Are You Ready to Livestream Your Worship Services?
No matter what choice you are looking at, start with laying out your end goal. With so many options coming out, livestreaming is quickly becoming a consideration.
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The most important thing, though, is to recognize that cameras allow our worship services to reach beyond the four walls of the local church.
Preparation is an essential step in making sure you are ready to send your services live to devices.
Over the past nine months, I have had the opportunity to learn about how to best livestream through trial and error, researching, and being a member of various Facebook groups, as well as attending great annual conferences like WFX, held two months ago in Dallas.
When I began this journey, I had the naive notion that we could plug in a camera, feed in an audio connection, hook it all up to our cable connection, and then we would be set.
What I found is that there are a lot of variables within each step that need to be accounted for.
One of the quickest things that I learned is that not all connections are the same. The vast majority reading this will be from areas outside of major metropolitan areas, where internet speeds are likely not fiber. In our case, we have once cable provider who is not among the big three, and business connections are expensive and slow. Our connection was stated to be 5mbps upload speed, but the actual results were much lower.
Since data is key to a successful stream, we started looking at options. Around that time, we were blessed to have a new visitor arrive who is the vice president of a company who pioneered data delivery through a series of towers in our region. We were shortly thereafter provided by that company with a 20mbps connection, though we are capable of accessing a 300mbps connection, if needed. The unique factor about our newest provider is that the connection is symmetrical, so it features the same upload and download speed. Having 20mbps upload fits our needs at Lighthouse of Hope Church in Cumberland, Maryland.
Once our bandwidth was addressed, the next step in the process was to look at the actual production.
Over the last few months, a number of amazing products have been announced and released to help ease the technical difficulty in streaming for those working in houses of worship. These include products from NewTek, Blackmagic Design with their ATEM HD switcher, Sling Studio from DISH Networks, and vMix Production Studio.
With the recent announcement of Network Device Interface technology, or NDI, from NewTek, the products that take advantage of that standard are poised to gain market share quickly. NDI has been around for many years, and it initially was more commonly referred to as IP Video.
Latest ResourceWorship Facilities Magazine, January-February 2018
The January-February 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about the many steps a church had to take in the aftermath of a fire, and another involving a church making the jump to 4K.