Archives for the month of: November, 2016

It may come as a surprise to most church pastors, but FACEBOOK LIVE is completely inappropriate for churches.

Why? Simple. It’s an R Rated environment that church members (especially children) should not be subject to.  Would you conduct a worship service in a bar and invite children to attend?  Of course not!  Then why in the world would you invite online viewers to Facebook Live in order to watch your church service, when they are surrounded by inappropriate links, ads, messages, posts and R-rated live streams?

Just today I logged onto my personal Facebook account and noticed the “news feed” had articles about politics, religion, sex; and none of them had good or biblical principles.  My eyes were inundated with liberal/progressive streams-of-thought by folks not following morals and values held by me, my family and my church.  And worse yet, by one simple ‘click’ of the mouse, Facebook Live was launched and my screen filled with horrible live streams from around the world, including swearing, scantily clad women, sex talk and other inappropriate content.  Imagine that your daughter or grandmother is watching these things on a Sunday morning.  It’s that bad out there.  My advice is “Don’t get caught up in the idea that you’ve got to use this secular technology provider to reach people.  Not true. There’s plenty of alternatives out there to host your live streamed church services.

Sure, Facebook Live is convenient and ‘free’ but ask yourself, “How much does FREE really cost you?”  If just one person is invited to your church’s Facebook live stream and gets distracted (or attracted) to someone else’s live broadcast filled with rants against the government, swearing, sex talk or worse, then it’s ALL not worth it.  The risks are too great.  In fact, 98% of all Facebook Live streams are deemed by some to be Rated R in content.

There are many alternatives to host your live stream instead of Facebook.  There are Christian owned and operated companies that host live streams for churches around the globe. Seek them out (www.worshipchannels.com) and get connected with a reliable company that provides church streaming in a safe online environment.

Author:  Shawn West is a church technology expert and President of Worship Channels. For questions please email;  shawn@worshipchannels.com or call 1-509-981-6883

live-worshipYou might not be aware but there are numerous parts and pieces that make live streaming church technology work. Amid these parts of your church’s streaming system, the 3 major ones are the internet connection (from your internet service provider, ISP), the media encoder (hardware or software) and the global Content Delivery Network (CDN, also referred to as a hosting web server). There is no doubt that all the key elements have their role to play in successfully streaming video online.

So, let’s first discuss the route, in reverse, of the audio/video signal that you intend to webcast.  Starting from the viewers end; first a viewer goes to a webpage and clicks on a file they want to view. After that click, the request is sent to the CDN (hosting web server) that is storing the video file (or live stream Url) and the file to begins to play.

Secondly, it is important for the CDN that is hosting (aka storing) the video or audio file to be globally accessible and on a robust and responsive network. The requested files & other content are processed and then sent to the online user via protocols that recognize how best to transfer the dta from the hosting server (CDN) to the user’ device (PC or mobile).  The most frequently used protocol is an HTTP-based media streaming communications protocol implemented by Apple Inc.  The protocol is called HLS, which stands for http live streaming.  HLS is the most widely accepted standard for global live streaming.  In the opinion of this writer, it is also the most reliable and covers 90% of all browsers, screens and mobile devices.

The third step is for the webcaster to properly format the video and audio signal.  For effective HLS encoding, you will set your video format (via your encoder hardware or software) to H.264 and set your audio to AAC/Stereo.

Finally, please consider consulting a professional live streaming provider, such as Worship Channels, to ensure all your equipment, settings and systems set up for optimal performance.

live-worshipProducing videos is a perfect way to market a church, company varied business products or services. And if we talk about campaigning for your brand, it is important that you become as original as possible. These days you are offered the newest types of tools and technologies, it is up to you how you’ll make use of the whole lot and find dazzling ideas which people can actually appreciate & respond favorably to. With the technology like church live it is very simple to host a live stream on your website. Now, you have personalized sites that make it simple to embed a live stream being hosted on a different sites (different web page). Apart from this, you can also find numerous providers that let you stream your personal event. Make sure you choose a reliable and robust CDN (Content Delivery Network).  One such network is Worship Channels. 

In case, you want to host a live stream on your personal website, you have to ensure that you completely benefit from it. After all, the possibility is that the stream will get a large amount of traffic to your website. Can your hosted web page handle the traffic?  In addition, you need to ensure that the visitors return and ask for more. Here, the first and foremost thing that needs to be done is to confirm that you have other exciting, related content that is noticeably there on the site. For instance, you might wish to verify that a few of your well-known posts can be perceived in the sidebar.  Good navigation is the key to multiple views of your content.

It is good to confirm that visitors are able to see more than just the title of other posts. In addition, you also want them to observe a tempting picture. According to the research, people are far more on the verge of clicking over to a post if they observe a picture above the link.

Apart from this, experts suggest to make certain that visitors are able to easily find your site again and again. It is vital to check that you have large visible buttons that let users to like your site on social media. It is also recommended to keep striving to encourage people to sign up for your email mailing list as by doing so you can get hold of numerous subscribers.

Also, you should make the most of your streams and live worship, and ensure that the visitors have a good reason to return to you.

Sunday morning checklist:

  1. Check your bandwidth. Make sure you have enough!  speedtest.net
  2. 30 minutes before: Run a sound check with full complement of mics, instruments and volume.
  3. Start streaming at least 15 minutes before the service starts. Most online viewers will logon early (while they check their facebook pages, etc.).
  4. Make the pre-service live stream interesting. Run some videos (welcome message from Pastor), announcements, slides, soft music, etc.
  5. Keep in mind that the live stream audience is having a different (special) experience that those of your in-person attendees. Meet and greet the online audience in the same ways.  Say hello to them on the chat room.  Take a poll, tweet, post, share via social media, take a prayer request, etc.
  6. During the service, as the pastor greets those new comers, and generally welcomes the church membership, remind the pastor to acknowledge the online audience, and say something warm and welcoming to them. Super important!
  7. Monitor the live stream in real time. Is the volume of the worship band way louder than that volume of the pastor? Etc.  Is the lighting bright enough?
  8. Lower your bandwidth manually in real-time, if your internet connection pipeline decreases. For example.  Start out with 950 kbps, if you see issues, lower it to 750 kbps, then 550 kbps and finally 350 kbps (we don’t recommend going any lower).
  9. Wardrobe notes: Encourage folks to avoid stripes, plaids and monochrome colors.  Best to use solid contrasting colors.  Avoid all white shirts. The cameras hate it!
  10. At the end of the service, please acknowledge the online audience (via the webpage) with a slide or image that says “Thank you for joining us. Our next service will be ———–.”

Additionally, here’s a super video that discusses most of the technical items you’ll need to be aware of as you incorporate live streaming:  Totally worth watching!

https://worshipchannels.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/all-about-video-streaming/

Shawn West is the President of Worship Channels and a church technology consultant/expert.  Email questions anytime: info@worshipchannels.com  or call:  1-509-981-6883

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