What gear and video equipment does a church really need to begin a video ministry? From cameras to cables to switchers, join in on this discussion revolving around all things video and church live streaming related.

“What in the world do I need in order to begin live streaming?!?!”

If you’ve ever wondered about what it truly takes to begin a live streaming ministry, fear not, for you’re in good company! Over the past five years, I’ve been helping pastors and church staffers across the world take a leap of faith and venture out into the exciting (and sometimes intimidating) world of live video streaming, even if they’ve never really used video before.

Though the prospect of beginning such an endeavor at your church might make you want to either run away or pull your hair out, we’ve compiled a quick checklist below of the 10 essential pieces of gear you’ll need to start a video ministry.

 

Equipment You Most Likely Already Have

 

Ethernet Cable

Live video streaming has to do with your upload speed, so you’ll need to connect to the internet to send your video online.

 

Audio Cable

Whether your soundboard outputs XLR, auxiliary, or composite, your viewers will enjoy higher quality audio if you’re able to send them a custom mix that outputs directly from your primary audio source.

 

Video Cable

You can never have enough HDMI cables lying around (or SDI, if that’s your camera’s preference). You can use them for a plethora of occasions, and sending a direct video signal to your stream is one of them.

 

iOS Device

Some streaming services (like ours) allow you to bring your streaming tool wherever you go as long as you have a back pocket. Having a secondary/backup streaming option is always a good idea and we include ours free, as long as you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

 

Soundboard

Though we often title this ministry “Live Video Streaming”, audio has just as much to do with it. If you’re running a microphone or two on Sunday morning, chances are you have a soundboard and you can use this tool to send custom audio to your stream.

 

Equipment You Might Already Have

 

HD Camera

Most churches nowadays start streaming with a High Definition handheld camera like a Canon Vixia, which usually runs between $200-$300 online. You don’t need to spend $4,000 on a camera to get started, the technology has gotten so good that a few hundred dollars will do the trick just fine.

 

Tripod

If you have a camera already, then you probably have a tripod, as well. If not, you can pick one up for anywhere between $20 and $100 on Amazon.

 

Equipment You’ll Need For An Advanced Production

 

Video Switcher With Multiple Cameras

Okay, now we’re getting a bit into luxury items. Most churches are fine to begin streaming with a single camera setup, however, there are those who want to skip crawling and walking and move right into running. If that’s you, then you’ll need to purchase a video switcher (like Wirecast’s software or Blackmagic’s ATEM hardware) to tie your multiple cameras into a single production.

 

Presentation Software

If you do have a video switcher and want to tie graphics and text into your broadcast, then you’ll need to plug worship presentation software of some sort into your video switcher. Again, this is not an essential tool you’ll need to begin streaming, but if your ministry requires more of a professional production, then this will become more of a need than a want.

 

The Final Step

 

An End-to-End Streaming Service

Up until this point, we’ve spoken primarily about the pieces necessary to put together a live video production. Beyond this gear, however, you’ll need to encode your video, transcode it, process it, compress it, distribute it, and accomplish a few other highly technical tasks in order for people to tune in and watch live on Sunday mornings.

To save you time, training, volunteers, and finances, we’ve created an end-to-end streaming solution (found here) that will allow you to bring your high quality new video production to folks on both a live and archived basis in numerous digital spaces. Investing a small cost in an end-to-end streaming service is the cleanest and most efficient way to broadcast with excellence and reach as many people with your ministry as possible.

Out of the 10 items listed above, you probably have five to seven of them already in place. In other words, you’re really not that far away from streaming! If you still have a few questions and would be interested in a one-on-one video ministry consultation, we’d be happy to set up a time to chat regarding your specific context. Additionally, once you’re ready to begin, you can do so through this link.

Thanks so much for considering streaming, it’s a fantastic ministry in our day and age. Richest blessings to you in all things and happy streaming!

About The Author

Brett Bzdafka

Brett Bzdafka is a former Pastor and Bible Professor. He has a BA from the Moody Bible Institute and MDiv from Columbia International University. As Church Development Manager at BoxCast, a live video streaming company founded and led by believers, Brett enjoys connecting with church leaders and enabling them to spread their ministry beyond the walls of their church through technology.

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