r TAKING CHURCH FROM THE THE PEW TO THE SCREEN As with anything in Production and Media, opinions abound on best practices. Our hope is that you can use this as a starting point, and work together with your teams to make it work best for your church. AUDIO • When mixing for the web, the greatest danger is overloading the audio signal so it sounds garbled, otherwise known as distortion. Normally you would hear that in your room through your sound system. First and foremost, watch the audio meters on your streaming boxes and make sure you are not distorting. We always have a live stream going somewhere that we will reference to see how it sounds. (Usually on a phone, because that’s the worst speaker people will listen on. Make it sound good there and it will sound good anywhere). • Prioritize speech in the mix. If the audience cannot understand what is being said, then you have missed the mark. • If you have the ability to mix for the web, and you are changing camera shots, make sure your mix reflects what is on camera. If you see a guitar, then you should also hear one. • Do your best to balance instruments and vocalist so everything can be heard. Refer back to your livestream often to see how you are doing. VIDEO • If you are using multiple cameras, focus, focus, focus. Nothing will get people to turn off your stream faster than out of focus shots. • If you have an operator for your camera, tighter shots on the pastor will help communicate his message, but wider shots will help the audience feel like they are in the room. Use both strategically, go wide while he is telling a story, go tight when the gospel is being presented. • If you have the ability to show the audience the sermon graphics or song lyrics, that will help drive engagement. If you do not have that ability, consider using a wide-shot that shows your screen and your pastor at the same time. • White balance all of your cameras before each service using the lighting you have prepared for your pastor. This will ensure all your cameras match. LIGHTING • Lighting for video doesn’t have to be complicated. Make it bright. Cameras need lots of light to make the picture look sharp and clear. • You want to have 3 primary aspects to your lighting: Key Light – The light directly in front of the stage. Fill Light – 45 degree off center light to fill in shadows. Backlight – Lights up the shoulders and the tops of heads. This light will help separate your subject from the background, and give your video more depth. This light doesn’t have to be as bright. • Look at your lighting through a camera. If you can, put a multi view next to your lighting console, so you can see all the cameras at once. The lighting engineer needs to work closely with the video team. • If you don’t have any production lighting. A trip to Home Depot for some work lights and wax paper will do the trick. The wax paper will soften the light and even it out. STREAMING There are various platforms that allow you to stream your church services; some which are free. These include: Vimeo LiveStream, LivingAsOne, Church.Online, YouTube, and Facebook. Different services will require owning different gear, but with most, all you will need is a computer, a capture card so you can input HDMI into your computer, and an audio interface that will accept XLR connections. Having the right look and sound is important, however having the backbone to push it out to your audience is critical because without it, people watching your stream will have problems. Over the years, Internet infrastructure has come a long way. People are now able to get higher download speeds in their homes, as well as on mobile devices with the spread of LTE and 5G signals. But why does personal Internet speed play into streaming out your church services? It has to do with the bandwidth you are pushing out. On the church side, you need to focus on your upload speeds. A lot of Internet providers will boast on great download speeds, but it’s the upload that will make or break your stream. To stream Full HD video to your viewers you will need a minimum of 4 Mbps on your upload. The lower quality you stream out, the less bandwidth it requires. This is for the streaming device specifically. If you have other devices on your network, make a mental note that those devices as well are probably using a portion of your Internet’s bandwidth and plan accordingly. On the flip side, since you are streaming at 4 Mbps your audience will need a minimum of that same speed to be able to watch your stream. Most streaming services offer a feature called “Adaptive Rate” which will take that Full HD signal and lower the resolution down for the best viewing experience. This feature is very critical to enable as it will expand your viewership and allow people who live in rural areas to watch your service, even though the quality might not be the best. Once you have done your research and found the best service and bandwidth limit for your church, you are ready to stream and start sharing your feed with your church members! 03

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