RSS Widget Not Working???

I put a RSS Widget on the right sidebar but its not showing up. At least not in Safari or Firefix on the Mac. Anyone had any ideas why the RSS feed isn’t showing up?

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December 30, 2007. Random. Leave a comment.

Hope Your Christmas Was Great

It has been said that kids help you appreciate the things you started taking for granted a long time ago. My 2 and a half year old daughter and my 10 month old son made this Christmas a lot of fun.

Some highlights for me:
– my daughters excitement over safety scissors then using the scissors to open the rest of her gifts.
– my sons enthusiasim for tearing into tissue paper in a Hulk Hogan way.
– the look on my wife’s face when she opened her only gift from me to get a coffee cup (there were tickets to a symphony for 5 months at the Myerson inside the cup)
– getting Guitar Hero III for my MacBookPro.

December 29, 2007. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

I Survived Christmas Services

If you work in the AV ministry of a church you know the Christmas season can be tough. I felt like this year was one of my toughest season’s yet. Even though this was the first Christmas season I didn’t have an instal going on.

Last year we were opening our new youth building and remodeling the old youth room to be a children’s church room. Two years ago we were remodeling the old children’s church room and installing new projectors in the sanctuary. Three years ago we installed a digital signage server and video projector that project onto a Reversa screen in our foyer window. That one would have been much easier but the sony player we have is very fickle about the type of MPEG2 video it takes. I spent 6 hours on the phone with tech support trying to get the right file out of Apple’s Compressor only to find out a $50 version of Canopus ProCoder Express works great!!! Why they didn’t tell me that earlier I don’t know!!!!

So this was my fist year as Tech Director that I didn’t have an install going on during this season.

Yet it really beat me down. I don’t know if it was how Christmas fell so we had regular weekend services (1 on Sat, 2 on Sun) 2 Christmas Eve and 1 Christmas Day. That’s 6 services in 4 days.

My biggest problem I had was getting our overflow video feed setup. We use boxes from Magenta Research to send any video feed and audio around our campus on Cat5. These boxes have great quality and are easy to use. Yet it took me about 6 to 8 hours over 3 days to get the video feed working. Why so long? It took me that long to track my problem down to a Cat5 cable running from a network room to the overflow room that was wired as a crossover cable. Urgggh!!!!

This might not have been frustrating except that I’m the guy who oversees everything creative tech. So I had videos and graphics and web stuff to take care of as well as track down this network problem. And I’m only 1 guy.

But our services went well. Despite the fact that yet again we didn’t get a sequential run through of our Christmas Eve services. We get various practices over a few days. Save those scenes and hope for the best. Probably one of our most complicated services of the year. My team was able to pull everything and I’m very grateful to them. But yet again my biggest feedback from this year is I NEED A RUN THROUGH!!!!

But now I have some time off with the family. After service Christmas Day I don’t have to be back in the office until Jan 3. I’ll have to work on a few things for the weekend from home but it’s better than being in the office.

Some of this may sound like a rant but I’m really OK. It’s amazing what a couple of days off will do to your perspective. I’m going to be taking it easy over the next few days but I’ll probably post some more thoughts from the last few weeks.

December 27, 2007. Tech Stuff. 1 comment.

What I Am Listening To

At this very moment I am listening to Feist. 1234 that was used in the new iPod nano commercials is a very catchy song. This album sat in the shopping cart of my iTunes account for a long time before I made the purchase. I’ve been in a more mellow mood music wise and I’m liking this cd.

December 21, 2007. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Christmas Graphics

This weekend is our Christmas marathon. We have 1 service Saturday, 2 Sunday, 2 Christmas Eve and 1 Christmas day. Yes that’s 6 services in 4 days.

We have 3 sermons (Weekend, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). I’m going to use the same graphics for all 3 just change the text up.

The content is from Igniter Media. The still is for the sermon points while the plasmas on our stage with show the title over the loop. These graphics were also used on the bulletin, CD labels and digital signage.

Christmas Title

Christmas Slide

December 20, 2007. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Weekend Sermon GFX

The sermon for this weekend is “The Gift That Jesus Notices.” I used the base of this graphic for our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. But I’m recycling this graphic. Pastors reuse their illustrations, I reuse background loops so why not reuse a sermon graphic if it fits.

Gift Title

Gift Slide

December 14, 2007. Graphic Design. Leave a comment.

Mixing Old School….And Drums in the Church

This week our sanctuary is being painted. So we had Wed PM service in one of our smaller rooms. We met in the room our Spanish Church uses on the weekends. We updated the AV system over the summer. You can read about it on an old post.

It was a neat experience. It was a small room (100 people or so). And a basic system. Mackie Onyx board and no dynamics or effects. Wait there is a bus compressor built into the board that I used on our lead vocalist. I’m definitely spoiled mixing on a Yamaha M7CL 4 times a week with the power and flexibility it has. But it was nice to step back and mix on a simple setup. Gives you a good perspective and lets you appreciate what we have.

I do have to say I need to learn how to optimize some of our smaller sound systems better. Spoken word and CD playback sound great. But I felt live music was lacking some fullness. But it did get better as I went through the set and realized that the channel EQ for the vocal mics were being bypassed.

I also realized how big of a difference there is in cheap to middle of the road electronic drums and the top of the line electronic drums. I know this is a touchy subject in churches. Balancing the sonic characteristics, dynamics and tonal quality of a good acoustic kit vs. the drums being way too loud in the room. The spanish church has an older Roland V-Drum set with the TD-6 brain. Mono output and I ran it through a Radial ProDI I had. They were using a Peavey DI that look like it was old enough to drink.

The electric kit we have in the sanctuary is the only electric kit that I’ve been pleased with. It’s the top of the line Roland with mesh heads and the TD-20 brain. We take 6 discreet outputs and run them through a Radial JD6. It’s basically a 6 of their passive boxes rack mounted. It’s a compromise between controlling the volume and a good sound.

In an ideal situation I prefer a good acoustic kit that is regularly tuned, in a proper drum shield with absorption, drummer on IEMs, and good mics and dynamics. But our stage is small, room acoustics are bad and I need to mic a choir on the stage on a regular basis. I miss the fullness, the punchiness and the liveliness of the dynamics of a live kit.

Anyway this has drifted far enough off my original thought for this post of mixing sound on a basic setup.

December 13, 2007. Sound. Leave a comment.

Returns Are Back

Found out if I turn off the rich text editor option in wordpress, my return spaces are recognized.

YEAH!!! Now if my thoughts are running on I can at least put some return spaces in there.

December 11, 2007. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Christmas Eve Countdown

We all have traditions around the holidays. One of the traditions around our church is our pastor preaches a 12 minute sermon. This year since we added the plasma displays on our stage I can make a wish of my pastor’s a reality… A 12 minute countdown timer. This way we can use our projector screens for sermon points and illustrations and have this timer run on the plasmas.  

The video was created in After Effects. I used Girls Are Weird font from http://www.dafont.com. The visual elements are from Digital Juice Editor’s Toolkit 9  

Here’s how I did it. I created a 12 minute comp. Created a solid layer. Applied the generate numbers effect. Type set to timecode and adjusted the parameters to taste. I precomposed the layer. Masked out the numbers I didn’t want. I then enabled time remapping of the layer and keyframed it to play backwards. 

I then took 234 Overlay 1 from the editor’s toolkit and motion tracked it’s motion, rotation and scale onto a null object. I parented the my countdown layer and 234 Motion Design Element 1 to the null object. The layer order is null, overlay, countdown, motion design element. This allowed the countdown to have snow infront and behind the numbers.  I extended this to 12 minutes by reinterpeting the footage for the Digital Juice elements. I copied the keyframes on the null multiple times to fill the 12 minutes.   

The motion tracking isn’t perfect. And I’m don’t think my foreground and background video clips have the same motion, scale, timing etc… If you look close at the original video the mistakes could possible pass as reflections from the glass. But these video are going to be on plasmas that will be viewed from quite a distance away. I need to see if the font is going to be big enough.  

December 11, 2007. Video. 2 comments.

Where are my Return Spaces????

I don’t know when it happened but my blog entries don’t recognize return spaces anymore. I don’t know if it’s because I changed my theme or if it happened when I updated to Mac OS 10.4.11? That update included Safari 3. Hmmmm. I’ll have to test it on Firefox and see what is up?  Any way sorry for the big blocks of text the last few posts.  

December 6, 2007. Tech Stuff. Leave a comment.

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