by Father Joseph Sund, founder of The Techy Priest
In my previous post, we covered the cheapest options for live streaming liturgies. There are several negatives to these options; including poor sound quality and an intrusive set up. The options in this next part fall in a mid-ranged budget. I will assume with these options that the parish already has a higher end computer at their disposal (Intel i5, 8gb of ram minimum). In this post we will cover this mid-range option, how to set up to multiple services and the issue of copyrighted music.
Medium Range Budget Options: OBS Studios
This choice will also carry over into medium budget options. This choice was what I threw together in our small rectory chapel during the middle of March, ironically beginning on the feast day of the parish I reside at, St. Patrick’s.
This is the most professional looking of the lower budget options and eventually allows for the adding of high-quality cameras and even linking into your churches sound system. It all stems from an Open Source project called “OBS Project” or “Open Broadcaster Software”. Many schools use this software for journalism classes doing video production. (I use this as a note because it is a terrific opportunity to pull in some high school volunteers.)
This option still requires a tripod and to be set up in the church in such a way that it may be intrusive to the regular flow of Mass. In the next section I will present a couple options to minimize this problem.
I will not go through all the set-up details in this post. Please keep in mind that this Small Budget Option is only small budget with proper ability. This included many elements that a large budget install would have. So, if this scares you… you can hire someone. For now, I will go through what my initial basic set up included.
- Lenovo Intel i7 Laptop. I highly recommend at the very least using and Intel i5 or higher equivalent with at least 8gb of RAM. If you are running MacOS; any system they’ve made in the last five years should be adequate.
- Logitech Webcam (at least 720p, 1080p recommended.) — DON’T use the built-in laptop camera
- Standard camera tripod.
- Omni-Directional USB Mic (optional, you could use webcam mic but this is better quality, I zip-tied mine to the tripod)
- Small additional monitor is helpful to monitor feed.
- And of course, either OBS Studios or SteamLabs OBS (both free)
The software that allows for you to combine elements of various sources. The video coming in from the web cam with the sub mic. You can also add some pictures and graphics. For example, I did a graphic for the spiritual act of communion.
This system can be built up even further. My current set up in the church now takes audio from the churches sound system and the video feed from one of our pre-existing security cameras.
|Low budget if you have needed hardware already|
Better Video and Sound Quality
Integration with Facebook or YouTube
Customization for Graphics and feed.
Avenues for Online Giving
People can view at anytime
|Expertise needed for initial set-up|
Sound system needs to be modern for tie in
Sharp Learning curve
Most demanding on bandwidth (internet speed)
If you don’t know what you are doing, could be money hole.
Further Options to Tie this in with Sound System and Security Cameras
Many churches may have security cameras at their disposal. This is the current solution I am using for short term. You may have to contact your tech guy in charge of your security cameras to find more information on this part.
If you have a modern security camera system that you can access from your computer, odds are it has a feed called an “RTCP Feed”. In the options of OBS Studios there is a way to include this feed as the video source. (See this video for instructions (not my video))
In addition if you sound card in your computer has a line in port (different from microphone in). This port is a standard headphone jack and is usually color coded with light blue. You sound board for the churches audio system will need a standard RCA out port. You will use an RCA to 3.5mm cord, (also known as a Y cable) to connect the computer to the sound system and set this up as an audio source in OBS studio.
Now things get a little tricky here. The speed of security cameras usually lags a couple seconds. Thus, you have to set up a delay inside OBS to make sure that the sound and the video are in sync. For myself this ended up being 2000 milliseconds (or two seconds).
I put these options at the end of the medium budget as they begin getting into the professional configuration side. Which, may be above some readers knowledge of capabilities.
Multiple Streaming Services
One problem we came up against is that not everyone uses Facebook. Thus, we had to provide some medium for people who didn’t have Facebook accounts. YouTube is good for this. Say you want the benefits of using YouTube and Facebook. There is another service for this which runs a monthly fee of approximately $15 a month. Restream.io is a service that provides the ability to send your stream to multiple mediums including both your Facebook Page and YouTube account. (Referral Link gives credit to my parish)
I have found this service pretty self explanatory. In addition, they do have software on the website in which you could webcast straight from the website using webcams and computer microphone. However, I have not experimented with this feature.
This is important! If you are live streaming music that is copyrighted. (Even when it is sung by your own musicians), you need a licence to do this. Most of the options of common music used by churches will be covered by OneLicence. They have a streaming licence available that must be purchased for you stream to comply with copyright laws. Our parish in addition purchased the streaming liscence for CCLI, which covers some of your more modern praise and worship music. The group I’m writing this as a guest for (Simply Liturgical Music) is a member of OneLiscence.
In the next post, I will go through some of the more permanent solutions available to be professionally installed and the advantages of these systems. We will also cover the essentials of having volunteers to help run video streams; no matter which option you choose.