Where The Magic Happens

Magic Place 

Here’s where the magic happens. It’s our storage room that’s been converted to the media room. Starting from the left and going right here’s what we have in no particular order: 
-Bookshelves with dv tapes and resources
-Mood lighting from Ikea
-Drawings from my 2 year old daughter-Scanner and printer on side cart
-Tape player and DAT for old audio archives
-MacBookPro. Mainly run email, web browser, iChat and iTunes when the magic is happening.
-Dual Viewsonic monitors that I hope to replace soon with 1 large screen
-JVC  SD video monitor 
-M-Audio BX5a monitors with BX10s sub under the desk
-Rolls minimixer
-Sony DSR-11
-Cheap VCR incase I have to record a VHS tape
-Cheap VCR/DVD combo for playback/ testing
-MacPro-mini G
-drive as my portable drive of active media
-OWC Raid that you can’t see
-UPS power back up because someone trips the power a few times a year. 

Well this is where I’ve been holed up in the last few weeks. I hope to post some examples and thoughts from the projects I’ve been working on. 


November 30, 2007. Random. Leave a comment.

The Office Is Closed

It’s Thursday. Tonight is my favorite TV night of the week. But The Office is Closed. I don’t understand all the details of the labor dispute but I miss The Office. I do understand it’s about lots and lots of money. And I miss the fact that Season 4 of the office is not available on iTunes. 

At least we have the Packers and Cowboys tonight. Go Cowboys!!! You know the NFL Network is loving who this game is being built up. I don’t like the fact that it’s being carried on a cable network. I get the NFL network so I’m not left out but not every cable/sat package has the NFL Network. Seems kind of goofy to have one of the biggest games of the year being shown on a network that has the smallest market share (vs. ESPN/ FOX/ CBS). I know the NFL makes the lions share of it’s profits from TV revenue. I wonder if they are making more money by putting games on their own network (they get the revenue from advertisers and cable/sat services) vs. the major networks? Anyway. I hope to post some of the work I’ve been working on. I’m off the my office. Not the office to get some work done.   

November 29, 2007. Random. Leave a comment.

Sorry for the lack of posts…

This week I’ve been working on our Kickoff Graphics Package. You can read about our August Kickoff here and here. I’m in the home stretch. Hopefully I’ll have a comp of the brochure ready for final proofing by the end of the day. It’s grown from 16 pages in August to 28 pages this time.  

November 16, 2007. Graphic Design. Leave a comment.

Renewed Vision = Great Support

I sent an email to renewed vision about my questions from my last post. As it turned out the update to ProVideoPlayer (1.2.5) broke the network module we were using. They sent me a link to download a new version of ProPersenter 3.1.5. This new update has some very cool features in it! DVD playback, built in count down timer, Bible look up and separate library for foreground video clips. But unfortunately it didn’t resolve my network problem. I’ve rolled back to the previous versions of PVP and ProPresenter and everything is working. But I’ve been very impressed with the response and support I’ve gotten from Renewed Vision bother before and after we bought their product.

I also learned what the visual adjustment tab in ProPresenter’s Network Module means. When it is engaged it seems I can control the speed of the clip from PVP global speed adjustment. Very cool. I was hoping I could adjust the hue, saturation, brightness and contrast as well. Maybe in another version.

November 10, 2007. Tech Stuff. 2 comments.

ProPresenter + ProVideoPlayer 3 Week Followup

Well we’ve been using ProPresenter and ProVideoPlayer for 3 weekends now. I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and impressions from myself and some of our volunteers. + means it’s good – means it’s bad. No particular order. It’s all a mind dump today.

+ Training my volunteers has been quick. They were very comfortable with Easy Worship but have picked up ProPresenter quickly. It’s a lot of the same principles just different methods. I gave most of them a 15 minute crash course and let them go. After 1 practice they were all feeling very comfortable with the program. A few of them have asked me why we didn’t make the switch sooner.
+ ProPresenter is much more responsive than Easy Worship was. This could be the program or the hardware or a combination of both. But it allows us to put less text on each slide because we can change slides quicker.
+ Quick Edit to edit slides is so much simpler and quicker than EW.
+ Copying text into a new presentation is quicker and more reliable than EW was.
– Video playback of foreground elements. For the most part playback of service videos seemed like the video was a little jerky. The audio played back smooth but it just seemed like the motion itself was a little jerky compared to a DVD. Colors were also de-saturated
+ Playback of video through firewire to a DA box produced smooth motion and accurate color.
– When you choose to play video back through firewire it also plays back foreground graphics (our sermon slides) through the firewire. This meant I had to resize my graphics down to 720×480 only to be scaled back up by our scaler. I chose to keep our video playback from DVD.
+ We have a preservice video that plays before service. It’s mainly a copy of what is running on our digital signage system. ProPresenter allows me to link foreground elements together. (play this clip then go to this clip then loop back to the beginning).

ProVideoPlayer has been solid and I’ve been very pleased with it.

I do have a hard time coordinating our backgrounds. I try to choose 2 backgrounds that are similar yet different so not to draw too much attention to the fact that the plasmas are so much brighter than our projectors. I think I might have to start creating custom clips or modifying the color in After Effects. At least for the clips in ProPresenter.

I do have some questions I need to contact Renewed Vision about. They are mainly about the module that allows ProPresenter and PVP to talk to each other.
-Is there an order the programs are supposed to be launched in?
-What does the option “Enable Visual Adjustments” in the network module for ProPresenter mean?

That’s all for now…

November 8, 2007. Tech Stuff. 6 comments.

Graphic Design 101

I thought I’d share some resources that have really helped me out. It seems like most people who want to start learning design want to dive into Photoshop and learn the software. But before you learn the software it’s important to learn some basics about design. I liken it to the analogy of learning to drive a car (the technical know how) but not learning the traffic laws (artistic what and why).

Anyway the first resource I recommend is The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams. Not the comedian! It gives a basic overview of some rules about design.
Catchy acronym huh?

Second book gets more in depth. Design Basics Index by Jim Krause. Great book with great exercises. In fact I’ve enjoyed everything Jim Krause has published.

Third recommendation is actually what I think is the best and most economical way to learn the creative programs I use. And that would be Lynda.com. $25 a month gets you access to all their videos covering Adobe and Apples applications for print, web and motion design.

Well for under $50 for 1 month that would get you both books and a month at Lynda.com. It would get you a good start at becoming a better designer.

November 5, 2007. Graphic Design. 1 comment.