Church services are a time-honored tradition that brings people together to worship and connect with their faith. However, not everyone can always make it to church on Sunday morning. But thanks to today’s modern audiovisual technology, live streaming can electronically deliver services into the homes of those who are unable to attend church in person. In this article, we’ll describe the equipment you’ll need for a church live stream setup and some tips on providing an engaging virtual service for your remote congregation members.
What Equipment Is Needed to Live Stream a Church Service?
Below is a list of the equipment needed to live stream. When it comes to a live stream church service, use the best equipment possible within your budget to ensure a quality broadcast.
- A good quality camera – With its advanced video capabilities, using a smartphone for your live stream can be a great way to get started. As you start to build momentum, you can upgrade to a higher quality camera to make improvements. When you do upgrade, select a camera that is capable of capturing clear images in both bright and dark settings.
- Proper lighting – Your video won’t look its best without the right lighting. For the best lighting, position lights or lamps so that they are facing the subject of the video; set up light sources angled toward the subject from two sides, forming a triangle with the subject, to help minimize shadows.
- Video switcher – Most video switchers have multiple inputs and outputs, but you should make sure that the one you select has enough of both for your connections. Most video switchers accept either HDMI or SDI signals, but there are a few that accept other types of signals.
- A high quality microphone – This will ensure that your parishioners’ voices are heard loud and clear, no matter where they are in the room.
- Good quality audio – This includes speakers, amplifiers, and sound mixers. Make sure all sound components can work together in order to have the best possible sound quality.
- Streaming software – Software is used for encoding, as well as switching between multiple cameras, overlaying graphics, and adding transitions and video effects.
- Streaming service – For best results, select a streaming service that includes features such as easy setup, viewer analytics, availability to viewers without an account, and one that is easily searchable. Some free popular platforms include YouTube Live and Facebook Live. However, if you desire a more powerful and professional features such as sermon recording, online donations, and ad-free streaming, StreamingVideoProvider and BoxCast can be a good fit.
- A reliable internet connection – This is essential for live streaming your services. Make sure you have a strong and stable connection to avoid any glitches or buffering during the broadcast.
How to Set Up a Live Church Stream
A proper set up can help ensure a successful stream. Here are a few tips on how to set up a live stream of your church service.
- Prepare your equipment
Connect cabling and audiovisual hardware and configure settings as applicable.
- Set up your streaming software
Once you’ve chosen a platform and prepared your equipment, you’ll need to set up the streaming software. This software will allow you to broadcast your church service. Each platform has its own streaming software, so be sure to check the instructions for your particular platform.
- Test your stream
Before launching your live stream, it’s important to test it out. Make sure that everything is working correctly and that you’re happy with the quality of the stream. Verify your internet connection is fast enough to support the stream without dropouts and freezing.
Once your stream is up and running, promote it on your church website and social media pages. Letting people know about your live stream can help you reach a wider audience.
Best Practices to Live Stream a Church Service
With your church streaming set up ready to go, here are some best practices to observe for a successful broadcast.
- Before you go live with your stream, make sure to test it privately and identify any problems.
- When you’re trying to build relationships with your viewers, online forms give the opportunity for them to share their thoughts and stories. This helps identify what’s working well in the broadcast.
- Engage your online audience with chat and commenting to make them feel included.
- Instead of using prerecorded music, such as Apple Music or Spotify, always play your own original content. This will help you avoid any copyright issues.
- Reach more people by multi-streaming. This takes your live video stream and redistributes it to multiple platforms simultaneously.
- Multi-angle shots are often used to make small areas seem larger and more interesting. They’re especially engaging during music moments, as the viewer gets a different perspective on what you’re doing from every angle.
- Pre-recording worship or other elements, such as prayer before an event starts, can be helpful when there are many events occurring during a specific time period.
- The camera(s) should be close enough so that the online viewer feels as if they could have a conversation with the speaker. Anything farther away feels too disconnected and out-of touch.
- Provide recordings of the stream for those that were unable to attend the live broadcast.
Live streaming has become the go-to strategy for churches to continue their worship services through the global pandemic. By following the above guidelines, your house of worship will have the right setup to successfully live stream services for those who are unable to attend in person.
Moffitt Technology specializes in the installation of complete audio, video, and security systems for the government, houses of worship, and businesses. Contact us for more information on our customized solutions for your organization.