Camera Equipment for Livestreaming

April 30, 2020

As livestreaming worship becomes a higher priority, many churches are looking to level up their media production from a smartphone to more advanced camera equipment. Eric Brown, founder of Picnic Table Productions, shares some broad equipment options at various price points to aid in streaming online content for congregations.
LOW Cost option (<$400)
This is ideal for small setups with one person only (like a pastor) on a stationary shot.  Audio will be taken from the sanctuary’s sound system and diverted to the camera input.  Basic equipment needed would be:
Tripod (go with a metal one if possible – the heavier it is, the more stable) 
There are many examples of this, but here’s one that is $130 for reference.

High Definition (HD) camcorder – the key here is to have HDMI “OUT” and some sort of mic “IN” 

  • Also, get one with a power (aka AC) cable so you can plug it in and not have to worry about batteries
Here’s a good example for only $60 HERE
Now to connect this camera to a computer running zoom, facebook, youtube, etc:
External HDMI CAPTURE CARD - $81.63 (connects camera to computer) so that instead of using your computer’s built-in camera, it now uses the video camera’s video and audio (from the sound system) 
Here’s a good example for only $82 HERE
Additional accessories – there are several sizes of HDMI ports, so you MAY need a mini HDMI to HDMI adapter to connect to the external HDMI Capture Card, but they’re under $10 HERE
MEDIUM Cost Option ($400-$600)
This solution is perfect if you have at least 1 tech person who can switch the different camera “angles” (from wide to tight) to offer more visual options.  The MEVO is best option for this and is an all-in-one product that is very simple to setup and use.  This can NOT be used with zoom or google hangouts, but is great for social media streaming with a higher production quality than the LOW Cost Option
MEVO standard system - $400
MEVO PLUS livestreaming device - $598

You can find these on Amazon.  If you can, it’s recommended that you purchase the PRO as it has a hardwire internet connection (more stable) and has a microphone jack, again to pull audio from your preexisting sound system.  In addition to this unit, you’ll need an ipad though to run their free app that allows for switching and graphics integration. (VERY easy to use though!)

HIGH END Cost Option (>$600)
More discerning audiences want more than a simple, single camera feed though and these higher-cost solutions allow for TV show-like production with multiple cameras, graphics, overlays, etc.  These setups can get very complex and incorporate multiple HD or 4K Cameras (this depends on need and could be the camcorder listed in the LOW Cost Option or be $20,000+ professional grade gear), a Video Switcher (allows to switch between the video sources and cost anywhere from $500-$5,000) [an AWESOME option is the $3,200 Convergent Design Apollo] and typically require a team of AT LEAST 2 people to operate.  
If this is something you’re interested in feel free to reach out to for a free email consultation, but please provide the following info:
-congregation size & tech team (or staff) size/capabilities/expertise
-approximate budget
-technical background/previous experience
-features you’d like in stream (online giving, live comments, etc)

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