[You’re reading a post in a series about live streaming church services. You might want to start at Part 1. Or don’t. I’m not your mom.]
When we added streaming a year ago, it was one of the few technology moves in my church that I didn’t play a part in.
It was very refreshing, and I highly recommend trying to not be involved, when and where you can.
But I’ve dug into it all just enough to let you know what we’re doing to stream our services. However, let me make one thing clear to you: this is not prescriptive. It’s descriptive. Our streaming system works for us, but one of the first things you need to do is figure out what works for you, given the people and equipment you already have. That said, let’s talk about how streaming worked for us.
What do you need for video streaming? Cameras, without being so obvious, are the first step. I’d tell you what we have, but we didn’t buy them for streaming. Both cameras belong to our members. We did have a Cannon, I think, that we used at first, but it stopped working suddenly. All that said, make sure you’ve got a camera that will work well with your lighting constraints and that has the proper outputs you need.
From there, you’ll need a switcher. We went with the LiveWedge from Cerevo, but make no mistake about it: $999 is a lot of money. Seriously, it’s a lot, but we’re happy with it, and it seems that we’re not alone. The LiveWedge is incredibly powerful and seems versatile enough to fit most any situation.
It’s got four HDMI inputs, and we use them all, switching between two camera feed (wide shot, close-up), our iMac running ProPresenter, and the last one is fed by an Apple TV, which I’ll explain in a moment. Now, we use our LiveWedge’s outputs for two purposes: our live stream (Ethernet output) and the TV’s in our foyer (HDMI output). Thus, we use the Apple TV, mainly, for its Flickr app, which is set to display our sermon series artwork or some other relevant images as a default screen when nothing else is being intentionally sent to either stream.
From the LiveWedge, our video signal is uploaded to SteamMonkey, where the signal is converted into an embeddable format. We have a Basic plan, which costs $44/month if you pay annually. Again, this expensive. That’s why the previous post of this series was “When You Shouldn’t Stream.” It can’t be for everyone.
The last step of this epic journey is ChurchOnlinePlatform, another amazing free resource from Llife.Church. ChurchOnline allows us to embed our stream from StreamMonkey while wrapping it with some very nice church-specific features.
Add a nice redirect from our website—”bethalto.churchonline.org” becomes “bethaltochurch.com/live”—and we’ll call it done!
That’s it, folks. Now, I had originally planned to write one more post for this serious, but I think I have a better idea:
I want you to write that post. If you have a successful streaming solution, I’d like to hear what it is so that we can share it in the conclusion for the benefit of all mankind.
Or at least all those who read this series.
Till next time, post your solutions below!
[LiveWedge image via its product page]