Live Stream Church for Free
For a basic live stream, you do not need a lot of equipment. You just need a camera, a computer, encoding software, and an account with a service that provides free video streaming such as Facebook or YouTube.
Stream Your Church Services through Facebook Live
Facebook Live is one of the top choices for free live streaming. The setup process is quick and easy and available to everyone. You also have the option to download the video afterward or embed it on your website.
Another advantage of Facebook Live is that you do not need separate encoding software installed on your computer. Facebook handles the encoding.
You can stream from a mobile device using the Facebook app. However, for a church service, you may want to stream for a laptop with one or more camcorders connected.
To set up your live stream, visit the Facebook page for your church and sign in. Click on the “Write Something” dialog box, which should open several options, including “See All.” Click on the “See All” box, and then select “Start a Live Video.”
Facebook will then prompt you to provide a description. The description should encourage people to watch your stream. For example, you can include a short message about a sermon or highlight another aspect of your church services.
You are now ready to start live streaming. When you want to start the live stream, simply click on the “Go Live” button. You will get a countdown, and then the stream will start. The stream instantly gets shared to your Facebook page and allows others to share it.
Facebook also provides analytics, so you can see how many people watched your video. You can also view the average watch time and the demographics of your viewers.
Stream Your Church Services through YouTube Live
YouTube also provides live streaming. The setup process is also straightforward. YouTube even walks you through the steps needed to create your first live stream.
Sign into your church’s YouTube channel profile, and click on the profile picture. This should present you with several options, including “Creator Studio.” After opening the creator studio, click on the live streaming section on the left sidebar.
When you first visit this section, YouTube requires you to provide a phone number so that they can verify your account. This may take up to 24 hours. Once verified, they provide you with a checklist.
At the top of the checklist is setting up your encoding software, which is needed for the live stream. You will use the encoding software to start and stop your stream.
Setting up Your Equipment for Live Streaming
Besides choosing a streaming provider, you need to select your equipment. The first piece of equipment that you need is a computer that is connected to the internet. It should also have live streaming encoder software installed, such as Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder or Open Broadcast Software. These programs are free to download and install.
Depending on the layout of your church and the rest of your equipment, it may be easier to set up a laptop computer for live streaming.
The next piece of equipment that you need is a camera. You can live stream any event with a mobile phone or a webcam. However, if you want to create a quality broadcast, you may need an HD camera that can provide a closer view of the pastor. You may even want multiple cameras to cut away to different views, such as showing the choir, the church organ, or the congregation.
To connect multiple cameras, you need a video switcher, which is also called a video mixer. Like an audio mixer, the video mixer allows you to connect multiple sources and create a master feed. The master feed is sent to your computer, which then streams the video through the streaming provider.
Most video switchers include video and audio inputs, allowing you to connect your church sound system. It is also possible to connect your sound system directly to the computer, using one of the auxiliary outputs on the audio mixer or the USB port.
If you plan to use multiple cameras, consider their placement. Avoid setting up the cameras in a way that allows a camera to get in the shot of another camera.
With your equipment setup, you are ready to stream. If you are using Facebook or YouTube, you should have a set date and time based on the event that you created.
Keep in mind that you may experience technical difficulties that first time that you try streaming. However, with practice, you should be able to create quality streams that help showcase what it is like to attend one of your church services.
Conclusion to Live Stream Church for Free
Setting up a live stream for free is not complicated. The most basic setup simply requires you to install free encoding software on your computer and create a live event on YouTube Live. If you are using Facebook Live, you do not need to create an event or install encoding software. You can then use your webcam or a connected HD camcorder to stream live video to your followers.
Facebook provides several advantages that should appeal to churches. When you finish the stream, Facebook automatically posts the entire video to your timeline. You can also download the video for archiving or embed it on your website.
YouTube Live is also free and provides a way to connect with a growing audience. While it seems like almost everyone has a Facebook account, YouTube receives more traffic.
No matter which streaming service you use, it is important to test your connection before you create your first public stream. This allows you to check the connections, the position of the cameras, and the overall quality of the stream before you go public.