By Andrew Ng
Having worked with many churches — often to build streaming setups from the ground up — we’ve been amazed at how their reach is expanded by the addition of an online campus. This extended reach isn’t just local, either; it can be global.
We’ve also been surprised that the churches with the most successful streaming components aren’t necessarily the ones that have spent the most on the “latest and greatest” equipment.
Yet, while cost and investment isn’t a prerequisite for streaming greatness, effort certainly is. The most successful streaming setups in churches are the result of a concerted, dedicated effort to ensure that the streaming component of a church’s ministry comes to fruition. This takes a team.
First and foremost, an effective streaming production team requires a leader willing to understand the technology. He or she must know the streaming workflow from start to finish, and take the initiative to research some of the most popular workflows. Because there are many out there, it’s important that this individual chooses the one that’s most appropriate for that unique facility. This ensures the investment in technology is spent wisely on products that will work together seamlessly and meet the church’s specific needs. Doing this research takes a bit of time, but it can be as easy as calling up the manufacturer to understand what the right product looks like.
The team should also include a few volunteers who share a passion for audiovisual; a few volunteers at every worship service to operate basic functions; and, finally, support from the entire congregation. To this end, at Teradek, we especially enjoy helping teams and team leaders really understand and suggest the most appropriate streaming products, including the Teradek Cube and VidiU Pro.
Interaction: a key ingredient for maximized streaming
Interaction is a unique benefit of the streaming medium — one that’s visually captivating, but also available online within a community. Interaction can take the form of comments, a forum or even a live chat. To evoke this kind of interaction requires careful consideration of (and ongoing focus on) the content being streamed.
Consider adding some variety into a broadcast lineup. For example, although services are set and follow a more traditional schedule, it would be excellent to share some live content from a mission trip or a remote outreach location. That way, members can truly be a part of the ministry that’s happening well outside the church’s four walls.
Fortunately, technology is ready to equip this kind of variety! You might be familiar with Teradek’s live streaming appliances, such as the Cube and VidiU, which are typically in the room alongside a complete live production setup. These devices are actually designed to be camera-top, so they can easily be mounted to a camera and taken outside. Of course, this introduces an extended conversation regarding mobile internet connectivity; but, products like the VidiU Pro aim to solve this by using data you already have via your cell phone.
With regard to creating variety, we suggest empowering your church’s youth to be part of these applications. It’s hard to believe digital media has transformed so rapidly in the past 10 years. We’re at a stage where our youth has been raised alongside digital media, as opposed the generations which approach social media as a new medium. To really explore the creativity and potential of streaming, they need the right tools.
Teradek’s Live:Air and Live:Air Solo app are free programs available for iPads and iPhones that let your church broadcast live to its own channel. Because these programs are accessible via iPad and iPhone, it’s a very interactive process and has proven to have a small learning curve.
These tools enable your organization to capture a variety of content, whether it’s at your church or out in the field. Ultimately, however, it comes down to telling a complete story about your community and sharing a variety of activities and outreach — all of which can promote interaction within online campuses.
Achieving the next level of streaming excellence
What if your church is already at the top of its streaming game? Truth is, there’s no such thing; but, if you’re close, consider VidiU Pro, including ShareLink™ technology — a tool which, until recently, was only available to professional broadcasters. Today, it’s accessible to (and affordable for) all streamers.
Consider the times you’ve arrived at a venue and your cellular connection isn’t good enough for a high-quality stream. Or, even the idea that WiFi and Ethernet can be unstable in certain environments.
ShareLink combines the power of multiple Internet connections to create a robust, reliable Internet connection. Whether it be four iPhones, WiFi, Ethernet and USB Modem, ShareLink enables you to “go live” from virtually anywhere.
For expert-level church streaming setups, Live:Air is also a great option. In the field, this app can be deployed as its own, self-contained mobile production unit. It lets you take a professional workflow on the road — a great benefit for streaming offsite.
Andrew Ng is Director of Marketing at Teradek in Irvine, CA.