Can a small church produce video content for the internet? Yes they can! Producing video on a small scale has become quite affordable.

Can a small church produce video content for the internet? Yes they can! Producing video on a small scale has become quite affordable. Also, if you are in an area with good internet service, you may even
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Can a small church produce video content for the internet? Yes they can! Producing video on a small scale has become quite affordable. Also, if you are in an area with good internet service, you may even be able to stream your church events live over the internet! So what does a small church need to get started? Below are a list of things you will need to record/watch video at church. The reason why recording & watching video are both listed will be explained later when we get more into internet streaming. Some of these things you may already have: 1. A way to record audio a. A Sound system - if your church already has a PA system with a mixer board and multiple microphones, it likely already has a recording output that can be connected to a PC, digital audio recorder, audio tape deck, etc. It is recommended that you send this audio output to a PC for the most flexibility. b. A wireless lapel microphone - You can buy only this and connect it straight to a PC to begin recording audio. However, if you already have a PA system, it is best to connect your microphone there so you can utilize all of your microphones. Shure makes some of the best wireless microphones and they are worth the high cost: 2. A way to listen to audio a. A Sound system - this can be as simple as a large stereo system to amplify the volume coming from a computer or as complex as a full PA system with a mixer board, microphones, etc. 3. A way to watch video a. This can be a large screen TV or a projector depending on the size of your sanctuary. 4. A way to record video a. To give you the greatest flexibility, you will need the following pieces of technology: i. PC - most PCs less than five years old that are running Windows 7 or above will work. It is not recommended you use a PC running Windows Vista as it will be too old. You can get a laptop or a desktop. While a laptop will allow you some portability, a desktop gives you more options if you are going to record HD quality video. ii. Camcorder - if you are going to do live internet streaming, your internet connection likely will not support HD quality video. Due to this, you don't have to spend a lot of money on a camcorder. What follows is what our church is using: 1. Camcorder - SNYUS- Site/en_US/- /USD/ViewProduct- Start?SKU=27- HDRCX210/L 2. AV Cable - - This cable allows you to use a remote while also capturing video. Not a lot of cables like this exist anymore. 3. Camcorder Remote Zoom - - This allows you to remotely control the zoom on your camera if your camcorder is in a location that is tough to reach. iii. Tripod - This is an area you do not want to skimp on. Our church got a cheap tripod that sticks when you try to pan/tilt it. When shopping for a tripod, look for one with a fluid head . Do not be tempted to get one with a fluid effect head . Our church is still searching for a good tripod, but that is our lesson learned. iv. USB or HDMI Capture device v. Software 1. If you are going to stream live over the internet or don't care about HD- quality, a USB capture device like the following will suffice. It basically turns a camcorder into a zoomable webcam : 2. If you are only going to record locally, you can get an HDMI capture device to record HD- quality video. Our church did not go this route, so we cannot provide a lot of information about this. The only thing to be aware of is that even though your PC may have an HDMI connection on it, you normally cannot use it to connect your camcorder to your PC. Most HDMI connections on a PC are only used to output video to a TV. They are not an input connection. 1. To watch videos at church on a PC after you have downloaded them from the internet, you need a video player that will play ANYTHING! VLC Player is what you need. It has many other features that you can utilize, but I don't have the space to get into that here: 2. If you are only going to record locally, our church would recommend the free Microsoft Expression Encoder: us/download/details.aspx?id= To edit video after you have recorded it, free software such as Windows Movie Maker will suffice: us/windows- live/movie- maker 4. If you are going to stream live over the internet, our church has used and recommends the software that comes with Ustream. Ustream is a live streaming service that also provides free software if you use their service. However, if you want to pay for software, Telestream Wirecast works with Ustream and many other internet streaming providers. In fact, the free software that comes with Ustream is a toned down version of Telestream Wirecast! a. Free (only if you use Ustream): b. Paid: Once you have all of these parts you can begin recording/watching video at church. With most of the tools mentioned above, you do not have to worry about getting internet access at your church. You can always record your video, take it home on a USB stick, edit it, and upload it to YouTube. To watch video at church, you can download the video at home to a USB stick and take it to church. However, the best setup involves getting internet access at your church and streaming your services live over the internet. In our church district, each of our churches have the ability to stream live. So, when the pastor is at Mount Pleasant, Cooper and Paris watch. When he is at Cooper, the other two churches watch. This is why I mentioned above it is good to plan your setup for if you are watching or broadcasting church services. However, our church district would caution you in the following points: 1. When shopping for internet service and you are not sure if the provider will meet your needs, do not sign up with a term agreement. One of our churches in our district had to try three different internet providers until they found one that was compatible with internet streaming. Fortunately none of the providers they tried had a term agreement. 2. (VERY IMPORTANT) To broadcast an internet stream at TV quality reliably, you need a consistent upload speed of 1Mbit or greater and a ping time of under 50ms or under. You can go to to measure your internet speed, but you need to run several tests to look for a consistent upload speed. For example, here is a test from our area: result/ If you are going to live stream your services, do not leave your internet access open for the public to use or advertise that you have free wifi. To do live streaming, you must have a good upload speed with your internet provider. Most providers will barely give you enough upload speed to support live streaming, so if many people are using your internet connection, you will not have enough speed to broadcast. 4. If you are watching a live stream church broadcast, always have a church member ready with a backup sermon. No matter how well you try to plan your solution, there could be a day when some piece of the technology fails or the person broadcasting on the other end is a fill- in that may have not had much training or practice. With that being said, here are internet options to consider (in order of preference). Please keep in mind that most internet providers will not let you get service at residential prices. They typically bill churches at business rates, which are a bit higher. Also keep in mind each will require various upfront equipment and setup fees that are not included in this table: Type Cost Pros Cons Cable Around $80- with Phone Service Usually the fastest speed you can get in town. 1. You have to be close to city limits. 2. You have to bundle in your phone service sometimes to get the best value. Line of Sight Wireless (You mount an antenna on your church that points at a nearby tower) Around $40- You don't have to be close to town and can get decent download speeds. 1. They don't always provide 1Mbit upload speeds. 2. Even when they provide adequate upload speed, it is not always consistent. For instance, one of our churches can broadcast an 11:30AM Sabbath service with no issues. However, in the evening during peak internet usage times, their provider does not provide consistent speeds for broadcasting. Type Cost Pros Cons 4G LTE Cell Phone/ MiFi /Jetpack Around $50- You can be anywhere within the coverage area and get speeds as good as or better than cable. 1. You must be within a 4G LTE coverage area: 4G or 3G is not enough. 2. Works great if you only broadcast your church service for about an hour once a week. If you are going to broadcast more often than that (like during an evangelistic series) you could run over your monthly data limit and incur high overage fees. Leased Line (T1, T3, etc.) $100s/month 1. Dedicated, guaranteed speeds from the phone company 1. You have to be close to city limits. 2. Very expensive option usually reserved for large businesses. 2. Typically your upload and download speeds are at the same rate DSL Around $40- Decent download speeds. 1. You have to be close to city limits. 2. They don't usually provide 1Mbit upload speeds. Satellite Around $40- Decent download speeds. 1. Uploads tend to have very bad ping times and is not good for broadcasting, only watching. 2. Typically has a monthly data limit. When you reach your limit you will either incur overage fees or your internet speed will get really slow until the next month. Once you establish internet access at your church, here are some internet streaming options to consider (there are many more, these are just a few I have reviewed): Provider Cost Pros Cons Ustream Free, but they play non- Christian ads at times $99/month silver account for 100 viewer hours (Our three- church district shares the cost of our one paid account) 1. Very Easy to Use 2. Comes with Software that helps you become familiar with how the professional software works. 3. Can embed a video player on your website. 4. Mobile- Friendly: Their video players work on smartphones. 5. Has the ability to record to the cloud. This means as you are live streaming, this service will also record your video for later playback on their website or downloading from another location. 1. Free Version: The ads that appear could offend some viewers. 2. Limits on the amount you can broadcast. 3. Silver Account: Good as long as you are a district of small churches with only a few people that view the broadcast. Can become quite costly once you go over 100 viewer hours. 4. Gold Account is quite pricey ($499/month). Provider Cost Pros Cons TruthCasting streaming Starts at $25/month 1. Cheapest price I have found. 2. No limit on the amount you can broadcast. 3. Mobile- Friendly 4. Can embed a video player on your website. 1. Not good for beginners, hard to use 2. Does not come with included software 3. Embeded video player used to cost an extra monthly fee that upped the total cost of the solution to about the same as Ustream. The embedded player is now included, so our church may reconsider this solution. LiveStream Free, but users have to go to the LiveStream website and create an account $49/month basic account that lacks the ability to embed a video player on your website $399/month premium account 1. No limit on the amount you can broadcast. 2. Mobile- Friendly 3. Has the ability to record to the cloud. 4. Their premium account is cheaper than the Ustream Gold account. 1. Not good for beginners, hard to use 2. Does not come with included software 3. Free and basic accounts have limitations that may cause you to lose a sizeable audience. 4. Have to go to a premium account to get the embedded player. Provider Cost Pros Cons YouTube Live Events Free 1. Free! 1. A little difficult to use No limit on the amount you can broadcast. 3. Mobile- Friendly 4. Integrates with other Google Apps. Please note that Adventist churches can apply for a non- profit license to Google Apps for free , unlimited length for YouTube Videos, etc. 2. Does not come with included software 3. You have to set up an event before you can broadcast. Imagine having to do this every Sabbath or every night of an evangelistic series. 4. If I remember correctly you have to re- establish your embedded video player every time you create a new event. MediaFusion $60/month Untested Untested media- player/plans- pricing To take a look at what our church district is doing, please take a look at any of the following websites: The intention of this article is to inspire you to get started, but there is a lot of elbow work required to get established. However, once you implement this, it becomes fairly simple to run. We now have a short how- to guide in each of our churches that our operators can fall back on when they forget pieces of their training. If you have any questions or would like to see the end result of what one of our guides look like, please contact me. Thanks, Charles Smith
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