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Tag Archives: Worship Tech

Infuse

We picked up a fantastic idea from Church of the Highlands in Alabama this past year. They have 10+ campuses, and struggled with filling all of the incredible number of volunteer slots that they had. They also found that they had many volunteers who were willing, but not quite up to speed to be able to step directly onto the worship team.

One of their volunteers came up with the idea of doing a weekly “bootcamp” of sorts for the worship team, and they named it Infuse. Instead of going directly onto the worship team after an audition, volunteers now go into Infuse. They are given a few songs to work on each week and come together with coaches to learn how to play as a team, how to visually lead, etc… We took the general idea and created a 6-week version for both worship and production team. We beta tested in the fall of ’14, and are now in our 2nd 6-week run of ’15. It’s been a great tool to help train and prepare volunteers – a highly recommended idea!

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Flexibility Is The Key To Ministry

“Flexibility Is The Key To Ministry!”

I forget where I first heard that quote. It’s easy to remember, but hard to live out. I’m a very busy guy, and my life can spin rapidly out of control when things do not go as planned (which seems to happen from time to time). However, I’ve learned to plan as best I can – which in our services means to the minute – but then to go with the flow. I’ve learned the hard way that it doesn’t pay to freak out. You just end up adding to the problem, nd have a bigger mess to clean up later.

We recently hosted a concert by Hillsong Young & Free. An awesome team of worshipers from the other side of the earth. They led a great night of worship – however, it was one of those nights where the technology did not want to cooperate. When it came time for them to go on, a bunch of their rented gear went down. A couple of their team very expertly stalled – at the same time, my production team kicked into overdrive, helping to get them up and running. In a church our size, many shows end up being a collaboration between the the artists, their crew and our team – this was one of them. The concert ended up being great, and our team helped to save the day. Not just because they are skilled (which they are), but because they were willing to do whatever needed doing to make things work – not for themselves, or even the artists, but for the people that were there to worship.

I have a great team. They are skilled. They are dedicated. And they are flexible…

Hillsong Y&F 2014

 
 

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Idea Of The Week: Ceiling Light Thingys

The 9 Week 1These cool “TV-looking” panels are simply those plastic thingys that they put under fluorescent lights in offices to diffuse them. Lit from behind with LEDs, they look great, and can be easily moved into different formations from week to week! Kudos to Travis Carpenter on my team for a cost-effective and easy idea!

 

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Treat Your Soundpeople Right

Treat your sound people right! Here’s one quick tip to help that to happen – have one person communicate from the platform/stage to the soundboard. At our campus, it’s the worship leader. If someone needs something, they relay that need to the worship leader (who filters the ask to see if it really is a need and not a “diva-type” request). The worship leader then relays the ask to the sound person (respectfully), and the situation is worked on until it’s done. This helps to make sure that there aren’t multiple requests coming from the stage at once, and that issues are resolved before moving forward. Here’s a link to an article which will help the worship leaders among us to walk in the shoes of our soundpeople – I don’t agree with everything here, but there’s a lot of truth.   (click here)

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Fill Tracks – Yea Or Nay?

Fill and click tracks have been around forever, especially in the studio. Simply plug in a metronome & you’ve got something to keep the tempo of any song fairly consistent – a click track. Add keyboard pad, or percussion, or background vocals, etc… and you’ve got a fill track. With the advent of comparatively inexpensive in-ear monitors (Avioms and the like), worship teams can run the track to their in-ear monitors. So, to fill or not to fill?

First, the pluses…

You can add actual spoken instructions to the fill, if you create a stereo split track, and send one side to the worship team and one side to the house mix. Very, very handy. You can also start a song without a count off, since that can be part of the fill. They certainly help the band to keep a consistent tempo, and they allow all sorts of extra instrumentation (you can even use them to fill in a choir’s sound, if the miking situation is difficult, or if you’re short on tenors, for example).

On the minus side, using any sort of fill track (or click) locks you in to an unchangeable song structure. If a worship song is really connecting, there’s really no way to do the chorus twice each time, or extend the bridge. Actually, that’s not completely true, you can signal whoever is running the track to stop it and continue with the live elements – however, this may be very noticeable if the fill is a significant part of the overall sound. Adding on at the end is easier, in some cases, but any changes mid-song are often a no go.

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I have wrestled with the pros and cons, and have leaned in either direction at various times. Here’s where I am now…

At Northview, we use a combination of clicks, fills and songs without any click. However, in all truthfulness, it’s rare that we don’t use either a click or fill track – it tends to be on mellower songs where there needs to be an ebb and a flow that we turn off the machines. We also synch to video fairly often, which means we have to have things solidly lined up (Northview has an 80-foot video screen behind our platform so that we can create “virtual” environments rather than physically building sets, so – as you can guess – the video thing is a big deal for us). I’d love to hear your comments and ideas, especially creative ways you may have utilized fill tracks!

 
 

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Idea Of The Week: (Comparatively) Inexpensive Stage Look

Quick one today… Just take a roll of screen porch screening, wrinkle it up, hang and light it! Voila – engaging and interesting look for a service (or series).

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Idea Of The Week: Sermon TV

We’ve been using a TV for a few months now, rather than lower thirds on our side screens. The general consensus is that it’s a big improvement. Here’s why:
1. The teaching pastor can interact directly with it;
2. More can fit on the screen at one time, so it’s not as awkward for longer passages;
3. It makes it a better experience for folks sitting closer – they can look directly at the preaching pastor, instead of have to try to look directly sideways to see the side screens.
(BTW, the photo here shows Dave Stone, from Southeast Christian in Louisville, who we were blessed to have as a guest preacher this past weekend – you rock, Dave!)

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