If you want to give your place of worship an online presence there is a lot to think about if you want to make it work as well as it possibly can. You want to make sure that the experience is a good and inclusive one for those people who are watching your content online. You need to make sure you have everything covered, from what you want to include to all the technical aspects of streaming.
All of this can seem really daunting when you start out. We are going to take you through some of the points you may want to consider. Hopefully, this will make the task a bit easier for you.
Deciding on what sort of content you want to produce
Obviously, before you even start to produce the content, you need to know what your eventual aim is. Do you want to broadcast to a general audience or do you want to create an online congregation? If you want to do the latter then it’s a good idea to have a minister on hand to help people to feel included and welcome.
Make sure the vision and sound experience is good
The sound that you have in your place of worship will not translate well to video. You need to ensure you have a sound system that specifically enables you to create effective audio online. If you do this then the people viewing your stream will feel as though they are part of the actual live experience. The visuals are obviously just as important as the sound. Ideally, you should use more than one camera and a switcher, to create a more personal and authentic experience. Lighting is also a major part of creating great visuals. White lights should be used during sermons with more varied lighting systems being an option during worship.
Making sure your network is up to the job
If you can, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a separate Internet connection for your decoder. If this is not possible then you should make sure the decoder has priority. You also need to check your bandwidth capabilities. The upload speed is more important than the download speed and you should make sure you have a speed of at least 5Mbps, with a greater speed being the ideal. You may want to consider using a Cloud service which will enable you to just send one stream which can then be split by the provider. This can save upload speed.
Making people feel welcome
If someone came to your services you would want them to feel welcome; it’s no different with an online place of worship. You want people to feel at home. There are several options you can consider employing to make this happen. You can introduce a facility where people are able to speak to a minister or request prayers. You can also enable sharing through social media. All of this helps people to feel integrated into the worship.
Working with a good service provider
If you want to offer the best experience to your online congregation you need to make sure your streaming is of high quality. This is why you need to work with a good streaming provider. You need to look at the service they provide, how much it costs and how easy it is to use. Of course, you also need to ensure that there is good support available from the provider should you need it.
Testing the quality of your streaming
It’s always best to set a day aside when you can test the quality of your streaming. You need to make sure that everyone who is going to be responsible for each aspect of streaming your content is present for the test. You will need to check your CPU usage as well as your encoding presets. Testing in this way is not guaranteed to leave you with a trouble-free streaming experience when you do it for real but it can certainly help a great deal.
Analyzing audience figures and behavior
If you use analytics, to your best advantage you can see the geographical locations of your audience as well as what devices they are using to watch your content. All of the information you gather can be used to see how effective your streaming is and you can identify potential areas for improvement.
The overall aim of providing an online channel for your congregation should be to expand your reach and include your online congregation in the same way as you would those attending your place of worship in person. In order to do this, the two experiences need to mirror each other as closely as possible.
Raise Funds For Your Church Using Video Content
And last but not least, we know that maintaining a church can be expensive so in that case you can use the InPlayer system to raise money from your video content. It’s a really simple process. Anyone viewing your videos can simply opt to make a payment while they are watching; they don’t have to be directed elsewhere. You may opt to have one off payments for certain events or a subscription service. It’s an excellent way of including the community in the ongoing work of the church.
You can see that there are plenty of reasons why video streaming content from your church is a good idea. It may not be traditional, but you are not straying from tradition completely; you are enhancing it with the use of modern technology.