Church service livestream
Fast and easy with our technology
Broadcasting your own church service live on the Internet doesn’t have to be complicated. We show you how you can broadcast your church service on the Internet with little technical effort. Tested by churches that invite people to church services online every week.
Why stream church services live?
Livestreams are on the rise in our digitalized world and also offer great opportunities for churches. This enables church members to participate in church services or other church events regardless of their location. Vacations, visits to relatives or friends, and physical limitations are no longer an obstacle. Proximity to the church community can thus be maintained despite physical distance.
What technology is needed to broadcast a church service?
In a nutshell, to broadcast your church service live, you will need a service to transmit the livestream to your church congregation, a sufficient internet line, and suitable streaming hardware.
Live Stream Hosting
An important component is the Live Stream Hosting. This serves as a link between your signal and your church community. With our Live Stream Hosting, you enjoy complete flexibility and can broadcast as many streams as you want per month. You choose the expected number of viewers and we provide sufficient resources. We will then provide you with the RTMP data to configure your streaming hardware to and a code to embed your church service live stream into your website. Alternatively, we are happy to provide a landing page for your livestream with password protection. This makes creating your own livestream a breeze. Our servers are hosted in the EU.
Additionally, you have the option to book a chat room. Through this, your church congregation can interact with each other and actively participate in the service at any time.
In order for your live broadcast to reach your parish, it must be sent to our streaming servers via your Internet line. Since the required upload speed increases with the desired resolution, you should check the individual required speed before hosting your livestream.
Internet speed tests are also important to check what upload speed can actually be achieved at your location to avoid problems in advance.
Streaming hardware on site
On site, you will need a video encoder to transmit the image and sound of the service to our streaming servers. From there, the service can be accessed by your church congregation. The video encoder can be either a software or a hardware encoder. On the one hand, it is important that the signal can be sent to the streaming server in RTMP format. On the other hand, the encoder should be compatible with the rest of the equipment.
The basis for using a software encoder is a powerful computer, since encoding a live stream is very computationally intensive. A free and good video encoder that you can install on your computer is OBS Studio. This software gives you a lot of flexibility for your live church services. On the one hand, you can create different scenes with different video and audio sources that can be switched between during the service. In addition, you can also record the service to make it available as a video after the event. If you want to take advantage of the software with all its functionalities, you should learn how to use it early enough before the first broadcast, as this requires some practice.
A hardware encoder is additional hardware that is only responsible for encoding. Additional computers or encoding software are basically not needed with pure encoders like the LiveU Solo. If different scenes are to be created and shown, additional image mixer software or software such as OBS Studio is required. Other hardware, such as Blackmagic Design’s ATEM Mini Pro, combines video mixer and video encoder and can be controlled via additional software on the computer.
If a sufficiently powerful computer is available, the use of a software encoder is the variant recommended by us, since the handling is mostly somewhat simpler compared with a hardware encoder and in this case also additional hardware acquisition costs are omitted.
Viewers can generally follow livestreams with good sound and a less good picture better than livestreams with a good picture but poor sound. Therefore, good sound is the be-all and end-all for live church services. Especially the reverb can be problematic when recording in a church.
Integrated microphones in notebooks, cameras or webcams are often not good at filtering out background noise, so external microphones are usually better suited for live streams of church services. To reduce background noise and reverberation, the microphone should always be positioned as close as possible to the sound source. Headset and lavalier microphones (clip-on microphones) are ideal for this purpose, for example for speech contributions. Although these are usually condenser microphones that tend to be more sensitive to background noise and reverberation, this is not as noticeable when they are positioned directly at the mouth. If you value freedom of movement, you can opt for a wireless version. It should be noted that radio microphones and headsets usually offer better sound quality than Bluetooth headsets. For music and vocals, dynamic microphones positioned centrally and 1-2 meters away are suitable, as they are less sensitive. Condenser microphones can indeed reproduce a higher level of detail, especially in high frequency ranges, and therefore produce a great sound. However, unless the premises are designed for optimal audio quality, this can become a disadvantage.
USB microphones already have an audio interface integrated and can therefore be connected directly to your computer. In contrast, XLR microphones require a separate audio interface. In principle, good sound quality can be achieved with both types. However, high-quality microphones usually have an XLR connector.
In principle, any camera is suitable for live broadcasts of church services. Which camera is the right one for you depends primarily on the desired section to be shown, but also on the desired image quality.
If you only want to show a speaker with a background, an adequate image can already be created with smartphones or tablets, as long as they are models with a good integrated camera. Integrated notebook cameras usually offer rather poor image quality – a better alternative here is to use an external webcam. The quality differences can be very big, but there are already very cheap models with a good picture quality to buy. If you are looking for particularly good image quality and have a larger budget, you can also use a camcorder or a professional film or SLR camera.
If, for example, a larger image section is to be shown for musical contributions, it is important to make sure that you use a camera with a wide angle. Modern smartphones often already have a wide-angle camera integrated. Action cams are basically more geared towards recording as much of the surroundings as possible and are also suitable for this use case. This can also be achieved with webcams, camcorders or professional film or SLR cameras.
In addition to the camera itself, the use of a tripod makes sense so that an optimal positioning for the desired image detail can be achieved. If your camera has an HDMI or SDI output, you will also need an HDMI/SDI to USB converter to connect it to your computer.
Even though candles and dimmed lighting in the church can create a great and atmospheric light, you should not do without good illumination when broadcasting your church service live. Otherwise, even with a very good camera, you will not achieve good image quality.
Image quality can be inadequate even with natural daylight or existing bright lighting. While daylight varies depending on the time of day and season and is difficult to control, existing lighting (not designed for live broadcasts) often results in unfavorable shadows or only spot illumination.
It is more recommended to use additional illuminants (photo/video lights) to explicitly illuminate the area that is to be in focus.
Mobile complete solution
For those who do not want to compromise on quality, we have created a mobile solution with our streaming backpack, which allows livestreams in the best quality and up to 12 hours without an external power supply. At the same time, using the backpack is as easy as can be thanks to one-button start and stop of the stream. The backpack contains everything needed for streaming – hardware encoder, camera (with high-quality integrated microphone), LTE modems, tripod and battery for up to 12 hours of self-sufficient live streams.