A/V upgrades Part 5 - What do those people do?

All the time I was putting this blog series together, I was planning to bring up this topic.  It became even more obvious to me recently, when during the last two weekends I had people asking me this very question - What are all those people back there doing?

There are usually either only one person back in the AV area (on Saturdays), or three people (Sundays).  The big difference is the number of microphones in use.  On Saturdays, there are usually just two microphones, so in general one person who is familiar with all the equipment can run the service.  However, on Sunday there are many more people involved, making it more of a necessity to have multiple people.  We originally hoped to cross-train everybody in the AV ministry on each station, but it didn't take long for the realization to sink in - that plan would not work.  So the decision was made that we would have individuals focus their energy on one of the three stations.

Here are what the three people back there on a Sunday take care of:

  1. Mixer operator.  This person controls the audio mixing desk.  Most of the Sunday operations here are now automated.  A "playlist" is built during the week, by our Production Supervisor, that automatically turns various channel strips on/off and raises/lowers the faders automatically.  This allows them operator to run through the service by pressing one button to advance through each part of the service.  The mixer operator also start up the streaming service for those at home, makes sure to start/stop the recording of the streaming service, monitors Zoom muting (muting people as necessary), and watches for any Chat messages that come in.
  2. Camera operator.  This individual controls the three cameras.  They can see all inputs into the video switching device on the multi-view monitor sitting in front of them, and control which camera to move, set up the shots prior to making changes, and operate the remote video switcher to move between camera shots.  We set up several pre-arranged shots as well, making the job a little easier.
  3. Presentation operator.  This position controls what goes up on the LED screen behind the altar.  They use software called "ProPresenter" for this purpose.  Earlier in the week, our Production Supervisor receives a draft copy of the weekend order of service, and begins to build the worship graphics.  This is usually done at their home, then brought in and loaded from a USB drive.  They also update the weekly announcement loop as well.  By the end of the week, two "Shows" have been built and loaded into ProPresenter - one for Saturday and one for Sunday.  This is necessary as there are hymn lyrics on Sunday that are not needed for Saturday.  The Presentation Operator advances through the show file, and also makes the call as to when to display the worship graphics on the LED screen, and when to display the cameras.

The Production Supervisor is also usually present to assist as necessary, though not usually back in the AV stand on Sundays.  This person also usually sets up additional microphones as needed, and usually will tape down cords for safety - then break it all down once that service is done.

Our current crew:
Mixer Operations:  Steve Crowl, Laura Oldham, Hud Hamilton, Alan Fries, Roger Byler, Bryan Irvine
Camera Operations:  Ronda Hoss, James Lampe, Tony Wedeking, Roger Byler, Bryan Irvine
Presentation Operations:  Roger Byler, James Lampe, Bryan Irvine
Audiovisual crew Lead:  Roger Byler
Production Supervisor:  Bryan Irvine

-Bryan Irvine
Production Supervisor

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