Monday, September 24, 2012


At least my fingers no longer compete with a zombie's for the "coldest still animated digits" title.

Sunday was my first day on video duty at church.

The amount of technology needed to put on a service in a contemporary church staggers the imagination (and the wallet). The acoustics in what was a factory seventy years ago are abysmal; all those hard wooden surfaces and big iron bolts send sound richocheting around the room faster than Superman can fly. In addition to a sophisticated sound system, a camera is set up off to the side to capture video of the sermon for the church web site.

Last, but not least, video screens are set up all over the sanctuary, for graphics and lyrics.

That's where I come in.

Someone has to fly the computer that controls all the video. Dual widescreen monitors, keyboard, mouse, switching boxes - the video desk does resemble a cockpit (but much more elegant - we use Macs, you see).

Having done this at various other churches, I'm no stranger to running screens.  My type-A professional training comes in handy for this job.

Though in this case, I need to exercise those talents in a decidedly type-B world.

In direct contrast to everywhere else I've served, the service slides are put together on Sunday morning, while the band is rehearsing. Song lyrics are pulled in from the song library, scripture passages from the pastor's sermon notes. Different graphics are used before the service and during the first half than are used during the sermon itself.

The band tends to wander from verse to chorus to bridge, often in a different order than they did during rehearsal (or even the first service, I've noticed). Thankfully, the band leader nicely called out enough changes to avoid major mistakes.

Bottom line, I survived without, I think, scarring anyone for life. Several people were kind enough to come up afterwards and tell me "good job", including someone who owns a video and graphic production company, and should know of what he speaks.

The cold fingers? From the time I first entered the performing life when I was a grade schooler, the only nervous tic I've had is cold hands. They gradually warm up, but it was always a bit tricky to play the first half of a concert with corpse hands. The freezing phalanges show up any time I'm under pressure - playing, singing, acting, doing something where many people will see/hear the final result.

As I mentioned, they did finally warm up, though not until about the time the sermon began in the second service.

Being able to feel the mouse made all the difference in the world.

1 comment:

Robbo said...

Reminds me of the old SCTV skit featuring the NASA production of "Murder in the Cathedral":