Not Long ago, a member of the Raleigh church of Christ asked me if it was possible to do live video streaming of the Sunday Morning Worship service. Of course, it is possible — but as most things it will cost. Can you do it cheaply was the next question.

  • Is there a free streaming service out there?
  • What kind of video cameras do I need?
  • What software and computer do I need?
  • Do I need copyright licensing?

Streaming services:

For our experiment, I decided on ustream.tv, since it seemed to have the easiest method of uploading video and audio. I really want to end up with live.youtube.com which I understand will provide non-profits with live streaming with NO ADS!

Other than ustream.tv, there is live.youtube.com and livestream.com.

Equipment needed:

We started with a Logitech webcam ( Orbit ) which gave a full view of the congregation but no medium or close up shots. Our sound came from the pa mixer to line in on the computer. Computer is home-built pc using intel motherboard, 3ghz dual core processor with 8gb’s of memory. Network is a gigabit nic on the motherboard.

I have added a Sony Camcorder for medium and close up shots.

Our network provider, Time-warner business class is the slowest one provided by TW. :-(

Software:

Since our computer’s operating system is Ubuntu ( Linux ) version 11.10, our video switching software possibilities are short. The only two packages that I have found that have switching capability are dvswitch and webcamstudio. DVswitch is the more mature product with previews of all video sources and does clean switching. It’s main drawback to me is that I haven’t been able to get a webcam to work in the software.

For now, I am using webcamstudio. It’s more stable version doesn’t have individual preview of video sources, plus it’s switching is awkward and doesn’t always switch properly. DVswitch will probably be used when we really get going since the webcam issue is being worked on by individuals on the internet.

Do I need music licensing?

Yes. From CCLI.com — “Including copyrighted songs in a webcast without permission is considered copyright infringement, and the penalties can be severeā€¦up to $150,000 per infringement.”

How is it going?

We have the equipment, a service provider, software and licensing is in place. Our setup is crude. We are still in what I call “Test Mode”. At least, we are making the attempt to spread the Gospel to all corners of the world.