Gathering when we can’t gather (part 2)

Conversation | Molk | 1st April 2020

We’re a week or two in now, and maybe you want to do more, or the single cam recording just isn’t cutting it. How can you take your church online for the glory of God without spending the Kingdom on it?

In part 1 I outlined some ways to get started with the gear you have. There are some cheaper(ish) options you can engage in that provide you with real flexibility, either in a pre-recorded model or let’s-live-stream-all-the-things-out-of-it.


What camera(s) do I use?
You can remain in single camera mode, using your smartphone, tablet, laptop or an external camera. Burleigh UC pastor Ralph Mayhew has put together this great video of tips and reminders you can use when you only have the camera in your laptop/phone to make sure you have a great shot.

Also introducing an external/plug-in/wireless microphone to your smartphone/laptop can make the *world* of difference. The standard earbuds you get with an Apple device are fine, and you can ramp up to some reasonably simple and very effective wireless mics too, like this
Wireless GO setup from Australian AV legends Rode.



BOTH THE CAMERA AND MICROPHONE ISSUES ARE REALLY IMPORTANT – PLEASE DON’T IGNORE THEM!

They can make the world of difference to you live-stream or pre-recorded broadcast.



How can I add the pretty stuff so it looks better/more professional?
Now that you’re ready to go it can be as simple as your camera through Facebook Live or YouTube or whatever. If you want to add graphics or backgrounds or other sources there is free software like Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) or paid software like vMix you can use that can take a video feed from your webcam or smart device and deliver that to as many people as you like. There is a significant learning curve with any of this software, so you might need to find someone capable to help you as you skill up – or engage them in this new, vital ministry!

If you’re looking for some great suggestions for cameras on a range of budgets, this list is very helpful. If you just want to take video from your iPhone this adapter from Apple is just the thing (and it comes with a bypass power port so you won’t run out of juice mid-video!). You can even use the GoPro Hero 8 to take a clean HDMI feed out to use as a live-stream – natively in the camera or connected to a vision switcher!



What if I want to include guests in my video?
Online meeting software can facilitate you live-streaming with a single or multiple guests – yes, you can live-stream your Zoom meeting to Facebook or YouTube – but should you? – in planning for this you should think about how you’re using them, how your internet (and theirs!) is holding up, and what you expect to hear and see from them. Most online meeting software packages, by their very nature, mean that everyone is seen all the time so there’s no ‘backstage’ area where people can be ready or preparing for their bit. That can make for quite the entertaining connection with your church family as much as it can make for a completely confusing online worship experience.

Software like Be.Live allows you to have you on-screen by yourself, introduce guests from a staging are that isn’t broadcast but allows you to have them online and ready, and make things look a little bit slicker without any extra gear locally (other than your camera and mic).

This is the system we’re using with CALM DOWN – the online, up late chat show with Bradon & Molk on Thursday nights, using Be.Live through Facebook. Tune in 8pm Thursdays (AEDT) through April to check it out, and in the week after Easter I’ll run an online tutorial for how to use it – e-mail me if you’d like to take part in that.


Next post we’ll look at some suggestions around live-streaming that involve more than just you and a slightly (or massively) bigger budget.



Molk is the Senior Field Officer (North), and responsible for young adult ministry as a part of the PULSE team.