Shot Composition

An often discussed topic among church video tech people is the matter of shot composition.  How much headroom is appropriate? Do the Rule of Thirds apply for all shots in all situations? Is shot composition solely a matter of individually and aesthetically pleasing shots strung together sequentially … or should the production team be cognizant and therefore make composition decisions contingent on shots directly preceding or setting up those shots which will follow? How much nose room is appropriate? How…

Defining Excellence

I would venture to say one of the most discussed yet misunderstood subjects in church production today is “excellence.” Week after week I see blog posts about excellence. Discussions with church technical artists often touch on the subject. Social media from peers address it.  Could it be that I am just the excellence conversation magnet? I don’t think so. In an article entitled, “The Balance Between Excellence and Excess”  the author warns of productions gone amuck in the church.  But if that…

“Take 1” – Dealing with Poor Performance

I really hate confrontation. In fact, I don’t even like tension in a conversation. But sometimes in leadership we need to have some hard conversations with our people about their performance. These are not fun. In fact… If these conversations are fun, you should probably not be a leader. So how do you encourage a poor performer? How do you graciously let someone go? Let’s put one minute on the clock and start the (difficult) conversation. Apart from prayer, before…

Attitude of Gratitude, a Tech Leader’s Most Important Resource

What would you say if I told you that there was a totally free, always available way you could multiply your own productivity as well as increase the efficacy of your volunteer’s time and efforts, grow and retain team rosters, better everyone’s mood by improving your work environment, insure your superiors are happy, all while deepening personal relationships? Sounds too good to be true? Nope, this is for real. This works! What could this magical tool be? It’s a simple,…

Things I Like: KZ ZST & ZS10 In-ear headphones

This “Things I Like” are an inexpensive set of in-ear buds I found out about from Scott Devine’s “Scott’s Bass Lessons” YouTube channel. The in-ear buds are manufactured in China by a company called KZ. The model I bought is called the ZST and they are available via Amazon for the meager sum of $18.69 USD. The Pros: Very comfortable (including various sized tips) and lightweight. The cable retains its shape to aid in holding the bud securing in the…

Event Multi-camera Production Challenges & Solutions with NDI

Providing multi-camera video production services supporting weekly church services from a recurring location with an integrated AVL system can be challenging. If the AVL system is not permanently installed – as in portable-church applications – the challenges to maintain high production value content and execution increase exponentially. If then the event is a “one-off,” occurring in a venue nearly 125 years old with little to no permanently integrated AVL infrastructures, the challenge to produce a contemporary concert/teaching event with a…

Jon Swearingen Interview (PT-2)

Jon Swearingen is the Director of Broadcast Media at Lakewood Church / Joel Osteen Ministries. His program is the most watched religious telecast on television with over ten million viewers per episode. This telephone interview was recorded in 2012. What follows is part #2 of a two part interview. We continue in this interview finding out if Jon has formal rehearsals, camera meetings, post-mortems, what the role of his Associate Director is, what his creative influences are, how he get’s…

Jon Swearingen Interview (PT-1)

Jon Swearingen is the Director of Broadcast Media at Lakewood Church / Joel Osteen Ministries. His program is the most watched religious telecast on television with over ten million viewers per episode. This telephone interview was recorded in 2012. What follows is part #1 of a two part interview. In this episode we find out how Jon got his start, how he came to Lakewood Church, the importance of “signature shots,” budgets and budget approvals, success, how many cameras they…

Director Spotlight: Sandy Grossman

The Big Game … At a recent National Association of Broadcaster’s convention a man walked up to the booth I was working in, introduced himself and said that he wanted to talk to me about a TV production package for the upcoming Baltimore Raven’s season. I’ll admit it, I am not a sports guy, at all. In an attempt to be polite I chatted with him and did my best to talk “sports-talk.” At one point I asked, “What stadium do…

Becoming A Partner

Most church techs I’ve met (including myself) hate to be on-stage. We’re perfectly happy behind the scenes in our chosen supporting roles. While we withdraw from the spotlight of attention some occasionally feel our work goes unnoticed, dare I say unappreciated. Unless resolved we may go through periods being conflicted. We don’t want attention, but we also don’t want to be unappreciated. Being conflicted unchecked over time can consume us. I used to work at a successful A/V Staging company…