Streaming Options: Zoom, Facebook Live, Others

Streaming Options: Zoom, Facebook Live, Others

There are different options for streaming content, depending on what you are trying to do and what your audience will be comfortable with.
 

Zoom

Zoom is a great option for holding meetings or Bible studies online, or for having one or more people sitting in front of their computers, streaming out to an audience.  Free accounts allow for meetings of up to 100 participants, limited to 40 minutes. Pro accounts, which cost $15 a month, allow 100 participants and do not have the 40 minute time limit.

To host a Zoom meeting or stream, you need a computer equipped with a camera, a microphone and a speaker. And you should sit in a space that is well lit, and not back-lit.  You should also either use a headset plugged into your computer, or ensure there is not background noise that will interfere.

You can invite up to 100 people to attend a Zoom by sending them a link. If they have a computer or other device connected to the internet, they can watch the meeting even if they don't have a camera and microphone to participate themselves. They can even call in via the phone and participate in that way.

You can also stream a Zoom to a Facebook Page if you have a Pro Zoom account. This is how the Conference conducts its Facebook Live conversations, with multiple panelists all broadcasting from their own locations. Instructions are here.  As long as you are streaming your Zoom to a public page on Facebook (as opposed to a personal profile), people can view that stream without having a Facebook account themselves. They will just need a link to the page.  Facebook will also automatically save a recording of the stream on your page.

Learn more about Zoom here


Facebook Live

Facebook Live is a method many churches are using to stream for free to their audiences. Again, if you stream via a Facebook Page (you need administrator privileges to do this) anyone with a link to that page can watch the broadcast - they do not have to have a Facebook account themselves. 

The simplest way to do a stream via Facebook Live is using a mobile phone or tablet - many iPhones and iPads and other devices have video cameras that produce better quality video than camcorders, especially when lighting is not ideal.  For sound, you may be able to run an input cable from your sound system to your phone or device, or simply make sure there is no background noise that will interfere with using your device's built-in microphones.

Learn more about using Facebook Live here

Tips:

  • If you use the selfie mode on your phone to stream to Facebook Live, you may find that any text in your video is a mirror image.  You can fix that BEFORE streaming - watch this quick video for instructions.
     
  • Some churches have streamed to Facebook and found their videos show sideways.  While filming in landscape mode is preferred, you should test first to make sure this is working correctly. It seems that not all phones will stream in landscape mode to Facebook. Most writers on this subject advise turning your phone to landscape BEFORE opening the Facebook app in order to be able to film in landscape, but some iPhone users say this does not work for them. We recommend you practice and experiment first so you can see what your live stream will look like (your friends will get a kick out of your practice, honest!)  Better to broadcast in portrait mode if necessary, rather than ending up sideways!

YouTube

Live streaming straight to YouTube from a mobile device is now restricted to channels that have at least 1,000 subscribers. Streaming can be done via webcam (which is generally someone sitting in front of a computer), or via a more advanced encoder system.  More information is here. 



Streaming Services

There are other streaming services that allow for more professional looking videos and archives. They are paid services.  Two such services are:

livestream.com
(See Old South Church in Boston's livestream page here)

dacast.com
(See Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford's dacast stream here)


Video Streaming Software

 

Studio Switcher is a iPhone/iPad app that can connect multiple iPhones or iPads (up to 9) simultaneously for multi-angle live video. The app allows for real-time editing, including the ability to switch angles (choosing which camera is "live"), add text and icons, and add pre-recorded content to a live feed. Videos can be streamed to YouTube, Facebook and others. Comments from Facebook are shown right in the app while streaming so users can engage immediately. Studio Switcher has several plans, but the basic entry level plan is $39 per month.

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