This article is syndicated from our sister website Church Technology Superstore.
Are you looking for a church video camera package to help you live stream to your favorite platforms? The needs of churches are as varied as there are churches. No package will fit every church. So instead of bundling some equipment into a package, I instead lay out for you what your needs are going to be and hopefully will help you decide what cameras and other items you are going to need to start a video ministry or expand your existing video ministry at your church.
How do churches set up streaming video?
The simplest way for churches to live stream is by using a smartphone and streaming the camera to Facebook or YouTube. Of course we all know that although this might technically work, it will not produce the type of quality most churches are looking for. However, it does break down the basics of what is needed to set up streaming video.
In a nutshell, you will need a camera, an internet connection, and something that will connect to your streaming service whether it be Facebook, YouTube, or your video hosting platform that you use on your own church website. In this article I will be breaking down each of these needs and give you options on an ever increasing scale so you can put together the video camera package that fits your church ministry.
What do I need to live stream my church service?
You will need a camera that will give you video quality that will be enjoyable to watch. You really cannot go with a webcam or an old camcorder. You should have a camera that will give you at a minimum, 1080p video resolution. With anything less you run the risk of the video being blurry or grainy.
You can start with a single “Point of View” (POV) camera like a camcorder or a box camera with an HDMI or SDI output. However, you will want to eventually upgrade to a PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) camera or an auto-tracking camera.
Capture cards are used to convert the video signal of HDMI or SDI to USB so it can be plugged into your computer. Most quality cameras do not use USB directly because you are limited to a 15’ USB cable before the signal degrades and you need a USB signal booster device. Capture cards can be both internal or external depending on your needs.
Hardware Or Software Encoders
An encoder is the device or software that converts your live stream into a signal that is recognized by your streaming platform. It takes the video and audio and sends it to YouTube or Facebook or your streaming hosting company.
You have two choices for this process. You can use a piece of hardware that you plug in your camera or cameras to and it automatically sends whatever you have plugged in to your platform or you can use software on your computer to do the same thing. Most churches either use OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) or the use vMix. OBS is free and open source software and vMix is a paid software program. I prefer vMix for its user interface.
This is one area that churches struggle with. They normally have a bare bones internet connection with inadequate bandwidth rates. Especially if they have an open WiFi connection for their members to use while at the church.
You will need at a minimum 10Mbps upload speed. Download speed doesn’t matter much but your upload speed does. If you are going to stream in HD or UHD or even 4k you will need even more. If you are going to simulcast to multiple platforms then you will need more as well.
What equipment is needed for live video streaming?
Here is the bullet points of what equipment you might eventually need in your live stream. Not all of these are necessary to begin, but they may become necessary as your video ministry expands at your church.
Video Switchers And Encoders
There are many different software programs out there for live streaming. The only free one I am aware of is OBS. The other software I recommend for live streaming is vMix. It has different price points but it is a one time price as opposed to a subscription.
Now that I have covered the basics of what equipment is needed for live streaming your church services, let’s go into choosing a church video camera package for your ministry.
As you click on the links below you will be taken to the product page. If you like the product, then you can add it to your cart and then continue reading to find all the components you need. Finish adding all the components to your cart and you have built your church video camera package and now you will be ready to complete your package order.
Bare Bones Church Video Camera Package
The simplest and easiest way to get started live streaming your church is by using the Mevo Start, The All-in-One Wireless Church Live Streaming Camera and Webcam.
This is a simple all-in -one system that does all that is required in one little camera. It can be controlled by a smartphone and automatically uploads to Facebook and YouTube via your church WiFi connection.
The limitation to this system is that it only has a digital zoom which when zoomed in gives you a lower quality picture and it is only a POV camera meaning that you either will have to set it to one scene or you will have to move the camera manually to achieve other shots. However, for its price point of less than $400.00 it is an inexpensive way to test the waters of church live streaming.
SDI Church Video Camera Package
The next step up in church video camera packages is one where you will have to decide how large you want to build it. You can start with one camera but you can expand it to multiple cameras and multiple accessories or add-ons to fulfill your live streaming vision.
I am recommending the PTZOptics brand of SDI cameras. It is what I use in my own church and they are simple to use and operate, they are reliable and they have excellent customer support.
Choose Your SDI Camera
The most important thing you will want to consider in choosing your video camera is the zoom. A good rule of thumb in choosing the zoom is this. 0-25 feet from your object or person you are recording will require a 12x zoom, 25-45- will require a 20x zoom, and over 45 feet will require a 30x zoom.
Depending on where you will mount the camera/s will determine which one you will need.
You may also want to consider an auto-tracking camera as your second camera, especially if your pastor or minister is the type that moves around a lot.
You may want to add an auto tracking camera to your package. I recommend the HuddleCamHD SimpleTrack2 camera. They are a sister company to PTZOptics. However, you might also consider an AVer camera for this as well.
You can buy inexpensive capture cards other places but you will have problems with latency and with reliability. I only carry capture cards with low latency and with brands that are highly regarded with reliability and customer support.
- PTZOptics Serial Joystick Controller
- PTZOptics IP Joystick Controller
- PTZOptics SuperJoy Joystick Controller
NDI Church Video Camera Package
To understand NDI better, it’s going to be best to take a minute to learn what it is. NDI stands for Network Device Interface. NDI cameras are capable of connecting to a local area network (LAN) so that it can work alongside other software apps such as Wirecast, OBS, or other similar apps. Essentially, NDI allows you to get the highest quality video that you can.
With NDI there is no need for a capture card. Your computer and your cameras all connect to a router and it finds the camera through the router.
Choose Your NDI Camera
Currently PTZOptics and HuddleCamHD do not have an auto-tracking NDI compatible camera. So I recommend this one.
- Aver TR311HN
4k Church Video Camera Package
If your goal is more about providing TV quality live streaming on your own website or Roku App and less about YouTube and Facebook, then 4k cameras might be what you are looking for. With these 4k video cameras I have chosen to recommend cameras by Birddog Eyes. They are giving the top brand name a run for their money with their cameras and cost effectiveness.
Choose Your 4k Camera
High End Production Grade Church Video Camera Package
Finally if you are a large church with a vision to produce a live stream that will rival any TV production, then you might want to consider what Panasonic has to offer. This is all professional AV equipment and the quality shows.
Choose Your Professional Production Grade Camera
- Panasonic 20x 4K PTZ Camera With 3G/HD/SD-SDI & HDMI Output And NDI
- PANASONIC 20X UHD 4K PTZ CAMERA
- Panasonic 30x Zoom PTZ Camera with HDMI Output and NDI
- Panasonic 4K Professional PTZ Camera
Final Thoughts On These Packages
I know that some people might have wanted a bundled package all set up for their church. Unfortunately, that is rather impossible to do since there are as many variety of need as there are churches. No two churches are the same. However, I hope this article has helped you choose your church video camera package that is right for your church and your needs.