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Does your Church need Facebook Live Streaming?

Churches are a fundamental part of communities all over the world and help people to come together in worship, pray, sing and be closer to God. However, in recent times we have not been able to come together on a particular day or at a particular time in the traditional way, and many parishioners may be unable to attend services, mass, or private prayer owing to health, family, or work reasons and responsibilities. 

For this reason, many churches across the world are bringing their congregation together using digital technology and live videos to help make church and religion more accessible for all. This helps the church to provide for their local community and to allow everybody to be part of the service or to watch, worship, and reflect with at a later time or date. 

In this article we’ll discuss:

      What could your Church go live for?

      You can go live for virtually anything- the choices are endless. We have many suggestions on what you can do online for your congregation and local community during the pandemic and beyond. Members of a congregation can engage with the church online through Facebook for a lot of church events such as:

      • Sunday Services
      • Morning or Reflective Prayers for the local or wider community
      • Update your congregation on any events or stories within the community
      • A thought or inspirational message from the vicar or priest
      • Remind the congregation that the church is still there to help
      • Bringing the church into more lives and homes
      • Remaining close to your parish and engaging with people who can’t attend or worship in the church

      This is only a small list of what you can do- if you have any other suggestions pop them in the comments below and let us know. 

       

      Getting Started with Church Live Videos

      When going live it is important to do your research on which platform is best for your church. There are lots of options out there, so our team has made a list of the most popular platforms at the moment and what the benefits and considerations are for each of these. In this article, we will share the benefits of streaming your services on Facebook and how using this platform can help you to bring your entire community back together virtually.

      Facebook

      Facebook is an extremely popular social media platform, with Facebook reporting that in the fourth quarter of 2020, they had approximately 2.8 billion active users every month, with the volume of people on this platform, a large percentage of the population are likely to have access to viewing your services on this platform- with the number consistently growing. 

      Benefits

      Considerations 

      Still have the ability to engage and speak with your congregation and see how many people are attending in real-time. 

      Technical Issues: When going live, the videos may take a little time to be seen within your follower’s news feed.

      Ability to promote your event or service before going live and allow others to join you in worship. 

      Copyright: Before playing and music ensure that you have the correct rights in place to play the music. If you don’t it can result in parts of your stream being muted and any speech during this section will also be muted.

      You’ll be able to reach a greater number of people with your services as your congregation can share the event with their friends and family on Facebook.

      Accessibility: A slight downside of Facebook video is that it can sometimes be difficult to access the video if they don’t have an account or are not signed in- but luckily, Facebook is free for all of its users. 

      The video remains on your Facebook feed for people to view after the service has ended. This is perfect for people who work shift-patterns or cannot make the live event. 

      Facebook videos and posts are not indexable, therefore they don't appear in search engines such as Google or Bing.

      Easy to use and set-up. This makes it an extremely popular platform for streaming as basic videos are relatively inexpensive.

      If filmed incorrectly, poor quality sound, pixelated videos, and shaky camera work may make the video difficult to watch.

      You can film content in advance and release it as a ‘premiere’ so your congregation can watch it together.



      Guidelines for using this platform: 

      Whilst this platform has numerous benefits, there are several guidelines that need to be followed to ensure that the video is uploaded without any issues. Our team has linked them below to help you to set up your live streaming effortlessly, and to allow you to get started as soon as possible.

      Facebook has very specific guidelines for live streaming to its platform, and if they’re not followed correctly, it may affect your congregation’s experience when viewing the video as it may become pixelated or slower than usual. 

      Facebook recommends that live stream videos follow the following guidelines, you can find them here on Facebook’s help centre.

        Our Team's Tips for Setting Up:

        Our team has installed sound and communication equipment for many years, and we understand the importance of getting installations right the first time. This is even more important when it comes to live streaming, as the first chance is the only chance, especially if you’re scheduling to go live at a specific time. 

        We work in many churches, so we understand the logistics of making your live streaming sound fantastic, and we wanted to share some expert tips with you to help you to deliver your services seamlessly to your congregation.

        Tip 1: Film a Practice Run. 

        We recommend that you schedule some time to film a practice run. This can help you to find out what the quality of your setup is both visually and audibly, and will mimic how your parishioners and the community will see you when you do go live. This will help to ensure that your video looks and sounds fantastic. 

        Tip 2: Have a Stable Internet Connection.

        When live streaming, we recommend to using a wired network connection, or if using wifi, signal strength is critical as this is commonly known for having inconsistent speeds and sometimes drops, resulting in the video being ‘stuttered’. Mobile internet such as 3G or 4G will work, but similar to wifi, it can be temperamental and signal strength may vary from day to day.

        Tip 3: Shine a Light (or two)

        From working in many church settings, our team know that lighting your webcast doesn't need to be complicated. Sometimes, the basic table or desk lamp or the lighting in a church will be sufficient and will help your congregation to watch your service. Establishing lighting levels is an important element to set up during the testing phase and to be checked during practice runs, as this can only be deemed a success or not based on how it looks on screen.

        Some of our key pointers for lighting are:

        • Try to not put the light source in the shot.
        • Don’t shine the light directly at the camera.
        • Most cameras have fairly extensive auto light level compensation settings

        Tip 4: Sound Checks

        Your audio requirements will differ largely depending on the size of your room as this will determine how reverberant or ‘echoey’ your audio sounds.

        We highly recommend using your church’s public address or sound system to enhance the quality of your audio. There are also more sophisticated solutions to integrate this into your audio, but this will require a sound and communication specialist owing to the voltages that are utilised in speaker circuits.

        Tip 5: Camera

        The cost of camera equipment can vary and there are relatively cheap cameras that do a good job, and there are many other options too. Depending on the service or reason for filming, mobile devices and tablet cameras can do a good job of delivering your message- however, these can sometimes be difficult to film on and may require you to buy a stand. If you choose to use a different platform to live stream in the future, some have restrictions on mobile devices.

        Many laptops have built-in a webcam too; these tend to be slightly lower quality. However, if a laptop is a good option for your Church, there is the option of an external webcam which can be very cost- effective but may need software to sit between the camera and chosen platform. 

        The most technical and higher quality camera would be a tripod- mounted camcorder. These often cost over £150, but they have many features such as optical zoom, image stabilization, and lighting settings. This can be used by a camera operator for a more ‘produced’ feel rather than a static camera. Similar to the external webcam, this may need software to sit between the camera and the chosen platform.

        Our Team are Here to Help

        Our team at Livewire Systems have many years' worth of experience in specifying, designing, installing, and servicing an array of sound and communication systems. If your church could benefit from having an installation from professionals then please don't hesitate to contact us.

        By having an expert installation, our team can help your church in a number of ways, such as:

        • We can help to install a better quality system
        • We can integrate your webcasting with any existing systems such as sound or PA systems. Therefore you can see a better return on your  investments.
        • We can install permanent webcasting structures that are installed in a sympathetic, neat, and tidy manner.
        • We have many years of experience and as a result, we are trusted by many Churches throughout the North of England.
        • We can help save you time when preparing and filming, and let you focus on the service itself as your system will already be set up and ready to go
        • By having an expert installation, we ensure that all wires are neat and tidy. This can help to eliminate accidents and trips involving wires and tripods. 
        • We're always on hand for any of your sound and communication problems and concerns- if you need any help or advice we're always happy to help, and we're always just a phone call away.

        If you think a permanent webcasting installation is more suitable for your church, or if you want to discuss your options please contact our team on:

        Phone: 01254 377 007
        Email: hello@livewiresystems.co.uk

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