What a crazy year 2020 has been – The Lord has taken the church online. And what a surprising blessing it has been! In the UK 25% of the population have tried an online church, compared to 6% that come normally to physical gatherings. We have seen people become Christians through it and online Alpha courses.
In the early days, I produced some quick tutorials on how to live stream
Now we get different people to video their part of the service using whatever device they can and get to to me so I can pull it all together using Open Broadcaster Software. I record it the night before and upload to YouTube using their Premiere feature and then I can livestream on our church Facebook page.
At the start of the lockdown – webcams sold out worldwide. I ended up buying two, which took 4 weeks to come and both were horrific quality wise.
So here is the rig I use on our livestream for my contributions…
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ330 (the US version is DMC-FZ300).
This is a fantastic bridge camera with an external mic socket. It looks like an SLR but is a more normal camera. It will shoot HD and 4K video with stunning quality. For photography use it has a 25-600mm lens which is amazing. The UK version can shoot video in 25 or 50 frames per second (the US in 30fps or 60fps). This is critical if you are recording indoors to stop mains lighting causing flicker. I just love this camera and it’s the cheapest bridge camera with external mic in their range. An external mic enables you to have vastly better sound quality, than the internal mic will give.
UK version on Amazon.co.uk* Note the US version the DMC FZ300 is available slightly cheaper in the UK, but you will suffer mains flicker if shooting video under mains powered lighting.
The camera will output clean HDMI (no viewfinder data, once you have pressed “Disp”). I use a cheap USB video capture card and am very happy with the results! The £15 one – Amazon.co.uk* or $18 on Amazon.com*. I haven’t checked audio, but we use an output from our mixer anyway!
Camera Power supply
The last thing you want is your camera battery dying half way through a service.
I also use the OBS Camera app on my iPhone for live segments in our livestream – the free webcam apps are useless. Loads of delay over wifi. The OBS camera app is perfect but costs £15.99 – money well spent.
Boya MM1 Microphone
I used to use a Trackstar shotgun mic from eBay at around £30, but it was so noisy (others have had better experience). I looked at a lot of reviews comparing Rode mics with Boya and so many said there was little difference in quality. The Boya is considerably cheaper than a Rode mic. It comes with a nice bag and the wind muff (dead cat!)
I’ve been really impressed with it both indoors and outdoors!
I’m so impressed with Boya, I’m getting one of their Boya BY-M1 tie mics too!
USB Audio Interface
When we have a worship band, we take a line out feed from the mixer, but that is too high a level for a laptop so we use a Behringer Audio USB interface. The U-PHORIA is not too pricey, is plug and play and gives great results.
Now that the lockdowns are easing, we will still livestream our services as our reach is higher and we want many to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.
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