How to stream your church service on a tight budget
January 14, 2014
**NEW VIDEO POSTED ON A NEW BLOG OF OUR CURRENT SETUP**
Hi, I'm Nathan Tisdale, Technical Director for Christian Assembly Worship Center (CHURCH@the9).
Pastors and other Tech directors ask me all the time about how we stream our services. So I'm creating a quick blog post about all of the equipment we use @the9 and how we have it set up at this time. We started our Video System with a very tight budget and very little equipment, The Video System pays for itself and pays for all upgrading we do. The church does not have to worry about funding our Video system.
**NOTE** This is by no means the "Perfect" way of doing this and our tactics often change when we purchase new equipment, But as of January 2014, this is the way we have our system hooked up.
THINGS YOU WILL NEED TO STREAM:
Video Mixer/Switcher (Optional)
PC or MAC
DVD Recorder (Optional)
Disk Duplicator (Optional)
Disk Printer (Optional)
-WHAT CAMERA SHOULD I USE-
You can basically use any kind of Camcorder that does video.
First off, I would like to say please don't use a webcam! We did it. Trust us. It looks horrible. haha.
Other than a Webcam, you can use basically anything! Honestly, you may already have your first camera in a closet at your house or even in your attic! If you are on a tight budget like we were when we started, we used a old VHS camcorder from the late 90s.
It was not an amazing camera at all, but it was a starter camera for our project.
Things your camera will need:
-RCA/S-VIDEO VIDEO OUTPUT Some cameras, have a cable that connects to the camera that has a RCA or S-Video end on it, but most cameras have the Video Output on the camera itself.
-OPTION TO DISABLE SCREENSAVER / NO SCREENSAVER You want a camera that you can disable any screensaver that it may have or find a camera that doesn't have a screensaver at all. Usually if it has a screensaver when you are outputting video to stream, when screensaver turns on, your viewers will also see the screen saver. A lot of cameras have a screensaver and it is only disabled when you hit Record.
-OPTION TO CLEAR CAMERA'S SCREEN OF DATA IF NEEDED All or most cameras have the battery indicator, Remaining space of Tape or HardDrive, etc on the display. Some cameras output those same indicators to your Vide Output, So your viewers would actually see that your battery is getting low! You do not want to let your viewers see that.
Right now We are using Panasonic DVX100A Cameras.
-I AM WANTING TO USE MULTIPLE CAMERAS, WHAT DO I NEED?-
At Christian Assembly, We use up to 3 cameras for a service and then we have our Lyrics computer to send a feed.
To use multiple cameras, the simplest way and the most successful way is to use a Video Mixer or Video Switcher. There are Standard Definition V-Mixers and High Definition V-Mixers. You need to find the mixer that will fit the cameras you have at your facility.
If you have older cameras or cheaper cameras most likely they are Standard Definitition cameras and if you have a camera that says HD on the side of it or if its newer, then its probally a HD camera. Some cameras have both a SD(Standard Definition) and a HD(High Definition) Output on them and can basically be used with any video mixer.
If you are on a tight budget, you can make Standard Definition cameras look great, you just need to make sure you have great lighting and your settings are correct for your facilitiy and lighting. Most equipment is moving to HD systems but there are plenty of SD systems still in use all over.
Right now Christian Assembly is fully Standard Definition. We use a older Video mixer named,
The MX-1 has 4 Inputs and 1 Main Output and 1 Preview Output. It works great for what we are doing at this time, It's a oldie but it's been faithful to us for the last couple of years. You can pick up the MX-1 on www.Ebay.com for about $250 or less.
We will be hopefully upgrading to the Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E HD Video Switcher, sometime this year and making the switch to HD cameras. The ATEM 1 M/E has 8 inputs and up to 14 outputs so that will enable us have plenty of space for years to come so we will not have to upgrade for a long time.
When you finally choose which mixer you want, make sure you will have enough inputs and that it matches your cameras. If you find one you like but have questions about feel free to call me or message me.
-WHAT IS A CAPTURE CARD AND WHY DO I NEED IT-
A Capture card is what you plug your Camera/Video Mixer's Output to. Capture cards can plug into your Computer via USB Cable, FireWire Cable, ThunderBolt Cable or can even be a PCI-Express Card for a Desktop computer.
You need to have a Capture card to get your Video from your Camera/Video Mixer to your Computer, Unless your Video Mixer already has that option like some of the newer ones.
Your Computer will recognize the Capture Card as a "Webcam" and you can use it with most Webcam websites or Streaming sites. (Skype, Ustream, Livestream, etc)
-WHAT STREAMING SOFTWARE and STREAM HOST SHOULD WE USE-
Stream hosts such as Ustream and Livestream are both great streaming websites that alot of churches use. You can use both sites for free with limited access and with ads or you can pay for Premium and have no ads and have extra benefits. There are many streaming hosts out there so find one that suits your budget and is easiest to use.
Right now, We use Ustream Producer to broadcast our services and we are satisfied with it.
-DO I NEED A SUPER COMPUTER TO BROADCAST-
You do not need a super computer to broadcast, you just need to make sure whatever Computer you are using matches the recommended specs to run the Streaming software and Capture Card.
We use a Mac Mini with 8 gigs of ram and a Intel i5 Processor to run our Stream and runs flawlessly.
-DO WE NEED FAST INTERNET-
When you choose your software and what quality you are wanting to broadcast, The software will tell you how much bandwidth your stream will suck from your network. You need a network that has plenty left over so that you are not bottlenecking your Network when you are streaming.
-PEOPLE WANT DVDS OF OUR SERVICE AFTER THE SERVICE, HOW CAN WE DO THAT-
To be able to sale a DVD directly after service, you will need a DVD Recorder. Just about any type of DVD recorder will do, but I like DVD recorders that have a preview screen on them so you can know for sure that your Video Output looks the same on your Livestream as your DVD.
So Basically, Before service you put a DVD in your Recorder and when preaching starts you hit Record. When the Service is over you hit Stop and Finalize. After about 4-6 minutes you will have your Master DVD ready. You can then put that Master disk into a Duplicator and have 10 DVDs ready in about 6 minutes. So In 12 minutes you can have 10 dvds to sale before Church is even over. If you purchase the Blank White DVDs you can also have the name of the sermon and the name of the church on the DVD.
If you are planning on Broadcasting or Recording any worship music or playing any worship music that you did not write or create, make sure you register your church with www.CCLI.com and get your Broadcast and recording licenses! This is very important so you dont get your church sued and make your church have to close their doors!
I have left out some information in this blog, so it wouldn't be 85 pages, so if you have any questions about anything I posted or you are curious of what I left out. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will be happy to answer those questions for you!