Keeping our communities connected and worshiping together as we are all separated has never been more important, and never been easier. We offer here a few basic steps to help in setting up a live-stream broadcast to your faithful, and a hungry world searching for Christ.
While streaming is simpler than ever, it quickly can become as complicated. For the purpose of this guide, we are going to focus on keeping in simple. For more complex set-ups we will point you to other guides available.
Have Smartphone - Will Stream
The phone in your pocket is the quickest and most straight forward way to get up and running. Using a camera, and a sound system, if your parish has one, can greatly increase the quality of your stream, and you can find links to guides for that below.
Where, How to Stream
Either Facebook and YouTube provide stable and easy options to stream.
Facebook and YouTube provide Live Streaming for Free
If your parish already has a Facebook Page, you have a free location to stream your services, with the added benefit of the broadcast showing up to your followers each time you start. Similarly, if your parish uses YouTube and has Verified your account, you already have a free place to stream*. In addition to streaming from mobile, both platforms have web applications to allow you to stream from a computer provided you have a camera and microphone attached to your computer.
- Detailed information and instructions on how to stream using Facebook Live
- Detailed information and instructions on how to stream using YouTube
Providing a quality live-stream to your faithful helps keep them connected to the liturgical cycle of the Church and their community; and it helps you to communicate to all your faithful in a direct, personal way. So that we can accomplish this to the best effect please consider the following matters of quality:
Choppy streams are common if your internet connection’s upload speed isn’t fast enough. If you have a slow internet connection you might consider lowering the quailty of your stream, or increasing your connection speed.
Smartphone / Camera placement and Lighting
One of the most important principles to keep in mind when live-streaming is that we want to draw the faithful into prayer and worship, and not just provide something for them to watch. Therefore, we have found the placement of the camera to be one of the most important factors in providing a quality stream.
We suggest placing your smartphone / camera in a location that would be familiar to people. At the Monastery of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk we have placed the camera just to the right of the central analogion. This placement allows for a good view of the iconostasis and altar, but more importantly, it is a familiar view for the faithful, they know what it is like to stand in that position of the church.
Lighting is also a very important factor to keep in mind, but one you may ultimately have little control over. Before going live, it would be a good idea to do some testing in the evening to check the quality of lighting during evening services.
This guide is meant to keep it simple. However, upgrading some basic equipment can easily improve the quality of your stream. The following items are suggested and can easily be obtained from on-line retailers.
Microphones and Audio Connections
Rode VideoMic Me or Rode VideoMic Me-L - These microphones connect directly to a smart phone and provide improved sound quality over the microphone built into your device. Using a single microphone for a full liturgy may result in some echo, but it does provide you with the benefit of potentially capturing multiple sound sources at the same time.
Rode Wireless GO Compact Digital Microphone System - This small wireless microphone system comes with a transmitter and receiver. Simply clip the wireless microphone to the priest and connect the receiver to your smartphone or camera. Although you can only have one source of audio using this solution, the quality will be much better than a microphone recording the entire church.
Connecting to the Church Sound System - If you already have microphones setup in the parish, there is no reason to add more complexity to the mix. Utilize an output from your Sound System to connect directly to your smartphone or camera. If you are using an iOS device, you can use an adapter such as the Rode SC6-L to get a direct feed from the sound system. If you are unable to set up the camera close enough physically, you could consider using a wireless transmitter such as the Rode Wireless GO Compact Digital Microphone System to connect your camera wirelessly to the sound system.
Suggested Equipment - Tripod
(Simple) Choir stand - Place a sturdy book on the stand and then place your phone on top of the book. It is not quite as flexible as other options, but if you have a flat surface at a good height, this is a good option.
(Good) Manfrotto PIXI Smart Mini Tripod - The Manfrotto PIXI Smart Mini Tripod allows you to easily stabilize your phone on a table or similar surface. It is also not quite as flexible as other options, but if you have a flat surface at a good height, this is a good option.
(Better) JOBY GripTight ONE GorillaPod - The JOBY GorillaPod is a miniature tripod with flexible legs, which allow you to mount your phone in many different configurations.
(Best) Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum Tripod - This tripod can extend up to 62” to give you the ability to set it up directly on the floor and still have an eye-level view of your service. The tripod head also has panning ability, if you are looking to have someone controlling the camera to follow any action. It does not come with a smartphone mount, but you can pick one up such as the Square Jellyfish Jelly Grip Tripod Mount for Smartphones.