Archive for Church Video

Live Stream Church Worship Or Other Events pt2: Picking A Service

While there are lots of great church events happening all the time, for many, especially us rural folk, it’s hard to get there to catch even a small proportion of them. But this is changing slowly as more and more often we are seeing people live stream church events. It used to be that this took some technical knowhow and a fair bit of money, but no more. Today, it’s simple for anyone to live stream church events using affordable technology, and easy to use services. In part 1 of Live Stream Church Worship Or Other Events I focused on picking a webcam for your broadcast. This time I’m taking a look at what service, or platform, you should consider using to live stream your church event.

Using LiveStream App to Live Stream Church Event

Using LiveStream App to Live Stream a Church Event

A service or platform is the company you use when you live stream church events. LiveStream and Ustream are the two companies that show up the most when you search ‘Live Stream’ and ‘Live Stream Church’ and they are definitely the two biggest live streaming companies out there right now. Both are companies have been around for a while and have good products. Both also offer free and paid services for you to choose from. It’s here that we start to see some of the differences between the two. Not only are their pricing plans different, their free services are also reasonably different in what they offer. I’m going to focus on the differences in their free services since I’m assuming most readers will try that out first.

Free Live Stream Services

Ustream offers an add supported free HD service with limited archiving, while LiveStream’s free service also has limited archiving but is not add supported. The catch with the free LiveStream service is that users must login to watch. While for some this won’t really be an issue, it will definitely turn off others. So while it may seem great to not have to have ads present as you live stream church events, you may end up with a smaller audience since they have to sign up as a LiveStream user and login in order to watch.

There is also another option to live stream church events that, while a bit more complicated to get started with, offers a lot of possibilities to live stream church worship services or events for free. It’s Google+/YouTube. I’m sure most people are familiar with YouTube and many of you have likely heard of Google+ which is Google’s social network. If you’re worried your viewers will have to sign up for Google+ using this method, don’t be, the only person who has to sign up is the one doing the live streaming, they need a Google+ account.

Here’s how it works. As Google has begun integrating all their services together they’ve really expanded the practical uses of Google+, including Hangouts. Hangouts are a way for up to nine people to video chat together, just like Skype, only you can have multiple video streams without having to have a paid account. Sounds great you may be thinking, but I want to have more than nine people watching my event, plus you said people wouldn’t have to sign up. This is all true, that was a long aside. One of the added features of Hangouts is the ability to stream to YouTube, where you can also save and archive the event to watch later. It’s easy to set up, and you can either send people to your YouTube channel to watch, or embed the video in a web page on your church website. Once the recording is finished, it’s saved to your YouTube channel and if you embedded the live stream on a web page, it is automatically updated to show the recorded video.

While I’ve got to admit I’m a pretty big Google fan anyway, this is a pretty great service they offer, for free (at least for now). To me, this is probably the best service to live stream church events. Although I recognize that it is a bit more complicated than the other two services I mentioned earlier. If you’re willing to put a little bit more work into it (and really while a bit more complicated, Google does provide very clear and easy to follow instructions), you can live stream church worship services and events without advertisements and archive them to YouTube. What’s not to like?

So as I mentioned at the beginning, live streaming church events is not all that difficult. Once you have picked a webcam all you need to do is decide on a streaming service, LiveStream, Ustream, Google+/YouTube, or another one not mentioned here, and you’re on your way.

 

Do you think you can now live stream church events in your context? What else would you need to know to make it doable? If you already live stream church worship services or other events, is it a simple process? What service do you use?

Related Posts:

Live Stream Church Worship Or Other Events pt1: Picking A Camera

It seems to me that most people these days are familiar with the concept of live streaming an event. This is where your event is broadcast live over the internet for people to watch if they can’t be there in person. What I find people are less familiar with is how easy it is to live stream church or another event over the internet. And it doesn’t have to cost much either.

Now I should put some caveats here. It is pretty easy, and it can be inexpensive, but as in most things there is still an element of you get what you pay for. I don’t mean if you do it cheap and easy it won’t look good, because it can. More what I’m saying is it will look and sound better the more you pay. So keep that in mind as you consider your event and what level of technology you choose to partake of.

Picking A Camera To Live Stream Church Events

Live stream church events using a smartphone or laptop camera

Your smartphone or laptop cameras can work just as well for live streaming events as expensive external webcams.

It used to be that there would be a short list of webcams that could be put in a section like this. Now though there are many, many cameras that can do the job. So instead of a list of cameras, I’m going to list some of the features you should consider when buying a webcam to live stream church worship or another church event. Remember though, anything can work, even the built in camera on your laptop, or the camera on your smartphone.

Video Quality

This has been made a lot easier to determine in recent years with the rise of HD webcams. In my view, if you’re just looking for a basic system, pick up any camera that says it’s HD. While there are many different quality levels within HD, for most basic purposes any of these will do. If you’re looking for better quality, try to buy a webcam that says it’s 1080p or 1080i. The i and p are just a way to tell you the different way they camera functions, and while i is technically better then p, it’s not something I would personally spend a lot of money on. I’ve managed to find HD webcams as low as $60, but I’m sure there are cheaper ones out there as well. Not that I’d always go that cheap, but just to say you can.

Sound

I come from an audio background, so I know I have a bit of a bias here, but in my view the sound of your live broadcast, or live streaming event is at least as important as the video; especially if it’s a sermon or other presentation. For most of these, the audio by itself would be good enough; the pictures just add another element of interest and of course let people see the full presentation, including gestures and body language.

All that said, unfortunately, in my view, most webcams still focus on the cam part and not so much on the audio quality. That’s changing a bit, but too slowly for my liking. Ideally, you’d be able to plug the audio from the sound system into the webcam so that everything is mic’d properly. As of this writing however, there are not many webcams I can find that make this possible. Your second best options are to buy a webcam with a good microphone and/or to try and put a speaker with the full audio mix close to the microphone. As with every system, it’s best to test it before your first live event.

Other Items

There are many other features you’ll come across when looking at webcams, none of which make a huge difference in my estimation. If you think a feature sounds good, and the price difference between it and the other model you’re looking at isn’t much, go for it. But I wouldn’t pay a lot more for many features.

Conclusions

In the end, though possibly intimidating, buying a webcam to live stream church worship, sermons, or events does not need to be difficult. Take a look at video quality, audio quality if you can (reviews can help here), and don’t be suckered in by extra features. One last thing I factor in is that all else being equal, I’ll pick a brand I know and trust over an unknown one. That’s not to say the unknown brand isn’t any good, it’s just as likely better, but picking a trusted brand does give me a piece of mind that even a great review doesn’t give me.

 

How about you, what’s your experience picking webcams to live stream church worship, sermons or events? Are there any important considerations I missed?

 

Related Posts: