Sunday, December 30, 2012

Technical issues

As anyone who attends a small to moderately large, modern Protestant church, the sound and media displays during a service can rival that of a typical rock concert.

While Mercy Hill doesn't go to those extremes, we do try for a decent mix on the sound, as well as a transparent media experience. Transparent? Words to songs appear at the right time, in the right order. Videos run with synced images and sound, without being grainy or jerky. The verses the pastors use during their sermons show behind them as they read them, for those of us who can't see the small print in our Bibles in the relatively low lighting (and for those who don't have Bibles).

The people up on the platform generally get the kudos for a well ordered service. But lurking in the back of the room is a small team of people who, like the service they provide, prefer to remain...transparent.

A few suggestions for keeping your tech crew happy and eager to serve:

1. Most sound/tech boxes are situated in the back of the auditorium/sanctuary, ideally on a slightly raised platform. The techs - in particular the media person - need a clear line of sight to the team on the platform.  The first suggestion - do not stand in front of the tech booth.

2. If you know the people on duty in the booth, by all means nod, smile and say hello as you walk past the booth to your seat. But please, remember they are "on duty", and do not be offended if they barely glance at you as they pass.

3. There is generally a lull between the early run through and the start of the service. The tech people may be getting a cup of coffee, getting rid of their first cup of coffee (if you know what I mean), reviewing their cues or simply staring into space. It's fine to start a conversation, but please do not delay them unduly. If the service starts without them, there will be problems.

4. Once the singing is over and the sermon begins, the stress level for the media person jumps up a notch. The last thing a tech wants to do is foul up the pastor's sermon. Please remember that when the sound guy sets the level for the message, then goes to sit with his family or goes to get yet more coffee, the media person is concentrating hard on following the sermon, praying that this is not the Sunday the pastor changes the order of his points as he preaches.

Actually, this week went very well. I don't think I have any additional grey hairs (if so, my hair appointment yesterday was for naught). Considering that we had a different sound guy, preacher and worship leader, I'd call that a successful service.

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