Should Your Church Live Stream?

Chances are, your church has either started live streaming recently or has considered it at some point. With equipment improvements, lower entry costs, and availability through the web and social media, live streaming is becoming more common in the church. If you are considering adding a streamed service or posting videos for replay viewing to your ministry, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • How are we going to do this? There are lots of options when it comes to equipment and hosting. This could look as simple as setting up your smartphone to live stream straight to Facebook, or a full video system, including cameras, switchers, and hosting. Don’t overstretch yourself. Find a setup that works for your team and your budget.
  • Does this have to be live? While it does sound great to say your services are being streamed live, all over Facebook or YouTube, a live stream may not be the best fit for every church or ministry. Consider other options like posting a replay later in the day, or creating a prerecorded version of the sermon, specifically for social media. This may save you money, and depending on your target audience, may connect better than a live stream.
  • Who are we trying to reach? Is this primarily for your church members who cannot attend this week? Are you trying to give guests a peek at what services are like at your church? Maybe you are trying to launch a full digital ministry through a live stream service. Your equipment, hosting, and strategy will differ, depending on your audience.
  • What will we show on our live stream or video replay? You have probably seen churches streaming services on your own Facebook feeds. The primary focus is usually the message (sermon), but many times it will include worship. Typically, people connect well with the sermon and is a great part to include. While including worship does give viewers a chance to see what happens through the whole service, it will often require more to maintain quality and connect with the audience.
  • What about copyright and keeping our stream legal? This is a big one. Please be sure you really look into church streaming copyright licensing and what is allowed and not allowed. Here is a quick break down…
    • Preaching Only – Can be live-streamed and posted for replay without any copyright license needed, as long as the message does not include any copyrighted music or pre-recorded video content.
    • Worship Included on Live Stream – Requires a streaming license for live performance of copyrighted music. No pre-recorded audio allowed (singing to tracks)
    • Worship Included on Replay Video Post – Requires a streaming license to be uploaded to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, or similar site. No pre-recorded audio allowed (singing to tracks). If the streaming license ever expires, all videos including copyrighted material must be removed immediately.
    • Prerecorded audio is not allowed with any streaming license. Permission must be obtained by contacting the copyright owner directly.

A note about copyright law and streaming licenses. You may still be flagged by Facebook or YouTube for copyrighted material, through their automated process. You can appeal this, citing the proper licenses, but it may take some time to resolve. You may also be required to allow ads to run on content including copyrighted music.

There are two common options for church streaming licenses. Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) and Christian Copyright Solutions (CCS) each have a blanket streaming license. You will not need both of these but would choose one based on your needs. The basic difference between the two is CCLI will cover only your worship services and will require the base CCLI license for lyrics, while CCS will cover other church events outside of your normal worship times, but will not include any licenses for lyric reproduction.

CCLI Website – https://us.ccli.com

CCS Website – https://christiancopyrightsolutions.com

There are lots of other things to consider, and if you are just getting into this, it can be confusing. Don’t let the number of options discourage or intimidate you. There are lots of great resources available online. Here are a few…

Facebook Live
https://www.facebook.com/facebookmedia/solutions/facebook-live

YouTube Live
https://support.google.com/youtube/topic/9257891?gclid=Cj0KCQjwu6fzBRC6ARIsAJUwa2QflCUu88ExT3CHnVY9OT0WmvkqL9aUk-fgxv1ypynoEGJMdWULqeMaAukzEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

Vimeo Video Storage
https://vimeo.com/upgrade

5 Reasons to Live Stream
https://www.boxcast.com/blog/top-5-reasons-your-church-should-be-live-streaming

4 Hurdles to Live Streaming
https://factsandtrends.net/2019/05/10/4-hurdles-to-clear-before-streaming-your-worship-services/

Live Streaming Equipment
https://www.joelwsmith.com/gear/the-budget-friendly-live-streaming-package/

Live Streaming is Overrated
https://prochurchtools.com/live-streaming-churches-overrated-ep-114/

Ultimately your church needs a digital presence to minister in this digital age. But don’t feel the pressure to do something just because other churches are doing it. Find something that fits your church and ministry, and do it well.

Feel free to contact me if you have other questions on starting a live stream at your church – steven.haney@louisianabaptists.org

 

 

Multiply Your Efforts

Are you looking for online tools and resources to take your ministry further? Download our free brochure to view a variety of tools, including:

  • Social Media (Planning and Scheduling, Training Resources, Full Service Programs)
  • Graphics & Artwork
  • Fonts
  • Website Builders

Want the pre-printed version?

Email Karon.McCartney@LouisianaBaptists.org to make your request.

Ideas Out Loud

One of our goals is to provide tools and resources to the many churches in our great state. We do this through conferences, literature, digital media, and more. From 2016-2018, we produced a podcast called Ideas Out Loud. In it, we interviewed various leaders and experts in a variety of ministry-related fields, including VBS, discipleship, finance, and more.

Even though the podcast has run its course, we still want to make the audio files available to you. So click through the playlist below and enjoy!

*Resources mentioned in these episodes are no longer available.

 

From Zero to Hero: 3 Ingredients for Great Church Videos

What if I told you the three ingredients that could take your church videos from “zero to hero”? In this digital age, church communication will continue to incorporate more and more video to share the on-going story of what God is doing in and through your church.

Here is a list of 3 key ingredients that a part of any great video.

1. Clear Audio

Often audio is an afterthought in video production but that is just not the case for your viewer. Commercial TV and Hollywood movies have an intimate clarity that is synonymous with a high level of quality. I often see videos that have huge audible barriers that prohibit the message from even having a chance to be received. Compare these two videos and determine which one is the most effective in conveying the message using clear audio.

Try to avoid an acoustical nightmare. Sure, stained concrete looks cool but will it be an audible barrier for your viewer? You have been tasked with conveying an important message through video. It can be rich in aesthetics but still fall short in accomplishing the goal due to poor audio. Preferably a room with tall ceilings and a rug underneath is desirable. Pack a rug or two with your gear when walking into a new situation where you aren’t sure of the acoustics.

A well-placed boom microphone such as the Rode NTG1 will do wonders for giving you a clear three dimensional sound. For years I played around with clip on lav mics only to discover their limitations at reproducing a natural environmental sound. If you don’t have an XLR connection then there are lots of options for external recorders. I personally prefer Tascam recorders because of an extremely low noise floor. (Ain’t nobody got time for hissy audio!)

A little compression can go a long way towards making your audio sound polished. Compression is an audio tool that is common in most video editing programs. Used judiciously, it can really help punch up the audio and give it a perceived loudness that we equate with good quality. The way it works is that it controls frequencies that go past a desired threshold that you get to decide on. Once those are controlled then you can turn up the overall volume without having to worry about the loud passages peaking your audio meters. A good setting to start with would be a 2:1 ratio. Then lower your threshold slowly until you see 3 to 6 db of volume being reduced. Too much compression is like too much salt. A little goes a long way.

2. Soft Light

With the rise of DSLR video in church communication, soft light is extremely important to the storyteller. DSLR cameras have a plethora of contrast built into them and aren’t very forgiving if you miss the mark with your settings. Paying attention to harsh light in your environment can really payoff in the finished product.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Grab a couple of softbox lights to get you started. Lowell makes some great starter kits. Turn off all of the lights in the room and begin to shape your light using the softboxes. This will provide maximum control to shape the light in a way that pleases the eye. As your budget grows consider getting a total of 3 lights for a standard 3 point lighting configuration.

Window light can be your friend. Most rooms have a window so it is best to try to use that light to your advantage. If for some reason your church can’t afford lighting at this time then move your subject towards the window and pay close attention that the light coming in from outside covers half of the face in order to create a cinematic falloff of shadows on the opposing side of the face. In most circumstances it will serve you well to turn off all of the lights in your room. There are no hard and fast rules so use your eye to discriminate between what works well and what doesn’t.

3. Great storytelling

Every story has a strong beginning, end, and some climatic moment in the middle. Make sure your story includes the same. When you are on location make sure that you work with the person you are interviewing to bring out those moments. Listen intently and learn to ask questions that provide opportunities for these 3 components to occur organically.

Ask questions that address the past:

  • “Why did you get started with this ministry?”
  • “How did you come to make this decision?”
  • “When did you start sensing the Lord’s calling in your life?”

Ask questions about the present:

  • “How is God changing your heart now for the people of India”,
  • “What are some recent things that your ministry has been doing,”
  • “So, what are you learning so far about the conference you are attending?”

Finally ask some questions about the future:

  • “What do you see your organization being involved with in the coming months?”
  • “Would you come back next year to this event?”
  • “Why do you think future college students would benefit from what this ministry is doing?”

Of course these are just generic questions so make sure the questions you ask are relevant. Don’t be afraid to ask the same question over to give the interviewee an opportunity to say it better. Make them feel comfortable and don’t forget to coach. Also, have a conversation about other things, joke with them, and this will go a long way to making them feel comfortable with you and the shooting experience.

Make sure to practice active listening so that you can draw the story out in the open during an interview. It is very difficult to do if you are fumbling around with equipment so you will find that the better you know your video gear the better at active listening you will become.

Recently I had the privilege of getting to work on the video above where all 3 ingredients (clear audio, soft lighting, and good storytelling) were present. There is definitely room for improvement but the fact that all 3 elements are there excites me. Incorporating these three ingredients will help you take your next video from zero to hero!

21 Free Tools You Should Know About

The world is changing faster than ever, and as Louisiana Baptists, we are on a quest to help you reach more people for the gospel in new and innovative ways. A vast majority of churches use the web, but few use it well. This free resource will help you represent the gospel through multimedia and digital media.

So you might say, “Creating a website and using social media with excellence sounds costly!” Not really. In fact … Wow! We’ve found 21 free tools and resources you should know about. Actually 22, counting the free download below that lists the other 21!

How to use this tool

The 21 Free Tools is a PDF download. You can click the PDF link below to preview or right-click and click Save-As, to save to your computer. If you have any questions about the resources or where to get started, feel free to send me an e-mail or find me on Twitter.

21 Free Tools You Should Know About . PDF

Share the Infographic

You can preview the Infographic below. If you find this tool helpful, please consider sharing it by clicking the Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest links at the top of the page.

21 Free Tools- LB-INFOGRAPHIC

12 Media Resources You Can Use Now

This era of technology is probably the most difficult one to keep up with. It seems as if every year, services and ideas change the landscape of effective communication. This can be frustrating and unnerving, but with all that change, churches can seize the moment and become effective with little capital!

It’s time to take your website, video and graphics to the next level with these great, free (or cheap) resources you can use right now.

Do-It-Yourself Website

Whether you’re planning to start a church or you’re a multi-site mega-church humming along doing great work, no doubt you need a presence on these interwebs. Before you go and spend big bucks hiring a developer to do your next project, spend a few minutes checking out the resources below. It’s easier than you think to put together a site that is both beautiful and functional.

Wix.com
Wix is an easy drag-and-drop website building platform with many designer templates and free features to get your ministry or event a website quickly and easily. Wix does offer additional premium features as needed.
www.wix.com

WordPress.com
If you want something more custom than just drag-and-drop then WordPress.com is the best place to go. WordPress offers thousands of free themes and many plugins to extend the functionality of your site. WordPress is the most popular CMS on the planet. In fact, LouisianaBaptists.org is powered by WordPress.com.
www.wordpress.com

Online Giving

Has your church started accepting donations on your website? What about allowing event registration with a credit card? It’s now easier (and more affordable) than ever to get setup with a event registration kiosk or donation button on your website. Here are a few resources to check out:

Paypal is an easy and affordable way to begin accepting online donations and online event payment processing.

Paypal is an easy and affordable way to begin accepting online donations and online event payment processing

Easy Tithe
Easy Tithe is a ministry-focused online payment gateway which offers a way for churches to easily accept credit cards for event registration, online donations and mobile giving with automatic recurrences and full monthly financial reports. Transaction fees start at 3% + 0.25¢.
www.easytithe.com

Paypal
Paypal is a great way to quickly begin accepting donations online with a low transaction rate of 2.2% + 0.30¢. Paypal also offers convenient card readers you can attach to any tablet or smartphone to accept credit cards for an event or special donation kiosk.
www.paypal.com

Graphics and Video Resources You Shouldn’t Miss

Bookmark these sites now. Next time you do a sermon series or need a great event graphic, check out the resources below for just the right video or background image.

CreationSwap.com
CreationSwap is a network of Christian artists freely sharing creative resources such as photos, mini-movies, motion graphics, sermon graphics, logos and more.
www.creationswap.com

Unsplash.com
Unsplash.com is a resource for completely royalty-free, beautiful, high-resolution photos. They feature 10 new photos every 10 days and include a wide variety of styles and scenes.
www.unsplash.com

Open.LifeChurch.tv
From the Makers of YouVersion, Open Life Church is a vast resource of graphics, templates, age-graded curriculum and more.
open.lifechurch.tv

Resources.ElevationChurch.org
Elevation Church features a large catalog of sermon series related graphics and PowerPoint backgrounds. They offer JPG and PSD formats and categorize items by general audience or specifically for kid’s ministry.
resources.elevationchurch.org

Seeds.Churchonthemove.com
Church On the Move features top-notch artwork, sermon series graphics, videos and more. Seeds offers graphics for children’s ministry and student ministry. Don’t forget to check out their blog for additional details on their creative process.
seeds.churchonthemove.com

Need help getting started? Wondering how to implement these resources in your church?

If you want more of the type of information on this page, make sure to follow @labaptists on Twitter and subscribe to our weekly newsletter.