Tech Life at CLANkidz 2009

4th Year this team has led CLANkidz (the wortk with children from P1-P7 at Clan Gathering in St Andrews).  My role is to provide visuals, control lighting and background music as well as record (photo and video) what goes on to make people aware of the children’s work and for the children to see themselves on screen.  It takes a month or so (of ‘spare’ time) to get all the videos, music, images together as well as arrange and prepare the equipment we take.  Then CLANkidz runs from the Saturday evening through to Friday evening with three sessions a day.

We arrived on Friday afternoon with a van load of technical equipment, props, office equipment, cushions, TVs, cables, cables and cables, and met up with some of the Edinburgh team who were dropping off their van load of props, staging, tables, instruments, etc.


The most immediate, in your face and overpowering problem was that our venue was lacking a vital piece of equipment – black out.  The more we thought about it the more of a problem this was with lots of the way that we work requiring the ability to control lighting and to clearly see video screens.  Which takes my to the next problem – actually we didn’t find this out till the next day – the video projectors in place were really not up to the job and in particular weren’t performing in the bright-non-blacked-out venue.

But enough of that, this isn’t going to be all about moaning and blaming.  The set up went fairly well.  My initial technical plan had a multi-layered backup option involving complicated duplication of wiring and the ability to quickly switch over everything from a VGA signal to composite if anything went wrong.  I had also planned to use the visual software to control screens independently with multiple layers of images.   However, as it looked like nothing much was going to be visible whatever I did we shelved most of the ideas straight away and went for a much more simple plan (which so far has worked OK).  This gave us time to focus on the programme items we needed to know about.

It has been frustrating to basically be a button pusher, trying to follow queues to play the right video or music at the right time and not being able to do any background video work to enhance or be spontaneous alongside the teaching or worship.  But, on the other hand, I have been able to give a little more thought to the background audio and to help out more (I think) in the actual running of the programme.


So this far at least (about half way through at the time of writing) it is swings and roundabouts.  I’m not doing what I expected to and what I believe is my main ministry but I am more than busy and fulfilling a need.  The team as a whole are doing much more than I seem to be in terms of bonding with the children who come to CLANkidz and as I can’t guarantee I will be free I really can’t get into that side of it.  However, already I have been doing more of that than previously.

More soon, with an update on our magnificent texting service!

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