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Church production ideas, tips, and thoughts from Christian leaders. Learn about church stage design ideas and other production tips for your church services or ministry.

8 Steps on How to Coil Cables Like a Ninja

cablesWe all know that what it’s like to pick up a cord only to find it tangled with thirteen other cables, looking as if it has multiple loops itself. To borrow a saying from the fishing world, it looks like a rat’s nest on my bait caster reel! This is no fun when you need to move quickly and meet deadlines. What can we do about it? We can learn and then we can train.

Hopefully, we know NOT to tightly wrap a cable under our elbow and over our hands in order to get a “seemingly” good coil. Once the tension is let off, the nice looking coil goes away and the rat’s nest shows up again. Also, it’s not good for the wiring inside of the cables to force them into an unnatural coil. So, how do we coil cables? I’m glad you asked. Simply use the Over/Under method. Follow along and you’ll be doing it in no time!

8 Steps

  1. To begin, lay the cable out in a straight line.
  2. Hold the end of the cable so it’s pointing away from you in your left hand and with your thumb on top, also pointing away from you.
    OVER WRAP
  3. With your right hand, grab the cable with your thumb on top pointing in the same direction as your left thumb.
  4. Naturally, bring your right hand to your left, and the cable will wrap around with what we call an over wrap.
  5. Hold the loop with your left hand.
    UNDER WRAP
  6. Rotate your right hand so your palm is up and your right thumb is pointing in the opposite direction of your left thumb, and grab the cable.
  7. Bring your right hand to your left hand while rotating your hand in a counter-clockwise fashion until your thumb is pointing in the direction it was when you started. This creates the under wrap.
  8. Create an over loop, then an under loop, and so on and so on until the cable is wrapped.

Benefits

  • Cables will last longer
  • Cables will store flat
  • Cables will unwind nicely without any loops
  • You’ll feel like a professional!

Now, get out there and teach everyone how to wind cables up like a ninja!

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Does Stage Lighting Really Have to Be Tricky?

Does stage lighting really have to be tricky-Lighting up a stage seems like a straight forward process, but when you get down to it, it can be downright complex! How do you handle lighting up an entire band, a preacher who stands still, a preacher who moves around a lot? Wait! Do you have windows behind the stage? Uh oh! That’s going to mess things up right?

You know, as complex as this may sound to you, with a few key points to keep in mind, you can have a well-lit stage that doesn’t distract and draws attention to the place you want the congregation to look in no time.

  1. Create Zones
    1. This is where you will map out your stage, figure out how the light falls on your stage to ensure everything is lit that is supposed to be lit – from the preacher, to the piano, to the drum set, etc.
  2. Overlap the Zones
    1. Once you have your zones mapped out, you will want to make sure your lighting is set up not only to cover each zone, but that each light overlaps the adjacent zones to ensure there are no dark spots.
  3. Decide on the Number of points you want to shine on your subject
    1. For instance, when the sun is shining straight down on us, that is considered one point lighting. So if you hang a light to shine directly on the preacher, that would be one-point lighting. Hang a light behind the preacher to fully illuminate the speaker, and you have a 2 point lighting set-up. Depending on your equipment, you could go up to a 4 point lighting system if you like.

Those are just a few quick tips for you as you look to properly light your stage. What tips do you have to help others effectively light their stage?

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Top 10 Stage Designs of 2016

Copy of stage

Stage designs can draw the congregation in for an intimate time of worship and engagement, or it may repel them from the desired outcome like opposite ends of a magnet. For those of you who create stage designs on a regular basis, I can only imagine the range of emotions you experience. From excitement in the concept stage, to relief and a sense of fulfillment in the production stage, and those emotions in between when you are trying to coordinate, build, fit, and wire different aspects of the design, the fact remains that what you do as a stage designer is a critical part of the worship experience.

Over at Church Stage Design Ideas, I ran across this article highlighting the top stage designs as found on their site for the past year. I’m always excited and encouraged to see how other people are designing their stages and working to glorify Christ. Check out this post and let me know what you think. While I like most of the concepts, Thin Lines stood out to me as a good mix of modern, earthy, and authentic. What do you think?

The Top 10 Stage Designs of 2016

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5 Steps on How to Train Volunteers

trainI just read a great article from the crew over at TechNotes. They are professionals who have created an online community committed to delivering professional audio and visual training. The article is entitled, Train Your New Tech Volunteers in 5 Simple Steps. In this article, we are given 5 suggestions for how to best develop your own process for training and developing your Production Team.

Their steps include:

  1. Interview
  2. Theoretical Training
  3. Owning the Information
  4. Practical Thinking
  5. Shadow

These are great suggestions, and what I like most about them is that you can do it. Whether you’ve had a process for years and are looking to improve your system, or whether you’ve never had a team and don’t know where to start, this article and these 5 steps can help you out. Here’s an excerpt that I found particularly useful:

We know there is a big difference between knowing the equipment mechanically and using this equipment musically. Although the audio console, lighting desk or video switcher aren’t musical instruments…technically – you can show your trainee how to use these tools musically, in order to gain a seamless flow and output to their craft. This is where the three-phase shadowing comes in.

I like this because it spells out in no unsure terms how you can take someone with little to no knowledge of audio and visual systems, and train them to be a proficient volunteer in your church.

Be sure to check out the rest of the article!

Train Your New Tech Volunteers in 5 Simple Steps

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Church Techs Holiday Gift Guide for 2016

cmb-church-tech-gift-guideTis the season to give gifts and the techs in your Church should be high on your list. They are the ones that provide the power, the lights, the sounds, the audio for us right? Let’s be real, without them, I don’t know where we would be. So let’s use this season to honor the tech teams in our church.

I just read a fun article over at churchproduction.com by Cathy Hutchison. In this article she presents the holiday gift guide for church techs. I was immediately drawn to this because every church has their techies and sometimes we just need some creative ideas as to what to get them. A few of my favorite picks from this list include the electric kettle and pour-over station (coffee love), and the guitar amp key holder. Amazing!

What other gifts do you think the techies in your church will like?

The 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for Church Techs – Gifts under $50 by Cathy Hutchison

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