With the recent pandemic, Covid-19 has caused a lot of challenges and with the government’s latest mandate for all places of worship to close, it’s more important than ever for you to be able to communicate with your parishioners. Live streams may be the answer.
What is live streaming?
Live streaming is very similar to watching a recorded video on the internet, except it’s being broadcast or “streamed” in real time. You don’t need to record or film anything, simply sit down at a computer with a webcam and microphone and speak to your congregation. During this time of unrest when people need faith more than ever it gives you an opportunity to reach out to your parishioners as frequently as you like with little to no cost involved.
You could start a daily prayer group or just to live stream any services missed because of the closure. It’s a way for you to communicate with your congregation without breaking any of the safety measures put in place by the government keeping you and the viewers safe.
In this article, we are going to show you how easy it is to create a live video stream using a webcam, computer and microphone.
What do I need to stream?
- Laptop or desktop computer (this tutorial is for Windows computers, however macs can also be used and are very similar in setup)
- Webcam, either built into the laptop or plugged into the computer via a USB
- Microphone/headset. This could be the microphone built into your laptop but would work better with a headset or the microphone that is built into your smart-phone’s earphones
- A stable internet connection with an upload speed of 3mb or more
- A verified YouTube/Google account which should be setup and verified at least 24 hours before you want to go live.
10 step video tutorial
Make sure you have your webcam plugged into your computer. If it’s a laptop with a built in webcam, you can skip this step!
Open up your internet browser. We use google chrome, however any browser will do the trick!
Go to www.youtube.com and log into your account. If you don’t have a google account, create one using the simple step by step guide on the website.
Click the camera with the + icon in the middle of it located in the top right hand corner of the screen. Then select – “Go Live”
This will bring up a webpage with three categories across the top of the page; Webcam, Stream and Manage. Because we are using a webcam select – “Webcam”
An options menu will appear on screen. Complete the information using the guide below:
Create a name for your live stream, for this demo I’ve called my stream “Sunday Morning Service”
Schedule for later
If you want to set up the stream before the actual day (which we fully recommend!) select this option and enter the time and date of your planned live stream.
Anyone can see and view the service, it will be publicly displayed on your YouTube page and will come up in users search criteria.
Anyone with the link can view the live stream (you can send the link to people via email or have it listed on your website or social media page). This is the most popular option for live streams as it limits the people that can view the stream to your chosen community.
Only people you invite can view the stream and each person will need to have a YouTube login.
Yes, it’s made for kids
Removes the chat box to stop people communicating and removes all adverts from the stream. This is very restrictive for children’s protection and safety
No, it’s not made for kids
Allows people viewing the stream to communicate via the text chat box.
Yes, restrict my video to viewers over 18. When people join the live stream they will be met with a notice that warns them that the live stream is suitable for people over the age of 18. They must then click a button to accept that they are over the age of 18.
No, don’t restrict my video to viewers over the age of 18 – No restrictions but the video will be removed if YouTube deem it to be inappropriate for anyone under the age of 18
Add a description to your stream. This gives viewers a bit more information about the live stream itself. I would put your name and a link to your website / social media pages in this space. It’s also a good place to provide information about when your other services may be taking place.
People and Blogs
This I would leave alone, it allows you to choose a genre for your live stream.
This allows you to choose your webcam or video source.
This allows you to choose your microphone / headset source
Allows you to turn off the text chat box
Click next, it will then give you a countdown where it will take a picture for the live stream thumbnail! Don’t panic, you can change it straight away! If you don’t like your thumbnail, simply hover over the picture and either retake the thumbnail or upload your own thumbnail as I did in the instruction video.
If you get any of the other information wrong, this is also your chance to edit it by selecting the pencil icon at the top right hand corner of the window.
This is really important if you selected the privacy setting “Unlisted”. If you click share, it will give you a few different options to share the live stream with your community. The easiest way to share the link from my perspective is to copy the web link it gives you and paste it into emails, onto social media and onto your website to give viewers lots of different places to find the link to the service!
There is also an “Embed” button underneath the weblink. If you want to embed the live stream (that is to add the live stream itself) onto your website, you can use this embed code to do it.
You’re all setup and ready for your live stream! You can now press “done” and come back to this page just before the service/live stream.
If you leave the page and need to return to it ready for the stream, repeat steps 1 to 5 and instead of selecting “webcam” as you did in step 5, select “manage” and it will bring up this same webpage for you to select your stream.
Go live. When you’re ready to stream, click go live! It will count down and tell you when you’re streaming. After you’re finished, press “end stream” which finishes the live stream and stores the video on your YouTube page ready for you to publish for people to watch back at a later date.
Things to remember
Audio is probably the most important part of this setup. Making sure you speak clearly and precisely in a quiet room is vital. It’s worth investing in a proper microphone for a better quality broadcast. There are plenty available on Amazon for home delivery, but if that’s not an option most laptops come with a microphone built in that could be used if you had to.
We recommend this Sennheiser headset, which you can buy here.
Make sure people can see you! Here is a link to another of our articles from our sister company, Green Spark; explaining the best way to set up your camera to ensure the best quality picture for the live stream.
It’s also important to remember that the better the webcam the better quality picture you will have!
We recommend this Logitech camera, which you can buy here.
The chat box
The chat box is your friend. Streaming can be a very lonely thing! You are staring at a little camera without anyone else to communicate / interact with. The chat box is your way to ensure that the stream is going well and asking people to join in. Viewers can comment and communicate by typing messages into the box. It’s also the first place people will say if they can’t hear or see you – which is very useful feedback!
Verified YouTube account
YouTube (Which is owned by Google) asks you to confirm your email address to ensure you are a real person. It doesn’t allow you to live stream until that has been done. If you’re not sure if you’ve already done this or not, follow the guide and when you get to step 5, it will ask you to confirm your email address. Follow the on screen instructions, once done there is a 24 hour delay before you can start streaming.
If you require any further help setting up your live stream, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.