Prepar­ing For An Event

When it comes to pro­duc­tion, events of all scales require solid prepa­ra­tion and a well thought out plan. Here are some key ele­ments to think about when plan­ning your next event.

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The event itself:

Ask your­self and the organ­is­ers a few ques­tions at this stage to ensure you are fol­low­ing their vision for the event from the begin­ning. What’s it about? Who’s it for? What do the organ­is­ers envis­age when it comes to the pro­duc­tion ele­ments? You want to ensure you meet their expec­ta­tions in style, look and feel and exceed them in exe­cu­tion, qual­ity and per­for­mance. You also want the del­e­gates to be at the event they signed up for.

The venue:

You’ll find the size, shape and exist­ing infra­struc­ture will give you a good start­ing point in cre­at­ing the look and feel in the room. It will also help in know­ing what gear you will need to source and bring in your­self. Be sure to get famil­iar with the venue and how the event plans to use the space. Get the infor­ma­tion you need about power sources, rig­ging points, lim­i­ta­tions (smoke, weight rat­ings etc) so you can pre­pare accordingly.

Equip­ment:

Think about every detail. Start with the obvi­ous (con­soles, pro­jec­tors etc) and work down to the lit­tle things that are usu­ally for­got­ten (sig­nal adapters, bat­ter­ies etc). Have detailed draw­ings and lists. Then make plans on where you can source it all from. If you need equip­ment from mul­ti­ple sources, ensure every­thing is labelled well, to make pack-​out and return easier.

Peo­ple:

Who do you need to get the job done and done well? Be sure you get peo­ple who have the rel­e­vant skill sets for the job you require, but that are peo­ple you can teach as well. Also be sure to pro­vide enough com­mu­ni­ca­tion dur­ing the lead up and through­out the event. What do they need to know from you to pre­pare and do the job well?

Bud­get:

Unless you’ve got all the gear, you’ll have to hire or bor­row — which can add costs. Even if you intend to only have small expenses such as con­sum­ables, clear up any ques­tions and expec­ta­tions around bud­get at the begin­ning of a project. Let the organ­is­ers know esti­mated costs as soon you are able.

Time:

What time frame do you have to make things hap­pen? Before the event, book hire/​borrowed gear as soon as you are able to, and allow enough time to pro­duce any con­tent you may need. Dur­ing the event, be sure to give your­self enough time to be set up and oper­at­ing before go time. Plan for and run media and sound checks — be sure every­thing works (or at least know what doesn’t) before it starts.

Look­ing after your­self and your team:

Some events, espe­cially week­end and week long events require early morn­ings, late nights and long days in-​between. Have fresh fruit, water and snacks avail­able dur­ing setup and pack out. Have set times for decent meals and breaks to get some fresh air and see the sun, and to get the sleep you need. Make sure your team are doing the same.

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There is so much to pre­pare for when plan­ning an event. Over­all, plan well, plan ahead. If you have any ques­tions when prepar­ing your next event, feel free to make con­tact with us as we are more than happy to help.

Amplify stage design is always a chal­lenge. What can we cre­ate that is dif­fer­ent, ver­sa­tile, and that will add to the wor­ship expe­ri­ence? This year, we based the back wall of the stage design off some­one else’s design (yeah, all good design is mim­ic­ked right!), so credit for the falling cards idea goes to another church, who you can find on church​stagedesig​nideas​.com.

Falling Cards:

The falling cards are sim­ply just that — pieces of card­board made to look like they are falling. This sim­ple, yet rather time con­sum­ing idea is fairly straight for­ward. We chose a mate­r­ial that was light­weight and white on both sides — the ulti­mate decider for this was some­thing that was in stock and rea­son­ably priced. Our research found a com­pany that could pro­vide 2mm thick pieces of card­board, white on both sides and cut to size. The next step w

as to fig­ure out how many pieces were needed. By cre­at­ing a test sec­tion and using a bit of math, we fig­ured out that we would need 36 columns of 20 to fill the back wall.

Also, because we were putting up a big screen, we needed to take out 5 cards each from 16 of the columns, in order to leave us with enough blank space to place the screen. This meant we needed 640 cards in total. We ordered 700 pieces of 120mm x 240mm, 2mm thick card­board, white on both sides. Nylon was threaded through the cen­ter of the cards, and they were hot glued on the under­side at reg­u­lar inter­vals (240mm). They were then hung at reg­u­lar inter­vals (300mm) by tying them to a piece of rig­ging along the top of the stage. Because each card isn’t per­fectly bal­anced (and with the con­stant move­ment of the nylon), the cards hang at dif­fer­ent angles — giv­ing the falling cards look.

Screens:

Wide screens are good! Even wider screens… why not? We hired a screen that was 6m x 2m. Because of its width, we had two iden­ti­cal pro­jec­tors side-​by-​side and used a tool called “edge-​blending”. Sim­ply put: this elim­i­nates a vis­i­ble gap/​overlap from the two pro­jec­tors so that the final image looks like one. Our oper­a­tors used Pro­P­re­sen­ter from a lap­top to con­trol the lyrics, videos and graphics.

Light­ing We had 8x LED Col­orado Bat­ten 144s light­ing up the falling cards. This gave us the abil­ity to change the colour on the cards — we could make them a solid colour or a mix of colours. 6x LED Col­orado Zoom Tours lined the top of the screen and focussed towards the front of the stage.

These were mainly used as back­light­ing. How­ever, at one point we did have only these on, set to a thin beam, which looked pretty cool! There were another 4 of these com­ing in from the side. We then had 8x Chau­vet QSpot 560s, 4 hung above the stage and 4 on truss stands along the back. These are movers that allowed us to add move­ment and inter­est­ing pat­terns to the stage.

Finally, we had con­ven­tional light­ing for the stage wash and house lights. This was all pro­grammed and con­trolled via a Road Hog 3 light­ing console.

If you would like to recre­ate this back­drop in your Corps set­ting and need help, let us know and we can pro­vide you with links to our sup­pli­ers and answer any in depth ques­tions you might have!


Whether pur­pose­ful or not, there tends to be a level of sep­a­ra­tion between musi­cians and sound engi­neers. Active mix­ing is a way to lower this bar­rier and for musi­cians and engi­neers to work together in order to cre­ate some amaz­ing wor­ship times. Here are some of the con­cepts behind active mix­ing and how it can con­tribute to your worship:

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Firstly, active mix­ing requires the sound per­son to be lis­ten­ing. This can­not be stated enough. Active mix­ing requires that the sound engi­neer knows the songs, the arrange­ments, the mood and the atmos­phere that the wor­ship leader is try­ing to cre­ate. This comes with good com­mu­ni­ca­tion, ded­i­ca­tion and ser­vant heart­ed­ness. It does not come from a “turn up and flick some switches” men­tal­ity, it requires real invest­ment into the wor­ship life of your church.

When these are in place, active mix­ing will come nat­u­rally. By def­i­n­i­tion, active mix­ing is sim­ply the rais­ing and low­er­ing of cer­tain parts of the song as the song sees fit. For instance, you might boost a gui­tar lead break, lower a kick drum, EQ a key­board or bus vocals on the fly. Each song will require dif­fer­ent mixes, and by actively push­ing faders and turn­ing knobs, the sound engi­neer is equally involved with craft­ing the mood of the song.

It’s always impor­tant to actively mix to the mood of your church. If there’s an atmos­phere of praise, where peo­ple are singing loudly and mak­ing all sorts of noise, it’s prob­a­bly going to be OK if you mix things up a few DB or so. Like­wise, if the mood is reflec­tive and prayer­ful, choose which instru­ments you’re pulling out and giv­ing pri­or­ity to in the mix. It’s impor­tant that you’re always lis­ten­ing and reassess­ing the mood of the room.

As well as the mood of the room, look for ways to use audio to shape it. You might feel that the energy of the room is a bit down. A great way to boost this is to put some upbeat music on under­neath intro­duc­tions or announce­ments. Just make sure that you’re not com­pet­ing with your main MC or pas­tor for attention.

Here are a few areas that active mix­ing can really help with:

  • If you have a singer that’s enthu­si­as­tic but not very “tune­ful”, be aware of it and be ready to pull them out of the mix if they get too off

  • Pay atten­tion to the fre­quency range of your key­board and piano. If your keys player is mak­ing use of all their keys, live EQ can really help to lessen clashes between frequencies

  • EQ can also help with harsh high end fre­quen­cies. If your drum­mer is start­ing to build a song with a bit of pas­sion, but is going hard on their cym­bals, you can help lessen those higher fre­quen­cies with some EQ (if your drum­mer is miced)

  • Pay atten­tion to which instru­ment is the lead for that song and push them fur­ther out in the mix. Again, with some prepa­ra­tion, you should be famil­iar enough with the songs to know what to boost.


There’s plenty for sound engi­neers to do dur­ing wor­ship times and we need to get out of the men­tal­ity that our job is done once every­thing is going. As an act of wor­ship, lets do our best to make the sweet­est sound to the Lord that we can. Active mix­ing is one way that we can achieve this.