How to Live Stream Church Services in 2022
Live streaming is a great way to extend your reach, and while it can seem overwhelming at first, luckily for you, we’ve written this guide to help you get started. In this guide, we’ll give you the tools you need to get started with basic live streaming setups.
Live streaming is a great way to extend your reach, and while it can seem overwhelming at first, luckily for you, we’ve written this article to help you get started.
For this guide, we partnered with the experts at BoxCast to give you the tools you need to get started with basic live streaming setups.
Table of contents:
- Selecting the best camera for live streaming church services
- Ensuring reliable internet
- The importance of choosing a streaming service
- Accessing high quality audio
Check out our BoxCast + Shure bundling suggestions and sign up for a 14-day free trial today.
Selecting the best camera for live streaming church services
Your streaming setup can be as basic, or as complex, as you want it to be.
The first thing you should do is choose your camera setup. The camera source you select will depend on the type of environment you’re streaming in, your budget, and the overall video quality you’re aiming to have. Here are three common routes you can take:
Broadcasting from your mobile phone
The most convenient way to start streaming is by using the device you already own.
There are a few social media apps that you can live stream from, but they don’t allow you to go live on multiple platforms simultaneously (aka simulcasting) and the quality can be sub-par.
If you want to keep it simple, all you really need is your smartphone and a streaming app (like BoxCast’s Broadcaster for iOS).
Along with simulcasting, Broadcaster has a lot of other features to offer, including the ability to stream high quality HD video at 60 frames per second. And the best part? The only gear you’ll need is your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
Placement is key. Since Broadcaster is limited to single-camera streaming, you won’t be able to zoom in very close to your subjects if you’re set up in the back of your church, so keep in mind where you set up.
With the Broadcaster App, you can schedule your broadcasts in advance or go live with the touch of a button.
If you’re looking for more flexibility, consider buying a prosumer video camera. The Canon Vixia HF G50 is a great camera for live streaming church services because of its zoom capability, high resolution, ease of use, and most importantly, ability to scale with your productions over time.
There are a variety of options to choose from. Here are BoxCast’s favorite cameras for live streaming church and worship services
Video cameras aren’t necessarily one size fits all, so while researching what camera to buy, ensure the following:
- The camera has a clean HDMI or USB Webcam output
- You’ve reviewed sample footage from sites like YouTube and read reviews of the camera
- The camera has enough battery capacity or AC adapter to last an entire service
- You have the correct recording media to record on your camera locally
Streaming your church service with multiple camera angles is a great way to immerse your viewers in the experience and bring them closer to your ministry. The most common way to produce multi-cam live streams is to connect your cameras and other video sources to a video switcher.
The most popular video switcher for beginners, and the one we highly recommend, is Blackmagic Design’s ATEM Mini. With up to four video inputs, the ATEM mini is a great way to learn multicam production without the need for an advanced production background and is volunteer friendly as well.
If you’re interested in a more professional setup, check out some of BoxCast’s other favorite video switchers.
Ensuring Reliable Internet
When it comes to producing a reliable live stream, it’s critical that you ensure your church has a solid internet connection. The amount of bandwidth available will make or break your live streaming experience.
Whether you use Ethernet or Wi-Fi, the most important thing when it comes to your internet connection is the upload speed. When you watch videos online, your internet connection uses download speed. Similarly, when you stream a video to other viewers, your connection uses upload speed.
An easy way to find out how fast your upload speed is is to simply Google “speed test”.
We recommend having twice as much upload bandwidth available as you’ll be using for your live stream. What we mean by that is, if you’re going to stream at 5Mbps, then we recommend your connection be at least 10 up.
Keep in mind that other people could be using that connection, too, so erring on the cautious side and having more data is always recommended.
The Importance of Choosing a Streaming Service
With all the platforms and providers out there, you might not be sure which one’s right for you.
If you plan to live stream your services on a weekly basis or more, it’s much easier to automate and manage that content from one place using a professional streaming service.
Consider your need for video quality, stream reliability, viewership potential, and technical support. If you’d like to schedule your broadcasts in advance, stream to multiple destinations at once, or monetize your streams, you may want to go with a paid, subscription-based streaming service like BoxCast (which you can try before you buy).
BoxCast’s dedicated streaming hardware and software work together, making live streaming easy and intuitive, so your workflow is simpler, and your viewers are happy.
Accessing High Quality Audio
It’s nearly impossible to keep the attention of your remote viewers if your video streaming audio is poor – no matter how fantastic you set up your video signal.
An excellent audio signal does not have any distracting noise or dropouts while balancing the instruments, vocalists, and speakers well during the service.
The overall sound is strongly affected by the acoustics of your worship space and the sound system’s quality. For example, you may not typically reinforce your choir through the sound system for your in-person audience. But if you desire to stream the sound that the in-person listeners hear to your remote audience, it will be necessary to use additional microphones for the choir to capture that audio.
Shure has a wide variety of vocal, instrument, and speech microphones to ensure you capture the maximum intelligibility of the message in every service.
Advanced audio, microphones, and mixers
If you use a sound system mix as your primary streaming mix, it will contain little of the acoustic characteristic of the space. You can compensate by using “ambient” microphones to pick up the overall room sound. Alternatively, you can add artificial reverberation to the streaming mix to achieve a more “live” characteristic.
It is best to use only ambient microphones and congregation microphones in the streaming mix, not in the sound reinforcement mix.
Most modern audio mixers can create a “main” mix and one or more auxiliary (aux) mixes. The aux mixes are used to create mixes for monitor speakers, in-ear monitors, and “effects” (FX) such as reverb or delay. If the existing mixer has at least one available auxiliary mix you can solely dedicate for streaming, it is relatively straightforward to create a suitable streaming mix.
If the existing sound system mixer does not have an available aux mix for streaming or if it is preferred to generate the streaming mix from some other location, it may be possible to integrate a separate mixer to accomplish this.
The other mixer would need access to each of the necessary input channels through a microphone splitter or connecting those sources to multiple mixers. Digital mixers that have audio network capabilities can be joined together for this purpose.
It is usually sufficient for the streaming mix to be mono. However, you can create a stereo streaming mix from two mono aux mixes (one for the left and one for the right) or a single stereo aux mix. In either case, the streaming mix should contain the sources that make up the central mix and those additional inputs such as the choir, the congregation, and ambient microphones if desired.
Suppose one person is responsible for both the in-person and streaming mix. We strongly suggest using sound-isolating headphones to listen to the streaming mix when needed, especially if you monitor the different mixes in the same location.
Check out our Audio Systems Guide for Houses of Worship to get even more in-depth information on how to best set up your audio for your live and online services, among other critical audio topics unique to churches.
Lastly, take a look at our BoxCast + Shure bundling suggestions and sign up for a 14-day free trial today.