Live streaming models

As you’re setting your church up to broadcast digitally, there are a few models and tools you may want to consider, such as a:

  • Pre-Recorded Service
  • Live stream with a mobile phone or computer
  • Live stream with a single camera setup
  • Live stream with a multiple camera setup

[RESOURCE]: 2-Page Step-by-step guide on “How to post talks or sermons on Facebook from your mobile phone” Page 1 of the [RESOURCE] and Page 2 of the [RESOURCE] created by Murray Hunter, Australian Union

1. Pre-Recorded Service

The benefits of this option:

  1. This allows for planning.  It is a great option if you are limited in the number of people you can gather together at one time to record.
  2. If any mistakes are made, you can stop the recording and fix them.  Streaming services will allow you to broadcast the video and this will feel like a “live” service for your audience
  3. You have a greater opportunity to test the sound and ensure that it’s high quality, and the recording can be captured in higher resolution

What you should consider when choosing this option:

  1. The service is not broadcast live so the speaker is unable to be reactive in real time or comment on what people are saying online in response to the service.
  2. To make up for this, you can allow small groups (within the allotted size) to meet in person or on a chat service, like Whatsapp to watch the recording together, and create space for discussion.
  3. Similarly, you can have team members live in the chat section as the video is playing to provide discussion, engagement and member support.
  4. Another con is that this option can require a bit of skill as the broadcast will be recorded and may require — at minimum — a bit of editing to top and tail the video.
  5. Additionally, the sound quality of the video will be important as it will be difficult to engage a viewer for the whole service if the quality is poor and because the service is recorded you will not be able to fix poor sound on the fly.

2. Livestream with a Mobile Phone

The benefits of this option:

  1. This option is the most accessible as it requires very little equipment.  This set-up requires very few people as the phone can be set-up on a tripod and positioned towards the stage and left for the duration of the service.
  2. Given phone camera quality, you’ll likely have a crisp, clear picture with a wide angle of the stage or whatever other setting you’re using.
  3. Although this is not the most flashy option, it’s cheap, simple and minimal.  So much so that you may consider simplifying your church service to accomodate the more intimate feel a phone can provide.
  4. Some churches are streaming their pastor from their home to show them in the same setting as their church members.
  5. Remember, Facebook videos should be streamed in a vertical configuration, while Youtube videos can be streamed in a horizontal configuration.

What you should consider when choosing this option:

  1. One of the cons of this method is that you have to depend on the battery life of your phone and ensure you have a stable internet connection through your phone or through local wi-fi or an internet dongle.
  2. In case the internet bandwidth is low or unstable it could impact the quality of the livestream.  Facebook lists its livestream requirements here.
  3. A single phone live stream will also show just one angle of the service and won’t show the room or any close ups of the people.  There is the possibility of using multiple phones, but that would make a simple set-up more complicated.
  4. For best sound quality you will need to consider a mic, whether a shotgun mic, a lapel or a wireless mic.  We’ve even seen videos recorded using the out-of-the-box headphone/mic combo that comes standard with an iPhone.

3. Livestream with a Single Camera Set-up

The benefits of this option:

This option will allow you have a great quality picture for the broadcast without the fuss of needing multiple people to assist with the set-up.

What you should consider when choosing this option:

You should take note that you have sufficient battery when livestreaming.  The camera will need to attached to a service to stream from it, like OBS.  This option will require a bit more knowledge than streaming from your mobile phone.

4. Livestream with a Multiple-Camera Set-up

The benefits of this option:

This view of the service will have good visual appeal to the viewer as it will show what the service looks like from different angles and give close ups as well.  It will help people who are watching continuous content online to stay engaged.

What you should consider when choosing this option:

This set-up requires multiple people, a switcher or a program that allows you switch between cameras and camera people.