Live Streaming Advice

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scottmaciver

Puritan Board Sophomore
Given the current situation, concerning the coronavirus, and the advice in the UK for over 70's to self isolate, I'm looking for some advice on live streaming, for the benefit of those who can't make our church services.

What would be required to set up a reasonably cheap, but effective livestream at our church services this weekend? We don't have any equipment, but there is an internet connection in the building.

What equipment do we need & what service is best to stream with?

Thanks in advance.
 

Bill The Baptist

Puritan Board Graduate
If your church has a Facebook page, then Facebook live is by far the easiest and cheapest way. You could simply use someone’s phone, but the quality would be poor, or you could invest in a nice webcam.
 

B.L.

Puritan Board Sophomore
This past Lord's day our church live-streamed for the first time using Facebook (FB) Live. I can't speak to what went on behind the scenes to make it happen, but on the receiving end it worked wonderfully. The picture and sound quality was good and we used our smart TV to stream it at home. I don't have a FB account and could still tune in, which I appreciated.

Our Wednesday night time together will also be live-streamed tonight and my family will once again tune in for it. Technology, if used responsibly, is our friend during this season.
 

joep

Puritan Board Freshman
So, this is what we've knocked together -- I haven't yet done a test run (that'll be later in the week) but this should work in theory.
  • Create a YouTube account, and make an unlisted stream. This can be viewed by anyone who has the URL (or link) and thus isn't uber-private, but should be good enough.
  • You can then embed this stream into a post on your church website or FaceBook page or whatever sites are hip these days. You can also send the link out by email.
  • Now, any modern smartphone should actually have a pretty decent camera and microphone. Someone in the congregation might even have a smartphone tripod. Even a music stand should do the trick.
  • Place said stand in a relatively empty pew and start streaming. It should look quite a bit like being seated in said pew.
  • A good thing is that YouTube can also automatically archive the stream if you need to make it available after the service is over.
But the FaceBook stream sounds like a good idea too -- I might have a look at that.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
We have just been recording a day or two prior and then posting it on our website. With our software, live streaming is still buggy and not fully tested. It's not out of the ordinary save the fact that I am the only audience member now.
Right now we use Vimeo, and it takes some time to upload. We record using ATEM software. A great thing about that is that even if it crashes, everything is saved up to that point. Some one else in the church recently installed everything for it since it was their line of work as well.
I wish I could help on the more early and technical side of things but, I am more downstream in the process and the 'finalizer' so to speak when the hardware is set up.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
We are going to try Skype for our Sunday School class. I'll let you know how that works. My daughter has used Zoom without any issues, and I've used WebEx for work. Both the Zoom and WebEx were for fairly small numbers. The Skype will be for a group closer to that of a small church congregation.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Purchase:

1. A tripod: https://amzn.to/2QAnVr3
2. A smartphone mount for a tripod: https://amzn.to/2J5rmSe

Facebook Live and Youtube Live have already been mentioned above.

You can set up a Youtube Channel for your Church from your personal Youtube account and add other members who can post to the channel. You will need to Verify your account and request to turn on Live Streaming for Youtube. It takes them 24 hours to set it up from the time of request.

If you have a Facebook Page for your Church then it's easy to start streaming live from the page next to the post area on your page from your phone.

Set your phone up on a tripod and the recording quality of the video will depend upon the quality of your internet connection. We streamed Facebook Live last week and will do so this week. I'm considering setting up two phones - one for Facebook and one for Youtube.

Some recommend streamyard.com because you can stream to Facebook and Youtube simultaneously but you'll need to have a computer and webcame to get that going.

You mentioned Zoom. It will work but it limits the time of a conference as well as the number of people who can watch it. Youtube and Facebook are better options.

One final option is a mount with a condenser mic. We're going to be trying this out this week. One of my deacons happened to have one that he picked up for free from a training conference he attended:

https://amzn.to/3ddUJQp
 

joep

Puritan Board Freshman
So, this is what we've knocked together -- I haven't yet done a test run (that'll be later in the week) but this should work in theory.
  • Create a YouTube account, and make an unlisted stream. This can be viewed by anyone who has the URL (or link) and thus isn't uber-private, but should be good enough.
  • You can then embed this stream into a post on your church website or FaceBook page or whatever sites are hip these days. You can also send the link out by email.
  • Now, any modern smartphone should actually have a pretty decent camera and microphone. Someone in the congregation might even have a smartphone tripod. Even a music stand should do the trick.
  • Place said stand in a relatively empty pew and start streaming. It should look quite a bit like being seated in said pew.
  • A good thing is that YouTube can also automatically archive the stream if you need to make it available after the service is over.
But the FaceBook stream sounds like a good idea too -- I might have a look at that.

After Sunday, I can now add a few clarifications and caveats to this.

YouTube streaming worked like a charm! The best part was that we could schedule the broadcast and distribute the link to everyone in advance, and congregants could use the same link to view the livestream recording after it had ended!

One issue is that if you want to stream from a mobile device, you need to have a few thousand subscribers. We got around that by using a free app called StreamLabs.

The only downside is that without having an AdSense account linked, you can't embed the stream, though you can link to it. Also, on the day, the device we were streaming from didn't have a strong enough signal and we had to swap it for another.

All in all, I'd use YouTube again.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
We are going to try Skype for our Sunday School class.

I mentioned on another thread, but I'll add it to this one as well. Skype apparently didn't work out, and we went with Zoom, which did. (Except when we tried a group sing).
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
On the website we have our bulletin with links to the hymn words, a placeholder where the congregation clicks to livestream the service via Youtube, and an online offering arrangement where people can give by mailing a check or donate via Paypal. A spreadsheet goes to the treasurer. We've been building this over the last two weeks and have been refining the UIX since. I finally started working to improve the graphics.

Equipment wise, we have a digital camera, HDMI cable and power supply; our usual soundboard and mikes for the speakers; we added two personal laptops: my husband runs the interface with YouTube and I run the website. We put a backup link on the website so people can go directly to YouTube, but we prefer to go through the website for its gospel-rich content.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
Is anyone familiar with Zoom & has anyone used it for streaming church services?

Seems most churches are starting with free options like Facebook and YouTube which seem to do well enough. Zoom's free version has too many restrictions to be useful, but good be good for something interactive (if you can keep under 40 minutes and under 100 people).
 
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