UPDATE 3/29/2020: Check out my latest post on livestreaming for churches
UPDATE 3/23/2017: With the most recent firmware update, Mevo has really helped address some of my concerns listed below. They now offer an option to narrow the field of view to eliminate the fish-eye distortion! This is great news and it really helps the quality and professionalism of the output. With each firmware update, they continue to improve the camera and quality. I appreciate the fact that they are listening to their customers.
Several months ago, I shared about a new video live streaming camera that looked interesting for churches. After using it for the last month I wanted to share an update. The Mevo camera by Livestream is an interesting small video camera that can be used to record events and it is controlled from an iPhone. It has a 4k sensor, but only records in 720p. That extra resolution gives you multiple camera shots to choose from, so it’s like a little production studio built into the camera.
Here’s what I like
- It’s small and inconspicuous. You can really hide the camera.
- It has a wide field of view. This means you can get it really close to what you want to film so that the camera is not in the way. We mounted ours from the ceiling with a Manfrotto articulated arm.
- It’s easy to control from anywhere in the room. You can connect the Mevo to your wifi network or you can connect your iPhone directly to the Mevo hotspot.
- You can livestream on Facebook Live instantly! It’s free and it works great. It used to cost a large monthly fee for churches to livestream their services. Now you can do it for free with this camera. The great thing about Facebook Live is that people will naturally find your video, even friends of friends. It’s been great to see how many people view our video each week live.
- You can record the audio from your iPhone. This means you can hook a better microphone to your iPhone, or even connect your iPhone directly to a sound board using a special adapter. The camera syncs the audio from your iPhone with the video from the camera. It actually works quite well.
- When your event is done, the video file can be saved to the microSD card in the camera.
Here’s what I don’t like
- The camera has a lot of “fish-eye” distortion due to the wide angle lens. If you are used to watching GoPro videos, this won’t bother you, but it’s a little unprofessional for many events. It’s not as noticeable on the close up shots, but the wide angle shots don’t look great.
- The on-board audio from the camera is terrible. Maybe it’s good for speech or small interviews, but it’s terrible in a church setting. Music just distorts and the preaching sounds unnatural. For us, the only solution was to hook the iPhone directly to the sound board. I have had a bug where the camera automatically switches from the iPhone audio to the onboard audio. I’m hoping they get this fixed soon.
- The face tracking doesn’t work well. I had high hopes for this, but we have turned off this feature. Any time I looked away from the camera to the side, it completely loses the face tracking. It would be great if it reconnect the face tracking, but you have to re-click the face to reset it each time. It simply doesn’t work for us.
- The focus and clarity isn’t great on the closeup shots. I was hoping for better quality video. I was able to get the video looking a little better by manually lowering the exposure and lowering the saturation. By default the camera video was too vivid and oversaturated.
I think it’s a great value for smaller churches. They may add the ability to link together multiple cameras at some point in the future. I also think it would be great for live streaming Bible studies or small groups. I could also see this working well for youth ministry or special events.
Perhaps the best way to evaluate it is to see it in action. Here is a video of one of our recent services from Cornerstone. It’s been edited in Final Cut to add in graphics and videos, but you can see the finished product. You can see the wide angle distortion and the lack of clarity on some of the close up shots.