Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tech stuff

I have been giving myself a headache with tech stuff at the church. I wish we had someone to handle these sorts of things, because I know just enough to be dangerous, and it always leaves me feeling so frazzled; but I think I did actually figure some things out.

It started on Sunday when we used the iworship dvd during our morning gathering again. It actually seemed to go better this week (I turned up the volume even more). However, I think it would work better still if we had a worship leader or two to lead the singing with microphones when we used these dvd's. But the way our display is set up, anything shown on tape or dvd doesn't show up on the monitor for the worship team - only what is run through powerpoint. I knew there had to be a way to get the dvd player to show up as well - because if we had people leading the singing they would need to see it on the monitor, rather than standing with their back to everyone to look at the screen.

So, Sunday afternoon I decided to look into the situation. I found the book for our switcher that the computer, projector and tv monitor all hook into. It was about as clear as mud. For some reason (which I can't even remember now) I started messing with the display settings on our old Compaq Presario laptop (it runs on Windows ME. Does anyone use ME anymore??). Well, I don't know what the heck I changed, but at one point it would no longer display on the laptop and through the projector/monitor at the same time. I could get it to display on one or the other, but not both at the same time. So then I started changing all these things in an attempt to get it to change back, and I was only making things worse. Just when I was at my most frustrated, Jane and her crew just arrived back from feeding the ladies at Charis House, and then it was time for the Sunday School teachers meeting. So my mind was a million miles away during the meeting (but it still ended up being a good meeting).

So, yesterday I started back in on the situation. I thought I was going to have to call Tom for help, but I decided to see what I could do first. I got out the other switcher that we have, and an old monitor, and I thought I would just try to get it to show on both monitors. I could do that, but I still couldn't get it to show on everything at once. Finally I decided to uncheck this little box that said something like "share across screen" or something. And, presto! It allowed the little Fn button to work that changed it from single to dual screen mode. However, even though things looked ok on the computer screen, they were all blurry on the projector screen. So I messed with some settings, and I was able to make it worse, and then worse still - to the point that I couldn't get any images to show at all. Finally I decided to restart the computer, and... presto, chango... it worked. I finally had things back to where they were (well, at least close enough to work).

So I started in again trying to figure out how to get the powerpoint to display, and also the dvd player. I finally read something somewhere that told me to switch some wires around on the switch thing, and plug something into the dvd player, and this other thing, and whatnot. So I did all that (I had crap laying all over the front of the church)... and I actually got the dvd player to show through the monitor. However, when I changed it back to the computer, it wouldn't show the powerpoint stuff. So I tried to remember how all the wires went back before, and then it hit me... all I need to do is get another tv monitor, and run an extra video cord from the dvd player to that monitor! So I did that, and it worked!!! So, if we use the iworship dvd's for worship, we just need to have one monitor for the powerpoint stuff, and put another tv on the other front pew to use as a monitor for the dvd player. I found a 12' video cord at Walmart and it just reaches from the dvd player to the inside edge of the front pew. It may not be perfect, but it will work. I just need to remember to plug the extra tv into the back of the dvd player at the green "y" plug under "video".

Writing sermons is a piece of cake compared to this stuff.