A REVOLUTION IN THE MAKING
With their vision for training a million Christian teens to effectively share their faith by 2010, no one can accuse the good people of Dare2Share (www.dare2share.org) of “small-God” thinking. Their mission: energize and equip teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus.
One of Dare 2 Share’s (D2S) tools for accomplishing their vision and fulfilling their God-given mission is their 2005-06 “REVOLUTION” Tour which hits arenas, churches and convention centers in ten U.S. cities from October 2005 through April 2006 (see sidebar for locations and dates). These powerful, life-changing “REVOLUTION” student and youth worker training events provide the entire church with a clear (and excellent) example of how to incorporate music, worship, drama, teaching, and training, seamlessly with today’s media technology to produce and present a highly engaging, high-impact message.
Since you and I are not able to meet in person “back stage” on-location at one of these powerful events I will attempt to use this much-too-short article to not only identify what a “REVOLUTION”, Tour program consists of and some of the technologies used, but also reveal a few of the techniques or philosophies used to ensure that the Savior, and not Sony, takes and remains “center stage”. By the way, since the author is the video Technical Director (TD) for the tour, consider your lanyard officially stamped with “ALL ACCESS”. Now, follow me backstage— doesn’t it feel good to stroll right past security?
Immediately upon entering the event “space” students begin to get a sense that “something big/good is going to happen”. The presence of several thousand students gathering, well-designed production staging, music, lighting and on-screen graphics plus the superbly qualified and super friendly D2S and volunteer staff combine to create an absolutely “electric” sense of anticipation.
Each ’05-’06 “REVOLUTION” event launches with an approximately 2-hour session on Friday night, continues all day Saturday and closes, or climaxes would be a better word, with a Starfield concert on Saturday night. Now, I know what you’re thinking, ‘How could you possibly keep several thousand Jr. and Sr. High students focused, not to mention in their seats for such an EXTENDED length of time?!’
First of all, who said anything about keeping them in their seats?
At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be anything “magical” about the program elements. Hint: there isn’t. They include singing, worship, drama, teaching/training, media, student involvement and outreach.
Music and worship are primarily led by a top-notch worship band assembled for the “REVOLUTION” Tour. This group of musicians and singers are deeply committed to musical and vocal excellence wholeheartedly sharing their hearts, lives and talents.
Original on-stage dramas/skits are sprinkled throughout, most in the 3-5 minute range, including an original 40-minute drama which is a central ministry element on the opening night. These live productions were specifically written to enhance the messages being delivered as well as the overall themes of the event. The actors are committed believers who refuse to compromise their preparations and quality of their performances. Humor is used frequently and effectively to gain and keep attention opening and preparing young hearts and “old hearts” to hear God’s message through this powerful use of “theatrics”. Several high-impact, dramatic sketches pre-produced by Bob Coffin at Joyco MultiMedia (www.joycomultimedia.com) are presented from videotape throughout the event. Transformative training is a vital ingredient led by the featured speaker & D2S founder Greg Stier, along with the D2S training team; Jose Zayas of Focus on the Family, and youth ministry veteran Karl Wheeler.
These training segments involve dynamic speaking, short dramas, student participation and several short 15 second to a few minute video clips from both well-known Hollywood films and original pre-produced pieces. On Saturday afternoon every student participates in a 4-hour citywide “Serve and Share” outreach project to get them way out of their seats not to mention their comfort zones. Students are thoroughly equipped to stay safe, interact with the community & share their faith before “hitting the streets” plus a canned food drive is held in conjunction with the outreach to benefit each city’s local rescue mission. A special offering on behalf of Hurricane Katrina victims is also being collected in each city.
Dare2Share works closely, both on-site and for many months prior to the first event, with Outside the Box Ministries, (www.otbm.org; Livonia, Michigan), the producers of D2S’s “REVOLUTION” event. One of the often repeated and profoundly simple, yet powerful philosophies of OTBM founder and president, Rolly Richert is that everything we do in producing our ministry events/programs/services is to be done in light of how it effects “the kid in the seat”.
In addition to producing the REVOLUTION Tour events for D2S, OTBM provides design and “triggering” of on-screen graphics, text/video playback and related technologies. Communication between the producer (Rolly), graphics station operator, stage manager, audio technicians, camera operators, video switcher and lighting is performed with a combination wired (Pro SB440) and wireless (WTR670) Clear-Com system (www.clearcom.com). Headsets are the single muff type (CC95) which contribute to the production philosophy of being able to “hear both worlds” (headset communication world and “live” world). MediaShout (www.mediashout.com) is the presentation software “engine” for text and graphics. The Edirol (www.edirol.com) DV-7PR Media Server is used for playback of motion backgrounds and pre-produced video segments in real-time (.avi format) direct to the screens. Six MIDI-controlled Edirol V-4 video mixers are triggered with software that Legacy Sound developed allowing for very quick and flexible multiple screen control.
Lighting, sound and video projection is provided by Legacy Sound Productions, owned and operated by Jesse Ralph (www.legacysound.biz) who is based in Denver, CO. Primary sound components include 20 DAS Audio Areo 38a self-powered line array, 10 Meyer Sound 650r subs, Crest Audio X-VCA 40-channel mixing console, Mackie TT-24 digital audio console for “monitor world”, Audix and DPA headset mics and wireless Shure UHF series mics. The brand new DAS line array system (shipped from Spain) arrived in time to make its premier at “REVOLUTION” Tour city number two: Charlotte, NC at the Cricket Arena. The clarity and fidelity of this DAS line array system is simply stellar.
Primary lighting components include: (8) High End Studio Spot 575cmy and (8) High End Studio Color 575 moving lights, (72) ETC Source Four Pars, Hog I-PC lighting controller, and Applied Electronics Dimmer Packs.
The event stage features 7 rear-projection screens: two approx. 10.5 x 14’ images are rear-projected onto seamless translucent material upstage center, two, approx. 6’ x 8’ images are projected onto what we’re calling “wings” which are triangle-shaped surfaces/material stretched out from the left and right sides from the upstage edge of the platform. This translucent material is fastened to the top & bottom of the upstage lighting truss then tied-down to a vanishing point. Think giant sideways pizza slice.
Two additional wide-screen 7 x 12 Da-Lite (www.da-lite.com) floor-standing, rear-projection screens are used as “marquee” screens (graphics/text only) on the left and right side of the stage servicing those seated in the front rows. The final screen is a long and narrow 6’ x 40’ marquee screen mounted above the downstage lighting truss and displays the same text/graphics as the two 7 x 12 side marquee screens. The projector for this “truss marquee” screen is mounted on the upstage lighting truss. Video projection units include 3 Sanyo PLC-XF-60’s (7,000 lumens), 2 Sharp V-10’s (4,500 lumens) and 2 Sanyo PLC-XU36’s (2,500 lumens).
The author of this article, who is owner, CEO, custodian and mail boy of JAY DELP PRODUCTIONS, (www.jaydelp.com) provides the 3-camera/switching system and IMAG direction. Camera equipment includes: 2 Sony DXC-537 cameras on Bogen tripods and 1 Sony DXC-327 roving camera. Each of the two tripod cameras have their own CCU (rack-mounted camera control unit operated from video control), rear focus and zoom controls and external viewfinders. The roving camera simply has the CCU cable/unit. Video switching/mixing is performed with Panasonic’s 8-input MX-70 component switcher although analog signals are used to accommodate multiple analog (composite) video routers in the signal path. Marshall Electronics Four 4-inch rack-mounted LCD panel V-R44P (www.lcdracks.com) is used for previewing camera images. Program and preview monitors consists of 2 JVC pro 9” color monitors.
In each city an opening two to three minute comedy sketch is shot on Friday afternoon in a readily-recognizable downtown location and edited in time to help introduce Greg Stier during Friday night’s opening session. This short video is shot with a Sony PD-150 3-chip miniDV camcorder and edited on a Dell Inspiron 8600 laptop using Edius Pro 3 by Canopus (www.canopus.com).
I believe one the “secrets” of D2S’s success and effectiveness with the “REVOLUTION” events is its unswerving commitment to top-shelf excellence in its people, presentation, and production. Obviously another entire article could be written about what this commitment to excellence means for D2S and each of us involved in using today’s media technology to communicate the truth to today’s generation. Allow me to simply conclude by encouraging all of us to…
1) Remain life-long “becomers” committed to becoming the people, both in and out of the tech booth, that God designed us to be,
2) Remain life-long “presenters” committed to honing the musical, verbal and dramatic talents which God has uniquely gifted us with to communicate His gospel, and…
3) Remain life-long “producers” committed to mastering our tools and technologies ensuring they always enhance our message and Messiah.
Until next time, may your technology only fail under warranty.