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Live Streaming Your Worship Service – Part 2
  By Wayne Sankarlal, University Community Church in Windsor, Ont. Wayne currently provides
IT and website consulting and tech advisory services through his company, IT4Worship, where web, tech and worship meet.
If you’ve followed the advice in my first article (see the Presby- terian Connection, Spring 2022 edition, p. 7) you’ve found willing volunteers, so the hard part of church live streaming is done.
Now comes the easy par t— getting the right equipment for your specific needs so you can enter the world of online church services.
Like all good Presbyterians, your first question—before know- ing what you need—is, “How much is this going to cost?”
The answer is, “As little or as much as you want to invest”— and it is an make sure that your Session, board of managers and informal influenc- ers (both the vocal and the quiet types) in the church are all behind the effort. And, of course, you do get what you pay for.
Here are two examples of what can be done:
Example 1. A small church, using the minister’s smartphone and a long cable, connects to the sound system in order to record the audio and video together. The recording is then uploaded to YouTube, upon completion.
Example 2. A small church uses three smartphones simulta- neously to connect wirelessly to broadcasting software on a PC. The PC is connected to the audio mixer in the church, and the ser- vice is broadcast live over Zoom. The three-smartphone set-up al- lows for three different camera angles, which makes it possible to see the minister, the worship band and the congregation indi- vidually or simultaneously. Along with the camera views, the slides
projected on the screen in the sanctuary are also broadcast to the online congregation.
In both examples, the money spent was in getting the audio synchronized to the video and ensuring everyone involved was trained properly. And, of course, the more complex a set-up is, the more expensive it becomes.
So, generally speaking, what do you need in terms of equip- ment and software?
• a video source—such as a smartphone, mirrorless camera, digital SLR
• a power source for the vid- eo device that will last the duration of the live stream, including set-up and testing time
• an audio source (separate from the video source’s mi- crophone)
• a cable to connect the audio source to the camera
• a reliable Internet connection (wired preferably, wireless if there is a strong signal avail- able)
• a streaming account (Face- book or YouTube)
• a cable to connect the video source to a PC (optional)
• a video capture card (optional)
Hang on, I thought you said this was going to be easy? I know it sounds complex, but it isn’t if you have a little background.
Video source. Clearly, to live stream you need a way of captur- ing the video of the service. And that’s the job of the video source. While it doesn’t matter what you use for the video source—smart- phone or digital camera, etc.— each type has its advantages. For example, most updated smart- phones will capture the video well, but they should not be used to record the audio... More about that in a moment.
Should you decide to use a dedicated digital camera as your
video source, you will also need additional equipment: a video capture card, and a laptop or PC connected to the Internet, prefer- ably using a wired connection.
Adequate power is a must.
Many mirrorless and DSLR cam- eras have a rechargeable battery, but in most cases the charge won’t last for the duration of a typical service, including set-up/ breakdown time of about 1.5 hours. So you will need a dummy battery—an AC adapter shaped like the camera battery—that can be plugged into a power outlet, giving essentially unlimited power to the camera. If you are using a smartphone, then it has to be one with either a separate audio and charging port, or with an adapter that separates the two.
Audio source. Why do you need an audio recording source separate from the video recording source? Because the camera is rarely close enough to the person speaking to get a natural-sound- ing recording. When you rely on the camera for the audio record- ing, the person usually sounds distant or “tinny” or too faint.
So where can you get this al-
ternative sound source? Most churches have at least a rudimen- tary sound system for the mi- crophones used by the minister. We can capture this sound and add it to the recording through an audio cable that connects the sound system to the camera. Ex- actly which type of cable you use will depend on the sound system and video device. Unfortunately, limited space in the article pre- vents me from elaborating on the various types of audio cables that could be used.
Reliable Internet connection.
Good Internet is necessary if you intend to use a wireless connec- tion to your church’s router. Wired connections are much less prone to interference and are inher- ently more reliable because of the physical connection between the camera and the router. Of course, if you choose to use a smart- phone, wireless will be the only option in most cases.
Streaming account. A stream- ing account is needed specifically if you want to “live” stream the service, as opposed to uploading a pre-recorded one. These accounts are available on Facebook or You-
Tube and don’t cost anything— however, there is an initial 24-hour wait time before it becomes avail- able for use on demand.
Video cable and video capture card (optional). A video capture card and cable are needed if you include a dedicated video camera in your set-up. The video cable connects the dedicated video camera to the PC via the video capture card. The purpose of the video capture card is to digitize the video signal so it can be used/ manipulated by the software on the PC. Typically, you will have one cable running from the cam- era to the video capture card and a USB cable running from the capture card to the PC. In some cases, the capture card can be plugged directly into a USB port on the PC without requiring a ca- ble in between.
So that’s a quick overview of the different pieces of equipment needed to create a live-streaming production for your church ser- vice. While it may seem complex, it is an easily navigated process with the right background infor- mation. And happily, you now have the background needed!
Broadcasting Software
Capture Audio Card
Sanctuar y
USB Connection

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