Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Input Sheet Template

The other day I tweeted a reference to my new semi-automated input sheet. There was a loud enough cry that others may be interested, so I thought I’d write it up here. It started off life as an Excel spreadsheet that a predecessor of mine came up with. While I may have done the basic format a little differently, this one works perfectly fine (and it’s a lot of work to create from scratch). I prefer Numbers to Excel, so I opened it there and went to work. What I set out to do is eliminate as much double-entry as possible. I learned this back in my database development days; enter the data once, let the software do the rest. Here are a few highlights.

The first thing I did was standardize our board layout. This was already pretty much in place, but I made some tweaks to it so that the inputs page properly on both the M7 and monitors and the PM5D at FOH. In the past, we’ve had stereo inputs spread across multiple fader banks, and that didn’t make sense to me. I also set it up so that stereo inputs pair odd to even on our $65K FOH board (it’s a sad testament to Yamaha that the $20K M7 can pair either way; but I digress…). Once the standard input list was built, it was a matter of pre-populating values in drop-downs.

We have basically 4 drummers, for example. Rather than type their name in, I simply made a drop down for ch. 1. Then, I made ch. 2-10 equal the value of the cell above. Change the value once, software changes it the other 9 times. Sweet!

Ch. 2=Ch. 1, Ch. 3=Ch. 4, etc.

Ch. 2=Ch. 1, Ch. 3=Ch. 4, etc.Next up, we typically have a percussion or woodwinds player. Percussion takes 3 channels, woodwinds takes 2. To make sure things pair properly, I chose the middle channel of the three for my drop-down.

What it looks like in Woodwinds mode.

What it looks like in Woodwinds mode.Select Percussion from the drop-down…

One click away...

One click away…And presto 11 other cells change instantly.

What it looks like in Percussion mode.

What it looks like in Percussion mode.I accomplished this little feat with a series of IF,THEN statements. Here’s an example:

Similar formulae populate all these cyan cells.

Similar formulae populate all these cyan cells.

Basically, the Mic Type field of Ch. 22 is looking at the Instrument field. If it sees “Percussion,” it enters “e904.” If it doesn’t, it enters a dash. I have these all over the spreadsheet.

The other thing I did was to auto-enter as many recurring names as possible. For example, in our monitor mix section, I’m trying more and more to use the same mixes for the same things. Once we get there, it’s a simple matter to make the musician field look back to a previous field and enter the name, like so:

Mix 9 Name looks back to who's playing drums. And so on...

Mix 9 Name looks back to who’s playing drums. And so on…

It’s not too hard to do any of this; the hardest part is figuring out the standard layout, then determining what you can automate. Once you get started, it’s easy to automate a ton of it. Even making a few tweaks to the template this week, it only took me about 5 minutes to build the entire input list. And who can’t use more time in their day?

Here are links to the two files:

Numbers Version (requires iWork ’09)

Excel Version (requires Office 1998 or higher)

In a cruel twist of fate, it appears that Excel doesn’t support drop-down menus. It does, however, appear to be really easy to insert a clip-art photo of a duck. Just one more reason to like iWork…

Update June 29, 2013: 

I’ve added to and revised our input sheet pretty significantly in the past few years. I wrote another series of posts, and did a video showing how we use the new versions. You can find them here: 

Input Sheets Pt. 1

Input Sheets Pt. 2

 

  

15 Comments

  1. fohdave@diveproductions.com

    I’ve been automating a lot of my input list stuff in a spreadsheet, too. I actually have a sheet where I enter in the names of our typical musicians, and then it fills in the input list for me. There is also some other programming to automate the creating our the input list in our studio based off FOH and then to standardize some of the inputs we share between all our auditoriums.

    I’ve got everything on Google Docs because I can then easily publish it as a web page, plus it makes it very easy to share between our staff for editing purposes. Personally, I don’t like Google Docs and would much rather go back to Numbers or Excel. Sometimes for large events I end up taking things offline to work in a real spreadsheet…

  2. fohdave@diveproductions.com

    I’ve been automating a lot of my input list stuff in a spreadsheet, too. I actually have a sheet where I enter in the names of our typical musicians, and then it fills in the input list for me. There is also some other programming to automate the creating our the input list in our studio based off FOH and then to standardize some of the inputs we share between all our auditoriums.

    I’ve got everything on Google Docs because I can then easily publish it as a web page, plus it makes it very easy to share between our staff for editing purposes. Personally, I don’t like Google Docs and would much rather go back to Numbers or Excel. Sometimes for large events I end up taking things offline to work in a real spreadsheet…

  3. patrick.sprague@mac.com

    And this is why I read your blog. Posts like this.

  4. patrick.sprague@mac.com

    And this is why I read your blog. Posts like this.

  5. kellygubser@gmail.com

    This rocks, Mike!

    The only thing better would be if Excel had Visual Basic capability on the Mac. On a PC, you could have a form to fill out who was on what instrument, click OK, and then it would go create or populate the forms for you.

    A lot of extra work there, though, that would make it marginally more slick is all. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. kellygubser@gmail.com

    This rocks, Mike!

    The only thing better would be if Excel had Visual Basic capability on the Mac. On a PC, you could have a form to fill out who was on what instrument, click OK, and then it would go create or populate the forms for you.

    A lot of extra work there, though, that would make it marginally more slick is all. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. chadgreen@charter.net

    I’d like to second and third that about the clipart in Excel.

  8. chadgreen@charter.net

    I’d like to second and third that about the clipart in Excel.

  9. phil@philrowley.net

    Wow, this is a really cool idea. I’m having trouble seeing the real world application though? What is the point to putting all your band members on an input sheet? At my church, I hardly know whose playing until the day I show up…? Does this somehow aide you in labeling channels on your board (electronically as opposed to manually typing in each singer, input, etc)?

  10. phil@philrowley.net

    Wow, this is a really cool idea. I’m having trouble seeing the real world application though? What is the point to putting all your band members on an input sheet? At my church, I hardly know whose playing until the day I show up…? Does this somehow aide you in labeling channels on your board (electronically as opposed to manually typing in each singer, input, etc)?

  11. Why Input Sheets? – Chur

    […] raised a good question based on my last post about the Input Sheet Template; to wit, Why even do an input sheet? I can think of several reasons, […]

  12. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Phil–
    That’s an excellent question. One that was so good in fact, that I wrote an entire post about it. Thanks for helping me come up with more content! You can check it out here:

    http://www.churchtecharts.org/archives/1420

    Thanks for reading!
    mike

  13. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Phil–
    That’s an excellent question. One that was so good in fact, that I wrote an entire post about it. Thanks for helping me come up with more content! You can check it out here:

    http://www.churchtecharts.org/archives/1420

    Thanks for reading!
    mike

  14. jrygel@hotmail.com

    Excel does support drop down menus in several different ways. The easiest way for this application is to use ‘Data Validation’. You select the cell (or multiple cells) you want the drop down in, then go to ‘Data Validation’ under the ‘Data’ tab (I’m on Excel 2007, so can’t tell you where it is in other versions, but it’s been available since at least Excel 97). Tell it to ‘allow’ a ‘list,’ and then type in the list of your drop down items under ‘source,’ separated by commas; alternatively, you can use a range or named range as the source, which allows the items in the drop down to change based on other parameters in your sheet. You can also type in an error message for excel to display if someone tries to enter anything that is not in the list in that cell.

  15. jrygel@hotmail.com

    Excel does support drop down menus in several different ways. The easiest way for this application is to use ‘Data Validation’. You select the cell (or multiple cells) you want the drop down in, then go to ‘Data Validation’ under the ‘Data’ tab (I’m on Excel 2007, so can’t tell you where it is in other versions, but it’s been available since at least Excel 97). Tell it to ‘allow’ a ‘list,’ and then type in the list of your drop down items under ‘source,’ separated by commas; alternatively, you can use a range or named range as the source, which allows the items in the drop down to change based on other parameters in your sheet. You can also type in an error message for excel to display if someone tries to enter anything that is not in the list in that cell.

© 2021 ChurchTechArts

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑