By Andrew Ng
With the advent of live streaming and A/V communication, we are at the forefront of a media revolution.
Make sure your church is ahead of the curve.
Q: What are the most common mistakes you can make with church streaming — and how can I avoid them at my own church?
One collective mistake is overcomplicating the technology needed to successfully broadcast. While it’s true that you need multiple components for a successful live stream, there are really only a few key elements that you truly need. By simplifying the experience, companies like Teradek make it easier to stream video without redundant parts.
If your church simply wants to get up and running (read: streaming), consider Teradek’s Live:Air app for the iPad, which lets you start streaming with the option to add titles, pre-made video, and more. If your church already has cameras, consider a tool like VidiU or VidiU Pro and you’re ready to go live. The next two steps are making sure you have Internet and a place you want to send the video.
Another common misstep is trying to find one product that meets every need you’ll ever have. You become caught up in this endless search for this ubiquitous product, which ultimately turns into a costly, time-intensive inconvenience. Whether it’s deploying to satellite locations or an online campus, the trick is taking a step-by-step method.
To offset this search, we’ve designed our products for scalability, which allows them to grow and adjust as a church’s demands develop. For example, the VidiU Pro — in its simplest form — can sit atop one single camera and connect to local Wi-Fi; however, if a church is interested in a larger production that requires additional production tools (a hardware switcher or external audio, for instance), the VidiU Pro could also provide a reliable connection that supports the extra hardware and allow you to successfully stream.
Additionally, if a church wants to take its production on the road, this is where VidiU Pro’s Sharelink functionality comes in handy. It lets users combine the strength of multiple Internet connections, including up to four iPhone links, to generate adequate bandwidth wherever you go.
In the interest of scalability, our product line supports all levels of experience, from beginners to professional television-level broadcasters. There’s hardly a learning curve; terminology and UI is a standard across the board for our products.
Q: On the other side of that coin, what church streaming practices and tactics have been fruitful for the community?
For one thing, it’s vital to know exactly what they’re looking for and to enter the live-streaming world with well-defined long and short-term goals. This isn’t exclusive to church streaming setups, but to any organization investing in a live streaming setup.
To begin this process, one of the best tactics is to collaborate with local organizations or individuals that are familiar with live streaming and the technology around it. On our end, Teradek designs, manufactures, supports, and ships all its products in-house. That level of control not only helps us understand our own products, but it also enables us to provide in-depth services to our customers if they have questions or concerns.
Q: How do live-streaming best practices vary in a church setting versus a more secular environment?
When it comes to the fundamental technology involved in live streaming for churches versus a secular environment, there isn’t much difference. The basics remain the same, specifically the need for a reliable encoder, destination, and bandwidth.
With that being said, there often are more advanced features that secular environments are looking for to increase reliability and quality based on the hardware they use. With that ramp-up comes a higher price tag.
The real difference comes in the form — how the technology is applied and which workflow is best for the church setting. Most of the time, church volunteers operate the equipment for a live stream; in a more secular setting, a dedicated operator might be at the helm. This is why we’ve prioritized user-friendliness with our VidiU family of products. You don’t need to be an expert to operate Teradek products. With just one click of a button, anyone can go live.
Andrew Ng is Marketing Manager at Teradek in Irvine, CA.