LDI Report: PixelRange LEDs

Some of the most impressive fixtures we've seen all day are at one of the smallest booths. PixelRange has created some very powerful LED based fixtures and reasonable price points. They are well made, exhibit great color and are flicker free. And did I mention how bright they are?

You'll be hearing more about these in the very near future when I get my hands on some to play with.

I tried to post some pictures with this but the WordPress App keeps crashing. More to come...

Good Friday and Easter

Good Friday and Easter is a pretty big weekend at Coast Hills, as it is for most churches. For the last five years, we’ve put together a pretty powerful Good Friday service. It’s done completely without spoken words, instead using video, music and graphics to lead people through the experience. This is my first time through it and I have to say, it got me every time. Even though I was crazy-busy all week working on technical details, and mixed FOH for the rehearsal and two services, I was still wrecked by the end of each service.

We laid out a bunch of Steeldeck platforms for the band and vocalists and draped a bunch of fabric all over the stage. One cool visual effect is the use of a white cyc at the very back of the stage, with a white scrim in front of it. In between, we have a large cross with a mockup of Jesus on it. When the scrim is front lit, you don’t see the cross. But when we back light, the cross becomes visible. There are also lights in the cross, and by combining these lights, we can achieve many different looks.

We also project on the scrim, and it goes through to the cyc creating a cool quasi drop shadow effect.

Fabric is a great effect on stage; and fairly cost-effective. By draping simple fabric and using a combination of up- and down-lighting, we got some dramatic looks. Our lighting consisted of our normal truss hang of pars (gelled blue and red), some old Martin 518 scanners, twelve ColorBlast12s hung on the truss supplemented by twelve rental ones on the floor and eight VL-2500s; two in the house, two on the truss and four on the floor.

After Good Friday, we slightly re-arranged the fabric and moved the vocalists downstage. The lighting was a dramatic change between the two services, with Easter being far more upbeat and celebratory. For video, we drop our screen (the cross was also taken down behind the scrim) which also helps change the look. The idea is to keep the stage similar so changeover time is short. In fact, we turned the stage from Good Friday to Easter in under an hour.

Easter starts with a video of the stone being rolled away (complete with sound effects) and rolls right into Agnus Dei. Each song we sung was accompanied by a video with animated words. To keep everything in sync, we sent a click from ProPresenter to the drummer. We used our 4 track QuickTime system that I wrote about last week. In fact, we expanded it to 6 tracks for a few songs; stereo backing vocals, stereo drum or guitar loop, mono sound effects and click. One thing we did find is that ProPresenter fades in the beginning of audio tracks, which was causing the drummer to miss the first few clicks. We fixed it by putting a second of black at the front of each video.

Here are some pictures from the weekend.

Here's a shot that shows the projector effect we get from scrim and cyc.
When we light the cyc and don't light the scrim, the scrim is nearly invisible. We have a few pars on the cross.
We had a great group of high school dancers. They were always on time, sat around for hours waiting and never complained.
For Easter, the look was much more festive and celebratory.
After messing with it all week, my lighting volunteer finally coaxed our into hazer working almost evenly on both sides of the stage.

Easter Week

It’s Easter week, so we’ll all be pretty busy. But I thought I would quickly give you a quick glimpse as to what we’re doing at Coast Hills. Our Easter service is a fairly big deal, but the big production is Good Friday. Our Good Friday service is a very special production that contains no spoken words; just music and video. The service walks people through the final hours of Jesus’ life up the His ultimate sacrifice for us. It’s a very powerful service, and will take a good amount of effort to put together. Unfortunately, we’re without my right-hand man, Gary who is out with some medical issues.

We start on Sunday, fulling striking the stage down to the bare deck. We move a bunch of our Steeldeck platforms around and hang the 70’ white cyc. Monday, Steeldeck delivers the remaining decking that we need but don’t own. Tuesday the big work begins:Our lighting gets put in place--we’ve rented eight VariLight VL-2000s, and another twelve ColorBlasts. We’ll also be hanging a 70’ wide white scrim in front of the cyc, along with a ton more fabric. The Steeldeck will be finalized as platforms for the musicians and singers. Tuesday night we start rehearsals. Wednesday is lighting programming day. Thursday will be touch up on programming followed by rehearsals late into the night. Friday, we run the whole service again as a dress rehearsal, then run the service twice for our congregation. Easter Weekend will bring us 5 services; 2 Saturday and 3 Sunday. On Monday, we’ll take it all down. That’s our week. So if you don’t hear much from me during this week, that’s why!

Cranky Old Techs

Along with several other church tech guys, I've recently been asked to start blogging over at Church Production Magazine. Today marks my inaugural post on that blog, mike Technically Direct.  I'll be posting a few articles over there each month and linking to them from here (so you don't miss anything).Here's a quick excerpt and the link to the full article.

Everyone knows a cranky old man; those stodgy curmudgeons that seem to have an innate ability to see the fault in everything. If the sun is shinning on a blue-sky day, they are upset because it’s too bright. If it’s raining, well, I guess that’s a given. Generally speaking, cranky old men are not fun to be around—at least for more than about 10 minutes.

If you’ve been involved in production technology for any length of time, you probably know some cranky old techs (COTs). Those guys have been there, done that and are pretty ticked off about having to do it again.

Read the rest of the article.