The Essentials to Live Streaming Your Church Service - part 2
In part 1, we went over identifying your why for live streaming. We also went over some steps to verify that your internet connection is reliable enough to stream with tools like speedtest.net. Now we need to go over what you need in hardware to connect to that internet connection to encode and serve out the video of your church service.
What Does This Button Do?
There are a few options you can go with to do this but instead of wasting your time, I’m going to give you my recommendation. You need a dedicated PC to stream reliably. With a PC you can also maintain it and upgrade it easier than any of the other options available. Sorry Mac people. A Mac can stream but you will have to pay the Apple price for the hardware and if you need to upgrade its parts, you can’t go to your local Best Buy or Amazon for new parts. You have to most likely gut it and get a brand new one.
There are also dedicated stream devices that do everything for you but again if you want to go from streaming 720p to 1080p or higher, if the device does not support it, you are out of luck.
In all honesty, a PC is a bit overkill but it has the longest legs because of the situations I mentioned already. The beauty of this setup is that this PC is for live streaming ONLY. It has only 1 task, converting video to be sent to our desired platform.
I recently built a few systems for churches that are now live streaming. I’ve also built a mini portable version as well that you can find HERE.
The goal for this system is to get the most horsepower at the lowest cost available, while giving ourselves plenty of room for growth. I’m a tech-head so I won’t bore you with all the techie details.
AMD makes CPUs. They are the main competitor to Intel. Last year they released the Ryzen CPU. These little behemoths deliver great computation power at super low prices. My recommended streaming PC runs on their lowest CPU option which includes a graphics card as well on the same chip for the unheard of price of $99! Ryzen 3 2200G
This saves of because the CPU and memory are normally the costliest items in a PC build. By the way, did I mention, I’m recommending you build this computer yourself, get someone technical to build it for you or you can order one custom build for you at my company website HERE
When it comes to software, I personally recommend OBS. This program is free, open source, free, maintained by a community of developers, free, used for a wide range of streaming events and it is FREE. Click here to get the software. In another post I’ll go through how to setup OBS for a typical church service and an advanced church service. The beauty of this program is that it can be as simple or as complex as you would like.
That’s all you really need but here are a few suggestions that can enhance your use of this system. Each one of these I use personally in my church or home studio.
The Elgato Stream Deck is a customizable console that will allow you to control OBS as well as other functions on your streaming PC from it’s 15 LED button display. You can setup the stream deck to choose scenes, inputs, outputs, start streaming, stop streaming, record, play music, open programs, etc. It just streamlines your workflow.
This is an advanced feature that is by no means is needed. Restream.io allows you to stream to multiple platforms at the same time from one computer. If you want to stream to YouTube and Facebook, you would need a paid for program that handles 2 separate streams as well as a beefier computer to handle processing 2 streams. What Restream does is allow you to link as many platforms that you want through their service (streaming to Facebook requires a monthly payment), then you point your computer to their servers and then their server streams to all of the platforms you configured it for. For example, here is a snapshot of my gaming channels. When I stream my videogames, I point my streaming PC to Restream and they send my video to all of these services at the same time.
In my next post, we will go over camera options and capture cards. I’ve included the parts list and video for my mini Streaming PC build. All the parts and everything you need to build this yourself can be found on my kit page (Amazon Affiliate links)