Fader Monkeys

Noise Boys (sound)
Sparkies (electrics/lighting)
Rug Tuggers (convention expo)
Vidiots (video)
Nail Benders (carpenters)
Laundry Lepers (wardrobe)
Humheads (sound)
Squints (electrics/lighting)

One thing is for sure, people in the technical arts trade have always found endearing terms to describe their colleagues. Usually the terms are just meant to poke fun at our associates, with well, a wee bit of truth.

One derogatory term especially poignant is Fader Monkey. Although coined for audio people I think the “Fader Monkey mindset” can be exhibited by technical artists in any department. How do I know? Maybe a Twelve-Step Confession is in order? OK, here I go.

“Hi, my name is Tom and I’m a Fader Monkey.”

[“Hello Tom.”]

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Lighting PT4

In the previous posts we’ve been talking about how to create camera looks that really pop. In the last post, LIGHTING PT3 we talked about our lighting design/focus and we got more great advice from Dan McKenrick.

The fourth piece of advice is to consider the color temperature of your lighting instruments and other objects that transmit light in your room (like projectors and windows).

My layman’s definition of color temperature is, “color temperature is the hue cast by a light source when representing white.” Read more

Lighting PT3

In the previous posts we’ve been talking about how to create camera looks that really pop. It all starts with your YOUR SET and then lighting. In the last post, LIGHTING PT2 we talked about learning to use our tools and we got more great advice from Dan McKenrick.

The third piece of advice Dan offers is, “don’t try so hard!”

Basically, when it comes to lighting in the church for video cameras we would do well to follow the KISS adage (keep it simple stupid). Read more

Lighting PT2

In the previous posts we began a discussion about how to create camera looks that really pop. It all starts with your YOUR SET and then lighting. In the last post, LIGHTING PT1 we talked about safety and I introduced you to Dan McKenrick.

The second piece of advice Dan offers is “learn how to use our tools.”

Dan suggests taking down a bunch of lights onto the ground, plug them in on the floor and work with them. How do you focus an ellipsoidal or a fresnel? How do you adjust the intensity of a light?  Can the light output be shaped? What beam width at a given distance will each type of light produce? All these things are best learned when not on a ladder or on a scissor lift but on the floor when you have time to play with and learn your gear. And while you have the lights on the floor, give them a cleaning.

In LIGHTING PT3 we’ll talk about our lighting design.

 

Lighting PT1

In the previous post, YOUR SET,  we began a discussion about how to create camera looks that really pop. It all starts with your set, but next comes lighting!

A few years ago I was video engineering a corporate presentation at the Sheraton New York Grand Ballroom. Though-out my career I’ve probably done a hundred shows at this location. This job was a piece of cake, we could do it in our sleep.

After I completed setting up the carrypack, cameras and doing a preliminary white balance / shading the client strolled by and began staring at the control room monitors. He turned to me with a worried look on his face and said, “these cameras look awful!” and then “can you fix them?” Sheepishly I responded, “sure, let me see what I can do.”

I knew fully well there was nothing wrong with the cameras. The Lighting Designer, a personal friend of the client, was still working on the lighting and I hoped that once he dialed in his lights everything would be ok.

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Your Set

Ever wonder why the cameras on network broadcast entertainment specials look so vibrant and seem to match perfectly? It’s not solely because the Shader (a.k.a.: Video Operator, Video Engineer or DIT) has spent days on end shading each camera! Along with starting with great tools (cameras, lenses, color-critical monitors, scopes) and of course the skill of the Shader, network broadcast entertainment specials almost always follow certain unwritten guidelines for great looking multi-camera shoots. Here are some tips the pros use that can be applied to any shoot, including a multi-camera video production at your church:

#1 SCENIC: It may surprise you but the first tip to get great looking camera shots has nothing to do with the camera, the lens or camera shading in-and-of-itself.

Scenic, or the scenery on-stage (what you shoot) is of primary importance!

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Storms

A friend of mine with thirty-three years of broadcast television experience recently lost his job. Over the past two years he has been in and out of employment. He now may lose his home. His marriage and relationship with his daughter have already suffered.

Over the last few months a number of church-tech friends lost their jobs. As priorities in churches change and consistent with a new trend to de-emphasize A/V/L ‘production values,’ I think many in the church-tech-arts community have sensed that their own church may downsize technical-arts staff, now even below the economic crash levels of 2008. I haven’t been on staff at a church in twenty-seven years, yet even I have felt some anxiety about the direction things are going. Do you feel anxious too?

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Don Hewitt

Don Hewitt began his career at CBS in 1948 and his tenure there spanned an incredible sixty-one years. Shortly after World War II while the new medium of ‘Television’ was just in its infancy; Don and his contemporaries literally invented how this new technology could be used. At the CBS’s News Division Don directed the very first ever live televised Presidential debate. He did the very first live remote broadcast of a political convention. He directed early news programs with legendary newsman Edward R. Murrow and produced the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite for eighteen years.

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Jon Swearingen Interview

In 2012 I presented a break-out session at the Gurus of Tech conference entitled, “Live Director’s: an Inside Look.” Four prominent TV Directors were interviewed about how they got their start, how they direct live broadcast television shows now, funny stories, their interactions with crew and talent and how they keep the Producers and stars happy.

Jon Swearingen is the television Director for Lakewood Church / Joel Osteen Ministries. His program is the most watched religous telecast on television with over ten million viewers per weekly episode.

Here is the unabridged interview with Jon Swearingen. [00:45:16]

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Ron de Moraes Interview

In 2012 I presented a break-out session at the Gurus of Tech conference entitled, “Live Director’s: an Inside Look.” Four prominent TV Directors were interviewed about how they got their start, how they direct live broadcast television shows now, funny stories, their interactions with crew and talent and how they keep the Producers and stars happy.

Ron de Moraes’ credits include broadcast video Director for “Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda,” the “Miss USA” and “Miss Universe Pageants,” “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement,” “Walt Disney World Christmas Parade,” Great Performances: “A Tribute to James Taylor,” and “Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival” and others.

Here is the unabridged interview with Ron de Moraes during his lunch break on the set of “The Celebrity Apprentice Live Finale.”  [00:28:18]

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