Discover The Best Camera For Live Streaming Church Services

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Do you have one of those people in your church that comes up with bright ideas but doesn’t know really how to accomplish that idea? Well at my church, I am that guy.

I came up with the idea after reading the statistics about how much people consume video that we should start live streaming our church services. Little did I know I created much work for myself.

Figuring out what is the best camera for live streaming church was no easy task for the non-techie person.

Here I was doing the research.

So hopefully all of my hard work will be a blessing to somebody else as they are looking to choose which is the best live streaming camera for their church as well.

I have shared with you three cameras based on price point. I pastor a small church, so I understand the needs of small churches, so there is an inexpensive one included in this list..

However, I know that not all people are in the same boat as us and you might be looking for a more advanced or better quality camera for your church live streaming video production.

How To Choose The Best Cameras For Church Live Streaming

If you want to start capturing and streaming your church services on YouTube live or Facebook, there are a couple of things you need to consider right off. First is where you want to place your camera. Most churches want it out of sight and out of mind which means they usually place it in the back someplace.

Secondly, you need to ensure that you have a good line of sight to the front. It is distracting if the pastor keeps walking behind a post or other object and you can’t see him!

What Camera Is Best For Live Streaming?

The best camera or camcorder for live streaming is one that has either a clean HDMI output or a SDI output. This will ensure that you have a quality signal at all times going to your computer.

For distances under 25′ I recommend using HDMI and for distances over 25′ to use SDI.

What Cameras Do Live Streamers Use?

Church live streamers use different cameras than gaming live streamers. Church live streamers need a camera that will zoom long distances since many times the camera is placed at the back of the church auditorium rather than closer to the front.

Most churches that live stream use a camera with a 20x or 30x optical zoom. If they are on a budget then they will get a camcorder that puts out an HD signal and if they can afford more they go with either UHD or 4k video signal.

Remember that even if your camera is UHD or 4k, not all platforms like Facebook will render video at those higher definitions.

What Equipment Is Needed To Live Stream A Church Service?

The minimum you will need to live stream a church service is a camera or camcorder with a clean video output, a capture card that will transform your video signal to a USB input that you can plug into your computer, video broadcasting software like Open Broadcaster Software or vMix. You may want to invest in a tripod, a video switcher if you plan on using more than one camera, an audio interface to connect your sound system to the computer, and of course a decent computer with a Pentium i5 processor and at least 8 MB of RAM.

Pay Attention To The Optical Zoom Capabilities

If you place your camera in the rear of your sanctuary, then you need to pay attention to the optics and zoom capabilities of your camera. Don’t do what I first did and used a webcam. They are great for close up shots of less than 2 feet away, but they stink when it comes to distance shots or zoom.

You need a camera that will zoom in far enough to get a tight shot of your pastor or worship team, and that will have the quality is necessary so that they still look good to the viewer.

Make Sure You Have The Right Image Resolution

Some of you might be tempted to get by with an older camera that is lying around or was donated to the church. Please check that it has the right image resolution otherwise you won’t be happy with the result.

At a bare minimum, you need a camera that records in HD. Most will record in Full HD or even 4K depending on the quality and price.

Although 4k is the wave of the future, you and your viewers probably will not notice the difference between Full HD and 4k when viewing your live stream on YouTube or Facebook.

How Much Light Does Your Church Have?

This is another question you need to answer before buying the best camcorder for your church. If your church is not brightly lit, then you need to pay attention to how well the camera will work in low or minimal light situations.

Churches that like to turn the lights down low during worship or when the pastor speaks may need to step up to the plate and buy a mid to higher priced camera. However, if your church is brightly lit or at least has good light from outside, then a budget camera will work. Our church has a budget camera, and it does well all the way to down to what I call semi-mood lighting.

Features Needed In A Good Live Streaming Camera

Best camera for church live stream tip 2

There are two things that you need in an excellent live streaming camera for your church. They are better than average video quality and a clean and live signal out while the camera is recording.

The reason you need a better than average video quality is that this is live. There is no way to edit or enhance the video quality once it goes out for live streaming. It is what it is.

If you are going to stream your church service, then the camera needs either a wireless connection to the internet, or one at your computer, or it needs a clean and live HDMI output signal you can send to your computer. Not all cameras have this feature.

Multiple Cameras Streaming At Once

You also need to make sure that your live video editing and encoding software is capable of handling more than one camera at a time if you are going to get more than one fixed shot. We use vMix, and it works great with both single camera inputs and multiple camera inputs. In my opinion, it is the best live streaming software available.

The Best Cameras For Live Streaming Church

Best Budget Live Streaming Camcorder Under $1,000.00

Canon Vixia HF R800 Camera Review

Canon Vixia HF R800 1080p HD Video Camera Camcorder (Black) with 64GB Card + Battery & Charger + Case + Tripod + Stabilizer + LED + Mic + 2 Lens Kit Canon Vixia HF R800 1080p HD Video Camera Camcorder (Black) with 64GB Card + Battery & Charger + Case + Tripod + Stabilizer + LED + Mic + 2 Lens Kit
  • KIT INCLUDES 14 PRODUCTS -- All BRAND NEW Items with all Manufacturer-supplied Accessories + Full USA Warranties:
  • [1] Canon Vixia HF R800 1080p HD Video Camera Camcorder (Black) + [2] Vivitar DC-79 Camera Case + [3] Transcend 64GB SDXC U3 Card +
  • [4] Spare BP-727 Battery + [5] Charger for Canon BP-727 + [6] Vivitar 43mm UV Glass Filter +
  • [7] Vidpro VB-12 Hand Grip + [8] Vidpro Condenser Mic + [9] PD LED Video Light w/ Bracket + [10] PD 2.5x Tele & .45x Wide Lens +
  • [11] 43-58mm Step-Up Adapter Ring + [12] PD 50" Compact Travel Tripod + [13] PD 5pc Complete Cleaning Kit + [14] LCD Screen Protectors
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This Canon video camera for your church comes with a kit that makes it easy to get set up. Not only do you get this great camera, but you get all these accessories to go along with it.

  • Transcend 64GB SecureDigital SDXC Class 10 Memory Card
  • Spare BP-727 Battery for Canon
    Battery Charger
  • Vivitar 3-Piece Multi-Coated HD Filter Set (43mm UV/CPL/ND8)
  • Vidpro Mini Condenser Microphone
  • PD 150 LED Ultra-Slim Video Light
  • PD Right Angle Bracket with 2 Accessory Shoes
  • PD 2.5x Telephoto & .45x Wide-Angle Lenses
  • 49mm/52mm/55mm/58mm)
  • 43-58mm Step-Up Adapter Ring
  • PD-50PVTR 50″ Travel Tripod
  • PD-C25 Camera with Rain Cover
  • PD SD/SDHC & MicroSD HC Card Reader
  • PD 5-Piece Camera & Lens Cleaning Kit
  • PD SD/MicroSD Memory Card Case
  • PD LCD Screen Protectors
Pros
  • You can capture great closeup shots and worship team images with its 57x advanced optical zoom lens.
  • The HD CMOS image sensor along with the DIGIC DV 4 Image Processor gives you beautiful color videos even in minimal light settings.
  • Records in easily transferable MP4 files.
  • SD memory card lets you record up to 69.5 hours of live video streaming!
  • The HDMI output allows you to connect your camera to your computer with an HDMI to USB converter.
  • External mic jack for adding a better sound source.
Cons
  • There have been reports of problems with the video camera staying in focus.
  • Tripod mount is weak.
Important Specs

Video Recording system
MPEG-4

Image Sensor
1/4.85-inch CMOS, RGB Primary Color Filter

Total Pixels
Approx. 3.28 Megapixels

Lens Zoom Ratio:
57x Advanced / 32x Optical / 1140x Digital

Minimum Illumination
P mode: Approx. 5 lux
Low Light mode: Approx. 0.4 lux

Recording Media
1 SD/SDHC/SDXC/FlashAir memory card slot

USB Terminal
mini-AB: Hi-Speed USB supported

Video Terminal
Signal configuration: NTSC standard color video signals

Audio
Types of signals: Stereo audio signal

HDMI Terminal
HDMI Mini Connector, output only for both images and sound

AV Mini Terminal/Headphone Terminal
3.5mm diameter stereo mini-jack (also serves as AV mini-terminal)

Best Video Camera To Live Stream A Church Service Under $2,500.00

Canon XC10 Ultra High Definition 4K Professional Camcorder Review

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This professional camcorder is great for live streaming, and with the bundle that comes with this kit, you can’t go wrong with this camera. It comes with….

  • Shoulder Strap
  • Hood Unit
  • High-speed HDMI Cable
  • USB Cable
  • Battery Pack (LP-E6N)
  • Compact Power Adapter (CA-570)
  • Remote Controller (RC-6)
  • SanDisk 64GB CFast 2.0 Memory Card
  • 32GB Class 10 U3 SDHC Card
  • Spare Battery
  • Video Bag
  • 58mm Filter Kit (UV/CPL/ND2)
  • Cleaning Kit

Pros

  • The 4k CMOS image sensor along with the DIGIC DV 5 Image Processor gives you beautiful color videos even in low light settings.
  • Multiple Recording Modes, Resolutions, and Frame Rates make the XC10 Canon 4K Camcorder creatively flexible in a variety of production environments.
  • The Canon XC10 4K Camcorder incorporates dual built-in 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz band wireless networks. This functionality provides both a Browser Remote and Browser Preview.
  • The RC-6 remote controller features a photo and movie mode. In photo mode, the user can initiate shooting straight away or on a 2-second delay. In movie mode, recording can be started and stopped with the press of a button.

Cons

  • This is a DSLR/camcorder combo, but it has the form of a DSLR camera. However, for church use, this shouldn’t be a problem because you will more than likely use a tripod to hold the camera.
  • The viewfinder is stationary.

Important Specs

Sensor
CMOS sensor (single panel)

Total pixels
Approx. 13.36 megapixels (4224 x 3164)

Lens
(CANON 4K VIDEO LENS) with 10x magnification

Minimum Illumination
NTSC Manual Mode: 0.05 lux

Video compression formats
MPEG-4 AVC/H.264

Video Quality
(1) 4K UHD recording (size: 3840 x 2160),
(2) HD recording (size: 1920 x 1080)

Top Camera To Live Stream Church Services Under $5,000.00

Blackmagic Design URSA Mini 4.6K Digital Cinema Camera Review

Blackmagic Design URSA Mini 4K Digital Cinema Camera PL-Mount CINECAMURSAM40K/PL Blackmagic Design URSA Mini 4K Digital Cinema Camera PL-Mount CINECAMURSAM40K/PL
  • Super-35mm CMOS Sensor
  • 4000 x 2160 Video up to 60p
  • Compressed & Uncompressed Raw Recording
  • Ready-to-Edit ProRes 444 + 422 Recording
  • Dual CFast 2.0 Memory Card Slots
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By far, the professionals agree that the top camera to live stream church services is the Blackmagic Design URSA Mini cinema camera. I have not tried to find a kit because when you are talking professional pricing, kits are just not that important.

This Blackmagic camera is a real cinema camera. While the previous four cameras on this list were built not only with live video streaming in mind but also photography, the Blackmagic Ursa Mini was constructed entirely for cinema.

Most importantly, this camera will outperform every other camera on this list when it comes to image quality and spec list. If you care most about the beauty of the image coming out of the camera – this is the camera for you.

Pros

  • 4.6K sensor with 15 stops of dynamic range (unheard of at this price point)
  • Compact for its quality level. Compared to other cameras with similar specs to the Ursa Mini, this camera is small.
  • Dual built-in XLR inputs for professional-level sound quality directly into the camera instead of a single 3.5 mm jacks

Cons

  • The Ursa Mini requires power from V-mount batteries. These are expensive and heavy.
  • Unlike the other cameras on this list that record footage to SD cards, the Ursa Mini stores footage on expensive CFast cards.

Important Specs

Lens Mount
Active Canon EF
Effective Resolution 4608 x 2592

Media Card Slots 2 x CFast 2.0

Output 1 x 12G-SDI — 10-bit 4:2:2

Analog Audio Inputs
2 x XLR — selected mic/line level and +48 V phantom power
SDI Audio Output 2-channel

Remote Control
2 x LANC on 2.5 mm sub-mini — controls record START/STOP, iris, and focus

USB
1 x USB 2.0 mini type B for software updates

Microphone
2 x Built-in cardioid microphones for stereo recording with -10dB pad and low-cut filter

Speaker
Integrated mono (enabled in playback when headphones are not used)

Power Connectors
Inputs:1 x 4-pin XLR input for external power supply or battery1 x 12-pin Molex connector on the rear battery plate

Outputs:1 x 12V output using 4-pin XLR for powering external accessories such as EVF1 x 12V regulated output from rear Molex 12-way connector

What Is The Right Camera To Live Stream For Your Church Service?

Well, there you have it, the best cameras to use in live streaming church services at your price point. Next, you will want to decide whether or not you are going to use live streaming software or a video switcher to control which camera you will be taking the shot at the right time. Take a look at our article on the best video switcher and the best live streaming software and you will get a better idea of what will be best for your church live stream.

Like I shared before, my church is a small church. We chose the Canon Vixia and are very happy with it. For us, it was a great camera in our live streaming church video production. Please let me know what you choose and how it works for you.

I am genuinely interested in knowing.

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