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Low Information Technicians

Recently I was reading an internet forum regarding the Presidential election. A commenter was lamenting that other people were “low information voters.” I thought about this and came to the conclusion that in a sense we all are dealing with “low information.”  Here’s why …

The nature of most organizations, especially the media is to insure self-survival. How do they do this? By providing valuable goods or services to their customers/audiences/members!

Is there a non-partisan and unbiased arbiter who determines which organizations are performing well and which are not? In most industries, no. It is instead left up to the customers/audiences/members to individually decide. Are they qualified? And even in industries that do have professional boards or governance organizations that maintain standards, often times they are slow to discipline poor performing members.

The media and many churches for that matter are no different. Read more

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Why Church Tech?

This morning I came across a wonderful essay from Mike Sessler, ‘the Godfather’ of church-tech podcasting and blogging, entitled “Only People Last.

Mike eloquently describes the feelings of frustration he had when he found out that much of the hard work he and his team put in at a church has now fallen into disrepair and neglect.  Mike reminds us that in church tech it is the relationships that matter. And it is the impact from those relationships which can last decades, or eternity, if we choose to use our influence to help or pour into others.  Have you read Mike’s blog post? If not, click on the link and read it. It’s worth it.

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Warranty Miniaturization

Remember the good old days for equipment? When A/V/L gear took three-to-five times the rack space than it does now and weighed exponentially more than would be commensurate for its footprint?

We’ve come a long way and most of us are pretty happy with the technological advancements and progress we’ve been able to see. But there is a dark side to the advances in A/V/L manufacturing, miniaturization and the commoditization of technology. Do you know what it is?

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Needing a Car

Recently on a photography internet forum someone posed the question:

“Can you be a good photographer without a car? It seems to me that photographers that have cars can have greater freedom in finding locations and venues for photo shoots where those who don’t have a car or access to one either have to pay a lot of money for a studio rental or give up on the hobby completely.”

As I was thinking about the question I considered my own photography-hobby. How often I had considered getting up a 4AM to travel to some location away from my home, ready to shoot just as the light would be “just right!” I thought about how difficult it would be to get to those locations without a vehicle. I’ll admit I started thinking.., at least for the type of photography I enjoy, even demand of myself, that a car is pretty essential. Read more

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Lessons from The Wiz – PT6

We’ve had a great conversation about the NBC production of “The Wiz, Live!”  So today we are going to wrap things up. If you haven’t been with us for the whole journey – be sure and rewind to Part 1 and get caught up!


[Mark]: Tom, in this series was really we focused on learning from “The Wiz, Live!”  Hopefully, we sparked some interest where people will take a closer look at these big, TV events. If you were to talk to someone who says “I’m a church tech guy, not a Broadway fan”, what would you say to inspire him or her to take a closer look at this kind of production? Read more

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Lessons from The Wiz – PT5

The reviews for the TV week are out and “The Wiz, Live” ranked in the top 5 in the 18-49 demographic. So let’s continue our discussion to see what those of us in church production can learn from one of the key guys in terms of making it happen.

What’s that? Are you wondering why I used the word “continue”? It’s because we are in the middle of a great conversation. If you haven’t already done so, take a minute and jump back to Part 1 to get your bearings.


[Mark]: So Tom, we’ve talked about lots of things: planning, technology, budgets, etc. Let’s spend a few minutes on one of most important parts of production. The thing that can make or break it… the people. Read more

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Lessons from The Wiz – PT4

You know you’ve captured the eye of culture when Saturday Night Live does a parody sketch of you. This past weekend SNL did a “The Wiz, Live!” parody, so the world is still talking about the production.

Tom and I are talking about the production as well – from a tech perspective. If you are just joining us, be sure and jump back to Part 1 for some background.

Let’s jump back into the conversation…


[Mark]: In our last post, you told us about the amazing equipment that was used for this production. My one-word summary is: “wow – that’s really cool”. (OK, so I can’t count words very well.) You also told us in Part 1 that you are involved in the budgeting for such productions. So, I’d like to explore the topic of budgeting a bit. How do productions like this break their overall budget into tangibles? For example, what is a typical ratio between video, audio and lighting in terms of budget? Read more

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Lessons from The Wiz – PT3

We are continuing our “Lessons from the Wiz” series and I have to say… it’s been pretty cool. Well, I don’t really HAVE to say it. I just wanted to say it… because it has been really cool.

In case you are just joining the series, this isn’t Tom. It’s a church tech guy named Mark. You can find out more on that story in part one of the series at this link.

So let’s get back to the interview…


[Mark]: I know there are many tech people that are dying to hear about the hardware. So let’s talk toys. What equipment were you and your company involved with? Read more

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Lessons from The Wiz – PT2

We in the church tech community can learn a lot from the pros. So let’s jump back into the Q&A as we continue our “Lessons from the Wiz” series.

Wait? You didn’t know that you were joining this conversation in the middle of a series? In that case, be sure to check out “Lessons from The Wiz – PT1”.


[Mark]: Since our previous installment, I’ve seen more positive reviews of the show. What’s the deal with The Wiz, Live as compared to NBC’s previous live musicals? Read more

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Lessons from The Wiz – PT1

Did you catch NBC’s production of The Wiz, Live!? From a ratings perspective it was a huge success. Wait. You didn’t see it? OK. Maybe you were busy. Maybe you forgot? But hopefully it wasn’t a case of “I didn’t want to”. As a member of the church technical community you almost missed a great opportunity, but fortunately NBC will re-broadcast the show on December 19th. Mark your calendar now!

OK. Full disclosure. This isn’t Tom writing (perhaps some of you really good audio guys could recognize that the voice wasn’t sounding right in your head). My name is Mark and I’m a video team leader in a modern, mid-sized, mid-western church with a mission to reach people for Christ. Tom and his writings on ControlBooth.tv have been a huge help to us in our technical production areas.

Growing up I attended traditional churches that would get super-excited when missionary would return from some foreign land for a visit. We would have them wear the clothes of their new country. What was even more special was having them speak something in the language of their new country. Often the missionary told of how they had to work very hard to learn the language of their new culture. Unfortunately, most of those churches I attended didn’t take the same attitude regarding learning the language of the culture right outside their own doors. Read more

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