Until recent years, attending church was primarily an in-person event. The outbreak of COVID-19 forced churches across the country to hold virtual services as an alternative.
Although churches have long since opened their doors, approximately 22% of Christian churchgoers say they watch service online more than they did before.
Today, it’s become customary to stream church services for those who can’t attend. To make the most of this opportunity, you’ll need to invest in a church live streaming setup. Using the right streaming equipment will dictate how well your members receive your message.
We’ve put together a church live streaming guide to help you get started on the right track. Let’s explore the key information you should know.
The quality of your camera will dictate the overall quality of your stream. However, this doesn’t mean you need to choose the most expensive option. Today, quality cameras can be affordable. It’s even possible to use certain webcams for live streaming. If you’re concerned with budget and convenience, choose a webcam with a high resolution. If you can stretch your budget, use a DSLR camera. This allows you to improve your video quality without using top-tier options.
Use a powerful computer to get the best results while streaming. While it’s possible to stream with a smartphone, it’s not recommended.
Smartphones don’t have as much power and they have fewer flexibility options. If a top-tier computer is something your church can’t purchase at the moment, you can choose a lower-end one. Just ensure it has at least 4 GB of RAM.
Laptops are more convenient than desktops due to their portability. Keep this in mind when making your purchase so you avoid issues you would have otherwise encountered.
Using a tripod is imperative if you aren’t using a webcam. It’s obvious to viewers when an untrained professional holds a camera. No matter how hard they try, there will be slight movement. Investing in a tripod can help you eliminate this issue. Not all products are created equal, though. Cheap tripods are difficult to deploy and may not support the weight of your camera. They’re also more prone to breaking. Look for something durable that doesn’t sacrifice maneuverability.
Proper lighting is key for quality church services. It plays a large role in how your video content looks. Cameras with low-light settings aren’t always efficient at correcting lighting issues. You can maintain quality through a three-point lighting mechanism.
This includes background lights, key lights, and fill lights. If your services will have more than one speaker, anticipate your lighting needs. This will help you when conducting dry runs and fine-tuning your lighting.
Many churches overlook the importance of a video switcher. Live streams aren’t very engaging if there’s only one camera angle the entire time. A video switcher is a device that allows you to seamlessly swap between different cameras. Periodically changing the camera angle of your live stream will help keep your audience’s attention. Modern video switchers are fairly inexpensive and easy to use. Even a low-end product can likely meet your needs.
Perfecting your live stream’s visual quality is only half the battle. Having stellar sound quality will make your content much more impactful.
A powerful microphone will ensure your audience hears your message loud and clear. Remember that you might need to adjust your audio depending on certain factors. For instance, if you stream your service in a room that isn’t sound-treated, the audio might sound louder than you anticipated. You’ll need additional microphones if you plan on streaming a live band.
A video encoder is a piece of equipment that converts footage into viewable content. There are two primary types: hardware encoders and software encoders.
Hardware encoders are the more powerful option. They allow you to encode video footage without placing additional stress on your computer. This is great for those who don’t have powerful machines. Hardware encoders are also easier to set up.
In contrast, software encoders are more accessible and affordable. They come with many customization options to help you achieve your desired video quality.
The right decision will depend on your needs. If your live stream has a large production value, a hardware encoder is likely the better choice.
Fast Internet Connection
Your internet upload speed will dictate your audience’s viewing experience. Streams with delays, pauses, or buffering times can deter viewers.
Thoroughly test your network speed before streaming. This will make sure you don’t encounter performance issues.
The Right Streaming Platform
Many churches make the mistake of using platforms like Facebook or YouTube to stream their services. These can come with a lot of problems. For example, there could be copyright issues with the music you play. Pauses and delays are also common. Plus, you don’t have control over the ads they show your audience. Some advertisements might not be appropriate for your demographic.
Certain topics may also infringe upon these platforms’ guidelines, diluting your message. And if you encounter problems during a live stream, they also don’t offer customer support.
Instead, look for a service provider that’s dedicated to exceeding their customers’ needs. Examine their past reputation to gain insight into the results you’ll get. Ask about their pricing structure, as well. This will help you avoid financial surprises. Before you make your decision, look at examples of their past work. Previous live streams should have clear visual and audio quality. They should also be free of disruptions and delays.
Use the Right Church Live Streaming Setup
The equipment you use will play a large role in your church service quality. Having the right church live streaming setup ensures that you deliver your message effectively to your audience.
At WSN Live, we aim to make streaming as simple as possible for each of our clients. We offer everything you need to take your content to the next level. Schedule a call today to learn more about how we can help.