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Church Reaches New AV Heights, Part 2

Apr 21, 2010 11:17 AM, By Bennett Liles

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

Heights Baptist Church, Richardson, Texas

Heights Baptist Church

The Heights Baptists Church in Richardson, Texas, is home to some of the most high-energy praise music around and matching the caliber of the performers with professional level sound, lighting, and video on a budget is no small task. Technical Director Bobby Dennis is here to finish his story on how it all came together.

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SVC: OK Bobby, in part one we were talking about the cameras and how you record the various feeds and everything at the Heights Baptist Church out there in Richardson, Texas, and I wanted to get into some of the audio stuff. Now, you’ve got a control room there, obviously, some kind of production area. That’s one thing that we didn’t get into on the video part of it. Where is the video and everything, the switcher and everything, located and how do you monitor all of this stuff?
Bobby Dennis:The video production room is obviously located backstage on the second floor. It’s actually adjacent to one of the projection rooms for the IMAG screens and the video crew obviously works back there. In that same facility, there’s a separate [room] that has an ISO-glass joint wall between them that eventually will be our audio for video room. We just haven’t grown into that yet, but the facility is already there and the infrastructure is there and hopefully we will grow into that at some point in time. But back there,the video crew, that’s where they operate.

A typical crew staff for that is we have a dedicated director person, a switcher, a graphics person, a remote camera operator, and then we have the four camera operators out front, and they are all switching live to the projection screens—which are, we have two IMAG screens, and they are approximately 24’x14’ screens, that are out front. Now on the audio end of it, obviously, I am located out front at FOH. As often times is the case, there was a compromise that went on when they designed the facility, and my predecessor had argued strongly but didn’t win the argument against the senior pastor of having the mix position on the lower floor. Currently it is up in the balcony, fortunately, at the front edge of the balcony and it’s totally open. I am not in a room, and actually as I’ve learned, the room, it’s a good place to mix.

But out there we’ve got—Clair Brothers Audio did our audio install and like I said, a significant proportion of the original AVL budget was dedicated in that direction, so we really do have a fit and excellent audio system—we have—and then you’ve got to think of the time period that it was put in—we do have an analog console. We have a Midas Legend 48-channel. That’s our main console. We have a 32-channel side-car that does orchestra—for orchestra and choir mics. And then an additional 16-channel side-car that does our drama mics if we are doing events that have dramatic elements incorporated into it. And then we have the normal assortment of outboard gear from Drawmer and TC and Yamaha and Klark Teknik, and so on down the line. All of our monitoring is done at FOH. If it’s a wedge mix, and we do have two Clair wedges. The majority of the monitoring, though, is a Godsend for me in that they had the foresight to put in the Aviom system back when they did it. So all the orchestra, all of the rhythm section, everybody on the stage—with the exception of the live singers—all use Aviom for their monitoring and mix their own, and it works wonderful and keeps the stage level down. [Timestamp: 4:08]

Yeah, I hear that from everybody who has put one of those in that it really takes the load off of the mixing people and …
... and gives everybody the chance to kind of blast their own instrument up full blast and then just fill in everybody else’s that is around just the way they want it.
Tremendous time-saver too.
Oh, yes! Well, that’s it, because obviously the 10:50 service is the same band every week, well, they can just hit recall and they have their settings because, obviously, between the two services, theoretically, we have 20 minutes time for change over. [In] reality, we sometimes have less than 5 minutes, so literally, they walk on the stage, we don’t check anything, they count off, and away we go. So that recall function is perfect, but the same for the orchestra and the rhythm section in the first service too. [Timestamp: 4:56]

So how does everybody communicate during the production?
The tech crew does it via intercom, headphones, and everything. Our main system is a 4-channel Clear-Com system, and then we have one person on staff—and he is actually one of the ministers—but he is over what I would call a floor director. He is out front on a wireless radio-com intercom system and can talk with the video people or me or the lighting people or the graphics people and call. He can override live cues at that point in time if he needs to or say, “Hey, we’ve got a problem coming up,” or “We’ve had a change.” He’s the only one that is wireless. [Timestamp: 5:36]

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