What about online meetings and live streaming? Customers frequently ask about this. There are several technological alternatives for when meeting in person is not practical or possible. Watch the webinar or keep reading to learn more!
Introduction, outline, & mission: 0:00
Online meetings: 3:25
Live streaming: 4:41
Short list—live stream NOW: 5:58
Facebook Live vs. YouTube Live: 9:10
Facebook Live demo: 10:41
Embed Facebook live stream link: 12:23
FAQs--Website Integration: 16:43
Case Study: 22:43
"Long term" live streaming options: 32:02
Online meetings are one way to meet remotely. Imagine a group of people sitting in a circle--except with online meetings, their chairs are all at home. Everyone can actively participate in the discussion through their own computer and microphone. It's a group conversation via internet.
For a webinar-style meeting, however (a one-way broadcast of information), individual microphones can be muted, so one person can present without background noise, as suits the occasion.
|WebEx: Free tier|
Live streaming requires some equipment.
- Computer or mobile device with webcam. A simple laptop, tablet, or smartphone are all options.
- An account with a live stream service. This could be Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook, Boxcast, SermonAudio.com, or others.
- Reasonably fast internet connection. We recommend 3 Mbps or higher.
- Optional: Professional video camera
- Optional: Professional video production software
It may be a good choice for you to invest in some high-quality equipment and software if you've been thinking about live streaming for some time, or if you plan to offer it regularly.
Quick start live streaming: Time is short, the need is now, and you want to go for it? Start with these three:
- Computer with webcam OR smartphone OR tablet
- Facebook Live OR YouTube Live... try BOTH. You want Plan A and Plan B.
- Reasonably fast internet connection. 3 Mbps or higher upload speed recommended
How do you test your internet speed? Go to Facebook Live or YouTube Live and do a trial run beforehand. Or use a speed testing tool, like this one: boxcast.speedtestcustom.com. You'll want your upload speed to be at least 3 megabits per second. (Download speed is typically faster than upload, so make sure your upload speed is 3 Mbps or greater.)
If you want a higher video quality, of course, you'll need an upload speed higher than the bare minimum.
Let's start with Facebook Live streaming. Ideally, you already have a Facebook page for your church. If so, you should be able to see something like this, where "Live" (stream) is listed as one type of post.
If you don't have a church Facebook page, you can live stream from your personal profile:
YouTube Live offers another good option. If you have a YouTube account, click on the camera icon in the upper right-hand corner. One of the options is to Go Live.
There are a number of differences between Facebook Live vs. YouTube Live.
|Facebook Live||YouTube Live|
Refer to the webinar video for a Facebook Live demo (begins at 10:41).
From your church's Facebook page, click "Live." Once Facebook successfully accesses your camera, you'll see a sidebar of options before actually starting your live stream. You can choose your visibility settings, select which camera and microphone to use (you might have only one option installed your device), and enter a title before clicking
"Go Live." Facebook will give you a countdown, and then—you're on, center stage.
Watchers don't need a Facebook account to view your live stream. Once you begin your live stream, right click on where it says "a few seconds ago." Select "Copy link address."
Go to your website and paste the link onto the selected page in WordPress.....
......save it on the page by clicking Publish, and people will be able to play the live stream feed directly from your website.
Stopping your live feed is as simple as clicking the big red button.
When you've finished, you can save the video by clicking "Done," or you can delete it.
Still have questions? We have answers......
- Do I need a special camera or recording advice? Nope, not more than what your computer, tablet, or smartphone offers.
- Can your server handle this demand of streaming? Good news. If you use Facebook or YouTube, their servers are the ones handling it. It's still good to have Plan A and Plan B, in case their infrastructure is overloaded or other problems arise.
- Bandwidth requirements? Again, minimum is 3 Mbps. Test here: boxcast.speedtestcustom.com. If that's not available at your church, you can call your cable or phone company and see if they can increase it. Or consider broadcasting (live streaming) from an alternate location, like someone's living room.
- Do we need to set up some kind of portal? Will there be a link on the website? Again, this is as simple as finding the right link and pasting it onto the page, where it is displayed for site visitors. You can embed links from multiple sources (including Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo), as long as the security settings allow sharing. Read our blog post about how other churches have embedded live stream options.
- Can I put up a Facebook Live broadcast link for people who don't have a Facebook account? Yes, though it depends partly on the Facebook visibility settings. From our testing, YouTube, Vimeo, Zoom, and Facebook all were readily accessible to site visitors, without their needing a personal account.
- What's the best way to accommodate the elderly who struggle to use the internet? Well, they don't need a Facebook account (though Facebook stats indicate many people age 65+ do have a personal account). If they can navigate to your church's website, they should be able to watch the live stream.
- Are other churches trying to replicate their whole worship service, or just a section, like the sermon and a song? Read our blog post, which gives multiple examples from churches of different sizes. You may decide to offer a prerecorded message instead of a live stream. (Facebook Live allows you to do this--record live, in advance, and then save the video.)
- Can you password protect a live stream? In WordPress, you can password protect a page. However, for the sake of the vulnerable, be careful (e.g. don't mention missionaries' names).
- Can you live stream from home? Absolutely!
Read a case study, given by Pastor Moody of San Antonio, TX. His church was given about 24 hours' notice that they could no longer use their rental property for Sunday worship.
Since they already used Vimeo for recording sermons, they chose that program. While the church had to upgrade their paid account to be able to live stream, they considered the reliable and high-quality video stream worth the investment. Pastor Moody installed the app on his phone, put the phone on a tripod, and used that for the first Sunday. The church also chose to invest in a photography backdrop and professional camera for subsequent worship services. They started live streaming 15 minutes early for the first service broadcast in case of technological difficulties, but don't anticipate continuing to do so. Pastor Moody encouraged watchers to submit prayer requests through Vimeo's chat option. He was able to pray for them during the pastoral prayer, and considers it a means of encouraging active participation in worship, rather than simply passive viewing.
Here are several long term live streaming options for churches:
- Boxcast for Churches: $119/month (includes a device called the BoxCaster)
- SermonAudio Webcasting: $49.95/month
- Vimeo Live Streaming: $75/month, billed annually
If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us.