Blog: Behind The Scenes At UUCL

Behind the scenes at UUCL …
Entry #1: Tech Team (Written by Fred Foster-Clark)
Some of you have some sense of what the Tech Team does each week, and many
have expressed appreciation, but we imagine that many of you aren’t fully
informed. While we’ll just give an overview here, we hope it brings the behind-
the-scenes” more into the open and maybe even encourages a few more
volunteers – they are certainly needed!
The Tech Team works under the able direction of Eli Sauls, Director of Music and
Tech Arts at UUCL. But Eli depends on a few volunteers each week to deliver
services, both in the sanctuary and via YouTube and Zoom. Key to audio quality
on all platforms is the sound volunteer who works the equipment in the back of
the sanctuary that controls all the amplification. Lead volunteer here and the real
brains behind the operation is Bob Ulrich, assisted mostly by Tim Snyder and Alan
Jacobs. The streaming of worship services out to YouTube and then onto Zoom
couldn’t happen without Rich Riccio who has designed the OBS operation and has
run it week in and week out. OBS is the software that takes the audio feed, the
camera feed, and, together with all the text and graphics that Rich adds in (with
input from Sindy and Kelsey), streams it out to YouTube.
The Zoom side involves two or three other folks. The Zoom Tech Host starts the
Zoom meeting around 9:30 – 9:45, gets everything set up to run smoothly, and
then shares the YouTube stream once that starts around 9:50. Sometimes a 2 nd
Zoom Tech Assistant coordinates between the Tech Host (usually using the
computer set-up from Eli’s office) and the back of the sanctuary where sound and
stream originate. Currently, Tech Host and Assistant responsibilities are shared
between Fred Foster-Clark, Tim Snyder and Alan Jacobs. These folks also help to
get the service streamed to screens in the lobby and in Emerson. Perhaps the key
cog in the Zoom worship experience is the Zoom Worship Associate, capably
served most weeks by Kay Welty, who welcomes folks, post messages in Chat,
helps to manage the Waiting Room, and, importantly, facilitates the Zoom coffee
hour time after the service. Zoom participants usually number from the mid-teens
into the mid-twenties each week with another handful of people watching live
directly on YouTube, with many more (occasionally up into the hundreds) viewing
the services later on YouTube.

The proposed sanctuary upgrade now being discussed includes enhancements
that would substantially increase the quality and reliability of the remote and
recorded worship experience, while reducing the Tech Team workload. So both
our remote and in-person worshippers have a vested interest in these upgrades!
We need volunteers! None of this, except the OBS streaming, requires anything
more than a little time, commitment, and training and some of it requires little to
no technical expertise. Please contact Eli (Eli@uuclonline.org) if you can help in
any way or have questions or concerns.

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