NCC’s God Anthology Live promo

 

This summer, National Community Church recorded the church’s first live CD at the Lincoln Theater.  I was technical director for the event, created the lighting design, and ran front of house audio.  The CD was tracked by Vanguard Recording and the 16-time Grammy Award winner, Danny Duncan.  It releases on November 22, 2011.  You can pre-order it now at www.godanthology.com.

Click >>God Anthology Promo<< to check out our trailer for the CD!

And a picture of me running FOH for God Anthology Live.  Mixing on an Allen and Heath iLive T112.

An overwhelming feeling of gratitude

 

Have you ever slowed down long enough to step back and see how blessed you are?  Have you ever been continuously left speechless with a feeling of gratitude and awe at the orchestration of God’s great love and provision in your life?  Have you ever been sitting or standing somewhere overwhelmed to the point where all you want to do is listen and not move or even blink because you’re afraid that you’re going to miss something?  God places passions in your heart that are unique as you are.  He also places those passions in others.  Then, He orchestrates paths and creates times where not only does He reveal His sovereignty but He allows you to watch Him knit together a beautiful tapestry of life, passion, creativity, innovation, and purpose.  I spent the last few weeks watching this unfold before my eyes.  Like a symphony blending and movement flowing, I listened to a story of God’s divine orchestration time and time again.  But, what struck me even more then supernatural guidance from the Lord was the humility with which it was communicated.  It was obvious that it wasn’t about them but all about Jesus.  I believe this is an important leadership quality that is frequently overlooked.  We may confuse someone who is forceful for someone who possesses good leadership qualities.  But, I believe the contrary is true.  By exercising humility in your interactions, you may learn more then you would have otherwise.

 

Sometimes, being quiet is the best way to soak something in.  There is a time to squeeze out what you have, but there are times to soak in what is going on, being discussed or communicated because you will have more to offer later.  If you’re constantly trying to squeeze something out to be a part of something, you may miss a chance to soak in and keep something you may wish you had.  For example, if you are surrounded by some of the best creative and innovators in your field, that’s the time to soak it in.  But, it can’t stop there, because you can’t keep it to yourself.  An analogy that really impacted me this week was this: fruit is not meant to be stored or kept.  It is only through continuous growth, harvest, and replanting that actual regeneration happens.  The only way to make a difference is to press forward and use what God has given us to develop His Kingdom.

 

God created the heavens, earth, and everything in it.  We were created in His image; in the image and likeness of the very definition of creativity.  And He said that it was good.  It’s truly amazing even as I cruise at 25,000 feet on my way back to DC.  As those who are following Christ with our whole hearts and lives, we should be the most creative and innovative people on the planet.  Yet, I think so many times we sell ourselves short of who could be and who we truly are in Christ Jesus.  We were given the gift of life, how can we use it and how will we make it count?  We must find innovative and creative ways to communicate the love of Christ to a lost and dying world.  We must continue to find new methods and ways to communicate the gospel.  The day we think we’ve arrived, we have died as a creative innovator.

 

I hope God will continue to open doors and give me opportunities to pursue my passion of audio, production, and technology in the church.  I’m amazed at where I am now and what He has literally dropped in my lap.  I cannot imagine the future and what He is going to do.  And honestly, it’s better that way.  I don’t think I could conceive it.

Doug Gould’s Worship MD Training at @ Ebenezers

Over almost the past year, I’ve been looking into better tech training options for the production volunteers at National Community Church.  It’s a little bit of a challenge to keep my volunteers up to speed because the turnover rate in the Washington DC area is so high.  As all church tech guys know, running tech for an event is not only a learned skill, but an art…sort of like playing a musical instrument.

Anyway, since NCC is multisite, I was looking for a great way to do some hands-on mix training where the volunteers could just hang out and take the time to learn and play with what the mixing console controls do, how EQ works and reacts…basically, run sound with no pressure!  So, I contacted a friend of mine from Worship MD named Doug Gould.  Doug has had a background in audio for many years including working for companies like Shure and now his company helps to market brands like Audio Technica, Aviom, Presonus, Planet Waves, Ultimate Ears, Vox, and Waves plug-in’s.

Doug brought in six Presonus 16.0.2 consoles which we fed with signal from a full band through Aviom I/O and a master Presonus 24.4.2 console.  Doug talked through gain structure, signal flow, EQ, compression, and other mix basics that would benefit church techs.  Then, we turned the volunteers loose on the consoles with some tracks playing and gave them time to mix full band stuff with the Presonus console.  They were able to experiment with gain structure, EQ, compression, and gating.  It was really critical since NCC is multisite and there’s alot of pressure to get the mix and all the production gear set up and simply GO!  They were able to try new things, experiment, create a mix in a relaxed environment and get instant feedback and critique.  NCC will certainly be using Doug and Worship MD in the future for some of the training we will be doing.

Here’s a few pictures from the event we held at Ebenezers Coffeehouse on Capitol Hill in DC.

Spotify: New limits placed on listeners on October 14th

If you haven’t heard of or used Spotify recently then you are seriously behind.  Spotify started out as a free music service that was available to international users and on July 14th of this year, took the US by storm offering the best free music listening service to date.  Their deal with Facebook pushed them past competitors such as Last.fm who were trying to create a music driven social network.  Their edge came because it was a free service that gave you unlimited plays where services like Last.fm cost money.

Unfortunately, it was too good to be true.  Today, if you logged into Spotify to listen to your favorite tunes, you were asked to accept the new terms and conditions and I’m sure many of you just hit “I Accept” without reading it.  That click of acceptance will change how much you’ll be able to listen to tracks and ultimately how you’ll be able to use Spotify.

Basically, there are four different ways that you can access Spotify.  The version that most people had was the free version with ads where you could listen to whatever you wanted without the commercials.  That version now has listening limits placed on it after you are a member for six months.  After that, Spotify will impose “a cap of 10 listening hours per month and a cap of 5 plays per unique track.”  Lame.  I always wonder how Spotify made enough money to make all of those artists and distribution companies happy when it came to royalties but now it’s apparent that they are trying to push people towards purchasing the premium version of Spotify.  But, honestly, can you blame them?  It must require an incredible amount of resources to run a service like this and I seriously doubt there is any way that they can sustain themselves unless they begin to bring in more revenue.

So what does this mean for the user who loves Spotify?  Right now, if you haven’t had your account for six months, (which it hasn’t been available in the US for over six months yet) you won’t see any changes.  However, once you hit that six month marker, your functionality of Spotify will capped at 10 listening hours per month.  If you really don’t want that cap, you can try one of the other four “flavors” of Spotify.  They also feature an advertisement free version where you pay either a monthly or yearly fee, an advertisement free version where you pay a monthly fee which also features an offline mode where you can listen to certain downloaded songs while offline (which I’m sure are encrypted and not available for you to just keep), and finally a paid version where you have completely unlimited access which also supports your mobile device.

Which one are you interested in?  Do you think you will pay for Spotify in the future or will you simply use it less?  Feel free to comment with your thoughts and opinions and what you, the Spotify user, will do about the new terms and conditions.

Sunset over Arlington

About a week ago, my family hung out with me for the day in DC and my dad and I took pictures of the sunset over VA that night.  I’m probably going to post a few more pictures from that day later but here’s one for now.

Rachel Platten with Bethany and the Guitar shoot at Ebenezers Coffeehouse

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to run sound for a concert at Ebenezers Coffeehouse in Washington DC featuring Bethany and the Guitar and Rachel Platten.  They were really awesome to work with and also alot of fun to shoot.  I’m certainly still a beginner but I’m really enjoying the learning process.  I am certainly looking into getting a few different lenses to make certain things easier but I’m still pleased with the results I’m getting with my current equipment.  Here’s a few shots that I liked and were requested by the artists.  Enjoy!!

Photos and bowling

Today is my day off and I’m hanging out with my family in PA.  We decided to go bowling which is a favorite past time of mine.  I took my new Canon T3i with me and grabbed a few shots.  I’ll post more later but in the meantime, here’s one that I tweaked a little this afternoon.  Click the image to see the full picture.  Enjoy!

Bowling September 7, 2011, MacDade Bowl

Kurtis Parks and The Anthem w/ Melodime @ Ebenezers Coffeehouse

Just wanted to post some pictures that I shot Friday night at Ebenezers Coffeehouse. One of my NCC co-workers, Kurtis Parks with his band the Anthem tore it up shortly after a group named Melodime rocked the stage. I was mixing FOH for the event, but really wanted to get some shots with my T2i. I’m learning alot every time I pick up the camera and I’m really excited to keep learning. The lighting was really difficult do deal with because the back of the stage was so much brighter then the front. It was really hard to get their faces exposed properly without blowing out the back wall exposure. Anyway, I learned alot for next time. Check out the gallery below and let me know what you think.

My first retouched photo project

I’ve been talking to alot of you about how I’ve been wanting to get into photography and graphic design stuff as a hobby.  This week, my Canon T2i came and I went out on a photo shoot.  It was a beautiful night with an awesome sunset.  Living in DC, I naturally thought I should go to the Capitol building to shoot some practice shots.  I was pretty pleased with the results for my first time out.  I think I’ll probably return it to upgrade to the T3i but otherwise, I like the camera.

I retouched and edited one picture.  It’s got that HDR vibe to it.  Let me know what you think.  I’d love to get some feedback on what I can do better.  Thanks for checking it out!

 

US Capitol Sunset - Jason Castellente Canon T2i

HP Touchpad: Web OS is dead…or maybe not!

If you haven’t seen this going on today and yesterday, maybe you haven’t been on the internet, or maybe you don’t have any techie friends, but HP just made a crazy move and totally dropped the bottom out of their prices on the HP Touchpad.

WebOS has never been a popular operating system and has been shadowed by the iPad and the Android tablets.  These statistics of sales would obviously scare advertisers away from the platform.  So, what never got going after it’s release, spiraled down until an announcement that made it to tech websites saying that the “WebOS” is dead.  That was followed by huge price reductions yesterday and today.  The 16 GB model was liquidated for $99  (discounted from $399) and 32 GB model for $149 (discounted from $499).

I picked up a 16 GB from Amazon.com today.

However, it’s quite interesting to read HP’s actual statement that was made on their website.

In an announcement on August 18th, they did say that they were going to “discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the Touchpad and webOS phones.  HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”

That certainly sounds like there will still be some development for the webOS…

It’s quite interesting to think about now much “negative” press that HP has received surrounding this announcement.  Yes, it was negative press; however, it was press and publicity.  If you keep reading their press release, it says this in “Forward Looking Statements”:

“This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. If the risks or uncertainties ever materialize or the assumptions prove incorrect, the results of HP may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and assumptions. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements, including but not limited to any projections of revenue, margins, expenses, earnings, tax provisions, cash flows, benefit obligations, share repurchases, currency exchange rates, the impact of acquisitions or other financial items; any statements of the plans, strategies and objectives of management for future operations…”

This is VERY interesting.  They have totally covered themselves if they decide to go back on this announcement.  Could this have been a marketing stunt?

So, you’ve got HP making this announcement, then asking retailers to drop their prices (I’m sure they were reimbursed for their loss in profit) on all the existing hundreds of thousands that have been produced and distributed already.  Was the liquidation actually a plan to simply get their product into the hands of users more quickly while also making sure that they don’t get burned for the cost of their hardware?  So, what happens if users really like it now?  Could it simply be that WebOS is great but since no one is on the platform, no one really knows or talks about it?

Could this have been one of the most brilliant marketing stunts to hit tech enthusiasts?

UPDATED: 8/22/2011

HP’s website  states that “Due to the significant price reduction, we experienced overwhelming demand for the product and are TEMPORARILY out of inventory.”  Temporarily?  I thought they were discontinued??

 

Feel free to comment with your thoughts!!

 

Check out my blog entries on the T-Mobile mytouch 4G, mytouch 4G Powerskin and the new T-Mobile Bracketed Data plans.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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