How to Live Stream on Your Phone for Church
How can you live stream your Bible study, daily vlog, or church service cheaply? Use your smart phone!
Many churches have been live streaming for the past few years. Most of those churches have elaborate systems which use video cameras. These external cameras then tie in to the audio system which picks up the pastor’s microphone. Then that system ties into an encoder which goes into a computer. On the computer, broadcasting software is run to tie the audio and video into Facebook Live or YouTube Live.
Whenever you watch a conference by live stream on YouTube or Facebook, those are all the steps they are using.
But your smartphone can actually simplify how you livestream. The camera on your phone is tied into the programming just like a web cam is tied into a computer. But the camera on your phone is a much better camera than most web cams.
Using your phone to live stream or to record videos is a low-cost solution for churches who want to stream their church services, Bible studies, and much more!
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO GET STARTED
The technology isn’t complicated and doesn’t cost that much. Below I will provide affiliate links to equipment that is low-cost, but works well. One rule of thumb before buying through an affiliate link is to read the reviews on Amazon first. Always check the reviews to see what buyers say.
The first thing you will need is a tripod. With tripods, be careful not to purchase a selfie tripod. Selfie tripods are used for individuals who want to take pictures of themselves, and they are not as stable as a normal tripod that holds a camera. Get one which can hold a regular camera but also has an attachment to hold a smart phone. If you are going to use your iPad or tablet, then you’ll need to check that the tripod attachment will span the length of your tablet.
My first recommendation is Torjim 50-inch Tripod. It can hold either a camera or a smart phone. And it is just over $20.
My second recommendation is a little bit more expensive, but it is a little more sturdy: the Regetek Travel Camera Tripod. This one costs about $40.
If you already have a tripod, but you don’t have a smart phone attachment, then you can get a slightly better deal getting only the attachment. A cheap option for phones is the Vastar Universal Smartphone Tripod Adapter. And a cheap option for tablets is the IPOW Tablet Tripod Adapter.
The next thing you will need is a lavalier microphone which can tie in to your smartphone. Many smartphones no longer have 3.5mm earphone jacks, so you will need to make sure you have the adapter that comes with those phones. Here is the one for iPhones.
Some churches may already have a sound system with the ability to tie into a 3.5mm adapter, so check with your Audio/Visual guy in case you are doing this for your church’s worship service.
A really simple lavalier microphone (which comes with a 6 foot extension cord) is the Mosotech Lavalier Microphone. I personally use this one. The audio quality coming from it is good enough when going through my iPad. And it only costs about $15. It cancels out some other noise although it is not as high quality as a Rode microphone. The only difficulty with the Mosotech is if you are live streaming your church service. In that case, you would need an extension cord. Most churches have so many audio/visual cords that this might not be a problem as long as you have the right adapters. If your church doesn’t have one around, you could purchase a 3.5mm extension cord through Amazon.
Or you could go the wireless route for audio. In that case, a wireless option around $50 is Alvoxcon Wireless Lapel Mic system. The reviews on it look quite good.
You could also go the Bluetooth route, but that is more expensive. A good Bluetooth microphone is the SabineTek Smart Mic, but it is a bit pricier coming in at right around $150.
If your church is on a budget, or you are just getting started, the low-cost route is usually the way to go. Just check out the reviews, and buy something that people say works well.
How to Live Stream
Once you have the tripod and the microphone, then you are ready to live stream. Now turn your phone the landscape direction, not the vertical direction (some phones require that it be in landscape mode prior to opening the Facebook app). Open the Facebook app. Click on Post –> Live Video.
And you’re live! Switch between the selfie camera and the other camera. Personally, I recommend not using the selfie camera because the selfie camera is never as powerful as the camera on the back of the phone.
Make sure that your battery is fully charged or that your plug is nearby to plug in your smart phone. If you are using the wireless microphone option, be sure that you have charged that too.
Look at the Camera, Not the Screen
One of the mistakes people make when live streaming on their phones is they look at the screen instead of looking at the camera. Look at the camera (or the people in the room), but don’t look at the screen!
The other major mistake people make is they do not have the lighting correct. The key to good lighting is keeping the bright lights in front of you so that the shadows fall behind you and downwards. If you are preaching from your pulpit, then your church probably has corrected the lighting issue already. If you are doing a Bible study or a vlog, then you will want to make sure that bright lights (windows, lamps, etc.) are in front of you and in front of your camera rather than behind you.
And you’re done!
If you have any questions (or if you need help fixing your website), please contact me. I’d love to help!
(Picture thanks to Arsel Hasanovic on Unsplash.)