Why Live Streaming Makes Sense For Houses of WorshipThe word “congregation” is rooted in Latin, the operative part being “greg,” which means “group” or “flock.” Hence, we have words like “aggregate,” “segregate,” “gregarious” and “congregate.”
Paired with the Latin “con,” meaning “with,” it’s easy to comprehend the word—coming together with other people in a group or flock. Unfortunately for churches, temples, mosques and other houses of worship, COVID-19 social distancing has made it challenging to come together, or congregate, with one another.
The good news for these houses of worship is that technology has helped to bridge the gap that the pandemic has created between their members. It’s made it possible to stream services directly to congregants.
While not a replacement for in-person worship, this approach is offering congregations around the world a way to stay connected during the pandemic, enabling a virtual coming together with the rest of the flock. Streaming services have also exposed numerous non-members to the messages of hope, inspiration and spiritual direction that so many have sought during this unprecedented time.
Live Streaming Solutions
We’ve described in this space before how to use social media sites like Facebook and others to live stream services as well as the three approaches available for video production, including traditional video hardware, software and cloud-based strategies. We’ve also described how various religious institutions have used live streaming to great effect, bringing services and special celebrations to people around the globe.
A live stream setup for church using cloud production solutions has many benefits over using a traditional live stream setup. Here, we will look at some specific aspects of cloud-based production that make it a wise choice for houses of worship—both during the pandemic and long after it passes.
Why Cloud-Based Production Is Right For Worship
Relying on the cloud to produce worship services, rather than dedicated video production hardware and software, directly addresses these considerations.
Budget: The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected church giving. In October 2020, Church Executive reported on a study that found 60% of the 1,600 church leaders polled said one of the top challenges they face is a reduction in giving.
Understandably, adding a new expense to produce worship services while giving is declining is a hard choice. That’s especially true given the cost of even low- to moderately priced video switchers, cameras and audio mixers. On the low-end, costs could be as much as $5,000, and even small, incremental upgrades in quality and capabilities can push costs significantly higher.
However, choosing to produce worship services in the cloud eliminates much of that expense. For example, with TVU Producer, the cost of a hardware switcher, audio mixer, graphics system and title generator is nonexistent. Rather, the tasks each of these devices perform are done in the cloud and require no large upfront investment.
Additionally, rather than swallowing hard to write the check for all of that video production gear, a cloud-based alternative like TVU Producer is offered on a pay-as-you-go basis – offering the same production capabilities as these hardware equivalents for as little as $35 for an hourlong service (with the first 200 hours offered for free).
Skill level: Many churches must rely on members of their congregations to run the video and audio gear needed to produce their worship services. While one or two might work in television or have some previous AV experience, the chances are good that most, if not all, of these volunteers will come with a blank slate. That means some type of video production training will be necessary to run the specialized production gear involved. It also means added expense, a delay in production until training is completed and the need to refresh training as existing production gear is updated with new software and new pieces are added.
However, TVU’s cloud solutions are designed to be intuitive and simple to use, even for the video newbie. Online training videos make it even easier to get up to speed.
Environmental Sensitivity: No, this doesn’t have anything to do with climate change or monstrous floating islands of discarded plastic in the oceans. Being sensitive to the environment when it comes to producing services means doing so in a way that respects the worship of those in attendance.
It also means minimizing any necessary modifications to the worship space and generally producing the video in a manner that reduces any nuisance to worship leaders and congregants alike.
TVU Anywhere makes it possible to contribute live, broadcast-quality video from smartphones to the cloud wirelessly, with no unsightly cables obscuring the view or distracting the congregants.
For worship spaces where congregants walk, the importance of this wireless connectivity is difficult to overstate. Rather than taping video cables to the floor and worrying that a child or elderly person might trip, connecting wirelessly to the cloud offers a convenient alternative that is safer and easier to modify as worship needs change.
It is hoped that with millions of people around the world beginning to be vaccinated to protect them from the threat of COVID-19 that society will soon return to normal. That includes attending worship services in person.
But even after people once more sit side-by-side in their houses of worship, ministries will continue to need a way to reach out beyond their walls. Producing services in the cloud and streaming them live via social media will play a big part in meeting that desire.