Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Month: October 2012 (Page 1 of 2)

Good-Sounding Sermon Podcasts Pt. 1

I listen to a lot of podcasts. Several hours a week, I’m at the gym working out (which is why I’m so buff), listening to a podcast. One thing that drives me nuts is having to constantly adjust the volume on my iPhone because the level of the podcast is all over the place. I used to listen to a lot of sermons from other churches; some large churches that you would have heard of, others were smaller. But I stopped after a while because so many of them had terrible audio. The levels were inconsistent, or distorted, or noisy, or there were other issues. 

Now, it’s true that many churches have this dialed in. But I get e-mails from people fairly regularly asking for help in getting the sermon sounding good online. So I figured I’d let you into our process, which I think creates some pretty decent sounding podcasts. But before we get to the how, let’s consider the what. What do we want to accomplish?


Here is a typical weekend sermon recording waveform. This is where we start.

Squash It!

I can’t stand music that is over-compressed, with all the dynamic range taken out (which is why I tend to listen to older music). However, when it comes to podcasts, I really don’t want dynamic range. When I’m huffing and puffing on the elliptical, I don’t want to keep turning the volume up when the pastor gets quiet, and having my ears blown out when he gets loud again. 

Others may disagree with me (and I’m sure we’ll hear from some), but I want to limit my sermon podcast’s dynamic range as much as possible. I’ve found this makes the audio far easier to listen to in the car, on the computer, on a walk or at the gym (which is where people tend to listen to them). 


And this is where we end up. Notice the waveform is almost completely solid. The volume varies very little.

There are many ways to get to a very limited dynamic range, and we’ll talk about them in the next post. But here is something interesting. You might worry about loosing the cues that come from varying levels of speech if the dynamics are squashed. As the pastor softens up and gets quiet to make a poignant statement, you may think it needs to be quieter. However, I’ve found that the tonal qualities of the voice can convey those cues regardless of the level. 

And let’s be honest, people are going to be turning the volume up to hear it anyway if they are in the car or working out. So my philosophy is to do the work for them, and keep the volume consistent.

Minimize File Size, Maximize Quality

I try to keep my sermon podcast file sizes down below 15 MB. They download quickly, even over 3G, and don’t take up a ton of room on the MP3 player. To get there, I use the LAME MP3 encoder—which is one of the best available. For a long time, I used VBR (Variable Bit Rate) encoding on my podcasts, with the quality level set to 20 (which equals roughly 48 kbps, average). However, I recently learned that iTunes has a problem playing VBR files; well technically, it’s a problem pausing them. It seems that pausing a VBR-encoded file will cause iTunes to back up some amount of time before playing back. How much it backs up depends on how far into a program you are. It’s not the end of the world, but it is annoying.

So recently, I’ve switched to CBR (Constant Bit Rate) encoding. After doing some tests, I found it very difficult to distinguish between VBR at 20% and CBR at 48 kbps. There was a tiny bit of difference at the high end, but this is speech we’re talking about, not high quality music. Both sound more than acceptable on both my UE7s and our NS10 monitor speakers, and I heard no difference through the speakers in my MacBook Pro. So for now, CBR it is. Side note; it seems that iTunes 10.7 has a better time with VBR files, but I know a lot of people are still using older versions. Given that I don’t hear any penalty in quality, and the file sizes are very comparable, I’m sticking with CBR.

So that’s what we’re going for; minimal dynamic range, low file sizes, high quality. Next time, we’ll talk about how we get there.

Today’s post is brought to you by Heil Sound. Established in 1966, Heil Sound Ltd. has developed many professional audio innovations over the years, and is currently a world leader in the design and manufacture of large diaphragm dynamic, professional grade microphones for live sound, broadcast and recording.

Avoiding Software Update Headaches


Transient

When I started doing live production in my church 20+ years ago, every piece of equipment we used was hardware-based. When we turned it on each weekend, it worked pretty much every time; unless we had a hardware failure. A hardware failure meant you were out of business until it was physically fixed (unless you had a backup). The good news of that system was that generally speaking things were pretty much the same week to week. You wouldn’t come in and find that a software update broke something. Today, it’s a different story.

If you have a smartphone, chances are you can’t use it for 7 minutes before an update badge appears in your app store. It is a rare day when I can turn on my computer and don’t have some app telling me there is a new version available for download. Most of the time when I’m on my laptop, I’ll just hit “Update” and let it do it’s thing. On a production machine, it’s a different story.

If you’ve been doing this for any length of time, you’ve been burned by an update that breaks something. Chances are, it’s happened just before a service and you were left scrambling for a fix. We all know not to update our audio consoles on show day (we do know that, right?), but sometimes seemingly innocuous updates on presentation, video and lighting computers can put us out of business.

To be fair, it’s hard for developers to imagine every possible software/hardware interaction scenario. Which is why it’s incumbent on us to make sure we don’t put ourselves at risk for problems. Here are some things I’ve learned (and am still learning) that help avoid taking a critical system down over the weekend.

Turn Off Automatic Updates

Almost every application has an option to check for updates at startup. Turn this off. It’s way too tempting to just click through the update dialog box on Sunday morning, only to find out something is broken. I turn off all application auto-update and update check features as well as the OS-level updates. Once I get a system stable, I don’t want an app upsetting the apple cart and breaking something, especially on the weekend. 

Most times, updates are a good thing, but I like to do them in a controlled manner during the week when I have time to test everything just to make sure nothing broke. I don’t always live by this credo, and when I don’t, I am often sorry for it. To keep things running smoothly, I will check for updates manually during the week, evaluate if the update is necessary or needed, then update with caution.

Keep Good Backups

I really like the Mac App store. It makes it so easy to manage all my app purchases, licenses and updates. However, it makes it really difficult to roll back to a previous version if there is a problem. And if you’re not using the App Store, chances are, your applications are doing in-place updates (downloading and installing the updates for you). Both of those update processes delete the old versions of the software (sometimes they just move old versions to the trash, so check there first). 

Having an up-to-date backup of your system will help ensure you can roll back if necessary. Time Machine is actually quite good at this; you can enter Time Machine and restore a previous version of the app (before the upgrade) as well as any pref files or application support files that may have changed (usually in user/Library/Application Support/app name or developer and user/Library/Preferences).

Don’t Update on Show Day

This seems very obvious, but again, it’s so easy to click “OK” on that dialog that tells you there is a new version available that has just a few minor improvements. Sometimes updates don’t actually break anything, but may still effect your workflow. Occasionally keyboard shortcuts change, or a dialog updates which could throw off a volunteer or break a script. 

Make sure you update during the week, giving yourself ample time to test everything if the machine is mission critical. And by during the week, I don’t mean at 4:55 PM on Friday. If it’s not a mission critical system, the rules are a little different.

I run LAMA on a Mac at FOH for RTA and SPL monitoring. But I don’t have to use it, so if something breaks, the show goes on. However, we have another Mac at FOH that runs Mixx (for walk in/walk out), Wireless Workbench and the Roland RCS software. Those have to work every weekend so I don’t update those applications (or that OS) lightly. 

We’re still running older versions of Mac OSX on many of our FOH machines because they are working just fine right now. At some point we will have to update them, but I won’t do it until I have to. 

Updates can be a great thing. The fact that we’re working on computers means that new features can be enabled by downloading software. However, things can also go horribly wrong if we’re not careful. Be safe, update with caution and give yourself plenty of time to fix things if they go wrong.

Today’s post is brought to you by Elite Core Audio. Elite Core Audio features a premium USA built 16 channel personal monitor mixing system built for the rigors of the road. For Personal Mixing Systems, Snakes, and Cases, visit Elite Core Audio.

Three Ways to Mic a B3 Organ

The Hammond B3 is one of those iconic sounds of modern music. And by modern I mean since about the 1950’s or so. The Hammond B3 was the invention of Lawrence Hammond. A serial inventor, he figured out that the synchronous motor he used in the first electric clock could produce musical tones. In 1934, he unveiled the Hammond model A. They were originally sold to churches as a substitute for pipe organs. 


A simple block diagram of the Leslie 122 speaker.

In 1954, Hammond introduced the B3. When paired with a Leslie 122 rotary speaker, the sound was born. Starting with Jimmy Smith, Booker T. Jones, The Rascals and dozens of other bands in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the B3 became a staple of jazz, R&B and rock music. The combination of the tone wheels that can produce a full chord of harmonics with a single key and the dual rotating speakers of the 122 cabinet produce a distinctive sound that is unlike any other. 


This is captured from a video, but it shows the inside workings of a Leslie 122 speaker.

I encountered a real, live B3/122 combination for the first time at a music festival where I was stage camera man. I don’t recall the artist that was on stage, but I’ll never forget walking past the 122 for the first time and being transfixed by the sound. Since then, I’ve been enamored with the rich, full and complex tones a B3 can produce. 

Over the years, the churches I’ve mixed for have used synths to generate a B3 sound. And while the new ones are getting pretty good, there’s nothing like the original. My friend Bob Heil is an avid organ player, having started playing as a teenager. Over the few years I’ve known him, he’s given me a few suggestions on how to mic a B3 (really, we’re mic’ing a Leslie 122, which is driven by a B3, but most people just call it the B3). 


The rotating horn of a 122. Fun fact, only one horn produces sound. 

When I arrived at Coast Hills a bit over 3 years ago, they were using a pair of AKG C414s to mic the B3, one on top, one on the bottom. This brings up a key point; a Leslie 122 has two speakers, a top rotating horn (known as the treble speaker) and the bottom, bass speaker, which is pointed down and fires into a rotary drum with a scoop in it. As the two speed drum goes around, it utilizes the doppler effect to create a distinctive sound. Incidentally, the rotating horn actually has two horns on it, but only one produces sound. The other is there for balance. Fun fact.

Anyway, with two mic’s on a B3, you do get some sense of separation between the lows and highs, and you can tell it’s a B3, but it doesn’t sound great. Here is a recording from early 2011. At this point, we hadn’t yet moved the 122 into an isolation room, and because we’re using 414’s, there is plenty of bleed in the mic’s. Also, because we’re only using a single top mic, you don’t get any stereo imaging. Here’s what it sounded like back then.

Then I talked with my friend Bob. He told me that one of his favorite methods for mic’ing a B3 is to use two mic’s on the top, rotating horn, located 90° to each other, and flip one out of polarity. A single mic picks up the low frequency at the bottom. As you might expect, the mic’s of choice were Heil PR-30s (he said 31’s, but I used 30’s because they’re a bit cheaper and the same element) for the top and a PR-48 for the bottom.


Our second (but really my first) attempt to get really good sound from the B3.

As it happened, I had just pulled my 48 out of the kick (replaced by an RE320, but don’t tell Bob that…), so that went to work on the low. I ordered a pair of PR-30s and set them up as described. We also moved the 122 to an iso room to really clean up the sound. Wow…what a difference. Take a listen.

That worked great for almost a year. Then I interviewed Bob again, and we again got talking about B3s. This time, he suggested I try putting the mic’s on opposite sides of the top cabinet and keep them in polarity with each other. The 48 stays down low. A few weeks ago, I gave it a shot, and again, wow. Now I’m really digging the sound. 

The stereo separation is more pronounced, and I actually exaggerate it in the PA by using the SD8’s ability to decode stereo sources as extra-wide. By doing that, the high organ sound is pushed way out to the side of the mix, where it creates some super-cool ambience, without getting in the way of the vocals. And when I flip on the new DigiTubes and crank them up (another new SD8 feature), it sounds amazing. I’ve said it before on the show, but I’m impressed that I replace the 414’s with three mic’s that combined don’t cost what a single 414 does. Which is why I love me some Heil microphones.


The current mic set up. And boy, does it sound nice!

The audio files in this post are straight off the pre-amp with no processing. I tried to upload AIFF files, but they wouldn’t play in a browser. So they’re 256 kbps MP3s encoded with LAME. You’ll probably want a good set of speakers or headphones to really hear the difference in the samples. Enjoy!

By the way, much of the research on the history of the B3 came from a video I found on Bobby Owsinski’s Big Picture Production Blog. 

CTW is brought to you by BargeHeights. Bargeheights offers cost effective lighting and LED video gear for churches. Coupled with unique visual design, Bargeheights transforms worship venues of all sizes.

Learning from the Legend, Robert Scovill



Last night I had the opportunity to attend a virtual soundcheck seminar put on by Avid. That might be a surprise to long-time readers of this blog, as you know I’m pretty committed to my DiGiCo platform. I originally had decided not to go, but two things changed my mind. First, Nick from Avid called me to see if I received the invite and if I wanted to attend (sidebar: Attention companies, the personal touch is always a great way to reach customers), and Robert Scovill was going to be leading it. 

So while I knew it was going to be a commercial for Venue/ProTools integration (which is fine, it’s their event…), I figured I would still pick up a few things. When I pulled out of the parking lot at 10 PM, I was glad I invested the time. The event was very well done, the food was great and I got to see some friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Here are some of my takeaways.

Good Process=Good Results

I was very encouraged to see that the process Robert uses to build a mix is similar to the process I’ve developed over the years. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I can mix as well as Parnelli Award-winning Robert Scovill. What I am saying is that the way I approach building a mix is similar to his, with obvious differences due to platform, workflow and the fact that he’s Robert Scovill  and I’m not. 

It was interesting to me that I heard things that I didn’t like, then he fixed them, pretty much the way I would have fixed them (at least in principle). Again, I’m not putting my self on par with him, but it’s good to get some indication that the craft one has been developing for 20 years is on the right path. And it’s always good to be reminded that gain structure is key.

Engineer vs. Producer

It struck me that Robert sees himself as more of a producer than an engineer when he’s mixing. He talked about many of the choices he made when shaping the tone of the various instruments on the stage to produce a sound complimentary to the style of music. Given his extensive experience in the studio and on the road, this makes total sense.

But I got to thinking that perhaps I don’t often approach it that way when I’m mixing. To be sure, some of those decisions take time to figure out, and it helps to have great tools at your disposal (he employed a pretty impressive array of plug-ins to produce some equally impressive results). But even without a SansAmp plug-in, I can still shape the tone of the bass to complement the song. 

As we talked about on CTW (episode 112), listening to a wide variety of music will help you with this. Again, I was encouraged to broaden my palate so that I will have a larger library of sounds to choose from when I put a mix together. 

Virtual Soundcheck is a Great Idea

Robert talked about inventing the concept of virtual soundcheck back in the ‘90s. Today, it’s pretty easy for most of us to put together a VS rig (especially for digital mixers; if you’re still analog, check out this post). Last night’s seminar got me thinking of ways I can use VS more effectively. I don’t have a mid-week rehearsal to record and tweak. However, I think it would be beneficial for me to spend an hour or two each week reviewing the past week’s mixes, trying things and honing my skills. 

He also talked about having the artist (in our case, the worship leader) come out and listen to and talk about the mix. Exposing ourselves to that kind of scrutiny is scary, but it’s a great way to grow as an engineer. Plus, once they know we are working hard to make them sound great, they will play and sound better (psychology, it’s crazy-cool!).

Overall, it was totally worth the investment of 5 hours of time (including travel). Should you receive an e-mail for an Avid Virtual Soundcheck seminar, I encourage you to go. Also, sign up for the webinars Scovill does. Yes, they can be very Avid-specific. However, I’ve learned many things from them that I can apply to my workflows, so don’t let that turn you off. 

I’ve written before (and will again) that as technical artists, we cannot stop learning. When you have the opportunity to learn from someone who knows more than you, by all means, take it. You won’t be sorry!

Today’s post is brought to you by the Roland R-1000. The R-1000 is a multi-channel recorder/player ideal for the V-Mixing System or any MADI equipped console or environment. Ideal for virtual sound checks, multi-channel recording, and playback.

Changing Your Mind


Photo by  jurvetson

Photo by jurvetson

I read an article in Forbes the other day that I found interesting. It was an interview with Jeff Bezos (you know, the guy who founded and runs that little company called Amazon) when he spoke at the 37 Signals HQ. The quote that triggered the Forbes piece and this article is this one: 

Bezos “said people who were right a lot of the time were people who often changed their minds.”

I have run into quite a few people in the production world in general, and the church production world in particular, that seem to be averse to changing their minds. They get settled into an idea, process, or opinion on a company and stay there. Forever. You see this on Twitter when someone asks for an opinion on a piece of gear, especially a new one. Even if it amazing technology, if it was made by a company someone doesn’t like, it will be trashed. 

The Bose Roommatch speaker system is a great example. A few years ago, I would have had a tough time recommending a Bose product in a professional setting. Their earlier systems were pretty poor. However, this is a brand new product with a ton of engineering behind it. And it sounds quite good. And it’s at a price point many churches can afford. I have changed my mind about Bose professional (at least about that product). And I think it’s a good thing. 

A while back, I wrote about my current vocal effect process. It’s evolved and changed over the years into what it is today. I’m very happy with the results I’m getting, and I teach it to my volunteers and other churches. But I also list the caveat that I may change it tomorrow if I come up with a better solution. 

Jason Fried, the co-founder of 37 Signals, elaborated on Bezos’ comment:

“He doesn’t think consistency of thought is a particularly positive trait,” Fried explains of Bezos. “It’s perfectly healthy—encouraged, even—to have an idea tomorrow that contradicted your idea today.… the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking.… This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a well formed point of view, but it means you should consider your point of view as temporary.”

I love this line of reasoning. Smart people—smart church techs—are constantly opening their minds to new ideas, new people and new ways of doing things. The best and smartest tech directors I know are the ones who are constantly working to improve things they thought were already pretty dialed in. 

I’ve been known to blow up an entire system or process because I came up with a better idea for doing it. Of course, this needs to be tempered, especially in a setting where we have a lot of volunteers. We can’t keep changing things all the time, as it will drive them nuts. However, we should always remain open to new input that will cause our opinions to change. 

How does this line of thinking strike you?

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Automating Reaper (Again)

Last week, Van and I were able to go to the National Worship Leader’s Conference in San Diego for a day. We had fun at the conference, but as always, the best part was hanging out with our friends. In this case, Daniel Murphy from Planning Center and Lee Fields. While we were hanging out in the green room waiting for Lincoln to go on, I got to talking with the band’s drummer, Mike. We got to chatting about how we use Automator and Apple Scripts to accomplish various tasks. I realized I have updated my automating process for our multi-track recording (we use Reaper) since I last wrote about it, and through I would update you.

I have to give credit where credit is due; my friend Isaiah Franco was instrumental in adding some of the new functionality to the script. While we used to multi-track all three services, we decided that was a waste of disk space. Instead, we now record a 2-track board mix of Saturday night (just in case something exciting happens), a board mix and direct feed of the pastor’s mic at the 9 AM service, and a multi-track of the whole service for the 11 AM. It occurred to me that recording 32 tracks of silence during the message was also wasteful, so I figured out a way to make that go away, too. But we’ll get there shortly.

First, let’s look at the new and improved AppleScript. And I should mention that each service’s AppleScript is fired from an Calendar event set to alarm 1 minute before the start of each service. Simply select “AppleScript” or “Open File” (depends on your version of OSX) from the Alert options and choose your script to run.



Click the image to download the actual script.

Click the image to download the actual script.

I’ll walk you through what it’s doing. First, we hit escape twice, just to release any time selections or anything else that’s going on (which is good, since we edit the 9 AM for the podcast during the break, and we usually have a time selection, well, selected). The delay 1 simply slows the script down. We found that trying to execute the script at full speed was too fast for Reaper to keep up with. Since we fire the script a minute before service starts, adding 8 seconds isn’t a problem. 

Key Code 119  is End, which, as you might expect moves the current time indicator (CTI) to the end. Keycode 124 is right arrow, which we set up as a shortcut in Reaper to move one measure forward when hit with Shift-Command. That’s one of the things I love about Reaper; almost anything you can do in the app can be made into a keyboard shortcut. 

Next, we use M to set a marker at the current position (which makes locating the services easier). I set up Command-Option-C as a command to disarm all tracks. I do this because all of our scripts are based off this one and we don’t need to record many tracks the other two services. Then Command-Shift-A to arm all tracks, and start recording. 

For the 9 AM service, I have shortcuts set up to just arm tracks 1 & 2, which are fired from a slightly different script (same basic concept, though). But here is where it gets interesting. 


If I had a MIDI interface hooked up to this computer, I could fire a CC 1 and it would store that in the list of shortcuts for inserting a marker.

Finding the message in the middle of a long track can be tricky. We used to drop a marker at the start of the message by hitting “M,” but we just as often forgot. It occurred to me that the SD8 can send MIDI commands, and Reaper can listen for MIDI commands. It seemed perfect. I picked up a MOTU FastLane USB-MIDI interface and went to work. Telling Reaper to listen to a MIDI command is as simple as selecting the shortcut, then firing the MIDI command to it. 

I chose Control Channel (CC) 1 as my “drop marker” command. I then tell the SD8 to fire a CC 1 when I fire the Message snapshot. So in addition to turning off the band and bringing up the pastor’s mic, it also drops a marker in Reaper. But how to stop recording of the band tracks when the pastor is speaking?


Selecting all my band tracks, it's a simple matter of Shift-G to bring up the group dialog. Pick a group number (in this case 1), and click both master and slave arm. Done.

Selecting all my band tracks, it’s a simple matter of Shift-G to bring up the group dialog. Pick a group number (in this case 1), and click both master and slave arm. Done.

Reaper allows you to group tracks together in a master/slave collection; meaning that if you arm one of the tracks in the group, they all arm (or disarm). So I set up CC 2 to toggle the arm/disarm function of track 4. Why track 4? Because our board mix is always track 1, the pastor is always 2 and the band usually starts at 3. However, sometimes both pastors speak, which means I have another pastor on track 3, which pushes my band start down to track 4. Thus CC 2 will either arm (or disarm) the snare or the kick depending on how many pastors tracks I have. But it doesn’t matter because if you arm (or disarm) either of those, the rest of the band tracks follow suit.

I’ll put CC 2 commands in my snapshot list between the 9 AM and 11 AM services to toggle the band tracks on and off as many times as I need to. 

I’ve recently learned not all DAWs will let you disarm tracks on the fly while it’s recording. That’s a bummer for you ProTools users; but hey, Reaper is $60 for non-profits. 

Finally, at the end of the service, I fire a CC 3 from my walkout snapshot which stops recording and saves all tracks in Reaper. All in all, it’s pretty elegant. My next goal is to be able to start and stop our walk in and out music playback with MIDI and possibly do the same with video recording.

Today’s post is brought to you by Elite Core Audio. Elite Core Audio features a premium USA built 16 channel personal monitor mixing system built for the rigors of the road. For Personal Mixing Systems, Snakes, and Cases, visit Elite Core Audio.

Everything is Amazing. And No One is Happy.


Transient

Louis CK has a bit in his routine where he describes some of the miracles of modern life, and how we’re never happy with them. The bit is pretty funny, and you can watch it here (though it’s not safe for work, so put on headphones before you listen…). I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when a few of our musicians got to complaining about the trouble they have communicating with each other during rehearsal now that we’re all on ears.

I thought back to three years ago when I arrived at Coast. We had 7-12 monitors on stage, that typically generated 88-90 dB SPL at FOH, 90 feet away with the main PA off. The sound was pretty dreadful back then, the stage was a mess, the piano was rarely in tune and had more drums in those mic’s than piano, sound check typically took more than an hour and at the end, people were rarely completely happy.

Today, we’re so dialed in that sound check can be done in 20 minutes if everyone cooperates, stage volume is almost 0 and by all accounts, the sound in the house is better than it’s ever been. The piano sounds great, and by changing out most of the mic’s so does everything else. Oh, and with the M-48 personal mixers, the musicians can usually get a great mix; one that’s tweaked exactly for them.

Everything is amazing, and no one is happy.

I’m guilty of this too. I regularly complain about our mix position and PA. But then I visit a church where the mix position is so far under a balcony that the engineer can’t even see the speakers (let alone hear them), and the PA is a bunch of portable speakers chained to the ceiling by their carrying handles (I know…yikes!). 

I mix on an SD8, and we have the best personal monitoring system out there. The PA actually does sound pretty good, at least at mix position, and we’ve learned how to make it sound acceptable in the room. Sure, I have to run up and down stairs a lot, but that does help me burn off the amazing breakfasts our hospitality team provides every Sunday. And it’s a good excuse to get an iPad every couple of years (speaking of which…).

Everything is amazing, and no one is happy.

We do this with other technology as well. Take the iPhone 5, which is, apparently, a “huge disappointment.” It turns out that if you take a picture of the sun, you get a purple lens flare. #epicfail! Never mind the fact that I bought my first digital camera about 10 years ago and it cost almost $300. The pictures it took don’t even begin to compare with the photos I can now take with my phone. The one I carry in my pocket all the time. And can use to check e-mail, surf the web, update Twitter and navigate to anywhere in the country (using Motion-X Drive, of course, because Apple Maps suck).

Everything is amazing, and no one is happy.

Maybe what we need is a little perspective change. Instead of complaining about every little thing that isn’t exactly what we think it should be, perhaps we should pause to consider what amazing times we live in. Most of us carry more computing power in our pockets than was used to launch Apollo 13. We can video chat with people anywhere in the world, any time, for free. 

Twenty years ago, we were using transparencies and overhead projectors for song words. We now have amazing tools like ProPresenter and Projector. So what if they crash once in a while; they’re freaking amazing! Back then, we were using HotSpots for monitors. We now have these incredible 40 channel personal mixers that you can customize to the hilt. 

I know this is tough for us as techs, because we tend to be perfectionists and strive to do amazing work all the time. But what if we took the lead on this and started to acknowledge how amazing all this technology is, and cut it some slack when it doesn’t work right. I’m not sure about this, but perhaps we’d be less grumpy and more grateful. I don’t know…it’s just a thought.

Today’s post is brought to you by Ultimate Ears. Housed within a custom shell designed to fit your ears, high quality multiple armature speaker systems provide an unparalleled sound environment, as well as 26 dB of passive noise cancellation.

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