Now that churches all over the world have been asked to cease meetings, leaders are scrambling to get their worship services online to stay connected with their congregations and to help meet the people’s worship needs. Last week’s post (scenario 3) discusses ways we can go about this. Today, I will share two relatively inexpensive ways your church can get online this weekend.
Streaming From Your Mobile Phone to Facebook Live
This is perhaps the easiest and definitely the least costly approach. At most, you need your phone and a decent tripod with a phone adapter. Here are links to a recommended tripod and phone adapter if you do not already have these:
- Neewer Portable Aluminum Alloy Camera 2-in-1 Tripod Monopod Max. 70″
- Ailun Tripod Phone Mount Holder
Check out these two videos that will walk you through the process.
Streaming From an External Camera and Soundboard Connection
This option costs more but will produce a much higher quality stream. You can stream your service to Facebook, YouTube or any subscription streaming service. I have selected lower-cost hardware that still achieves a great HD stream. You can literally spend thousands of dollars with multiple professional cameras and other hardware as your ministry grows. This is a good place to begin:
- Computer. Hopefully, you already have a computer you can use for streaming video. I would NOT use the same computer you use for presentations in worship service. Preferably select a computer with at least an i5/i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a good video card. If you are using a laptop, be sure you have enough dedicated USB 3.0 jacks for every video input (cameras, computers, etc.) you will need for the stream.
- Camera. You need a HD quality camcorder with HDMI output.
- HDMI Capture Card. Your camera will connect to this capture card to transfer the video and perhaps audio to your computer.
- Highly recommended is the Elgato Game Capture Card HD60S costing around $180. Take a look. The Elgato Game Capture software will allow you to stream to many services without additional streaming software. Here is the user’s guide for the card. I have found the card to be very effective and easy to use. See the YouTube embedded below.
- A less expensive card, but not quite the quality is the Mypin Game Capture Card. Find it here.
- You will need software for sending your streamed audio and video to the sources you select. Look at instructions for each product to see how to connect to Facebook or YouTube (or any paid services).
- As I mentioned, the Elgato card has software that can work for you.
- Many people use the very versatile and simple FREE software with many additional features– Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) See the YouTube tutorial below.
- vMix offers a great product at a reasonable cost you may want to check out. Many churches use this software.
- Additionally, you will need to run a cable from your audio console to either the camera (mic in jack) or the Elgato video card 1/8″ input jack to transfer the great sound from your church’s sound system to the stream. This is far superior (if mixed properly) than the on camera mic capture of sound. For many systems, you can come out of one of the bus outputs (separate monitor mix) to the audio input on the camera or card with this cable.
- PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU ARE STREAMING COPYRIGHTED MUSIC, you need proper licenses. See my previous article for more information.
Check out this article as well: How to Livestream Your Worship Service on Facebook for some additional helps.
There are so many options to streaming your services. Using just your phone can get you through a few weeks with a reasonable quality, but moving to using a dedicated camera, capture card, software and computer will give you much better results. The hardware I have used successfully this week in setting up an easy streaming system was composed of a PC laptop I already had, the Canon Vixia HFR800, the Elgato HD60S Capture Card, and OBS software. The cost for all this if you already have a computer is around $400, and it will yield great results. If you can spend a bit more, consider the Canon Vixia G21 Full HD Camcorder for your camera option. Later, as your online ministry grows, you can invest in more professional equipment if you desire.
See also this excellent article with additional information about streaming services and more costly options.