March 28, 2014

A sound tech’s dozen…

A recent event had us working with 12 wireless microphones.

While the event went smoothly — both of us were given roses at the end of the night — we figured this would be a great opportunity to discuss how we handled the receivers, and how we managed the channels accordingly.

We were working with…

• five single-channel receivers of the same model,
• four double-channel receivers,
• three organizers alternating microphones,
• and nine youth performers.

As you’ll notice in the top photo, each microphone had been taped and labelled – each with their channel on the mixing board (in circles), and some with their channel on their respective receiver (in squares). Labelling made it much easier to communicate with the performers and organizers to more easily diagnose which microphones required batteries, were being exchanged, or called for managing. We were careful to jot down the circled numbers for each performer or speaker as they picked up their microphone.

We’d also ran the receivers into the mixing board in order of receiver model. By running each receiver of the same model side-by-side into the mixing board, we could find which settings worked best for which receiver, and then adjust the following channels using the same model receiver to its precedent setting.

We’d also noted which microphones were being transferred or used by organizers, allowing us to mute the unused channels more easily. We’d also used headphones to identify which channels were being used through the Pre-Fader Levels — another great way to identify which speakers were using which microphones.

(Pro-tip: keeping a stack of a dozen batteries right next to the mixing board can be reassuring.)

March 24, 2014

Another community in Kensington

Filed under: Events, Industry Tips, Mixing, Uncategorized — Tags: — Kyle Napier @ 5:54 pm

We were asked to run a setup yesterday at the Plaza Theatre in Kensington.

We ran three sections of lighting truss, two light trees, 24 channels from musicians into the digital board from two snakes, five independent monitors, and several wireless microphones – all in a record two and a half hours!

It was great working with such talented and experienced musicians.

Some of the artists involved had flown in from Vancouver and Toronto to perform in the event. As they were so experienced, the setup flew by with wonderful communication and coordination.

As there was such little time between setting up the event and the audience filing in, Kris had had to conduct a soundcheck on the fly. Before the audience had filed in, Kris worked with each artist and their respective instruments to ensure we were getting clean signal, and then we worked through the frequencies and monitors throughout the first song.

Pictured to Kris’ right is the Q Light Controller digital light mixing interface. Because we’d already preprogrammed a few scenes and lighting tricks for this event, we were able to run the lights to the event, sound and organizers’ preference.

We ran the SM 57 instrument mics under the congas – allowing us to capture the full-bodied sound of the instruments. We had also ran several Sennheiser drum mic clips on the kit, with an overhead condenser microphone to capture the symbols.

As there were several performers and speakers, we’d left three SM58 vocal microphones at the stage, and ran a few wireless microphones as well. This allowed for a few constant singers, and mobile and changing presenters and speakers.

We’d also had to be cautious of working within the power limitations of the outlets and venue, which required a bit of planning and understanding of power drops and most ideal locations.

We’d ended up running six different drops across the stage – three in the front and three in the back.

The truss may have been one of the more time consuming elements in this setup.

To plan for this, we ran the necessary cable and connectors on the truss with the lights ahead of time. After setting the truss safely on either side of our crank stand, the event organizers were able to erect their backdrop and sign.

After ensuring that each of the lights DMX addresses and power ran fluidly, we angled the lights appropriately, and then cranked the truss up.

The event went very well, and the artists and audience seemed to really enjoy the event.

We were quite proud of the effort and coordination of those involved in helping set up this event -
especially in just under two and a half hours!

March 14, 2014

Toyota at the International Auto and Truck Show

Filed under: Events — Kyle Napier @ 1:13 pm

We had the great pleasure in coordinating the audiovisual component for Toyota’s exhibit at the Calgary International Auto and Truck Show at the BMO Centre.

We had set up two 60″ LED televisions — one on a mounting bracket, and the other on the steel truss.

Each of the televisions ran a video and picture presentation from different USB keys. To forecast any potential issues, we tested the USB keys at the shop, ensuring that both presentations worked and ran in 1080p.

We’d also customized the television’s position by tying two C-clamps onto the televisions mount, allowing it to tie onto the truss at any position.

The truss that had been setup for the event gave us a reasonable space to install safety cables, run the projector above the truss on our custom-built projector stand, and safely secure the power and HDMI cable from the Blu-ray player to the projector. The projector had been programmed to turn off automatically when it had stopped receiving signal from the Blu-ray player, allowing for a visually cleaner setup.

Likening being along the truss to feeling like he was on the Canadarm, Kris notes that he had to exercise caution when using tools 20 feet high along the truss above multiple custom-built vehicles.

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