The Low-Budget Guide to Live Streaming for Churches

The coronavirus pandemic has upended many elements of life across the world. From birthdays to happy hours, most aspects of social life today have moved to a virtual arena, in order to protect the safety of others.

Perhaps no industry or sector of the country has been impacted more than live performances and in-person gatherings. As a result of protective measures against the transmission of COVID-19, churches, synagogues, and other religious and faith-based congregations have had to adapt to an online world in order to keep connected. But moving the church online doesn’t have to be an expensive process. Here’s a low-budget guide to live-streaming for churches.

Enlist the help of professionals.

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Unless you have a dedicated IT department at your church, one of the first things you should do is talk to some experts. This will help you to settle on a platform and strategy for your webcast. With so much demand for live stream production services this year, countless companies and businesses have popped up recently, offering to help solve your problems. While this can be a major boon if you aren’t technically proficient in live video, it also means that it’s easy to get overwhelmed, or sold on features or add-ons that you don’t actually need.

Finding some video production services locally is going to be your best option if you want to do things properly. Make sure that you have a list of your needs to hand, so that you don’t get sold on any extra accessories that are unlikely to do anything other than cost you more money. For example, if you have a smaller congregation, you likely don’t need enterprise-level security for a webcast, even though it is still important to have a secure network and strong internet connection for your stream. From picking the right production team, to finding the best platform to live stream your content to your congregation, a professional video services company can help you get the job done right, and within budget!

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Save on outfits and other supplies.

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As you figure out what video services you might need for your livestream, it’s important to consider what you’re going to have your priest or pastor wear during the webcast. Some vestments might play better on camera than others, so it can help to know where to find low-cost supplies that fit your needs. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to find a low-priced clergy shirt or two. Remember that in most situations, you’ll only be seen from the belt-line up, so spending a little extra time finding the right clerical shirt to put the collar on to isn’t a bad idea. This is especially true if you’re going to have lots of people tuning in on various forms of social media like Facebook live or other live streaming services.

Keep backdrops simple.

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One thing to keep in mind as you plan your livestream masses and church services is to avoid unnecessary distractions within the frame of your shot. If you’ve ever been on a Zoom call where someone is posed in front of a bookcase, you’ve invariably found yourself focusing more on the variety of colors in the background, and trying to work out what they’ve been reading lately. This is commonplace in most online video services, so do yourself a favor and keep things simple and professional.

A tip to think about when considering backdrops: you might be tempted to purchase a simple chromakey backdrop and use virtual backgrounds as a way to add some flair to your livestream. But while virtual backdrops are fun at first, they quickly become tacky when the chroma key software results in blocky artifacts or strange hotspots and fringe around the speaker. This can be unprofessional and distracting, so save the virtual backgrounds for the virtual happy hours with your friends and just set the church scene using real, respectful faith-based items instead.

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