How to live stream and start church online

Mar 11, 2020

Engage Your Community Through Church Live Streaming Virtual Events in Light of Coronavirus

Faced with the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), churches around the world are finding ways to continue ministry in unique ways. Many have utilized live or virtual event (sim-live) streaming in order to continue to hold services and events virtually while not being able to meet physically.

We know that many of you are in a rush to get started with online church live streaming, and we are here to make the process simple and quick. We’ve created a simple step-by-step guide to help you get going with live or virtual event/simulated live streaming.

What Makes Resi Different:

With all other streaming options, whenever there is packet loss on your internet connection, your viewers will face a buffering wheel. After the second buffering interruption, 70% of your online viewers will have left your stream. Resi has developed the only solution which corrects for this issue by resending and correcting data on a 2-minute delay. This enables reliable streaming even on bad internet connections, and reduces streaming complaints by over 85% on average. This results in a much more stable online viewing experience that increases viewer retention and your online audience size over time.

 

Get Started Quickly With Reliable Online Church Live Streaming

 

Step 1 – Plan your Video Gear

The first step when planning a video setup for online streaming starts with cameras, switchers, and other infrastructure to record the service and switch between sources. Read on for our recommendations of how to plan your video infrastructure, or purchase one of our all-in-one streaming kits provided by Nomadic Design® Industries. If you already have these pieces, skip to Step #2.

Cameras– Many cameras these days work great for online streaming, but camcorders usually work better than DSLR/mirrorless cameras, which usually have a time restriction on how long they can record for. Some things to look for when comparing cameras:

  • Resolution: Resolution refers to the image size that a camera will record and/or stream at. Most churches are currently streaming at 1080p maximum resolution, but 4k cameras will future-proof your setup.
  • Output: Most cameras will include an HDMI output which can be used for some encoders and switchers, but HDMI is limited by a maximum cable length of about 50 feet. SDI, which is a more professional standard, features locking connectors and a much longer maximum cable length of up to 300 feet.

Some camera recommendations: Canon Vixia HF G21 (Good), Canon XF405 (Best)

Switcher – A camera switcher should be used if you’d like to mix between multiple cameras or video sources going to a stream, including graphics or videos (full screen or overlayed). Make sure that the outputs of your cameras (SDI or HDMI) will match the inputs of your switcher, or purchase an HDMI to SDI converter

Some switcher recommendations: Blackmagic ATEM Mini (Good), Blackmagic ATEM TV Studio (Best)

Audio – For live stream audio, it’s best to use a feed mixed specifically for broadcast, or at least from the house audio output of a mixer. Audio can either be run to a camera (usually with XLR inputs), into a switcher, or directly into a live stream encoder (often using an SDI audio embedder, which embeds the audio on the SDI signal, or an HDMI to SDI converter with embedder).

Step 2 – Choose an Encoder

An encoder sends video data from a video system (such as cameras, video switchers, etc.) to online platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and your website.

Resi has multiple encoder options to choose from, all of which provide perfect streaming by checking and resending the data, even on inconsistent connections.

 

Hardware Encoders

Hardware encoders require the highest up-front cost, but provide the greatest reliability as they are dedicated specifically to encoding without relying on underlying software or being used for multitasking in production.

RAYLow cost, portable encoder designed for web streaming – single HD-SDI input up to 1080p – $1299

PRISM Single-ChannelEnterprise-grade encoder for multisite and web streaming – single HD-SDI or HDMI input up to 4k, single PSU – $2999

PRISM Dual-Channel | Enterprise-grade encoder for multisite and web streaming with dual video transmission- two HD-SDI or HDMI inputs up to 1080p each, primary and redundant PSU – $3999

 

Software Encoder

Software encoders require the smallest up-front cost and rely on your hardware

ProPresenter Stream |Resi’s ProPresenter Stream plugin pairs the power of Resi’s Web Platform with the flexibility of Renewed Vision’s ProPresenter software. For the first time, you can stream high-quality, ultra-resilient content with Resi even through internet disruptions – on your own hardware! – free for the first license

All Resi encoders are enabled by Resi Web Platform service plans.

Resi Service Plans

Resi’s monthly Web Platform service plan enables resilient streaming to your website, Facebook, YouTube, and other destinations (such as mobile apps, tv apps, etc.). The plans also include tools like automated scheduling and weekend phone/email support.

Some plan options include:

  • Basic Embed: Stream to website, Church Online Platform, etc. (unlimited viewers, 3 hr/wk streaming): $69/mo paid annually ($99/mo paid monthly)
  • Social Only: Stream to social platforms (Facebook and YouTube) simultaneously from Resi’s cloud (unlimited): $89/mo paid annually ($119/mo paid monthly)
  • Starter Web: Stream to website (.35TB/mo bandwidth, 3 bitrates cloud transcoding), social, apps, etc.: $139/mo with 1-yr commitment ($199/mo paid monthly)
  • Pro Web: Stream to website (1TB/mo bandwidth, 3 bitrates cloud transcoding), social, apps, etc.: $239/mo paid annually ($299/mo paid monthly)
  • Enterprise: Stream to website (2 TB/mo bandwidth, 5 bitrates cloud transcoding), social, apps, etc.: $399/mo paid annually ($479/mo paid monthly)

Contact us if you have any questions on plans.

Step 3 – Install Your System and Get Set Up

Many churches think that an inconsistent or slow internet connection will prohibit their ability to stream reliably. Under normal circumstances this is true, but because of the way that the Resi Platform transmits data and corrects for errors, high-quality streaming is possible even on a bad connection. Streaming in 720p resolution is possible on as low as around 5Mbps, or 1080p on 10Mbps. No internet connection at all? You can even use a portable wired internet connection such as 4g hotspots with an ethernet connection. 

Resi provides simple checklists for initial gear installation, followed by an onboarding call with a dedicated support team representative to complete setup and provide training. 

After setup, streaming is managed through the simple Resi Control page. Recurring events can be set up along with Facebook and YouTube simulcasting from the cloud (in full 1080p with stereo audio!). Scheduled events with start and stop automatically, so you can set once and forget. 

Social Streaming to Facebook Youtube and Roku

Step 4 – Choose Your Streaming Destination(s)

For online church live streaming, most churches will prioritize engaging with their audience on their website. Life.Church’s Church Online Platform is a great way to set up an online campus virtual community, and it is easy and free! You can also display a Resi player directly anywhere on your website using an embed code. 

Social destinations such as Facebook and YouTube are great for church live stream marketing in order to reach attendees that would not normally come to your website, but often distract viewers from your content with other videos or content. Viewers will typically engage with church live stream content around 2-5 minutes on Facebook, 15-20 minutes on YouTube, and up to about 40-55 minutes on a church website. In order to have best engagement with an online community, your website is usually the best primary streaming destination. 

Virtual Events Through Simulated Live

Using Resi, streaming to your website, Facebook, and YouTube can be scheduled to occur in realtime or streamed as virtual events through “sim-live” broadcasts of previously-recorded content. This is a great way to stream content that was recorded at another time and enable an audience to view and interact with it concurrently. Due to COVID-19, many churches have utilized this method to stream a scheduled service to an online community that was recorded and produced earlier in the week. Simulated-live events can also be a great way to continue to engage an online campus throughout the week. 

See what it's all about.

Resilient streaming starts here.

FAQs

How is Resi different from other streaming providers?

There are a few reasons:

Resi’s technology enables more reliable streaming, which leads to less buffering wheels, which leads to more engagement and an exponentially larger audience over time. Resi is the only streaming provider that is able to guarantee 100% content integrity in the cloud (even through internet disruptions) by checking and re-sending data from the encoder through the Resilient Streaming Protocol (RSP). See a comparison and learn more about RSP

Resi’s reliability is also guaranteed by our unique cloud infrastructure – rather than relying on dedicated servers, we use groundbreaking scalable cloud distribution methods that are not affected by drastic increases in traffic like other streaming providers. This means that no matter how much traffic streams may receive, Resi’s technology is able to scale dynamically to meet the need with no problems.

Additionally, Resi is built to be an enterprise-level solution, while also being remarkably easy to use. Streams can be started with a single click or automated on a schedule. The system will also monitor your stream and will notify you if it ever detects any concerns (and our helpful Support team is standing by too).

What is an encoder? Why do I need one?

An encoder is a device, whether hardware or software, that will take a video input from a source (such as a camera or switcher) and send it to the cloud for distribution and viewing. Most utilize unreliable protocols which send video data to the cloud like a laser beam, resulting in buffering, glitching, and dropped frames due to even minimal packet loss.

Resi is the first system that can provide 100% video delivery without interruptions. To do this, we take advantage of the Resilient Streaming Protocol, which unlike RTMP or other protocols such as SRT or Zixi, takes advantage of a local cache in order to check and re-send data until video content is verified as perfect. This is what makes Resi unique and is only available through Resi’s hardware encoders or ProPresenter Stream encoder.

What is included in a Resi service plan?

A Resi service plan includes:

  • Streaming data transfer through Resi’s cloud CDN and cloud storage
  • Continuous service and software feature additions and improvements – we release new things often, and we never charge for updates. 
  • Phone and email support, even on weekends – we’re here if you need us
How much bandwidth do I need to stream?

Resi’s platform ensures that every frame of video data makes it to viewers before they see it, resulting in a perfect viewing experience without buffering even if the connection at the broadcast site is inconsistent. However, in order to ensure that there are no delays causing data to get to the cloud within the RSP backup cache, 2.5x your bitrate is recommended for upload bandwidth at the broadcast site. When your connection experiences packet loss, this allows the encoder to re-send data to the cloud faster than real-time so your viewers don’t notice a thing!

For typical resolutions, this means:

720p: 4-8Mbps

1080p: 10-12Mbps

Don’t have this? You still may be able to stream. Contact us to talk about your setup.

What is the delay of Resi streams?

Resi is built to provide an enterprise-level broadcast experience without the cost of dedicated connections and expensive IT infrastructure. This means that now, any organization can have the same quality and reliability previously only available to big corporations and sports teams, even on public internet connections.

In order to do this, Resi’s platforms take advantage of a short delay in order to check and re-send data until it is verified as perfect by the destination, something only possible through Resi’s Resilient Streaming Protocol. For Web Platform, this delay is typically around 90 seconds, or 2 minutes to social platforms.

We understand that low latency is important, and we have built our systems on ultra-fast transcoding technology in order to provide highly resilient streaming at the lowest delay possible, which we are working to reduce over time. For most, the tradeoff of a short delay is worth not losing viewers because of buffering wheels and stream disruptions!

How do I get started?

Getting started is easy! 

  1. Select your encoder – either by purchasing a hardware encoder or using ProPresenter
  2. Select your service plan (after checkout) – several options are available depending on your audience size and streaming needs. 
  3. Start streaming! 

Click here to get started with a guided process

I have more questions

We like questions! Sign up for an online demo of Resi’s Web Platform to get a full tour and to get your questions answered.