You want to share your Sunday morning service with the world. You’ve been told, “It’s a Hillsong world, and the rest of us are just living in it.” So, you take 20 minutes to browse for information on livestreaming services and decide you will need advanced degrees in information technology, engineering and video production.
Well, maybe you do need all that—if you’re in charge of Hillsong’s worldwide Internet empire, but basic live streaming—Livestreaming 101—is surprisingly within reach. After all, nearly anyone can upload videos to YouTube these days. The difference between YouTube and a livestream webcast is basically sending your audio and video out as it’s actually happening, and for that, there are a few absolute necessities
Your Internet Connection
Not any ol’ Internet connection: a great one. Before you do anything else, make sure your [connection] is as fast and reliable as it can possibly be. Step one is an ISP audit. Is your connection rock-solid reliable? Is it (reasonably) fast? Livestreaming requires 5Mbpz per second at a very minimum, and really, 10 Mbpz should be your base rate. These two issues are the beginning: reliability and speed. Make friends with your Internet Service Provider—good friends. The most expensive gear in the world is worthless with a great Internet connection.
Get Your Gear
Like nearly all technical innovations, livestreaming is gear-heavy. It’s better to start with high-quality gear and keep things simple rather than trying to make a big splash by using tons of equipment, only to find out you didn’t need it, or it’s not very good quality. Here’s a start-up list:
Camera or (better yet) Multiple Cameras
So many choices! If your only concern is your Sunday service (always in the same room, always with the same lighting) you might go with fixed-position webcams, which has the advantage of saving money. Webcams sell cheap, but then, the image quality may be cheap, too. You could scroll through Amazon endlessly looking at models from Logitech or ProStream, spending from $50 to thousands of dollars—OR—you could reach out and shop the old fashioned way by connecting with knowledgeable customer service rep from a company like Full Compass Systems (a Ministry Tech business partner). At the entry level to livestreaming, it’s best to pick up the phone and talk to a real live person.
Seriously: Don’t use built-in mics that come with most cameras. In a livestream environment, audio quality is just as important as video quality. External microphones are dedicated devices that are sure to make your audio quality rock-solid. A quick trip to Amazon reveals a dizzying array of hardware, but beginners can start with something like the Samson G-Track Pro series. Entry-level products from Audio-Technica, Neewer or Marantz are also solid choices. Be sure to browse around for all the necessary accessories: mic stands, connective wires and cables, and windscreens.
THERE’S MORE GEAR ON PAGE TWO