You’ll want to watch the podcast on that very subject.

There are dozens of podcasts available, and to be honest, I’ve had a lot of fun learning more about Lightroom (which he acknowledges is not officially part of the Creative Suite). And the beauty is, if you subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, you get the complete archive list, and can grab any of the podcasts you like. I do this when I’m bored at work sometimes (did I just type that?) or when I just need a distraction to get the creative juices flowing.

Anyway, check it out at creativesuitepodcast.com. Usual disclaimer: I don’t know Terry and I don’t get anything from promoting his site. The audio quality varies all over the place too, so start each one with the volume turned down a bit. Terry, if you need some help on this, give me a call. I’m happy to trade out some audio sweetening for a copy of CS3 for Mac.

Peace.

Fun With Interviews

When I started shooting video (just after the beginning of time), most cameras had at least a 1/2″ or 2/3″ image sensor. They also weighed 18-25 lbs. The advent of the modern mini-DV and HDV cameras has lead to a drastic reduction in size and weight. It also has lead to smaller and more densely populated image sensors. Most of the cameras we are using in our churches have 1/3″ or even 1/4″ sensors. While I don’t miss the weight of the older cameras, there is one thing I dearly miss—depth of field, or more correctly, the ability to selectively focus on the subject of an interview while throwing the background out of focus. This is easy with a 1/2″-2/3″ chip, but with the smaller sensors, it’s really tough. To get a nice de-focused background, you need to zoom way in, open the aperture all the way and have a lot of distance behind your subject. This is rarely possible, and often leads to results like this:

Original Interview Shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice the lack of separation between the subject and the background. This interview was taped in a room that was completely lit with overhead fluorescent lights. The result is a very flat image. However, thanks to some trickery, we can end up with a really nice interview. The following process was completed in After Effects, but could also be done (albeit not quite as easily) in Final Cut or Premier.

What we’re going to do is take advantage of the ability to use masks (and at least in After Effects, masks that we can key frame and animate if we need to). Take the clip on the timeline and duplicate it, stacking one directly on top of the other. On the top clip. you will use the pen tool to create a mask that follows closely the outline of the person. This only represents one point in time, so if the subject moves a lot, you’ll need to add keyframes and animate the mask. The next step is to add some feathering to the mask. For this shot, I used 10 pixels. If you use too much, it will look strange; don’t use enough and you’ll end up with a clearly defined line. If you turn off the bottom track (what will end up as the background), you should have something like this:

Masked Subject

What we want to do is isolate the subject from the background. You can see a bit of the background around the top of her head, something I tweaked as I went on. Next, turn your background layer back on, and apply some blurring. For this shot, I used the lens blur effect, which looks nicer than a straight Gaussian Blur. But use what you’ve got. I also applied a Hue/Sat control to de-saturate the color and bring the background level down. It ends up looking like this:

Final Scene

Now you can see we have a nice degree of separation between the background and the subject. Depending on how much she moves, I may have to track the mask to make sure she doesn’t tilt her head and suddenly get blurry. This takes a little time, but the results are worth it.

For more fun, if the background is static, you can pull a still from the interview, take it into Photoshop and play around with the Lighting effects filter. You may try something like this:

Colored Lights Background

Clearly, the subject looks a bit strange, but that’s OK because we’re going to cover her up with video. Note that this only works well with a subject that doesn’t move much. We’ll do the same thing we did before, placing the masked subject video on a track above the colorized background clip. Again, we’ll put the lens blur effect on (I did it in After Effects, but you could also do it in Photoshop). The final result looks like this:

Final Interview with Colored Background

Now the subject is really separated from the background. You have to play with it to see how much de-focusing works before it looks fake. You also have to be careful about subject movement. But for a typical talking head interview, this is a great way to achieve the look we’re after without having a huge room to shoot in.

Have fun!

Building a Great Mix

Tim Corder has a great post on his breakout session at the Arts Conference with Robert Scoville. This is something I’ve been spending a little more time on in my own mixes, making sure the vocals are clear, present and right out front. Check it out here.

Willow Arts Conference Pt. 4

It’s hard to believe it’s over already. The 2 1/2 days went by pretty quickly. On Thursday night a film festival of sorts was held. Churches who were attending the conference had sent in videos they produced. We must have screened 3 dozen of them, in all kinds of categories. Some were riotously funny (Reconcilosec, a pill that helps you survive family gatherings at holidays), others were more serious and moving. All in all, there was a lot of talent represented and it was great to steal some ideas I mean be inspired.

Friday morning was quite powerful. Two worship leaders shared their story of ministering in the contradiction—that is, how do you lead people into praise and worship while your own life is falling apart. They told their story of their twin daughters, both born very premature, and one with serious complications. It was (and still is in some ways) a very trying time in their lives, and both really struggled with issues of faith and trusting God. Ultimately, they have found some measure of peace and proceeded to lead us into a very powerful time of worship (I admit to having a hard time singing because I was so broken up after their story).

Next up was Donald Miller. If you’ve read his work, you know how much a treat that was. He talked about how the Enlightenment separated truth from meaning, and we now divide everything into left- and right-brained tasks. The problem is life doesn’t work that way, especially relationships. One of the reasons we are not really effective at leading others to the Cross is because we don’t put the Gospel in the context of a relationship. If the Gospel is turned into a bunch of legislation, beliefs and ideas, we take Jesus out of the picture and it’s no longer a story of a God who loved people.

I’m highly simplifying what he talked about here, but it was a profound concept. He went on to show how Shakespeare, an artist, used Romeo and Juliet to illustrate the Gospel. If I’m not mistaken, he goes through that in Blue Like Jazz (or Searching for God Knows What, don’t recall). You really should read it. The bottom line is this: The arts have incredible potential for communicating the Gospel of Christ to an increasingly skeptical world. It’s at once exciting and a challenge.

The week wrapped up with Erwin McManus and his team from Mosaic Church, Scribble. Talk about using the arts to declare truth! Scribble is a dance and drama troupe that put on a fantastic series of vignettes that Erwin wove his story between. Here are a few notes that I took:

There are no ordinary children, but there are ordinary adults. Sometime between when we’re born and when we die, we loose that sense of extraordinary. Is it possible that God sees more in us than we do.

In the end, the conference exceeded my expectations in so many ways. Having been to so many conferences that were often disappointing, I was a bit skeptical. I was wrong. And it wasn’t just the level of technical execution that was impressive, though it was. What really moved me was once again being reminded of the power of the arts to change people’s lives.

I was also impressed by the heart of everyone who spoke. They were not there to put on a show, or dazzle us with their witty banter, or wow us with their talent. From what I could tell, everyone had a genuine heart that truly believed the arts can make a difference, that people are important, and that this really does matter to God.

At the beginning of the week, Dewitt Jones talked about the need for us to fill our cup. Yesterday, my cup was so full it was overflowing and I could barely sing the last few songs because of the emotions I felt. The week was so worthwhile (though I could have done without the 2 hours sitting in Chicago traffic trying leave—what’s up with that?).

Thanks for reading these unconventional posts. Next week we’ll be back to what we normally do, sharpen our skills and learning how to better serve our King. God Bless…

By the way, if you’re interested in the live, on-line experience Willow put together for the conference, check out this site. You’ll find blog posts, many written live, and some video of the events.

Willow Arts Conference Pt. 3

Day Two has been a blur—in a good way. It was all breakout sessions today, and I decided to take a variety of topics. While all of the sessions had value, perhaps the one class that will impact what I do back at my home church the most was the session on “Running an Effective Technical Rehearsal.” Led by Todd Elliot and Chuck Spong, both of Willow Creek, they provided insight and a lot of great ideas

Perhaps the thing that I found most profound, was this concept: A lot of people (myself included) tend to designate the “programming” people (those who design the service, create the videos, act, sing and play) the “creative” ones. Those who execute the service, “production,” are often thought of as supporting the “artists.”

However, the technical team, “production,” are “artists” in their own right. It just so happens that their instrument may be a lighting board, or a sound board, or a computer. Moreover, when those two teams of artists come together, they have the opportunity to create something new, amazing and something that neither could create on their own.

I’ve written at length about how the tech team is part of the worship team, so I’ve not been completely oblivious to this concept. And certainly I view myself as an integral part of the worship experience every time I step behind the sound board. But it was really pausing to consider myself and the rest of the tech team as artists, co-equal with the artists on stage that was revolutionary.

As a complete team of artists, working in harmony (OK, that’s another post), we have the opportunity, the privilege of creating engaging, immersive experiences for those in our care. The challenge, of course, is to help both teams to view themselves and each other in this light, then work together to compliment each other to create new art. As I said, that’s another post.

Todd & Chuck had a lot more to share, more of which will show up on this page eventually. Other highlights of the day included a Line Array workshop taught by EV’s Monte Wilkes. This class (unfortunately for me at the end of the day) was very technical and full of great information that I’ll be able to use even though we don’t have a line array, nor am I likely to be out on tour with one any time soon.

I also got a chance to play with the Yamaha M7CL, which I have spec’d as a replacement board for our aging Soundcraft Series Two. I’ve done a ton of research on the board, but never got my hands on one. I was very happy to see that I walked up to it and within seconds figured out the layout, was playing with EQ, dynamics, and even a little routing. It’s very intuitive and reinforced my choice. Now, to find the dollars…

Another cool resource I learned about was Meyer Sound’s MAPP Online software. It’s a free, Java applet that allows you to import drawings of your room and model the room with any of their speakers. I saw a brief demo of the software, and it looked pretty impressive. Did I mention it was free? Granted, they set it up to use their speakers, but presumably you could get an idea of how other speakers would map out by looking at the specs and finding an equivalent. It may not be perfect, but you’d have an idea. I’m looking forward to playing with this when I get home. Internet access is somewhat sporadic, so I’ll post a link to that at a later date, or just visit Meyer’s web site.

Today is Day Three, and I’m excited to hear from Donald Miller again. If you haven’t read Blue Like Jazz you should. His other books are excellent also. Thanks for reading, more to come!

Willow Arts Conference Pt. 2

Session 3 of Day 1 featured Dan Kimball, author of They Like Jesus, But They Don’t Like The Church. Dan talked about a great number of things he found when he got outside of what he terms, “The Christian Subculture Bubble.” That was followed by a panel discussion of what the church really needs to do to reach the emerging generation. It was a fascinating discussion, and something that I think people in the technical arts really have a lot to contribute to.

Because the current generation is so media-savvy, they have come to expect a certain level of production excellence. On the other hand, Dan asked the question, “Are we creating an “American Idol’ worship experience?” As always, too much of a good thing is bad for you. If we go overboard with technology and make it the end in itself, the emerging generation (and probably even those in the pews today) will leave because it’s not authentic, nor does it meet any real needs—other than the desire to be entertained.

Which leads to my favorite part of the day, the evening service. While not technically part of the Arts conference, we were all invited back to the regular Wednesday night service. Regular is probably not a good descriptor; worship was lead by The David Crowder Band, and Donald Miller (author of Blue Like Jazz among others) spoke. It was a great service.

The gist of Don’s message was that we all live in stories. We love stories. In fact, the Bible is made up of stories that are so well written and so engaging they are on a whole other plane than what we write. What struck me is that we as the Church need to get better at telling engaging stories. Too often the message is “Turn or Burn,” which when viewed from the outside (strike that, from any angle, really) is not that attractive or engaging. Jesus gave us the words of life, and He gave them to us in stories. We have at our disposal the ability to use film (OK, video), drama and other immersive experiences to convey those stories to the next generation. How well are we doing?

More to come…

Willow Arts Conference Pt. 1

It’s the first day of the Willow Arts Conference. It’s also my first trip to “Mecca” (aka Willow Creek Community Church) (that’s tongue in cheek) . It is a big church. They have lots of toys. A lot. But I didn’t come here to be impressed with the toys. I’ve seen and worked with a lot of this stuff already in other venues. Sure it’s cool to have all the latest technology, moving lights, hazers, a great sound system. But unless you can create an engaging and immersive worship experience, what does it matter? I think that’s what we’re learning here.

The first speaker, Dewitt Jones, spoke of finding creativity. He suggested an exercise that all of us in the technical arts should do regularly. Take a blank sheet of paper and write down 5 things that “fill your cup.” In other words, what do you enjoy doing, what brings you joy? Then put a date next the last time you did any of them. Has it been a while? How can we as technically creative people be creative and give of what we do when our cup is empty? What do we have to give when we are empty?

Here are some more of my notes from the second session, presented by Nancy Beach:

We can become so consumed with the work of building and sustaining our “church,” that we leave no margin for with engaging with the culture. All of our time and energy is spent getting ready for Sunday morning.

Who am I intentionally building a friendship with that is not part of the family of faith and has no part of the church?

Other miscellaneous observations: I really like the moving lights and the hazer they use extensively during music scenes. I didn’t care for the tuning of the speaker system (at least where I sat). Seemed pretty hot in the 1-2K range. Nearly painful at times. They run the sound quite a bit louder here than we do. I like it. The musicians didn’t feel the need to play all the time during a song. That was good.

So far we’re only a half day into the conference, so stay tuned for more posts as I can access the “inter-web.”

Save Your Budget, Save The World

I’ve never watch Heroes. I hear it’s a great series, and I recall the catch phrase from the early episodes—”Save the cheerleader, save the world.” I have no idea what that means, but I have a great suggestion for you to not only save your church some serious coin, but also save the planet. Interested? Check out rechargeable batteries.

Now if you’ve been around this electronics thing for any length of time, you probably have bad experiences with rechargeable batteries. Ten years ago, they had very low voltage (compared to their alkaline counterparts), and didn’t last long. Some devices, especially wireless mics, wouldn’t even run on them. Well, that was then, this is now.

I was motivated to check out rechargeables last year when I was going over the budget I inherited from the previous Tech Director. It was a great budget, but I was stunned when I saw we were planning on spending over $2,500 on batteries for the year. $2,500! On batteries! Are you kidding? Nope, I did the math and sure enough, at our current rate of use, that’s pretty close to where we were.

I did some research and came across Horizon Battery. They claimed to have put their batteries in hundreds of churches across the country. The are even used by Cirque de Soleil. That impressed me. So I did some research and read up on their line of batteries by Ansmann. As it turns out, a rechargeable Ansmann AA battery is rated for 2800 mwh (a measure of how much energy the battery will hold). A typical alkaline is rated at about 1800. They also make a 250 mah 9 volt batteries, and while not quite up to Alkaline levels, they will still power a wireless mic for several hours.

When I did the math, I discovered that I could convert our entire church (main ministry center, student and children’s ministries) for less than $500. Conservatively, we stood to save nearly $2,000 the first year. So I took the plunge. After a year of use, we haven’t looked back. I haven’t had to order batteries for nearly 10 months. Once I figured out how many we needed to keep up with the use, the only problem we’ve had is that some people think they are disposable and throw them out when they go dead. Ongoing education is the key there—we’ve lost about 8-10 batteries to the trash.

Before I rolled them out in services, I did some testing. I found that a 250 mah 9V would power our Shure ULXP transmitters for nearly 4 hours. Amazingly, two 2700 mwh AA’s would power our Shure SLX transmitters for over 10 hours. Not only did we not have to buy batteries anymore, but they lasted longer than the disposable ones!

In practice they have required a few changes to how we use batteries. We used to use one disposable in each wireless for rehearsals, then check it for Saturday night and if it was good, we kept it. We would then change it out on Sunday. Some weekends we would go through 10-12 batteries. Since the rechargeables don’t last quite as long, we replace them before each service. I always hated doing this with disposables, because I knew that there was still capacity left, but we couldn’t take a chance. Now, we toss them in the charger. They exhibit no memory effect that I can tell, and seem to hold a charge pretty well.

As for quantity, for the 9 volts, I took the maximum number of mics we might use in a service or program and doubled it. I figured that they would last as long as the charge cycle would take. So far that’s worked out great. We use AA’s in our student and children’s ministries, and since they last so long, I have a few extras, but basically the batteries last the weekend, then we charge during the week. Horizon sells 10 bay chargers, so we can turn over a lot of batteries in a short time.

We did have one problem with a 10-bay 9V charger about 8 months after we bought it. Four of the bays stopped charging. I called Horizon, they sent me an RMA, and we had it back in about 2 weeks (which was about a week too long, but it didn’t cost me anything). Overall their service was quite good.

My only caveat is that you have to train everyone to change the batteries before the service (especially the 9v ones). When the batteries go, they go quickly. We tried to push the limits with our ULXP series mics because they transmit battery voltage back to the receiver. Problem is if you have 2 bars on the meter, you have between 10-20 minutes before the mic shuts down. It will go from 2 bars to 0 in a minute or two. After having the worship leader’s mic go out a few weeks in a row, we now just change it between every service.

The upside of making the switch was that I saved so much money on batteries that I was able to buy 3 more new wireless mics last year instead of throwing the money in the trash can. If you currently use AA batteries it’s a complete no-brainer to go rechargeable. Get the new 2800 mwh batteries (about $15/4) and a 10 bay charger and you’re all set. If you use 9V’s and can be disciplined enough to change them often, it also makes great sense. You’ll save a ton of money and keep a pile of batteries out of the landfill.  As an added bonus, the NiMH rechargeable batteries are not considered hazardous waste like alkalines are. Like I said, save your budget and save the world. What’s not to like?

Update: 7/24/08

It’s been over 2 years now that I’ve been using these batteries and my enthusiasm has not waned. The still work great for us every weekend, and I’ve cut down the number of batteries we buy to a dozen or two per year (instead of 3 dozen a weekend). I will say now that having used both Ansmann’s professional, rack-mount chargers and the more consumer-level desktop ones, that the pro chargers are the way to go. They are several times the cost, but charge much more reliably. The desktop ones have a habit of letting the batteries pop out of the charging bays, and you end up with partially charged (or not at all) batteries. While the pro series are not perfect, they are a lot better.

I’ve also found that rechargeable batteries self-discharge at a faster rate than new alkalines, so it’s important to keep them in the charger. We made it a policy that when pulling batteries for a mic, you take them out of the charger, and immediately fill the empty slots in the charger with spares we keep in the drawer below. That way we always have 32 AAs (we have two 16 slot chargers) and 16 9vs (two 8 bay chargers) ready to go. 

The usual disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated or compensated by Horizon Battery or Ansmann. I just really like their stuff.

Great Training Resource

We had a district conference at our church today. On more than one occasion, someone asked me, “Are you familiar with (insert software package in question here)?” Most times I was. The next question was, “Where can I get training on that?”

To be sure, there are many excellent sources of training available. Total Training, VASST and others have created some excellent DVD training sessions for popular editing and sound programs. I’ve used some of them and found them quite helpful. They can be pricey, however. And the DVD format means I have to stop what I’m doing, dig out the DVDs find the section I want and launch the DVD player to learn something. About 8 months ago, a friend of mine told me about a web site I’ve found immensely helpful and affordable.

The site is Lynda.com. There you will find literally thousands of hours of training on hundreds of software packages. Everything from Office 2003 to Maya (a high-end 3-D package) is in their archives. It’s all QuickTime-based training, and each training package will include “chapters” of short movies. The beauty is, if you are trying to figure out how to use the Match Hue effect in Final Cut Pro, you can probably find a short 5-8 minute video on how to do it. Even though a training module may have 6-8 hours of material, you can skip around an learn just what you need to. Because it’s web-based, I just switch over to my browser (which is always open anyway), and find what I need.

It should be noted that I am in no way compensated by Lynda for anything. I have been using the site for about 6 months and love it. It’s also affordable – $25 a month or $250 a year. If your church signs up for it, you can train people on everything from After Effects Pro to Quickbooks.

I personally have made a commitment to continously upgrade my skill set with all the software tools at my disposal. I view it as good stewardship—if my church spent nearly $2,000 equipping me with a highly capable editing system, I should do all I can to make the most of it.

Anyway, Lynda.com – check it out.

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