We Need to Livestream. How Does That Work?
We were all suddenly faced with an unusual set of circumstances: No one would have thought even a couple of weeks ago that we would need to be social distancing the way we have had to in the last week or two. I have a bit of a reputation for being tech savvy, and have been asked a question several times in the past week: How do I livestream my events
We really don’t know how long it will be before events can carry on as usual, but we can’t really put everything on-hold indefinitely. Churches may need to close the doors, but the community aspect of a faith community is of the utmost importance, and as such there needs to be a point of connect. While other technology would be well suited as a substitute for interactive meetings, live streaming is ‘the next best thing’ when it comes to regular Sunday services.
If you need to livestream, it’s not all that complicated. There is some hardware to purchase, but the setup is fairly straightforward, and there doesn’t need to be a ton of recurring costs. Certainly, if you invest in this equipment now, you can still continue to offer a live stream when this crisis abates, so that shut-ins, or those on vacation can still take part in your regular services.
What Do I need?
The main piece of hardware I currently recommend for live streaming is the Mevo Plus camera. I would recommend that you buy, at the very least, the Mevo Plus camera, and the Mevo Boost (an optional accessory) but the Mevo Plus Pro Bundle (which also includes a stand and a protective case) is worth the money. I am not affiliated with Mevo, and won’t be posting an affiliate link to any products here.
The Mevo is a camera system designed specifically for live streaming. It has a 4k sensor, which means it can live stream very high resolution video. At this point, streaming 4k is a bit much, but having all those pixels gives you the ability to pan and zoom digitally while broadcasting in 1080p or 720p, which is the maximum quality of most live-streaming platforms currently.
The Mevo Boost connects to the camera and provides an extended battery, but more importantly it provides extra ports so that you can connect an external audio source via USB, and Ethernet, if you don’t want to worry about spotty wifi.
The biggest shortcoming of this product is the built in Microphone. The mic works well for someone speaking in a controlled environment, but if there is background noise, or a lot of different audio sources, it’s not ideal. Most of us are using a mixing console for our events. You can have a mix leave your board (just ask your sound guy to give you a dedicated Auxillary send). Once you you’ve a mix out of your board, you can connect that to the camera via a USB interface (it changes that analogue signal into a digital one that the camera can accept) and your live stream will have an audio track that can be controlled with great precision. I recommend the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 interface, but the Scarlet Solo is a more economical option that should work as well. You can find them both on sale on Amazon.
Gear You'll need
Mevo Plus Pro Bundle - This has been discontinued and replaced with the MEVO Start (www.getmevo.com)
Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 or Focusrite Scarlet Solo
How and Where Can I Livestream?
The Mevo camera connects via an app to many major live streaming platforms, including Facebook live, YouTube Live, Twitter, Periscope, and others. The camera is controlled via the app, which is available for free for iOS and Android devices. The app will actually allow you to manually or automatically simulate a multi-camera setup, during the broadcast. You can set it and forget it, or you can task a volunteer with managing the production manually.
Along with live streaming, the camera can also record your production to a MicroSD card. If you’re at an event where no internet is available, you can record, and upload the video to the internet when you have a dependable connection.
How Does It All Go together?
The setup is pretty easy. The audio does require you to connect an aux send from your mixer to the Scarlet 2i2 (or solo), and then from the Scarlet 2i2 to the Mevo Boost.
The Mevo connects to your wifi, or via Ethernet.
The whole thing is controlled by the Mevo App, for iOS or Android.
Here's an explainer video from Mevo
If you have any questions, or would like some help in implementing this, you can feel free to contact me.