livestreaming church services

About Sound has extensive experience in the planning and execution of livestreams of church services of significance for clients such as St John’s College, Cambridge, Merton College, Oxford and Classic FM. 

Click on the four thumbnails on the right to see recent examples of our work.

About Sound is currently being asked to assist churches wishing to livestream during the social distancing measures currently in place owing to COVID-19.

We are keen to share our knowledge in this area to facilitate livestreaming as a means of binding together the church community in these unprecedented times.  We can supply advice, equipment and training to get you up and running and develop an enduring, inclusive digital church strategy. 

See a Livestream case study here.

streaming from a smartphone or tablet

Pros – Easy to get up and running
Cons – reliant upon strong WiFi or 3G/4G network coverage and audio tends to suffer with lack of clarity.

Many churches have an active Facebook page, so this is an good way to start.

Having a YouTube channel builds more of a library of content over time.

Streaming to YouTube from mobile requires 1000 subscribers and streaming has to be enabled and verified which usually takes 24 hours.  These restrictions do not apply when streaming from a desktop.

It’s a good idea to buy a mount for a smartphone or tablet, particularly make sure the footage is filmed in landscape 16:9 widescreen as opposed to portrait – see ideas to the right.

K&M 19745 Smartphone holder

For iPad / Tablet it is worth considering either a Joby Gorilla Pod grip or a K&M stand mount (models differ) or a tripod mount as they are expensive things to drop!

streaming via a laptop / desktop computer

A wired LAN connection to the broadband router is always a more robust solution.  Laptops can livestream their webcam direct to YouTube without the restrictions that apply to mobile but is quite hard to position a laptop for anything beyond a talking head. 

A common misconception is that the HDMI socket on a laptop can take in input.  These are usually HDMI outputs only.  Attaching a camcorder to a laptop requires an external capture device, usually with an HDMI input for a camcorder / DSLR with a USB connection to the computer for which a USB C adapter may be required. 

We strongly recommend the Blackmagic Webpresenter which has a second input for a second camera or a presentation and includes audio inputs to combine a direct feed from the PA system.  

About Sound is a Black Magic Design dealer so please contact us for the best price. The difference between buying it from Amazon and buying from us is that we use it ourselves so can fully support it. 

The laptop sees the Web Presenter as a webcam via USB so streaming direct to YouTube is possible. 

The eagerly awaited Black Magic ATEM Mini switcher will allow 4 HDMI inputs to be connected and switched, greatly increasing the creative possibilities and production values.  The Web Presenter will still be required to livestream the output of the ATEM mini.

camcorder direct streaming

The other way of streaming a single camera but with better video and audio quality, is to use a camcorder or DSLR that has built in streaming.  Examples include the Panasonic HC-X 2000 or JVC-GY-HM250E. 

A tripod is recommended, and we can assist in connecting your PA system microphones to the audio inputs.  The camera can then later become part of a more advanced setup.

streaming software

To produce more compelling content with multiple cameras and graphics requires software such as Open Broadcaster Studio which can be downloaded free.

More professional options are:

  • Telestream Wirecast
  • Livestream Studio which is owned by Vimeo and comes free with a Vimeo Premium subscription currently £70 per month.

full production service

About Sound offers a fully remote controlled multicamera production service based upon the latest NewTek Tricaster platform with Panasonic PTZ camera using the NDI format to allow extremely fast and discreet deployment with a single CAT 6 network cable to each camera carrying power, signal and control. 

The control room can either be in a separate room such as a vestry or in an OB van outside the building.  The system incorporates SKYPE so live contributions from viewers at home can be incorporated, increasing the sense of participation.