Spoiler alert; this will probably be a multi-part series that won’t get wrapped up until a few weeks after NAB. But I wanted to get started with it anyway since it’s all still fresh in my mind. A few people asked me about our equipment set up, what we rented, how we configured it and what the overall system looked like, so we’ll start there. Eventually, I’ll do some more in-depth reviews of specific gear, but for now, we’ll just concentrate on the overall system.
Bringing Back Monitors
Well, technically, the monitor position. For the past 20 months, we’ve been doing most of our monitoring via the M-48s (for the band) and wedges mixed from FOH for the vocals. This year, our worship leader wanted to put all the vocals on IEMs. Since we were going to have eight BGVs for Good Friday (plus the eight M-48s); and a choir plus three BGVs and seven M-48s for Easter, I knew that we’d need help. Since my friend Kevin Sanchez was available, we booked him for monitors. However, we don’t have enough wireless IEMs or even a monitor desk anymore, so we needed some additional gear.
We rented 10 channels of Sennheiser G2 and G3 (mostly G3) wireless for the vocal team, and used our in-stock Shure IEMs for the band (in conjunction with the M-48s—our normal set up). For the desk, we decided to bring in a DiGiCo SD10 for FOH, and moved our SD8 to monitors. Since DiGiCo does rack-sharing so well, we ran all the inputs through our normal DigiRack and simply digitally split it out to both consoles. The FOH SD10 was gain master, and the SD8 tracked it perfectly. We could have done it the other way, but I needed to keep the levels good for the M-48s (which splits off the SD10 at FOH).
Once we got everything configured (making sure the SD10 was the Audio Master and the clock master), it all worked perfectly. I could make changes to preamp gain safe in the knowledge that the SD8 would track that gain and not mess with IEMs Kevin was mixing. The rest of our audio chain was pretty normal; save for the Waves SoundGrid server that was attached to the SD10. I hadn’t planned on using any Waves for the weekend, but since they were there, I did. But that warrants another post. And the results may surprise you…
Lighting it Up
We’ve rented a variety of fixtures over the years for Good Friday, and this year we changed it up again. My LD, Thomas Pendergrass, came up with a plan to use ten rented VariLight VL2500s along with our six Martin 518s and eight High End Studio Color 575s. Though we spent less this year than any year in recent memory, we actually had 24 moving lights on stage, which led to some pretty impressive looks. We also deployed our twelve ColorBlasts to light up our set pieces (dubbed the “hourglasses”). We put three at the top and bottom of each piece.
The hourglasses (for lack of a better term) were taken from something I saw on ChurchStageDesignIdeas. They were made up of nothing more than 3/4” EMT (electrical conduit) and 2” wide, white landscape marking tape. The marking tape is a 2 mil vinyl tape that we gaffed to the EMT. The EMT was hung from the truss with safety cables (secured at one end to a pipe with tie line so it wouldn’t move around), and weighted with sandbags on the floor. We just stretched the tape from top to bottom leaving about 4” of space between each piece. They took less than 2 hours to make and cost about $70. And we’ll use the EMT in our student room this summer when I re-run the video lines.
Our Good Friday service is really amazing. It’s a “no spoken word” service; everything is conveyed through text, video and song. Over the last three years, I’ve been through the service over 20 times (between services, rehearsals and virtual soundcheck), and it wrecks me every time. During this service, we do no front lighting of the band; it’s all back and side light. In fact, the light is really more of an atmospheric element. We run a ton of haze and do a lot of beam effects, something the VL2500s do very well.
We also played around with what I called my ghetto sub array to really enhance the earthquake effect we do during this service. It worked out well enough that I ended up using it all weekend.
Easter is basically the same band set up as Good Friday (only we loose percussion). This year, instead of a large vocal team, we had a 19 person choir plus our worship leader and three BGVs. I was pretty sure our DPA 4098s would work OK for the choir, but I have been itching to try the new 2011s since they were announced last year at NAB. Finally having an excuse, I called my friend Jarrod at DPA and asked if I could get a set. I hung them side-by-side with the 4098s so I could directly compare them. And that will be the subject of a separate post, but I can tell you that the choir sounded great. Even though there were only 19 people, we got them to 94 dBA SPL in the house before there was even a hint of feedback.
As Easter is celebration, we light it up a lot more than Good Friday. It’s the exact same light plot; we just use things differently. For both services, Thomas did a great job conveying the right mood through lights.
There is a lot more to say about both services, and what went into it, but it will have to wait. Stay tuned, I’ve got lots of pictures!
What cool gear did you get to play with for Easter?