The Best Cameras, Gear, & Advice For Live Streaming Your Services with Brad Zimmerman (PCP048)

Recording and live streaming your church services requires planning. So I invited Brad Zimmerman on the Pro Church Podcast to give us some advice.

February 17th, 2015

Brad Zimmerman is the Creative Communications Director at Watermark Church in Grand Haven, Michigan and calls himself a jack-of-all-trades. He also runs Church Media Design where he generously shares media and knowledge. He does the same, equally as generous, on this session of the Pro Church Podcast.

What’s In This Session?

  • Here’s why Brady thinks video recording your services is a poor decision, but what does Brad think? (11:30)
  • Why stats are necessary if you’re choosing to live stream/video record your worship experiences (17:46)
  • Why audio quality is always more important than video quality (19:45)
  • What is the ONE camera a church should buy if they want to begin live streaming? (25:45)
  • The lowest amount you can expect to spend to get started with video recording your services (37:36)
  • What are the benefits of video podcasting versus audio podcasting? (41:32)
  • The dangers of copyright and what you need to be aware of (50:35)

Show Notes & Resources Mentioned

3 Instant Takeaways

  1. If you only have to choose one camera to livestream your church services, choose the Canon G2. Brad suggests the G2 because, though it’s a consumer-grade camera, it’s inexpensive (only $900.00 at Best Buy), it has clean HMDI out, a good zoom feature and great picture quality.
  2. Don’t use Youtube to host your church’s livestream. If you happen to use copyright-protected music anywhere in your service, Youtube will find you and shut it down. Also, you have to embed a different video player link every week because of the way Youtube works. You’re better off paying for an ad-free streaming service.
  3. Livestream your services to give visitors a first impression and to serve regular attenders who are away. These are the two main reasons Brad gives as the vision for livestreaming at Watermark Church. People want to check you out before they visit in person, and from a staff side, you don’t want people who are on vacation or busy to let church attendance slide. Being able to watch missed services keeps them connected.
  • Jeff

    I will be live streaming using a Macbook Pro, and OSB software. I’m assuming the Vixia HF G20 needs a capture card for it be used as “webcam”? You guys don’t mention that or I missed it… but if so what would you recommend?

    Our setup is going to be straight forward with only one camera. The audio aspect is covered, so I just need some recommendations for the video part.

  • Shaun Brackett

    In the takeaways you mentioned the Canon G2…did you mean the Canon G20? I looked up the G2 and it was an old Point & Shoot Canon PowerShot camera and there wasn’t an HDMI terminal on it. Just curious. Thanks!

  • Tyler Wolfe

    Hey guys, can you live stream sermons AND record hard copies at the same time with the same camera? Looking at the g20 or likewise.

  • Kent McVety

    We are using a Vaddio system with five Sony EVI-D70 robotic cameras controlled by a Vaddio Productionview FX camera control console. We record the service directly to DVD using a stand-alone DVD recorder. Our equipment is standard definition only. I bring the unedited DVD home after the service, and stream it on You Tube Life using a Teredek hardware encoder. We don’t have Internet in the sanctuary yet. I edit the DVD Sunday night and upload to You Tube overnight. People can view the streamed video on Sunday morning following the service, or the edited version on Monday. We record the audio through the church’s audio mixer. I am looking into upgrading the system to HD. Hope this helps.

  • Kent McVety

    Livestream recently dropped their free plan. They now offer only paid plans. I had been using Livestream until they discontinued the free plans.

  • Terry Kuhns

    His comments about YouTube are totally wrong. We have been live streaming services for years using copyrighted material and also I have never changed the video player link. He needs to get his facts correct.