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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reflections From the Road

My apologies, once again, for my absence these past couple of weeks. It has been a whirlwind of activity taking us all over the Northeast in two directions at once each weekend.

We started off with one team here in Liverpool, NY with my brother and another crew down in King of Prussia, PA working with a conference based in New Jersey. Last weekend, my dad and a team were in Buffalo while my brother and I, as I mentioned on Monday, were down in Princess Anne, MD.

All 4 events went fairly well. No catastrophic failures, no serious glitches. And getting asked back for next year and/or renewing our multi-year contracts are definitely a good sign that we're doing something right.

In preparing for these events, we knew there were a number of things we had to do to upgrade our systems so that we could do multiple events at the same time as well as to improve on the issues we encountered in the past. We're always trying to get a little better each time.

This year, we bought new video switchers, new projectors and mounts, racked up as much as we could to minimize setup time, and mounted a robotic pan-tilt head on the truss we flew overhead in order to get better shots of the laying on of hands during the service of ordination (these have been religious conferences). This aptly nicknamed "God Camera" allowed us to get unobstructed views of the speakers at the podium, choirs performing on the stage, cutaways to some of the beautiful banners and backdrops they created, and even some shots of the crowd and an OTS (over-the-shoulder) of the organist.

Now, I'm a cameraman and my brother is a sound guy. I can direct and switch and Chris can run a camera, but neither is what we feel the most comfortable with, which added to the pressure of this event. However, since it was our 4th year in a row, we had everything pretty much under control. Next year, though, we hope to send Chris to do sound at the other conference while my dad would go to Maryland with me to switch so I can run camera. That way, we're all doing what we do best.

Up to this year rigging the truss and getting all of the images aligned was a bit of a trick and we had Chris along because he'd had some experience with rigging in college. Now, with the advancements we've made and having worked with him on it these past four years I am comfortable with everything we need to do, which will free him up to do the other.

All in all these were a couple of taxing but successful weeks. We had less stress than in previous years despite the added complications of doing more than one at a time. And equally if not more importantly, our clients were satisfied with our work, even blown away at times.