What software and services can churches use for streaming church services live on Facebook or YouTube or other platforms. This last part of our series on streaming church services rounds out the tools and gear needed to put together a professional solution for the future.
For most of the options below, you’ll need to connect a camera up to you computer and you’ll probably want to hook up your sound board to the computer as well. Then use the software solutions below to take that video and audio and send it out onto the Internet.
The company offers guides on how to set up your whole system of audio and video equipment. You can use these same guides with the other software below, but it may take some tweaking if you’re not using Ecamm.
If you users choose to go all-in with Ecamm, it will cost you $12/month billed annually. A pro version costs $20/month billed annually. With the paid versions you get…
Watermark removed from video.
Use other services like Restream (more on that below) to stream to multiple sites like YouTube and Facebook simultaneously.
Use overlays to show branding of your church or graphics during the service to add a professional look.
Green screen support.
Support for talking to guests over Skype.
The pro version adds…
Live video monitor to any display hooked up to the computer.
Audio monitor much like many churches use in their nursery.
Cross post to multiple pages on Facebook.
Shows real-time bandwidth stats.
Higher level tech support.
What if you don’t have a Mac? Then consider one of the following services instead.
OBS Studio for Windows or Mac For Free
There’s a free option out there called OBS Studio. It’s a lot more complex than Ecamm Live. However, it’s also free. If you have a tech savvy volunteer or staff member, then this might work better. It has a lot of the features you find with Ecamm, but you have to know what you’re doing or spend some time learning how to use it.
OBS also offers some setup guides and shows users how to use it. Once you set things up, you can stream to Facebook, YouTube and even Twitter. If your service offers a way to setup third-party streaming services, you can configure that too. You’ll need something called the RTMP information.
OBS will let you stream multiple cameras easily. Hook them up to the computer and the software makes switching between them easily. You could also easily share your screen to the video stream. You might want to show the slides on a song, Bible passage or the pastor’s sermon images and notes.
OBS has more power and therefore more complexity than Ecamm.
XSplit Broadcaster – 3rd Best Option
XSplit Broadcaster ($25 to $200) – The third best option comes from XSplit Broadcaster. It’s a marriage of Ecamm’s simplicity with OBS Studio’s power, but at a higher cost.
3-month subscription for $25
1-year subscription for $60
3-year subscription for $150
Lifetime cost is $200
XSplit offers multiple camera inputs and sharing your images from the worship presentation. You can do Skype interviews and stream to more than one place at a time, like Facebook and YouTube or your own service.
Churches that want to stream to an overflow room or the nursery, can set up a monitor and stream to it locally over your own network.
Other Live Streaming Options
In addition to the above three best options, you can choose others. If you want a little more hand holding in the process consider some services for streaming church services. These will not help you stream to Facebook or YouTube, but that might work better for you. You have more control of your channel.
Faithlife LiveStream ($90/month to $200/month) – If you’re familiar with Logos Bible Software, then you may already know about Faithlife. They offer a live streaming solution. It’s expensive but adds more than video streaming church services. You’ll get online digital giving, Podcasting, and users can install an app to watch your service along with other church services.
Restream.io ($16 or $41/month billed annually) – Churches can stream their services to as many as 30 different services at once with Restream.io. It has the benefit of working within a browser instead of installing software using Restream Studio. You can interact with viewers on all of the platforms from their Chat service. It also works with other software like Ecamm, OBS, Zoom and more. IT starts with a free level but subscribers can also stream to other services not officially supported. The Pro level takes away the Restream branding and lets you brand yourself. They’ll soon add multi-camera setups.
Dacast – ($X) – Dacast lets churches stream their services from their own website. I’ve used it and it’s not bad, for people who want to set up their own site for streams. They host the video and you embed it on your sight.
VMix – (Free to $1200) – I’m not as familiar with VMix but hear that it works very well. To get 1080p streams you will want to pay for Basic HD level at $60. It compares nicely to XSplit or Ecamm above. With that level of software you can stream to up to 3 services at cone and use overlay graphics. It also has the ability to stream to a monitor so you could send it to a hardwired overflow room or nursery.
Dr. Kevin Purcell is pastor of High Peak Baptist Church, an author and writer at Church Tech Today (www.churchtechtoday.com). He used to write for a number of other Christian and secular technology and mobile tech sites. Now he's one of the hosts of the Theotek Podcast, which you can find by checking the menu above or over at www.facebook.com/theotekpodcast.