When Darkwood Brew started three years ago with its live streaming episodes, there weren’t a lot of other churches doing it. It was hard back then. It required expensive equipment; It required an expensive video hosting service; It required hardwired high speed internet access and available electric; And it required a vast amount of technical know how to put them all together. None of this is true anymore.
After auditing the available services recently for Darkwood, it became clear to me that one service stood head and shoulders above the rest: Livestream. Together with modern technology, Livestream has made streaming your worship services a snap. Let me break it down:
1. No More Expensive Equipment
Today’s $500 video recorder is just as good as last generations professional video camera. It used to be that you needed the professional rig to handle the low light in most worship spaces. Newer entry level cameras do this well, though you’ll want to read the reviews to confirm that it can handle low light. You also want to make sure they have a microphone input for an advanced mic, or to hook into your sound system.
A good digital SLR camera with video might also handle what you need it to for less than $1000. If your lighting and wifi are good, you might even be able to get away with using an iPhone with the Livestream app.
There was a time when you also needed a hardware encoder box to capture the feed and transfer it to the online streaming service. There are software encoders that will do this for free. In addition, Livestream boasts a handy “one-button solution.” Plug in the camera, hit the button and you’re streaming.
2. Free Video Hosting Service
Livestream is an example of a video hosting service and has a free option that will work for many churches.
3. Better Internet Access and Power
Routers and Broadband have gotten better. Batteries last longer. Transmitting HD wirelessly can be done for under $500 if you have line of sight.
In the end, if you are serious about streaming, you’ll likely still want to have a hard wired internet connection on hand, but unlike the electric, this can often be done by a handy volunteer.
4. Intuitive, Social Friendly Software
For an example with Livestream: I was in a meeting with a group recently that started talking about doing live streaming. In three minutes while they were talking, I created an account, uploaded a short video I had taken on my phone, scheduled an event where the video would play, and promoted it on social media. I could just of easily have downloaded the Livestream app to my iPhone and started live steaming our meeting in the same amount of time.
If you haven’t started streaming your services, you may want to give it a try.