Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Month: December 2008 (Page 1 of 2)

Going Dark

It’s hard to believe that 2008 is almost over. It doesn’t seem like it was a year ago that our family was celebrating our first Christmas in the Twin Cities. So much has happened, yet the time has flown by. Overall, I’d say it was a good year, though the second half was significantly busier than the first. 

For most folks working in churches, the weeks leading up to Christmas tend to be the busiest of the year (aside from Easter). Those who are involved in service productions are especially busy. This year has been no exception to that rule for me,and on top of that, we’re less than 3 months from moving Upper Room to a yet unspecified location. To say that’s taken it’s toll would be an understatement.

So I’m going to take advantage of the fact that we’re not having church on the 28th, and a few floating holidays and take 10 days off, starting today. Well, technically, I worked today at the midnight service, but I was done by 2:30 AM. 

Normally, when I take a vacation, I spend a significant amount of time reading and writing blog posts, researching new equipment, answering e-mails (many work-related), and planning for my return to the office. Which sounds a whole lot less like a vacation than it should.

So this time around, I’ve decided to take radical action. I’m going “dark.” No e-mail, no Twitter, no blogs, no internet at all (with the possible exception of Google and Google Maps to find fun stuff to do with the family), and very limited cell phone. I’ll be off-line from now until New Year’s day. I’ll probably come back either the 1st or the 2nd, depending on how this little experiment has gone.

I figure the first few days will be hard; rather like de-tox. But once the shakes wear off, and I stop reaching instinctively for my iPod Touch to check my e-mail and Twitter, it should be good. I need to stop thinking about church planting, technology and IT stuff. I need to relax, and I need to sleep. My hope is those three things will happen.

We techies can get really addicted to our technology, sometimes to our own detriment. So I’m shutting off, just to prove I can. And because I need to.

I want to take a minute and thank all of you for reading this past year. I’m continually amazed at the number of people who take time out of your busy days to read this. The monthly page view count has increased by nearly 300% since last December, and the number of RSS subscribers is up more than that. I find that humbling and encouraging. 

So Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! We’ll see you in the New Year!

Blessings,

mike

Cutting the Budget

As most of you know, we’re in the throws of getting ready to launch Upper Room out on it’s own as a new, independent church. And that means new gear. A lot of it, potentially. As we look for new worship space, we’re coming to the conclusion that wherever we end up, we’ll be doing some sound, lighting and video upgrading. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that apparently, we’re in the midst of the greatest economic crisis ever known to man (according to the minute by minute news reports). I think it’s greatly over-rated, and wrote a lengthy rebuttal to the “crisis” on my personal blog. Even the Church is feeling the pinch; singing the blues and looking for a bailout almost as earnestly as GM. This is tragic to me on many levels. If anyone, and any organization, should be able to successfully weather tough economic times, it’s Christ-followers and the Church. If we really took the Bible seriously, and followed it’s teachings on money, stewardship, borrowing, lending and giving, we would not be nearly as effected by this. We could be a light to the world, with a great testimony saying, “See, this is how we’re called to live. Come, hang with us, we’ll help you through.” Instead, we’ve lived so much like the world that we’re now suffering, just like the world. But I digress…

Regardless of the actual state of economic affairs, perception is reality and it’s looking like our budget is shrinking. Personally, I’m OK with this. I grew up near New England, and my ancestry is Dutch, so I’m pretty much a cheapskate by nature. Which is not to say I buy the cheapest thing available, but I always go for the best value. And right now, value is the order of the day.

A month ago, I presented a budget for sound, lights and video for a room yet to be determined. It was not quite a “dream” budget, but it was pretty cushy. I didn’t go for a Venue or a PM5D, because those are just way overkill for a church of 600-800. I also didn’t go for an M7 for the same reason. I spec’d either an LS9 or a RSS M-400 with digital snakes. I went with a pretty good compliment of wireless and Aviom IEMs, and all new ancillary gear. For lighting, I went a bit high, looking at an ETC Ion, and moving fixtures (mainly for their high coverage to amps-needed ratio–I’m trying not to spend a fortune on electrical). For video, I specified a new iMac, ProPresenter, a couple of 6,500K projectors and new screens.

All told, it was a solid budget with a lot of bang for the buck. It also looks like it was quite a bit high. So that means the pencil needs to be sharpened again. But where to cut? Ah, that is the question, grasshopper. As Ralph Machio learned in The Karate Kid, we must have balance. 

As I discussed in a few previous posts on design principles (here and here), the first thing we went back to is this: What are our values? This is still a work in process, and we have time on the calendar to really hammer that our after the new year. But we have a few things we know for sure. First, Upper Room has always been know for high quality music. We don’t want that to change. That means the sound system needs to sound good. And as much as I’d love to hang a Meyer or d&B or L’Acoustics rig, I don’t think we have the budget. Still, we need to hang something that sounds pretty good. 

That also means that we need a solid signal path prior to the speakers. And that may or may not mean digital. While a digital board would be nice, there’s nothing wrong with analog, and we may well choose an A&H GL series, especially if it frees up dollars for a better speaker hang. I also cut almost all of our wireless; replacing 4 wireless IEMs with 4 Aviom stations saves some dollars real fast. I cut all new drum mics, instead opting to stick with the ones we have. They may not be “the best,” but they are certainly workable. 

Lighting may take the biggest hit. We don’t to a ton with lighting right now, and while we’d love to be able to utilize some of the cool atmospheric effects moving lights can provide, we’d rather have excellent sound, and OK lighting. 

Still, the entire package needs to be considered. For example, when you compare a A&H GL2800-40 to an RSS M-400, it looks like the GL is close to $5,000 cheaper. However, when you start adding in things like an analog snake, 6-8 channels of compression, effects and the additional install wiring, the difference drops to closer to $2,000. $2K is $2k, and if it comes down to that, we’ll go with the GL. On the other hand, the savings doesn’t appear to be worth the cost. 

The same is true for lighting. While it appears cheaper to buy a 12-18 conventional fixtures, especially compared to even 6 moving lights, when you start to add up the installed cost, the difference is small. In fact, depending on the room, it could actually cost more to install conventionals because of the greatly increased need for wiring, dimming and signaling. Without a building to get bids for, I can’t compare the cost directly, but when we do decide on one, that will be part of the equation. Since we’ll be renting, if I have $25,000 to spend on lighting, I’d rather spend $20K on intelligent fixtures we can take with us when we leave and $5K on wiring upgrades than $20K on wiring and dimming with only $5K for conventional fixtures.

Again, it all comes down to balance, and knowing where you can get the biggest bang for the buck. If I have to buy Whirwind IMP DI’s instead of Radials to save a few hundred dollars to put toward better speakers I will, because speakers are harder to change and make a bigger difference. Cutting wireless IEMs not only saves on the transmitters and packs, but also eliminates the need for antenna combiners and big antennas. More $$ for speakers. 

I now have A, B, C (and even D for lighting) budgets. Depending on which you pick in each category, I have a workable system for 42% of my original design. Is it ideal? No. Does it give us all the functionality we want? Not really. But would it get us through the next year or two and still deliver acceptable to good results? Yup. 

Personally, I’m still trusting in God’s ability to supersede the economy and provide for us a system that will be excellent and value-packed. While we may not get our “A” level system, I really believe we’ll get a really good one. And I’m not done shopping yet. After I re-did my IT budget, I went shopping and found an additional 10% in savings. But I didn’t stop there. By re-using some existing equipment and tweaking what I am going to buy, I’ll save another 20%. It’s just how I roll. Which in today’s world, is a good thing!

What Do You Recommend?

Anthony Coppedge has a good post at his blog about the way people ask for equipment recommendations. I laughed when I read it because just the night before, I had used the exact same illustration. As I talked about in Asking for Help, I get several requests for advice on equipment a month (sometimes several a week). I’m cool with that; as an equipment geek, I’m more than happy to talk gear with anyone. 

I’m amused sometimes when the question comes in like this, however, “We want to get a new mixer for our church, what do you recommend?” Most times, that’s the e-mail. Well, that’s not true, a lot of times people will tell me they read the blog and really enjoy it. Stroking the ego is a great way to get people to respond to your emails .

As you can probably guess though, there’s not really enough information there to make any kind of recommendation. I get this question often enough that I have a standard list of questions that I reply with. If you ask me that, here’s what you’ll get in reply:

What is driving the desire to get a new board? Digital desks offer recallable setups, internal dynamic and effects capabilities, digital signal transport, and it’s the latest technology; but you may or may not benefit from those features. 

What are the requirements of the new board (channel count, mix busses, outputs, type of output–analog or digital)?

What are the goals of the new board? Ease of use, improved sound quality, increased feature set, more I/O, smaller footprint, elimination of outboard gear, better monitoring & metering…there’s a lot to consider.

What kind of monitoring system do you use (wedges, IEMs, Aviom, etc.)?

Who operates the board, and what is their experience level? Who would train new operators on the new board? Who will train them 2 years from now?

Who will be installing the new board? If it will be installed by someone at the church, what is their level of expertise? Or will dealer installation be required?

What does the existing infrastructure look like? Do you have a permanently installed snake? How many channels? Where is the amp rack, and what kind of loudspeaker management do you have?

What does the rest of the system look like? Do you have a rack of external effects, compressors and the like? How much of it is worth keeping?

What kind of budget do you have?

Of course, that is not an exhaustive list to make a recommendation, but it at least gets the conversation going. The funny thing is, when I reply with this list of questions, about 1/3 of the time, I never hear from the person again. Were they just looking for a blanket recommendation? Did they not want to do the hard work of really determining what the best fit for their church is? I’m guessing my experience is not unique.

If you ask any of the great people who write blogs on church technology for a recommendation on equipment, you will likely get the same helpful response. Most of the guys I know are more than happy to share their knowledge. And I’m pretty sure none will answer the “which mixer” question with, “You should buy a _insert your favorite mixer here_.” 

Spending money in a church is serious business. People give money to the church with the expectation that it will be spent to advance the Kingdom and help people. Those of us with the authority to spend it need to really weigh out what we’re spending it on. And sometimes that means really thinking through our options.

So ask the questions, but be prepared to be answered with more questions. And really think through your options. Just because we use an M7, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you (and when Upper Room moves, we won’t be using an M7 anymore…). Just because North Point uses a Digi Venue doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you either. Would I like a Venue? Sure, but I’d probably have to make do without speakers…  

With that said, let’s get some dialogs going!

A Few System Design Principles Pt. 2

OK, we’re back to looking at some principles of system design. If you missed yesterday’s post, here is the Reader’s Digest version: First find the real needs, next determine your timeline. That’s it, you’re caught up. On to principle number three.

Don’t be afraid to re-work the plan. Blow it up if needed.

Last Friday, I met with the business rep at the Apple store. While I was waiting for him, I started cruising the Apple store online. I went to the refurbished section. I came across a MacPro with the same specs as the XServe for $500 less. I also noticed that AppleCare was 1/4 the price it was for an XServe. And I could add simple SATA drives into it easily without having to buy the expensive sleds. And it had 3 full-length PCI-e slots. Hmmm….

I also learned the day earlier that Astaro was having an amazing year-end sale that would save me $1,000 on the price of my firewall. The Apple store also had a re-furb’d iMac that would save another few hundred dollars. Hmm….

I went home and started re-working my plan. I talked with CPC’s IT guy and he reminded me to check out Newegg for hard drives. Hey, that saved another $120. And by the way, I discovered that the Seagate drives I was thinking of (750 Gig ES2’s) weren’t faring well in the user ratings. WD’s new RE3’s however, looked really good. They cost less, and are specially designed for a RAID. 

After a few hours, I blew up the whole plan. I will spare you the details, but we end up with almost double the storage on our RAID (and it’s now a RAID 6 instead of a 5), the RAID will be faster since I found another enclosure with a faster interface, I’ll get both AppleCare and Server Upgrade protection, I get more coverage on my firewall, my off-site storage will be easier and faster (by a factor of almost 4), I get a new editing computer that’s almost twice as fast as my current one, we get a server that will last us for years and I saved $1,000 off the original budget.

All because I was willing to blow it all up and start again. Interestingly, the basic system is very similar to what I started off with, but every element has been tweaked, upgraded and re-priced to find the best deal. 

Trust your gut.

I had been given the go-ahead to place the order the day before I went to the Apple Store. I could have ordered what I originally wanted right then and there and been fine with the leadership. However, something within me said, “Hold off.” I’m really glad I did. I had earlier dismissed re-purposing my current MacPro as a server (as suggested by CPC’s IT guy) as too expensive because I have to buy Leopard Server. However, when I re-ran the numbers, it actually worked out better. We don’t need the server density afforded by the XServe, and the MacPro will actually be easier for me to work on. And I get a faster editor.

Play with different scenarios.

Say this with me, “Spreadsheets are my friend.” If you were to look at the spreadsheet I have built to analyze this, it might make your head explode. But I kept running scenarios until I found one that worked. I have a half-dozen different ways to do network storage. Three ways for off-site backup. Two server platforms. And a myriad of combinations of the above. It’s sort of like solving a Rubick’s Cube. You twist and turn, spin this way and that, then suddenly, Aha! it all comes together. That was my Friday night (OK, I got obsessed with it…so what).

In the end, it cost me a day. For the next 3-5 years, we’ll have a system that we’ll grow into gracefully. One that will scale as we grow without having to be re-configured every six months. And we saved money. And did I mention my new 2x faster editor? I think that was worth a day…

A Few System Design Principles

This might seem like an IT specific post, but stick with me. I think there are principles that can apply to any type of system you’re designing and be helpful. First, a little background. Upper Room started as a sub-minisry of Christ Presbyterian Church. As a sub-ministry, we’ve been utilizing the IT resources of CPC since our inception. And for the most part, that’s been fine. However, with the planting of Upper Room as an independent church, we had to start looking into our own IT system. As the resident geek (and with no budget to hire a real IT guy), the task fell to me. And I’m not completely unqualified, I’ve been doing IT related stuff on and off since 1991 when I convinced my then employer to fire the company we bought our new computer system from and promote me to IT Director. And that worked out OK, so…

Anyway, I digress. The task at hand was to build a new IT system. Our needs are really pretty modest. We need to access the internet quickly and without at lot of barriers. We need to share and store some files on a central drive accessible by all. We need mail and some basic calendar sharing. And we need a way to back up our laptop and desktop machines. As with a lot of things, there are many different ways we could accomplish that. And therein lies the first principle.

Decide what the real priorities are.

I spent several hours with the church leadership trying to figure out exactly what the real needs where. Not the stated needs, but the real ones. The biggies turned out to be network backup, e-mail and calender sharing (actually, that last one was for one person only, but he’s the boss so…). The trick to this step is that sometimes people will say one thing, but mean another. For example, I know of one church that wanted to ban all cords from the stage. They wanted a clean look, and wanted to go all wireless…for everything. That was the stated need. Then they were presented with the cost. The real need turned out to be a neat stage. After the sound guys learned this, they started dressing cables neater, and keeping the stage tidy. As far as I know there hasn’t been a huge desire to go all wireless anymore.

Next, determine the timeline.

If I were looking at a short-term solution, I could accomplish the above goals pretty simply. Finding a solid internet connection isn’t that hard, and a garden variety firewall would keep out most of the bad guys. We had already switched to Google apps for our e-mail, and it’s working well enough, so that’s solved. I could easily throw a simple NAS (network attached storage) drive on the network and call that shared storage. And I could have picked up some inexpensive USB drives and enabled Time Machine.

However, we’re in a very unique situation right now. We are not really a church plant, because we have a staff of 8-10 people. And we’ve become very used to things working at an enterprise-class of service. And since we’re “planting” with probably 600-700 people on day one, we can expect some significant growth over the next year or two. So this means I can’t lowball the system. Even if I only spent a few thousand dollars on some hardware, it would be largely wasted when we upgraded to a “real” network system in a year or two. We’re also in a situation where we are being graciously supported by CPC, which means we have a few more dollars at our disposal than we might in a few years. So I had to start thinking long-term. What type of system would work for us in 3-5 years, if not longer?

Immediately, I thought XServe. It’s way more hardware than we need right now, but it will take a while for us to outgrow it. I also started thinking of going with a hardware RAID 5 for network storage and Time Machine backup. Storage is pretty cheap right now, so I budgeted for 4.5 TB. It’s probably 3-4 times what we need right now, but I’m thinking about what will work in 3 years. I also started looking at a hardware-based firewall that is designed to protect small enterprises. I put together the budget and turned it in. Amazingly, it was approved! Which brings me to my next principle.

Well almost. I’ll bring you that one (and a few more) tomorrow.

Easing the Pain of the 700 MHz Relocation

In case you’re not currently aware, if you are using wireless microphones or IEMs that are operating in the 700 MHz range (698-806 MHz), you’re going to have to power them off permanently sometime after Feb. 17, 2009. How soon is still up in the air, but they’re going to have to go away. For more information, you can read this post  and this post.

Well, either Shure feels our pain, or they figured out that they could sell some more wireless equipment by offering some pretty substantial rebates for those of us stuck getting rid of our perfectly working and soon to be perfectly obsolete 700 MHz wireless gear. The church I work at currently has 16 channels of Shure UHF wireless mics and 9 channels of PSM600 and PSM700 IEMs. Of those, let’s see, 16 of the UHF and 7 of the IEMs are in the 700 MHz band. 

To replace the UHF mics with comparable current equipment, we’d need to go with UHF-R, which runs at least $1,500 a channel (with just a pair of bodypacks–handhelds are more expensive depending on the capsule). Since we have the dual receivers, that means spending at least $3K on a rack space. With Shure’s rebate of $1,000 on a UHF-R Dual system with the return of our old UHF units, that suddenly makes the transition $8,000 more affordable. 

And they’d spot us $300 on each new PSM700, making that $2,100 more affordable. They’ll even give you a rebate if you trade in a competitor’s gear. The rebate is about 1/2 of what it would be if you currently own Shure, but it’s a nice incentive nonetheless.

The rebates vary depending on what you’re buying. Obviously, big ticket items like the UHF-R series get a bigger rebate than the less expensive SLX series. Still it’s a pretty fair percentage off.

You can get all the details of the rebate, and download the form at Shure’s website.

I had heard that Sennheiser was doing something similar, but I can’t find anything on their website that might give any details. It would be worth checking with your Sennheiser dealer (or call them directly and ask for your local rep) if you’re going that route.

Given the fact that many churches are feeling the pinch right now in their budgets, it’s a welcome bit of relief for the church sound engineer who has to explain to the board why we need to replace our wireless mics that seem to still work fine.

Keeping up with the FCC

This is coming a few weeks after the fact, and some of you may already be aware of this but it’s important to note that on November 18, 2008, the FCC finally released it’s official ruling on what had been called White Space Devices (WSDs). They are now called TVBDs (TV Band Devices). While there’s no shortage of anxiety regarding these devices, at least we now know what we’re up against. Here is a summary of what we now know, and some thoughts on how it affects the church sound engineer.

There are two categories of TVBDs: Fixed and Personal/Portable. Fixed devices are permitted to operate in TV channels 2-51 (except 3, 4, and 37) at a maximum radiated power of 4W. Personal/Portable devices are permitted only in channels 21-51 at a maximum power of 100 mW (or 40 mW if operating adjacent to a TV station).

The rules stipulate that licensed wireless mics take priority over TVBDs, however there has yet to be any clarification on how a wireless mic user might get licensed. The TVBDs are supposed to use spectrum sensing technology to avoid wireless mics and TV stations, and until they can provide proof of performance that they can reliably avoid wireless mics and avoid causing interference, they must use a geolocation database to avoid permanent installations. 

In 13 major markets, there will also be 2 TV channels reserved for wireless mic use. Those channels will be the first two open channels above and below channel 37. 

So the good news is that just about anywhere in the country, we should be able to find at least 2 open channels to operate at least 16 wireless systems (8 per TV channel). I say should because there are still a lot of questions about how the geolocation database will work, and how well spectrum sensing will actually play out.

The fixed (and higher power) devices will be a known quantity, and we can frequency coordinate around them like we do with TV stations now. The bad news is that there will be any number of them coming online for the foreseeable future, and we might not know when and where they pop up. And with the portable units being banned from channels below 21, we at least have that part of the spectrum relatively free from roaming, variable interference. 

No matter how it all turns out eventually, the fact is, our wireless spectrum is shrinking, and we need to start taking steps to reduce our dependance on them. The bottom line is that there will be increasing competition for the airwaves, and since we don’t have nearly the budgets Google and Microsoft do, we’ll won’t win the battle.

I’ve been saying it for many months, and will continue to do so: If it doesn’t need to be wireless, make it wired. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches (not to mention money and get better sound!).

Thanks to Sennheiser for their information on the ruling.

Updated ProPresenter Workflow

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been using ProPresenter at Upper Room since about March ’08. In that time, I’ve gone from running it on my MacBook Pro to having a dedicated iMac in the video booth. So up until a few weeks ago, my workflow for building the weekend’s playlist would involve screen-sharing my way up to the iMac from the MacPro in my office (mainly because I have two 22″ monitors on it, and I can run all my graphic apps faster on 2 monitors) and building the show directly on the iMac via remote control. I’d fire files up to the iMac’s HD via the network and get all my work done from the comfort of my office. That all changed a few weeks ago.

The culprit? The new Tech Director for CPC. Turns out, he also likes ProPresenter (more than that, he really didn’t like the old way they did it–running everything from PowerPoint). So now, not only do we have to fight each other for access on Thursdays (our weekend build day), but I can’t come in early on Sunday and edit, since they’re using the iMac for CPC services. The nerve! ‘;-)

Thanks to ProPresenter’s full support of multiple user accounts, having both Upper Room and CPC use the iMac wasn’t a big deal. We each have our accounts, and that gives us separate song libraries, playlists and the like. However, access was an issue.

Since I know that Upper Room will be moving our offices soon, and that means I won’t have direct access to the iMac anyway, I decided it was time for a new workflow. Since I recently upgraded the hard drive in my MacBook Pro (not a job for the faint of heart, I’ll tell you that), I had an extra 160 Gig drive lying around. And since I ordered my new 320 Gig drive from my favorite hard drive retailer, OtherWorld Computing, I picked up a bus-powered FireWire enclosure. Having a pocket sized external hard drive at my disposal, it was time to start moving files.

I copied all my files (backgrounds, graphics, videos, etc.) from the iMac to the external drive. That gave me a complete copy of all the files that we’ve used. The key to making this work, however lives in the user’s Library. Inside the Library folder is a folder called Application Support. Inside that is a folder called Renewed Vision. Finally, we find the ProPresenter folder. Hidden away inside that folder is the key to making this all work. I created a folder on my external drive called Library. This is essentially a holding place for the latest copy of the ProPresenter database. The last piece of the puzzle was to tell ProPresenter to look for media on the external drive, and not the internal one.

My plan is to put all our media on the external drive and sync the Library information to whatever computer I’m building on. Normally, I’ll build on my MBP. I can edit all the songs, add videos to the Media tab, adjust my walk-in loop, whatever. All the media files live on the external, so they go where I go. When I’m done building, I copy the files from Mike/Library/Application Support/Renewed Vision/ProPresenter to the external drive. On Sunday, I’ll move those files from the external to the iMac. Once that’s done, I can launch ProPresenter and we’ll be right where I left off.

And after the first copy, I only move the files that have changed since the last copy. You can see in the screen grab below, it’s only 2 files (both .rvd), the backups folder and the thumbnails. Even then, I open the thumbnails folder and only copy the ones that are new. I’m debating whether to purchase a program called File Synchronization to make the Library file sync go quicker. It’s only $15, but I’m cheap and I don’t mind doing it manually.

The other beauty of this system is that I can now pre-build my ProPresenter shows from anywhere. As long as I have the drive, I have all the files I need, and the latest copy of the database. I could even walk into another church and run our service on their ProPresenter computer with ease.

So that’s what I’m doing now. So far, two weeks in, it’s working great. The only other changes I’ve made is to replace the shortcuts in the finder window’s sidebar to point to the external drive instead of the internal one (I have a shortcut to the ProPresenter folder and another folder inside that where we keep our Keynote files). We now have no strife when working on our services, and I have the flexibility to make some last minute changes from home Sunday mornings while still in my bathrobe. Ain’t technology great!

Interviewed…

While this might fall under the category of shameless self-promotion, my intent is to draw your attention to another useful blog. Chris Huff, writer of Behind the Mixer recently “interviewed” me (in quotes because it was totally virtual…love that technology stuff!).

You can read my responses to his questions here. Chris has been putting together some good posts lately, so be sure to check out the rest of the site.

Kinetic Type

Garr Reynolds over at Presentation Zen has had a few great posts on Kinetic type over the last few days. There are several examples posted on his site, but this is my favorite.

Drop on over to Presentation Zen and check out the first article and the second article on Kenetic Typography. Some really creative stuff that might spark some ideas for your holiday season video productions.

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