- Church Live Stream Setup
- Why Live Stream A Church Service?
- What Type Of Live Stream Do You Want To Produce?
- How To Start Live Streaming For Under 1,000 Dollars
- HDMI to USB Connection
- Live Streaming Accessories
- External Microphones
- Setting Up Your Live Stream
- Live Streaming For Under $1,000.00
- Further resources:
Church Live Stream Setup
You might be interested in live streaming church services as well, but you don’t know where to start. I was at a loss just like that before starting my own setup for the first time.
You’re probably thinking about how best to stream your religious events and masses online too since it’s such a huge part of any community these days! If we could take this step together now then maybe our churches will appear more inviting than ever before – those who are watching can see what they would want if there were attending themselves with ease via their screens from home or elsewhere- so let’s get started right away by looking into some things below:
I pastored a small church without any extravagant means or funds available to broadcast services remotely across town via an internet connection, but that didn’t stop me from finding creative ways around these limitations–all through simply maximizing what little resources we had access to “budget-wise.” The first thing I learned about not having money was you can still do great things
Why Live Stream A Church Service?
In the age of social media, it is becoming more and more difficult for churches to keep up with what others are doing. Doing something just because everyone else does can backfire when you don’t know why they’re taking that same action or how your church will benefit from it in a tangible way. You should have an idea about why live streaming would be beneficial before investing time and resources into this medium.
If you do, and the expected outcome doesn’t happen, then you will stop and will have wasted precious time and resources in the process.
Here are some of the reasons I decided to set out on this adventure called live streaming.
5 Reasons To Start Live Streaming Your Church Service
- To show people what a service is like at your church
- Provide an alternative for those who cannot normally show up for services. (Elderly, Sick, Working, Ect.)
- Provide the means for extended family members to watch special events. (Grandparents watching grandchildren in the Christmas play.)
- To stream the service to other parts of your building. (Nursery, overflow, or even another campus.)
- Most importantly: To spread the gospel! (Acts 1:8)
What Type Of Live Stream Do You Want To Produce?
There are many ways to broadcast your church’s live stream. Some churches prioritize producing high-quality, professional content and don’t mind the added cost of equipment or production time it takes to produce this type of quality show. Others may want a more spontaneous feel that is not as polished with less expensive equipment but still publishes in real-time on their website for others to enjoy at any given point during service hours.
Other churches value authenticity and transparency. They wrestle with the concept of putting on a show. Those values are valid as well.
Different types of live streams can be produced by different budget levels: some will favor higher budgets while others choose lower costs depending on what they’re looking for from their audience
The fact of the matter is, most small to medium size churches cannot produce a production level live stream. They do not have the budget or workforce necessary for such a project. This means that many rely on one volunteer’s technical expertise in order to get their show up and running – which would be impossible if it weren’t for our champion!
How To Start Live Streaming For Under 1,000 Dollars
There is some necessary equipment you are going to need to live stream your church service. You may already have some of this equipment at your church so you may be able even to cut the cost of setting up your live stream.
I had to buy all of this equipment because what we had available was so antiquated it wouldn’t work with today’s technology.
This is what you will need for your church live stream setup…..
Choosing the right computer is essential. Your five-year-old Apple Or Windows 7 machine is probably not going to cut it. You need something with at least 4 GB of RAM (8 GB is preferred.) You need at minimum a 2Ghz Dual-Core Processor. (Intel Core i7 Processor 3Ghz+ is preferred.)
You will need a DirectX 10 Compatible graphics card. The speed of the graphics card will determine how many HD cameras, inputs, and simultaneous recording, streaming, and outputs are possible.
When deciding which type of computer to use, thought should be given to what kind of computers your congregation is familiar with. Apple makes excellent computers, but the average person usually is more familiar with a Windows-based PC. No sense of adding the task of learning a new operating system on top of learning the video recording software.
One of the first mistakes I made was listening to a person who told me we could use a couple of Logitech camcorders to live stream our church services. I ended up wasting almost 200 dollars because of this.
A webcam is not designed to record things from a distance. It is meant for objects or people just a couple of feet away. Unless you want to clip a webcam to your pulpit and stand still, don’t use a webcam.
Avoid using a security camera as well. They are not designed to give a good picture. They are designed to help the police get a description of someone suspicious. It is not the right tool for live streaming.
At the very minimum, you need to get a consumer camcorder that has a clean HDMI output. What that means is that it will send just the video feed without the touchscreen overlays found on the viewfinder.
This is very important because unless you can hook up the camcorder via wifi, you will not be able to use the camera to stream. You need a live video out of the camera at the time of the recording.
HDMI to USB Connection
HDMI To USB Dongle
What’s a dongle? Sounds strange, doesn’t it?
A Dongle is a connector that captures your HDMI output from your camcorder and transforms it into a signal that will run down a USB cable to your computer. Without the dongle, your computer will not recognize the HDMI signal unless it has an HDMI input port.
(Warning! Don’t try to use the HDMI output port on your computer for an HDMI input port. It could harm your computer and camcorder!)
These Dongles are sometimes called HDMI capture cards. It took me forever to figure out that I needed one of these to make the system work. There was not much information about them.
Live Streaming Accessories
There are a few accessories that you will need.
- You will need USB cables to run from your Camcorder/Capture Card to your computer.
- You will possibly need a tripod and external microphone mount.
- Cases Or Bags.
Many churches use an auxiliary output from their sound system to provide the audio feed for their live stream. This is a very viable option. However, you can also use one or more external microphones instead.
My church is going with the unplugged sound. We are small and do not need a loud PA system. On the camcorder we chose, the sound quality is good enough that we don’t feel the need for an external microphone.
We did try both, and I have included some options in case your situation needs an external mic. I listed this as optional and I do not add it in the total price of setting up a live stream system.
There are different types of software that you will need to decide upon in your church live stream setup to live stream your service. The two types of software are proprietary and stand-alone software.
I recommend that you purchase the stand-alone software. Proprietary software forces you to use the live streaming service provider that has developed the software. You cannot use it without using their paid service.
If you buy the standalone software, then you can stream to YouTube, Facebook, and many other platforms that you may want to use. You can then embed your live stream from YouTube or Facebook to your church website for free and do not have to have the expense of storing the video on your site or pay for the bandwidth used when people watch it.
Setting Up Your Live Stream
The actual church live stream setup is quite simple once you have all the equipment.
- Power up your computer and launch the live stream software you chose.
- Power up your camcorder and put it on the record-setting.
- Connect the HDMI cable from your Camcorder to the input on your HDMI capture card/dongle.
- Connect the USB cable from the output of your HDMI capture card/dongle to the USB port on your computer. (USB 3 is preferred, but UBS 2 works. USB 3 has a blue inner piece on the computer where USB has a black one.)
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to get your computer to recognize the HDMI capture card. Most are plug n play, but not all of them are.
- Set up your live streaming software so that you see both the video and the audio.
- Connect to Facebook or YouTube and go live!
Live Streaming For Under $1,000.00
Well, there you have it. A fundamental church live stream setup packages to live stream church services for under 1,000 Dollars. Just follow the recommendations, and you can do it too. All of the purchases we made for our live stream are in the recommendations.
Happy Live Streaming