I’m continually amazed at how the internet is shaping technology. I spent a couple of hours experimenting with streaming live video from church. It was incredibly easy to setup and even more importantly, it was free. We are looking at hosting a seminar at Cornerstone here in Virginia and broadcasting it live over the internet to two churches in Michigan that are wanting to join in. Our first run-through was very positive, so I think we will proceed with our plans.
I hooked up an old mini-dv camcorder to my macbook pro through firewire, and then tried out both Mogulus and Ustream.tv. Both services are relatively simple to configure and start your broadcast. The only annoying thing about both services is that they are ad-supported. Mogulus offers a pro version for around $350 a month that removes the ads, but that is out of our reach for a small seminar like we are planning.
I read recently about Watershed, which is a service of Ustream, and I think it will work perfectly. Basically, for lower usages, you pay $1 per hour per viewer. You can brand everything with your own logo, embed the player in your own website, and all ads are removed. You can read more about using watershed with churches at ChurchCrunch.
A few lessons I learned:
- If you want to go without ads and make it look more professional, then be willing to pay. Mogulus offers a pro account, and Ustream has the Watershed service
- If you want to broadcast your worship service, make sure you have the correct licensing. You’ll probably want to start with WorshipCast and CCLI
- If you are using a mac, then check out CamTwist. It’s an amazing free program that lets you overlay text, graphics, and even show your desktop, movies, and slideshows. I also have a copy of BoinxTV, and I might end up using that.
- If you are using a PC, then definitely check out Procaster – It’s a great front-end for Mogulus that is super easy to use. You can quickly switch between the video and your screen.
- Run your sound through a soundboard if possible if you are mixing multiple sources. Be sure to set the sound volume on the streaming setup so that it’s not too loud or too soft.
- And the biggest lesson … It doesn’t require a huge budget to broadcast. If you don’t mind having ads, then it is easy and free to setup a live streaming channel for your church.