Video Streaming Tips for Church Production

Get valuable video streaming tips for getting your live stream up and running in the best possible way. This article from lays out important details. Be sure to check out our article on Top 10 Products for Your House of Worship, too.


Treat your live stream as you would a new satellite campus. It starts with the audience. by Paul Clifford video-streaming-101With the internet continually spurring innovation, live streaming seems to be getting simpler and simpler. A decade ago, only companies with huge budgets and important announcements even considered live streaming. Now, with the technology to live stream weaving its way into more and more online services, even small churches are joining those live streaming online. Because now you can pop open an app on a smart phone and live stream, it’s easy to forget just how much is involved in taking video from your weekend service and distributing it all over the world. For those that think that their church can stand out from the crowd using a phone, let’s talk about the other pieces of the puzzle that can take a so-so stream and give it the quality that not only removes distractions, but says, “This message must be important because look at the effort they put into sending it out.”


While sometimes you can “wing it” in some areas of life, with video production in general, and live streaming in specific, the old adage is true, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” It all starts with the audience. Who is going to be watching your live stream? Will your audience be a couple of people who are regular attenders, but can’t make it to church on a given week? Maybe your live stream is an outreach tool to people in your community who’ve never gone to church. A live stream for a few people who will only watch a couple of times a year is quite different than one for people who are asking sincere questions and considering our faith. The audience matters. When you’re planning to start live streaming, it’s worth the effort to take stock of what equipment your church already has that can either be repurposed for a live stream or dual purposed. Is your audio mixing desk capable of sending a unique mix for the live stream? Maybe your church does IMAG already and has video cameras and a switcher that can create professional live video appropriate for your live stream, just using a different MLE. Has lighting always been a priority at your church? If so you may not need to add new lighting to the budget to make your live stream viewable. Whatever you have, that can dramatically affect the list of equipment you need. Space is also something you should consider. If you don’t have cameras in your current media system, where will they go? Your church’s leadership may assume that cameras will go in the back or in some other out of the way location that may make better zoom lenses a necessity. Is there a good place for a video switcher and source monitors? People and equipment need to be placed in certain locations, so ask yourself if you have enough space and the willingness to use those locations. Don’t forget people. When you’re planning a live streaming ministry, if you have the best equipment, but no one to run it, it’s much less useful. Having enough people could also present challenges if they’re all willing, but not capable ---- or worse; capable, but not willing. You may need to include paid staff or training in the budget to get the best possible stream.


Once everything (and everyone) is in place, it’s time to capture the service. To do so, you have to make sure the critical elements of the media team work together to create the best production possible. Will the lighting director be willing or able to provide enough even light for people in front of the church to be seen by the cameras? Without enough light, even the best cameras may be forced to open their apertures to f1.2, making focus difficult. They may need to slow down their shutter speed to the point that the motion gets blurry. Maybe they’ll need to crank up their gain until the image is noisy. Blurry, noisy images are distracting...[continue reading on]

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