Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms offer free live streaming right from a phone or other device. This is great for individuals or spur of the moment events. However, as a house of worship with a regularly occurring broadcast, exclusively using these free social platforms may prove unreliable and hinder your ability to build an online community by limiting who can watch and listen to your message.
Instead of just hosting on one platform, think about using a service that can distribute your single video stream to multiple platforms, thus allowing everyone to join. Don’t worry, most of the services below offer community features and studios so you can engage better with your congregation. Fair warning, all of these will require upgrading from a mobile phone to at least a laptop or desktop with a web camera.
Streamyard is the simplest to get started with. It has a free option to stream to the five biggest platforms. Connect your social accounts and then hop into the creation studio to add simple graphics and even invite up to 6 people into the stream with you!
Restream.IO can stream to over 30+ platforms, all from one place. They have a free option with no time limit. Creator studio, scheduler, and chat features help you keep it all in one place and simplify the process.
With a paid Vimeo Premium account, you get live streaming included to the major platforms. With Vimeo, you get greater bandwidth, resolution, and security for your streams. They also include a license for Studio 6, a live production software. You can also store your archive there for rewatching.
Wirecast by Telestream is for those churches who really want to step up their production with ever greater resolution multi-camera productions. They offer a multitude of platforms and recording to disk, alongside a robust library of stock footage in their studio.
The above is small highlight of the most popular services we’ve seen used. Deciding on what platform to go with requires an in-depth evaluation of your mission and goals as a church. Does everyone even use social media? Do you have a production team already? Maybe you need a platform all to yourself like the free Church Online Platform? If you would like help deciding and asking the right questions, let us know!
If not, what are you currently using to live stream? Any tips you think we should know about? Send a message or leave a comment below to let us know!