Proper maintenance of production equipment often gets overlooked due to time and budget. Even though church equipment doesn’t get beat up like gear on a tour, (unless you have a portable setup) it still requires continual upkeep.
Know your lamp life – Projectors and “Intelligent” Lighting all have a set number of operating hours that must not be exceeded.Lamps that are aging become volatile and can explode inside the equipment causing damage. I can also guarantee that the lamp will go out in the middle of your service … every time. Check out this video from Northview:
That was one of our back screen projectors: the lamp exploded shooting glass in all directions. Luckily, the unit is kept in a room alone so no one was in danger.
Keep an eye on your inventory – This time of year is perfect for taking inventory on your stash of gaffer’s tape, lamps, batteries, etc. Make sure you have enough of the little things to get you through the holidays. I try to stock up on in-ear foamies for the musicians, as well as lamps for music stand lights, and Clorox wipes to disinfect the microphones after every use.
Keep a backup – I realize it’s unreasonable to keep backups of every piece of equipment you have. It’s not common to find a church with an exact spare soundboard just sitting in storage. But with so much that is digital these days, make sure you keep a backup of all your files. I keep a USB stick locked up with ALL the equipment settings: from the soundboard, speaker processor, and wireless microphone system to the lighting and video consoles. I then upload the files to a cloud-based system like Dropbox or Google Drive. If something catastrophic happened, you can recall settings after repairs are complete or a rental is brought in.
Create a Disaster recovery plan – This is a big task, but has huge pay off! A disaster recover plan is simply a binder or online document that everyone on your team has access to. In it they should be able to find solutions to issues such as, “no audio coming from the sound board.” The solution would be to check mutes, and whatever other steps go into your particular situation. Keep it simple for the holidays. Maybe just give the basics – that way, if you get sick from eating gas station sushi on December 23rd your team knows what’s in your head.
Everything you can do on the front end to prepare for the big services will ensure a much smoother and less stressful experience for everyone.
So you saw my projector explode. What is something that has failed during a service for you that everyone noticed?