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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?