Saturday, May 14, 2011

One-Two, One-Two

In my years as a sound engineer, I mostly worked from age-old, well-equipped studios. I put together and tested a few mixing desk set-ups, but rarely did I ever get to test-drive brand new gear. Well, today in the Buddha Hall we inaugurated the new sound system, and for a first go, it went pretty well. Funnily enough it took three sound engineers - myself and the installers, Charlie and Nathan - a few minutes to realise that the speaker on our side of the Buddha Hall was not properly connected; once that was rectified, we just had some little edges of low-frequency feedback that we trimmed off as we went.
For me, the new equipment is great, much more versatile and professional than the old set-up, which has been in place at least fifteen years, and was designed to get the output of one microphone amplified over speakers and recorded onto a cassette. Now we have digital recording as well as the live-stream feed, and also the potential for video feeds on top of that. Being in front of a nice mixing desk felt familiar enough; what was strange was that I am now located in the opposite corner of the Buddha Hall from where I have been. Whereas before I was in the perfect seat to scan the audience, which helped not just to keep track of who was new and who was familiar, but also, in my early days as ino, to get more comfortable with all the faces that would be looking at me as I made my announcements, today I only had the back of a few people's heads, so when I got up and made my entrance from the other end of the Buddha Hall, it was the first time I had really seen who was there. And having been concentrating more than usual on the sound,  I was a little less prepared for the announcements.
This was not the only big event of the day - it was one of those twelve-hour days with only a few occasions to sit down for ten minutes or so between things to do - we had oryoki, and the usual zazen, then setting up for the afternoon jukai, lunch with the ordinands, Geoff and Tanya, all the usual printing palaver, a rehearsal and finally the ceremony itself...
It was an intimate gathering, and a nice mix between formal and informal, smoothly executed. Lots of bowing, and a token cutting of hair. Here are a couple of pictures of the day, from a first glimpse through.

Wisdom Water
Serene Name

Geoff, Abbot Steve, Tanya

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