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Splitting up a budget for any church or organization can be a stressful process, even if you’re a master at finance. Between trying to cut costs, choosing the right investments, and strategizing for years to come, you can be left with areas lacking the funds they need. That’s why in this post, we’re covering how to split up your streaming budget to get the most out of what your wallet has to offer. Follow along as we dive into why streaming should be incorporated into your budget, how to figure out what your streaming needs are, how to effectively split up your streaming budget, and equipment suggestions for organizations of any size.
Considering the incorporation of streaming into a budget can sometimes leave organizations believing they only have two paths forward—either invest in physical attendance or focus on your digital audience. Not only is this perception entirely inaccurate, but it also oversimplifies the role streaming can play in a church’s growth and expansion. Streaming is not a roadmap to empty pews, but in fact a tool to build deeper relationships through every aspect of life. Whether someone is sick and unable to make it to a service, living in a distant location and unable to experience community, or simply yearning for a comforting resource throughout the week, congregants can use live streams, as well as other digital tools, to stay connected with their church’s message. And while this may be surprising to some, this type of consistent connection often results in higher in-person attendance and engagement. This is because people are naturally drawn to participate in communities, as well as organizations, that are part of their day-to-day life and well-being.
But that’s not all! By using streaming, churches also open their doors to larger audiences by allowing people to “test out” their services and messaging. Experiencing a church digitally, before physically showing up, has become popular for those who feel nervous to walk into a new place. Thus, with a digital alternative, they can experience a service from a comfortable location, resulting in more confident and engaged potential members. So, next time you’re contemplating what to include in your budget, remember that streaming is an incredible tool to help build strong communities, both in-person and online.
Every streaming setup requires a list of essential equipment, including a camera, audio system, switcher system, and some form of streaming software/provider. Once you have these requirements, it’s time to figure out the rest of your streaming needs. We suggest starting with defining your streaming goals, as this will help reveal what your immediate needs are, and what your eventual needs are. An example of an immediate need could be finding a streaming provider that checks all of your boxes, while an eventual need could be something loftier, like investing in a 4K camera.
Another great way to decipher your tech-needs is by looking to your community. Start by compiling a report on how your congregation uses any technology you currently have. Track different areas like how many people are using it, how often they are using it, and how quickly people are adapting to any new tech too. This information will offer a closer look into your congregation’s overall tech-habits, which can reveal what sort of tools could be useful in the future.
Once you have some good data under your belt, you can move onto another tactic—straight up asking your community. Whether you decide to utilize surveys, focus-groups, interviews, or simple conversations is up to you, but we suggest splitting up your community into three main groups:
Your congregation, your staff, and yourself.
We advise you include the following questions for each group:
The answers you derive from these questions will show what features and tools could be useful in your streaming setup, as well as help you understand how to best utilize the technology you get. With all of the information you collect from these tactics, you should be able to narrow down a list of streaming technology you need and begin getting ready to fully split up your budget.
Now that you know what your exact streaming needs are, it’s time to figure out how to split up your budget and make sure all of your necessities are included. Every organization’s budget is going to look a little different, so don’t be worried if you need to adjust these suggestions to create what works best for you. Our Streaming Budget Checklist is a great resource to help guide you when working with your own budget, so be sure to sign up and download it before jumping in.
Below you’ll find two different examples on how to split up a budget, including a lower-budget and higher-budget option. We designed these examples to be as finically efficient as possible, while still including what we believe is essential. That being said, you are free to fine-tune how you utilize your money, whether that includes compromising in some areas, or spending more in others.
Let’s use an example involving an organization with no current streaming technology. Their total budget is $12,000, with $10,000 allocated for a one-time purchase of all equipment, and $2,000 allocated for their annual streaming subscription. Any leftover money should be saved for unexpected costs, such as music licensing, equipment repairs and upgrades, or anything else needed on the fly.
We split up this budget into 5 different areas, including Camera Equipment, Streaming Hardware, Switcher System, Audio System, and Extras. Each area will have a corresponding percentage that represents its portion of the total budget.
As you can see, this budget is split with the majority of funding going toward Camera Equipment. Investing in high-quality cameras, even with a lower budget, is a great way to get professional-level streams with little equipment. You’ll also see the category labeled “Extras” has 0% allocated. When first getting started, there can be a lot of up-front costs, leaving very little for extra features and equipment. That being said, do not worry about the lack of funding in this area. As your streaming journey progresses, your budget will grow or have room for redistribution, allowing you to put more toward the “extras” you’re interested in.
Our next example includes an organization with no current streaming setup, but a higher total budget of $60,000. $50,000 of this budget will be allocated toward a one-time purchase of equipment and $10,000 toward their annual streaming subscription. As stated before, any leftover money should go toward excess expenses, such as repairs, upgrades, and more.
As seen above, a higher budget allows organizations to distribute their money more evenly across each area. Having this balance is a great way to ensure that no areas are lacking the funding they need. You’ll also notice that with a larger-budget, organizations can put more toward “Extras”. This area might include equipment or features that are considered “nice-to-have” in a streaming setup, such as camera-sliders or stabilizers. That being said, you can choose to invest your “Extras” budget in any way you see fit.
By following this guide, you should be able to reap the benefits of your budget, no matter if you’re working with a lot, or a little. Efficiently splitting up investments can help ensure you get all the essentials you need, while working toward the things you want as well. So, next time you’re splitting up your streaming budget, try and follow these examples and see if our advice works for you too!
In this section, you’ll find a list of equipment that provides the utmost quality on the market for every type of budget. Obviously, if you find different devices that you feel comfortable purchasing, feel free to invest in whatever pieces you like. Our industry expertise has simply provided us with a lot of knowledge about different systems and we believe the ones listed below produce the best results.
Low-Budget Camera: Canon XA15
Your camera is going to be the star of the show when it comes to all of your equipment. At $1,800 per camera, we suggest purchasing three separate units of this amazing Canon—totaling $5,400—in order to get optimal filming with a lower budget.
High-Budget Camera: Canon XF605 UHD 4K HDR Pro Camcorder
This camera is the finest streaming camera on the market and will leave any viewer or user wowed. At $4,700 per unit, you’ll want to invest in multiple units to ensure you’re getting every angle and viewpoint on a larger-scale display.
Low-Budget Tripod: SmallRig AD-01 Heavy Duty Tripod w/ Fluid Head
Tripods capture shots at the right elevation and help keep footage stable so streams aren’t left shaky and uncomfortable. At $160 per unit, we suggest getting one of these SmallRigs for each camera, totaling $480 for three.
High-Budget Tripod: Sachtler Ace M System Black Edition w/ Tripod and Mid-Level Spreader
As far as tripods go, you won’t find anything better than the Sachtler Ace M System. At $600 per unit, this equipment was designed for cinema-level filming and is a sound investment for larger-budgets.
SDI Cables: Kopul Premium Series 3G-SDI Cable BNC to BNC (50 ft)
Investing in a proper SDI cable can be a huge game changer when it comes to delivering a clean video signal. At $50 per unit, this cable is the best choice for all budget-levels.
Low-Budget Switcher: Blackmagic Design ATEM SDI Switcher
A switcher system will add depth and dimension to any stream by helping you monitor and switch between multiple camera shots. This Blackmagic option is a great choice with a cheaper price at $345.
High-Budget Switcher: Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Studio Live Production Switcher
As the name states, this Blackmagic switcher is used for professional television production—proving its incredible functionality. At $3,245, this pricier option is worth its weight in gold.
Low-Budget Audio Board: Mackie ProFX12v3 Sound Reinforcement Mixer with Built-In FX
An audio mixing board is a great way to ensure professional-level audio, as they combine, monitor, and process different sound signals. Mackie offers an incredible audio board that rings in at $360.
High-Budget Audio Board: Allen & Heath SQ-5 Digital Mixer w/ Motorized Faders
If you’re in the market for a state-of-art, professional audio board, then look no further. At $4,000 per unit, this Allen & Heath Digital Mixer will provide the best audio money can buy.
XLR Cable: Kopul Studio Elite 4000 Series Neutrik XLR M to XLR F Microphone Cable (100’)
While not every microphone uses XLR, if yours does, be sure to invest in a quality XLR cable to help carry balanced audio from microphones to other devices. This Kopul cable is only $47 per unit and is the right choice for both budget-levels.
Audio/Video Embedder: Blackmagic Design Audio to SDI Mini Converter
Audio/video embedders are an important facet to streaming, as they combine audio and video signals into one SDI output—allowing encoders to transmit the video data. This Blackmagic embedder is a stellar option for both budget-ranges at $219.
Low-Budget Encoder: Resi Ray Single-Channel Encoder E1210
Encoders are one of the most vital pieces of streaming hardware, as they are the devices that actually broadcast your content. This device compresses audio and video files into transmittable data for different devices and platforms. At only $1299.99, our Resi Ray Encoder is an incredible choice for those in need of a low-cost, portable encoder that can embed up to 16 different audio channels.
High-Budget Encoder: Resi Server-Grade Encoder E1200, E2211, or E4300
Resi’s Server-Grade Encoders provide users with the ultimate quality and resilience, and can be used with Resi’s Live and Multisite Platforms. With up to 16 channels of audio, UHD-SDI or HDMI video inputs, and 4K UHD output resolutions, these encoders were designed to offer the greatest results possible. At $3,249.99, $4,999, or $7,999, any organization that’s looking for the highest-quality video possible should add these devices to their toolkit.
Finding the right streaming provider to get your streams up and running is the most crucial step to streaming successfully. Resi Media offers an array of streaming solutions, all designed for varying budget-levels, that transform the effectiveness and quality of a live stream. Our technology equips users with the highest-quality streams possible and the ability to broadcast to any platform including Facebook, Youtube, their own website, and more! Plus, the Resi streaming platform is easy to use and provides a long list of features that help take production to the next level.
Resi’s Social Only Plan includes the essentials for any streaming setup. For $99/mo, users get access to incredible features like Automated Scheduling, 1080p Simultaneous Streaming to Facebook and Youtube, and full email and phone support 7 days a week—yes even on weekends! Billed annually at $1,188, Social Only is the perfect streaming subscription for any organization working with a service budget of $2,000 or more—making it an excellent choice for lower-budget streaming.
Resi’s Starter Lite Plan includes the essentials for any setup, plus some extra features and capabilities that make professional streaming a breeze. For $159/mo, users not only get all the same features as our Social Only Plan, but they also get access to Simulated Live streaming, an Embeddable Player with DVR, Audience Analytics, Unlimited Cloud Transcoding, and up to 7 days of video storage! Billed annually at $1,908, this streaming subscription offers the best of both worlds for lower and higher streaming budgets!
Resi’s Pro Plan is our top-of-the-line option, just below our Enterprise Plan, and includes every essential feature, extra feature, and storage feature you could need! For $259/mo, users get access to EVERY feature listed above in Social Only and Starter Lite, plus Stream URLs (DASH and HLS URLs for apps, etc.) and up to 30 days of video storage. Billed annually at $3,108, this streaming subscription is perfect for organizations looking to ensure they have every tool and capability available when making a flawless stream.
We hope this post helps you split up your next streaming budget as effectively and efficiently as possible. If you have any questions about how to make your own budget work, sign up for our Streaming Budget Checklist to help guide you or contact our Sales Team here. One of our Sales Representatives can walk you through how to design a budget fit for your organization and help you choose a streaming plan that has everything you need to stream successfully.
Just tell us a bit about your streaming needs.
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