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ChurchStreaming

Getting Started With Live Streaming

Live streaming isn’t just shooting a video and posting it for view at a later date.  It’s live.  It’s happening right then.  The viewers are seeing what the people at the service are seeing, at the same time.   

For those who are unable to be at the service in person, they can still participate and feel a part of their church community. Those who are homebound or in the hospital can continue to participate and people who are traveling for work or vacation can still be connected.

Are you able to archive the service for use later?  

Of course! You can even trim the recording to the beginning and end of the sermon.

So, give me the basics.  How does it work? 

Though there can be many configurations, the most common three scenarios are shown below. 

Scenario 1

A basic camera is connected to either an encoder box or into a computer/laptop with encoding software loaded on it. The box or computer then converts the camera feed into a format that can be sent to ChurchStreaming and broadcast to your church’s platforms. After that, your video gets automatically stored to your archived.

Scenario 2

Your church has a camera with a built-in encoder that sends the converted feed to ChurchStreaming, who then broadcasts your event to your platforms. After that, your video gets automatically stored to your archived.

Scenario 3

Multiple cameras are connected to a switching/processing unit which is then connected to an encoder or goes directly to ChurchStreaming for broadcast if the switcher has a built-in encoder. 

So, camera + encoding device + ChurchStreaming = your live broadcast. 

How To Get Started

To help you get started with your new ChurchStreaming account, this brief video will walk you through setting up your streaming equipment and broadcasting your first live stream.

With so many different types of equipment to choose from, you need to start by determining what you want to achieve by live streaming. What is your church’s vision for live streaming? Keep your members connected? Attract the younger generation? Growing your congregation? Knowing what you want from your live streaming service is key and will guide your equipment selection.

Maybe you already have a camera or two that you use to project onto screens during the service and are just looking to live stream. Will that be enough? Or, do you want to create a professional quality production that includes bottom third titles and picture-in-picture?

If you know what you want to end up with before purchasing equipment, you’ll be able to focus on the features you really need, and then choose based on your budget.

What you want to end up with will also guide your selection of an encoder. Make sure you purchase the type that will produce what you want, and not pay for something you don’t need, or can’t use to fulfill your vision.

What is an Encoder?

The encoder converts the data from one format to another. In this case, it takes the feed from your camera and converts it into a format that can be sent to a streaming company like ChurchStreaming, and broadcast to your platforms. There are two types of encoders: software and hardware. Each has pros and cons.

ChurchStreaming can use any encoder that has an RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) output, which the most common encoders provide. Some encoders to consider are: Wirecast, Teradek, vMix, TriCaster, Matrox, VID Blaster, and there are many more.

Software Encoders

Software encoders are those that are loaded onto a desktop or laptop computer. With these software encoders, you have more flexibility to make adjustments to the quality of the video. They are updated just like other software when the manufacturer makes changes and add features.

 

You can purchase an encoding software that also includes graphics. Wirecast is a great option for software encoders, allowing you to add titles/scripture verses, picture-in-picture and create a professional looking stream

On the downside, they may be a bit slower than a hardware encoder. The speed of software encoders can vary depending on what else is installed on the computer. The more programs running, the slower the software runs.

 

Hardware Encoders

A hardware encoder is a piece of equipment that’s sole purpose is to transfer the input into a format that can be streamed. This equipment can be stand-alone or integrated into a camera. Though they can vary in size, they are usually small and portable, though more expensive than their software cousins. An advantage of a hardware encoder is that you don’t need a separate computer unless you want to add graphics software to the mix.

Hardware encoders don’t offer a ton of customization options and upgrading is usually done by simply replacing the device. However, they are focused solely on encoding and are very reliable, and faster than software options.

 

In Conclusion

Think about why your church is choosing to live stream. What is the end result you envision? Determine what equipment you currently have and if it has the capabilities you need. Make a list of what equipment you’re missing and then talk to an equipment specialist. Let them know what your goal is, what you have and, most importantly, what your budget is. They will be happy to help you determine which equipment should fit your needs.

What internet speed do I need in order to stream?

When you think of internet speed, you are probably looking at only one number. The download speed. After all, this is what connects you to a wealth of information, news, and entertainment. When it comes to streaming, you will want to keep the download speed in mind but the more important speed will be the upload speed. This is because you will be uploading your video stream to the internet. The important thing to first understand is not all internet is created equal.

Let’s go over the 3 kinds of internet and how they measure up for streaming.

    1. DSL can give you download speeds up to 80 Mbps. Upload speeds are typically on the lower side of things. However, this does not mean that they are not good for live streaming. At the bottom of this guide, we have a chart that lists what size of the stream (or video quality) you can have in comparison to your internet upload speed.

 

    1. Cable typically has higher download speeds available as well as higher upload speeds. Cable is also typically more reliable than DSL. If your choice is between DSL and Cable, compare their upload speeds, then choose what you think will give you the best results.

 

  1. Fiber is the top dog in the uploading game. In many cases, you will have a higher upload speed than download speed.  If Fiber is available and affordable for you to get, that will be the best solution for you to get the highest quality stream.

Once you have determined what kind of internet you wish to have, it is important to always keep in mind that nothing is perfect. While we would like to think that nothing will go wrong, there may be a time when something does. And we want you to have the best route to the fastest solution possible.

 

Connectivity Issue Troubleshooting

With so many variables with each live streaming setup, including your internet connection, equipment, and network usage, we make it a priority to point you to the best solution for tech support available. We are unable to provide technical support for equipment and service that is not our own. That said, we do have this checklist for you to follow. There is also a printable PDF that you can use to list the names and support numbers for your internet, software and hardware providers as you go through these steps.

  • Verify that all equipment is plugged in and turned on.
  • Try restarting your hardware or software encoder if it’s already on.
  • Reset your modem and router. Follow your internet provider’s guidelines and contact them for any technical support. Again, we are directing you to them, because they will offer you the best support when it comes to internet connectivity.
  • Still not fixed? It could be the load on your router. Use our speed tool to run a speed test to find out your current speeds. If you are not getting good speeds, contact your internet service provider for support.
  • If your speeds are fine, then it could be that you have too many people on your internet and it is causing congestion. The solution is to make your streaming device top priority in your router. Please see your router manufacturer for assistance in how to set priority levels. If your router is from your internet provider, they may offer support for it as well.
  • If you are still not able to see your stream or are experiencing a severely degraded video quality, you may need to run an MTR test. To do this you will need to contact one of our customer support specialists.

For the best results, we recommend your streaming upload bandwidth be at least 1.5x the combined bitrate of all your streamed programs (when streaming in SD or above).

Follow the chart below, after running your speed test to determine what resolution you will have when streaming.

 

Upload Speed Resolution
750k-1.5mbps 480p SD
1.5mbps – 5mbps 720p HD
5mbps-9mbps 1080p HD
9mbps>>>> 4K UHD

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