Free Sound Seminar in Dallas Area

If you’re in the Dallas area and are looking for improving your sound mixing chops Sennheiser is hosting a 2 day seminar this week. You can check out the details here. It’s Wed (9/2/09) and Thurs (9/3/09) from 8:00 to 5:30 each day at Chase Oaks Church in Plano. Coffee & Bagels in the morning and a real lunch. Best of all I have some free tickets. If you’d like to go leave a comment or send me a message via Twitter and I’ll get you the tickets.

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August 31, 2009. Personal Growth, Sound. Leave a comment.

Time To Redesign

One of the projects LakeShore had waiting for me was overseeing the redesign of the church website.

Here’s what we’ve had:

Original LakeShore website

Original LakeShore website

It’s a template we’ve had from Artistry Marketing using their in house “Perpetua” CMS.

The main problems we’ve had with our site is:
– You can only customize a small percentage of the front page
– The header is HUGE!!!
– Way to much wasted space
– Poor navigation design
– The CMS is a pain to use.

So we had a brain storming meeting where we listed everything we’d like to have on the site. We then kicked around some general design ideas/ feels/ and wireframe layouts that we think will suite our needs.

As we were looking for sites we liked I made a list of design firms whose work we liked. I then began contacting those firms and doing interviews with them to see who would best meet our needs.

We ended up with Church Media Group. They had the combination CMS/Back end we liked + Designs we liked + Good recommendations. We in the process of the redesign right now and the new site should be live by October 2009. Church Media Group will be ready early September if we sign off and get them the content but I’m betting they’ll be waiting on us.

One of the challenges I’ve had with this project is that my boss new he wanted a new website before I was hired. But I’m having to establish a basic communication strategy. So I’m looking at ways for us to better communicate with church members, our volunteers and even the staff.

August 26, 2009. Web Development. Leave a comment.

LA Mission Trip Video

Our youth ministry just returned from a mission trip to the LA Dream Center.

On the trip they had a Flip HD video camera (I don’t know of it was the mino or the ultra). When they got back I shot some interviews in our “studio” with the Sony EX-1.

Here’s the video (RSS readers may need to click.)

I edited in FCP2. If you’ve tried to bring flip footage into FCP it can be hit or miss. So first step was to converted the Flip footage to ProRes using Compressor using these settings. You may need to adjust the audio settings below to match your sequence settings or your audio won’t playback in realtime. I wasn’t going to use any of the audio so it didn’t matter to me.:

Apple ProRes 422
23.98 fps
1280x 720
Audio Settings
Stereo, 48khz, 16 bit

I then brought all the footage into FCP. The flip footage is very shaky, skews easily with motion and gets very blocky/ grainy in low light. But for the price, durability and size it’s great for these kinds of trips.

I’d like to give each trip a Flip Mino HD and also a “boot camp” on how to shoot good video.

Nick, our youth pastor, conducted the interviews. I think to edit better I need to start doing the interview twice and change the camera angles. Or I could work in 720p and pan/zoom my 1080p footage? Hmmmm…. Ideas?

The video was treated heavily with Magic Bullet Looks to give the flip footage a cohesive look and stylize the studio footage.

As much as I love Looks it’s a render hog. I don’t know if it’s because the one effect has multiple effects in it or it’s just not leveraging a 8 core mac as well as it could. Then to play in MediaShout we use Flip4Mac HD Studio plugin for compressor to convert the footage to a WMV file. Which Flip4Mac does not leverage all the cores either. I don’t know if it’s a WMV/ DRM issue or a Flip4Mac. But I had a 30 minute render of Looks then a 1 hour encode to WMV.

I like the way it came out for the most part. Here’s my thoughts to improve on next time:
– Do a boot camp for people who are going to be shooting video/ photos on mission trip.
– Need to improve interview process. Whether it’s better questions/ prep, taking 2 takes with different angles and b-roll or just cut at 720 so I can pan/scan my footage.

August 24, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Video. Leave a comment.

Organizing For Creativity

I know I’m not the most creative guy out there. I think I’m stronger technically than I am in creative ideas. My strength is in creatively executing ideas with technical excellence. Well that’s at least what I try to do.

I’ve written previously about how I organize myself for creative productivity here and here.

I’ve been on staff at LakeShore now for about 4 months. Being in a different organizational structure I’ve had to change the way I was organizing myself. I was using a combination of Things on my Mac and iPhone as well as a pocket Moleskine.

I’ve run into some challenges with my system:
– I’m tackling larger projects that are difficult to track in my pocket moleskine.
– The wifi network is separate from our wired network and Things syncs via wifi.
– With the changes in my job I got out of some of my habits
– My moleskine filled up and it’s a great time to evaluate my process.

So I’ve taken some time to refresh myself on systems that have worked for me in the past.

So I’m tweaking some of my process:
– Even though I like using Things I really like having access on my Mac and my iPhone I’m going back to OmniFocus
– I picked up an Action Book from Behance for my project planning. This allows me to keep my thoughts/ notes/ ideas/ sketches for larger projects in one place.
– I picked up a new pocket moleskine to carry with me as my catch all for thoughts/ notes/ journal. But I refreshed myself in how I want to organize my moleskine.

I mark off the bottom 3 lines of each right side page. Here I number the page and write a one line summary or headline. Like Staff Meeting, Church Tech Camp, GFX or Video Ideas for a topic. In the back of the notebook I started an index for key information so I can easily find my notes later on.On the left page I write out my thoughts to reflect on. Questions I have. And any actions I need to take.

I need to take time each day and go through my note in my moleskine and transfer them to my action planner if they relate to a project, to OmniFocus if it’s a task I need to do or file in Evernote so I can find it later.
– I’m really using Evernote now. I use it to file ideas, inspiration, tutorials, notes I need to reference later, journal what I read and got out of the Bible, quotes from books, sermon notes, etc…

August 20, 2009. Personal Growth. Leave a comment.

Back To Blogging???

I’ve fallen off the blogging bandwagon of late. There are several reasons:

1- Through changing jobs my new work doesn’t provide a laptop for me so my only computer at home is a 600 Mhz G3 iBook. It’s painfully slow and not all the keys on the keyboard work. So I haven’t been writing as much. Not having a computer at home has it’s pros and cons. I like the inability to work from home. So when I’m home I want to be present not just physically there. The downside comes in taking care of family photos, videos and projects for my wife. I also can’t keep up with tutorials and learning like I’d like to on my off days. Eventually I’ll get a Mac for the house but I’m not in a rush.

2- With my change in jobs I’ve really been soul searching and getting back to basics when it comes to my walk with God. This has been a great experience for me and my family. But over the last few months I’ve felt like I didn’t have anything worth writing about. I’m getting the itch to write and communicate again so I hope I can get back into at least a weekly blog post again.

3- During the summer my home schedule is more free. Which means I loose the structure of the school year. While I like the extra time with the family because my schedule is not as structured my mind wonders much more.

All that to say I feel like I’m entering a new season and I’m excited to share my experiences/ thoughts when it comes to creatively telling life changing stories in the local church. And I hope to get back to regular (at least weekly) blog posts.

August 19, 2009. Personal Growth. Leave a comment.