Getting Started on Streaming: Begin By Building A Strategy

Before you commence ordering hardware and evaluating services, as a guiding principle, consider taking time to establish a streaming strategy for your deployment.

Getting Started on Streaming: Begin By Building A Strategy
While there are free options for encoding software for streaming, there are various paid options available that offer much better support and many more features, such as Telestream's Wirecast.
Getting Started on Streaming: Begin By Building A Strategy
While there are free options for encoding software for streaming, there are various paid options available that offer much better support and many more features, such as Telestream's Wirecast.

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The most important thing, though, is to recognize that cameras allow our worship services to reach beyond the four walls of the local church.
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A one-sentence email exchange truly does make for an interesting interaction.

The reason you are streaming, will drive how you choose to deploy the technology to support your goal.

Recently, I have been helping a volunteer named Bob (not his real name), who is a new streaming engineer, serving his local church. Bob is a pleasure to work with, but his preference is to communicate by way of email, using no subject, one sentence at a time.

Having developed a good relationship with Bob, my new streaming friend, I’ve come to appreciate the simplicity of our succinct dialog.

Here’s a typical email exchange between Bob and myself:

Bob: “Camera doesn’t work”
Me: ““Check HDMI cable.”
Bob: “That worked, thanks.”

Two days later…

Bob: “Stream stopped and I don’t know what I did.”
Me: “Send screenshot of settings. I’ll check.”
Bob: “Oh, I fixed it.”
Me: “Good job. Glad you figured it out.”

As you can see, I took the liberty to respond back, in the same vein. While moderately unproductive, but surprisingly entertaining, this “one-liner” mode of technical support has highlighted the basic elements of getting a video stream established.

They can be summed up as:

• Camera
• Encoder
• Network
• Streaming Service

As a technologist, working in a church, you may have a pending project on your list, to begin a live streaming program for your congregation. Fortunately, there are many options to consider.

Before you commence ordering hardware and evaluating services, as a guiding principle, consider taking time to establish a streaming strategy for your deployment.

It’s always a good idea to have a vision and a clear understanding of what is to be accomplished in each phase of implementation.

Begin by focusing on a few aspects toward having a successful process:

Audience

Who are you targeting to watch your stream? Are you interested in people in the adjacent community, or is your intent to traverse the globe with your content? What age demographic will most likely view your stream?

The more you know about your audience, the better informed you will be when making decisions about production, style, and the network(s) you use for distribution.

Purpose

Why are you streaming? As people join and begin to view your stream, what do you want them to leave with? Are you providing a virtual church experience? Is your broadcast offering a simple time of praise and/or teaching? Is streaming a tool to persuade a visit in-person, or is an ongoing, online connection to your church your primary goal? Are you intending to promote your own website and audience? Is a social media presence on Facebook or Twitter a priority?

The reason you are streaming, will drive how you choose to deploy the technology to support your goal. It will determine who, what, and for how long you will be broadcasting. Understanding these dynamics will help you make good technical and production decisions.


More About Tim Dougherty
Tim Dougherty is a Senior Solutions Engineer with Wowza Media Systems, based in Golden, Colo. A user technology expert, with more than 20 years of experience in IT, network administration, video production, and project/program management, Tim serves Wowza by helping customers visualize and integrate effective streaming media solutions.
Get in Touch: tim@wowza.com    More by Tim Dougherty

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.


Article Topics

Technology · Streaming · Visual Arts · Multi-media · Team Management · Budgeting · Camera · Congregation · Deployment · Encoder · Facebook · Implementation · All Topics

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