Tom D'Angelo is a TV production tech guy who loves the Arts and the Church

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

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

The Why

No matter how willing we are to admit that we and our fellow tech team members can at times be a wee bit snarky in our responses to others in leadership, management, clients, other associated ministries or 3rd parties we occasionally support; all outside our small tech-tribe; such acknowledgments do little to mitigate the damage such miscommunication causes.

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Servant or Slave?

Josef, a young pastor had immigrated to the United States and founded a missionary society to help Christians back in his home country. He was now translating Christian books from English into his native Romanian, travelling to and speaking at churches and conferences regarding the persecution of the church and the revival occurring in his homeland. It was during this time that I met Josef.

Conference hosts or senior pastors would typically ask Josef, “How do you want to be introduced?” Despite earned degrees, prestigious formerly held positions and many months of enduring beatings and torture for Christ’s sake, Josef felt that too often these formal introductions proved self-serving. The last thing he wanted to do was bring glory to himself, so Josef began the practice of requesting, “please, if you must, just introduce me as ‘a slave of Christ.’” As the conference host prepared the audience for Josef’s speech the host said, “… and Josef requested that I simply introduce him as a servant of Jesus Christ.” Josef attempted not to grimace as he approached the lectern. No one realized what a difference those two terms, “slave” and “servant” meant to him.

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Musical Mediocrity

A few months ago I visited a church with a musician-friend I know.  I’ve been to this church before.  They are well established in the community near where he lives, have great Bible-oriented preaching and a warm friendly environment.  So, when my musician-friend began looking for a church to call home I recommended that he visit this church with me and check it out.

He visited twice and then stopped.

I asked why.  I could tell he was uncomfortable communicating his answer but eventually he told me. He said that it was great that the church was near his home, had a great reputation for service to the community, had Bible-centered teaching and was friendly and inviting to newcomers. I waited for the other shoe to drop, he continued “but during worship it seems like the musicians are holding back, almost like they don’t want it to be too good.”  He continued, “that drives me crazy!  I can’t go there.”

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Aeron Stool

One of the things that has always fascinated me is how techs who are often out on the road, or on a tour, or who are day-hires, adjust to being transient week to week and day to day.

One particular FOH audio guy I know travels with his own chair on tour. It’s a Herman Miller Aeron Stool model. Click on the link if you are interested in checking it out.  You can buy one of these babies for just shy of $1200 bucks (plus shipping and handling). Add in the cost of a foam lined, ATA-rated, road case he had custom-made for it (so it doesn’t get banged up in the truck) and his investment in 1st-class touring “buttock-buttressing” rises to the tune of two-thousand dollars! I’ve always wondered how many local stagehands realize during the load-in that they are indeed not pushing around a rack of high-tech audio gear but rather a really expensive chair instead!

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Let go or Go forth

This month I am experiencing a life-milestone. Two of my kids are going away to college. One recently transferred from Seton Hall in New Jersey to the University of Miami. The other is starting this week at West Virginia University as a Freshman.

Experiencing the range of emotions that goes along with preparing kids to leave for school, I’m reminded of a meeting I had with a church Executive and Senior Pastor a while back.

In the meeting the topic of training and investing into staff members and volunteers came up in our discussion. The Executive Pastor lamented a recent financial investment the church made in a young staff IT person who then a few months after completing the training announced he would be leaving the church’s employment to take a position in the marketplace.

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Shading Cameras

Ever see a church video production where they cut from one camera with a reddish tint to another camera with a greenish tint?  Or a low-budget production where one camera had good exposure and another was too dark or over-blown?  How about one camera with good detail and another which was too sharp or so soft it looks like they’re shooting with a swatch of pantyhose affixed to the lens?

When designing a multi-camera production system to record your church’s services for DVD or internet video-on-demand distribution, live Imag projection or live web-streaming, one of the most important things you should be deliberate about is planning-in a capability to remotely shade (aka “paint”) cameras from your control booth.

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