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Additive Noise: Farewell GNTV, hello new semester!

By: Rebecka McAleer

Welcome readers to the final chapter of my journey with GNTV Media Ministry. Dallas, Texas, was where I was finishing up my last job of the summer before I head back to school. This week I ran graphics for the 25th Annual Conference for Black Clergy Women. There were preachers there from across the country! They’re one of the liveliest groups I’ve ever met, and it was quite pleasant working with them. However, with a group like this, there’s no falling asleep on the job–you’re always on your toes!

Getting from Macon to Dallas was a long and arduous process. It was a long drive to begin with, and it got even longer when we stopped for dinner in Mississippi, only to come out and find that our equipment van had a flat tire. This resulted in an extra hour and a half of sitting in a Wendy’s parking lot, waiting for a fix-it truck. We were fortunate, and it wasn’t a job-ending problem, but it certainly did toss a monkey wrench into our plans.

Also on the crew with me this week were Sully (video director), Abu (downfront camera), and Prism (main camera), plus our sound tech and crew leader. As setups go, it’s been pretty easy. We have two 100-inch Dalite folding screens at the front of the room with Eiki XL200 projectors, plus the additional microphones and QSC speakers. Our production area holds essentially the sound board, my graphics computer, a recording computer, a lighting computer, Sully’s Anycast switcher, and mic and amp racks. We have what we call a “breakout box” in the room next door for minor presentations. Each breakout box includes a miniature audio/video setup. One small notebook projector, a little JBL speaker, setup for two microphones, and an 80-inch Dalite screen. This way, we don’t have to constantly pack small A/V kits. We have 20 or so breakout boxes that sit in the studio and wait to be needed. They’re great for conferences that hold a lot of workshops.

I’ve told you all of the fun parts about my job, but allow me to shed some light on the difficult moments. Sometimes, when you’re the tech person in an official-looking shirt, people assume that you are both omniscient and happen to have the powers of Superwoman. Unfortunately, when they don’t realize that they need lyrics, or litany, or any type of graphic until the middle of the worship service, there’s very little that can be done. Sometimes it’s our fault–I forgot to put that section into the presenter software, I misplaced the flash drive, or something like that. Other times, there’s miscommunication between the clients and us, like when they realize mid-service that everyone thought it was someone else’s job to be in contact with us. As a result, we have no contact and don’t know quite what we’re doing. The key is to always ask lots of questions. Folks argue over the phrase “there are no stupid questions,” but at GNTV, it doesn’t matter if anyone thinks your question is stupid–you ask it anyway. The more you ask, the more you know, and the more you know, the more competent you’ll be when it counts.

I’ll let you in on a secret: One of the most difficult things working with GNTV is remembering what all of the acronyms stand for. Every organization has an acronym, and most of them use the same 10 to 15-word vocabulary list. Since we work with all of them in some way or another, we have to remember them all–UMCOR, GCORR, UMCOM, COSROW, etc. Personally, I find it hilarious that we give everything acronyms to make it easier to remember, but after a while, they all blend together so much that you can’t remember them anyway!

After Dallas, I hit the road and headed home. From Macon, I jump in my car and head straight for Valdosta in time for classes to start on Monday. I get to go back to being Rebecka, author of Additive Noise and multimedia editor. I’ll see you all then! In the meantime, be getting ready for the new semester and a whole new playlist from Additive Noise!

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