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Live Streaming Audio and Video - A Guide for Churches

Chris De Celle

What Is Live Streaming?

Mic in church for streaming 5G broadcast

There is a rapidly growing trend among churches today across the world. Many have realized the potential that live streaming presents to your church. The ability to reach new audiences across the globe is something that is only become possible in the last decade or so with the continuous advancement of the internet and live streaming technology.

Its amazing to consider that an organization that has historically depended so much on local neighborhoods and people in the immediate area now has the ability to garner the attention of anyone in the world. While every industry has taken a cue and brought their organization online, it now seems like its religion’s turn to do the same.

You most probably already know what live streaming is, especially if you are a tech-savvy individual.

For those who are not quite familiar with this technology, it can be defined as a process where a person uses a camera to record and broadcast an event online in real time. All that is needed to live stream is an internet enabled device (such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone) and a live streaming platform (such as Facebook Live, IBM Cloud, or YouTube Live) to broadcast on.

Due to the fun that comes with it, live streaming has become a very appealing activity among young people today. In a way, it gives them the opportunity to create and present something to their audience in real time.

Live streamers can broadcast anything they are doing wherever they are in the world without editing or delays. The trend has become so popular these days that the number of live streaming platforms continues to rise.

The Popularity of Live Streaming

Streaming video from a church presentation

With the many advantages this technology brings, a wide array of establishments and organizations now use this technology. Mostly, it is capitalized by huge groups who need to gather their members on a regular basis, such as churches.

While churches conventionally use tradition and word of mouth to extend their reach, many have adopted modern technologies, such as church live streaming cameras and related devices, to broadcast their services, distribute content, and establish networks.

Over the past several years, recording church services and streaming them live have given churches and other congregations several advantages. Needless to say, the greatest benefit of this technology for these groups is the ease and convenience to reach people and increase their audience.

After all, being able to broadcast using a church live streaming setup allows those who are not able to go to church for the sermons and events to participate remotely. Even local members can attend church services from the comfort of their own homes, if they choose to.

Church production and live streaming do not only offer convenience for members who are living far away but also serve as an option for those who are unable to attend because of physical disabilities or old age. Just by installing a single camera for live streaming church events, all members will be able to join their services wherever they are. All they need is a mobile device and a stable internet connection.

What’s more, church live streaming equipment has become more user-friendly these days, so churches can manage to operate them without too much difficulty.

The Trend of Live Streaming in Churches

Generations change. Perhaps these changes are most evident in today’s later generations in how inclined they are to use technology more than ever. Now, churches and other religious congregations are also looking for ways to adapt to the changes, and one of the best solutions they are taking is live streaming.

The perks of connecting online to remote audiences or those who have difficulties attending services due to old age or physical disabilities have become too obvious for church leaders to ignore.

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2016, people who are going to church less nowadays identify the logistics of getting there as the primary deterrent. Now, this can be changed with church video production and live streaming. With such technologies, people who have difficulties going to church will be able to attend services with just their smartphones, tablets, or laptops.

Engagement Has Become Easier

In the past, a church’s success is primarily measured by the amount of physical attendance - the actual number of people attending the services. Additionally, it was difficult to measure church engagement.

But today, that is no longer the case. A church or religious congregation is seen as healthy and growing by the level of engagement it has among its parishioners whether they are living locally or overseas. Doesn’t this make better sense? After all, the true objective of a church is to encourage as many people as possible to help spread the word, isn’t it?

However, how can your church increase its level of engagement? Simple, through live streaming technologies. With just a simple camera setup and a live streaming platform, you can engage as many people as possible. The more people you have actively engaged in your ministry, the more disciples you have to help spread the message.

The Role of Live Streaming in Dealing with Church Funds

Does your church have only a small budget?

No need to worry, you can still offer your services or sermons online! With church sound systems, video recording devices, and a live streaming platform, like Facebook Live for churches, you can make things happen.

Recording church services and archiving them on your website will increase engagement.

  • Church production and live streaming allow viewers to engage each other online where they can share opinions about your message.
  • The resources you have created using your church live streaming setup can be accessed by anybody every time they want to satisfy their need for religious learning. This makes the engagement process faster.
  • Your viewers will most probably share inspiring parts of your sermons to their own networks via social media. This helps spread your message even further.

Wondering if live streaming helps achieve your church’s fundraising goals?

Live streaming not only helps with engagement but with fundraising as well. With church live streaming cameras, church live streaming equipment, and an online funds transfer platform, your online viewers can also contribute to church offerings as in-church congregants do.

This method has become so successful that some churches report online viewers contributing more (including donations) than physical attendees. In fact, one church reports to have received a third of its total income from live streamers.

Reasons You Should Live Stream Your Church Activities

The best camera for live streaming church activities may be an additional cost but it can be a worthwhile investment. Buying this equipment allows you to widen your ministry and strengthen your mission of sharing the Bible and Christ’s love.

Specifically, live streaming allows you to do the following.

Spread the Gospel and Reach Out Farther

With your own camera for live streaming church activities, you have the means to share the gospel with more people at one time. This is because anyone who has a device with an internet connection can easily access sermons and discussions on the word of God via streaming services such as Facebook Live for churches.

This is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to those who may be seeking guidance or information on the Bible or on religion. Remember that there are many people out there who are curious about God, church, or spirituality yet they have no one to talk to about it. Plus, many of these individuals usually prefer to ask Google first for answers or options rather than drive to a church or speak to a religious person.

Make Sermons Even More Accessible to a Larger Congregation

While having your congregation under one roof is a goal to work hard for, there are many circumstances wherein that may not be possible. For instance, if a church member is sick or has a family member who is sick and requires care, they can’t go to church.

Recording church services or installing a church live streaming setup allows anyone to participate in the service even when they are stuck in bed due to an illness. This is also a way to make sure that your elderly members who have mobility issues are able to receive church services from their own homes.

Other groups who you can reach by using church live streaming equipment are soldiers or missionaries who are in other countries and far away from home. You can help them remain connected to their faith and provide them with strength and support as they carry out their mission to serve in various parts of the world.

Share Special Celebrations and Important Moments

There are many wonderful celebrations and important activities which happen in church, such as weddings, baptisms, bible studies, and holiday shows or concerts. As much as everyone may want to attend these events, this may not always be possible.

However, if you have church live streaming cameras, nobody has to miss those special moments or activities, even when they can’t attend or participate in person. Grandparents can witness the baptism of their grandchild live. Or, a young church member who is currently studying abroad can still watch your annual Christmas concert from a laptop.

Showcase Your Church

New members to your town or city could be looking for a new local church to join. Today, the more common step to take when you want to find something you need is to search on the internet.

If you have church live streaming equipment to broadcast sermons or services on the web, there is a bigger chance they will find your church video production online. This then becomes their way to get to know your church and your activities. This also allows them to get a feel of your community and helps them determine what they can expect and how well they might fit in.

A Note on the Upcoming 5G Technology

Among today’s technologies which are causing a lot of buzz is the 5th generation of cellular mobile communications, also known as 5G. By simple definition, it is a new wireless mobile technology that promises super fast speeds and other benefits in telecommunication. Its standard architecture specifications have already been finalized by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)—the standard committee created by groups of telecommunications standards associations called the Organizational Partners. The technology is already on its way to being rolled out for commercial use. Sure enough, this technology will have a significant impact on the video broadcasting industry, especially live streaming.

According to predictions, 5G is going to start making its presence felt in the early part of 2019, and businesses will most likely be the ones who will discover its implications. For broadcasters, now would be the time to assess this technology and plan how to take advantage of it in the future.

Significant Effects of 5G on Communication

5G is going to change the telecommunications landscape for the better—there’s no doubt about it. However, among the areas that will be greatly affected by this technology is the way videos are produced, distributed, and shared.

Compared to 4G, 5G is of course expected to offer highly improved download data rates. Without the enhancement brought about by Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the former could only top out at about 100 megabits per second (Mbps) under perfect conditions. For example, it can provide this rate when you are downloading very close to a cell tower. On the other hand, the latter is predicted to support 10 gigabits per second (Gbps), which is 100 times faster, with a latency of not more than 1 millisecond (ms). This is truly a significant development that will offer a lot of benefits to different users.

But like other technologies, 5G also has its downsides. First, it supports much higher bandwidths, which means that it also requires wider millimeter wave bands (frequencies). This entails smaller and more frequent antenna placements. Second, its signal is observed to be easily disrupted. Third, 5G signals travel shorter distances than those of 4G, so 5G transmissions would need more transmitter sites. On the bright side, these sites will be significantly smaller and can be built anywhere.

As for telecom carriers and those who are looking forward to using 5G, the technology is a win on the whole. It was reported that the Federal Communications Commission has voted not to require local historical and environmental assessment reviews, which means that 5G’s deployment will come a little sooner.

As for churches, 5G promises a lot of possibilities. It will certainly change the way they make a church video production for live streaming, with futuristic digital technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) becoming mainstream.

Looking forward in the future, 5G is an important capability that will have a huge impact on the video streaming industry. It is something which people who live stream must keep an eye out for.

Live Streaming Services

Where could you host your live stream? First of all, an option could be the church website. However, not all churches have it, and it is not always the most convenient option, for many reasons. That is why many prefer using streaming services.

Those services are capable of handling all the traffic and provide stable streaming without the interruptions and video drops. This put emphasis on the value that the best church live streaming equipment brings in providing high-quality streaming for all church members, especially those who aren’t able to attend some events or sermons.

Church live streaming cameras might work at their fullest, but if the streaming service isn’t able to manage the high-quality video, the entire idea will not work. Can you imagine watching a high-quality video that requires a lot of traffic with slow internet? The best you can get is a blurry image and strange sounds. The same applies to church video streaming, even though you might install the best camera for live streaming church can afford.

Then, the church live streaming setup follows. At this stage, you need to have a streaming service selected. Make sure it has all the features needed for people to log in and leave their comments and feedback. Can church members and all who want to keep the video record it? Are older events available easily? Is the camera for live streaming church activities suitable for the streaming service?

The Video and Audio Equipment Setup

When setting up a live streaming system, it is essential to consider the particular needs and events the church holds.

A church looking for a simple and easily manageable address system can make do with two microphones connected to a primary USB audio interface whereas a church with a full choir and band, will need an extended audio interface that can connect to more than ten microphones.

Contact us for recommendations on the setup that is best suited for your needs.

Types of Cameras

PTZ Cameras

Pan-tilt-zoom cameras (PTZ) are professional 360-degree directional cameras with advanced zoom. These cameras have motion tracking abilities and can be remotely controlled to zoom in and out of a subject.

While it can be expensive, a PTZ camera like the Axis 214 PTZ Network camera is a great addition to your church video production package because it captures high-quality videos with dynamic angles that you would otherwise not be able to achieve when shooting with a handheld standard video camera.

The Sony EVI-D80 SD, on the other hand, can be mounted on a floor mount or the ceiling and controlled remotely thus cutting costs on additional labor.

PTZ camera controller

Sold separately from the camera, the PTZ camera controller is equally an essential church video recording equipment since it allows the operator to control the pan, tilt, and zoom movements remotely.

When a PTZ church video camera is mounted on the ceiling, the operator can capture amazing aerial shots and easily control the zoom from a distance, therefore, avoiding the struggle of moving through crowds while video recording.

Video cameras

Traditional video cameras are also great church video production equipment. Of cause, you have to control the movements manually as you follow the subject while recording but you can get very high-quality videos when shooting, especially with a Cinecamursa that have 4K image sensors.

When shopping for the best church cameras, go for one with 4K quality, built-in interactive digital screens and the right inputs for your microphone extensions and other cables.

Microphones

Microphones are a crucial part of a church camera system. They come in different types, including clip-on and handheld, as well as cable and wireless mics. Therefore, before setting up an audio recording system, it is important that you consider the use of these microphones to which type to set up.

For example, if it’s just the Pastor, then you can set up two handheld microphones for better audio reception or use a clip-on microphone which gives the pastor more freedom when preaching.

On the other hand, if you need to pick audio from the choir members as well as the instruments, then you’ll have to set up ten or more microphones depending on the size of the choir.

To determine the perfect microphone setup, consider getting in touch with a professional.

Audio Mixers

Digital audio mixers like the Behringer 40-Input Digital Mixer are great assets for church sound systems, especially if you have a wide range of audio sources. This equipment can help you control each sound sources perfectly, thus helping you achieve quality harmony from your sound system.

If you have a band, for instance, a digital audio mixer can help in controlling each instrument so their sound would not overpower each other. Think of you smoothly controlling the volume of the guitars so it wouldn’t overpower the vocals. This can aid the sound system for church to produce smooth music through the service.

Digital Audio Workstations

Digital Audio Workstation (DAWs) are essential equipment for the best sound system for church. Think of it as the main controlling engine of your entire setup, which can easily optimize your audio output and other factors. It can easily manipulate sound effects and lightings. Moreover, this is also a big key to produce quality recording of your live event.

You need the best DAWs software platform to successfully control your event. This is where the best DAWs comes in, like Ableton and ProTools. These DAWs let you tie every piece of your audio-visual system and deliver magnificent broadcast for your church.

PCI-e cards

Peripheral Component Interconnect Express, or the PCI-E Card is one of the most efficient ways for you to connect multiple video capture sources into a single computer. This is a card you can attach to your motherboard, thereby effectively transforming your PC into a live streaming computer!

The RME PCI Express card, for example, has 8 AES inputs and 8 AES outputs for a total of 32 channels at a sample rate of 192kHz. One of its notable features is its direct conversion capabilities between formats.

Remember that the sound system for church should be utilized very well with video capture solutions. With the help of a PCI-E card, you can easily have it through an affordable way.

Frame Grabbers

The first and the most important tool for your video testing is a frame grabber. Frame grabbers are irreplaceable when it comes to troubleshooting.

One of the most recommended products is the Epiphan AV.io 4K Capture Card that lets you capture 4K video easily with resolutions of up to 4096x2160. The hand-size grabber also lets you stream 4K videos anytime and anywhere.

With this device, convert a digital video signal to USB, while keeping the highest quality of the image and audio. So, a number of devices (computers, iPads, cameras) can be converted to USB, as well. A short overview video is here.

Video Extenders

You might have organized the church video production equipment in the best possible way, but issues happen. What if you have a long cable run? The solution is to use video extenders that will make any church video camera package work from anywhere.

The ATEN VE150 Video Extender extends transmission over standard Cat 5e cables at a distance of up to 150m / 500. To compensate for distance it comes with a 16 position video gain control that is fully adjustable.

What about something like an HD-SDI cable or a Cat-5 ethernet cable? They both run up to 300` but in the case of the latter, you should consider that the network can introduce some kind of latency, in particular cases. However, these solutions are perfect whenever you need something from this field for your church video recording equipment. In the case with HDMI, you would need an HDMI over a Cat-5 extender.

Lighting System

Can your camera provide the best quality in the conditions that are available?

You are definitely a professional, so you know that insufficient lighting results in awful video quality, regardless of how good equipment is.

A good choice of lights and light kits can make a huge difference. Combined with a compatible DAW software and some special effects, live streaming church activities will become a great display.

iPad and iPad Mounts

Many people still believe that a professional camera is a must if you need quality. However, the technology has advanced rather significantly. Now, you can share lyrics and music for choir songs, have a high-quality streaming with an iPad.

Using the Stage Ninja IPA-8-CB Scorpion Series iPad and iPad mount, you can integrate the device to your audio-video system and enjoy full functionality in a compact form. It is compatible with iPads 1, 2, and 3 and can be mounted just about anywhere for efficiency and convenience.

Cabling and Connectors

No church live streaming setup is complete without the proper cables and connectors.

Your options include:

And so much more.

Take the easier route by getting a consultation from a professional about the cables and connector types that you need for a sound system for church.

Conclusion

Technology advances every day and rapidly is becoming a bigger part of every aspect of our lives. You should certainly consider bringing your church into the future as well with a live streaming setup. The benefits are enormous, and being able to reach to people across the globe is a very powerful thing.

While most people are not very technologically savvy, the good news is the 3DHD team is well trained and experienced enough to handle any sort of setup you are considering. Let us help you figure out a solution in your price range and we can work hand in hand to build your ultimate live streaming setup.

We are an established retailer for every product you need to build an in house system. Let us know what your plans are and we can help make them a reality.

We can be contacted at: info@3DHDGear.com

Call: USA (888) 986-4554

PTZ Camera


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