Thanks a million for your willingness to help!
Christ Lutheran Church has recognized a need to push the Sunday worship services to those who are only able to experience them online. We’re seeing success in our efforts to reach this objective, but we’re also seeing areas for improvement. So far, we’ve been able to create multi-camera broadcasts that are either recorded, edited and uploaded; or, broadcast worship services and live-streamed to YouTube and Facebook. Your help as part of the video team is greatly appreciated. It is our intent to create a team with rotated participation so that no one is carrying the full burden.
The steps for getting the equipment up and running are detailed below.
We have 2 camcorders (one black, one white. They push a signal to the SlingStudio hub –which, in turn, is connected to the church’s wi-fi network. All camera switching is performed with an iPad running the SlingStudio Console app. Audio is pulled directly from the house. The house audio mixer is in the back hall and plugs directly into the SlingStudio hub. The hub is the brain, allowing for wireless input, as well as program output over the internet and real-time recording to an external hard drive.
I start the set up by putting the SlingStudio hub on the top of the organ. This gets the best line of sight by cameras operating wirelessly. Usually, just plugging the hub into the power outlet starts the startup sequence of a flashing blue light. Within 2 minutes the light should go solid indicating that it has connected to the church wi-fi. Check that a SD card is plugged into the unit for recording; also plug in the 3.5mm audio cable from the mixer. This heavy audio cable has been snaked behind the organ and should be laying on the floor.
Plug the black camera directly into the hub using a HDMI cable. Set this camera on a tripod and plug in the power cable. Double check that the lens cover is open (slider on side of camera). This camera should power on by itself. This camera should sit behind the railing next to the organ. Check the line of sight through the camera’s viewfinder. That is all that needs to be done; all settings for focus, etc. are automatic.
The white camera will be positioned on the other side of the sanctuary on the window sill. It will push its signal to the hub using the SlingStudio Camera Link wireless transmitter. Lock this camera onto a tripod, then plug in the power cable to the outlet under the first window. Plug the Camera Link wireless transmitter to the HDMI input on the side of the camera. Check that the lens cover is open and push the camera’s on/off button. Power on the wireless unit. Putting the camera in the window is weird, but use a strip of gaffer’s tape to secure it. Verify the camera’s line of sight to the pulpit. As with the other camera, all settings are automatic.
An iPhone can be used as an additional camera. They must have the SlingStudio Capture app installed. Make sure the phone is set to Do Not Disturb. Launching the app is all that is required for the hub to see the iPhone(s). I like to position an iphone on a pew armrest near the center aisle using an adjustable mini tripod.
You should now have cameras in place to capture the pulpit (readings and sermon), altar (prayers), and wide right (musical offering). More on switching between these shots can be found below.
Project Settings: Launch the Sling Studio console on the iPad. Tap Connect to allow the iPad to connect to the SlingStudio hub. Once that’s connected, tap on the Live Stream Project to view project settings. The project name should be the date of worship. Verify that the settings are 720p 30fps for internet. Set slider for bandwidth at 8mbps (3/4 of max). Verify that the recording is capturing Program as well as All Camera Sources (but not quad view). Below that, tap Broadcast Live and tap Sources. On the next screen, choose Custom RTMP, then YouTube RTMP. In this screen all URL and key info should already be propagated. Tap OK.
Camera Switching: Along the top of the switcher window is the Project Sources. The camera that is plugged in directly via HDMI should already be showing. Tap Add Source and locate the SlingStudio wireless unit and any smartphones. A max of 4 cameras can be cued up in the switcher. At this point, check that all camera views are level. Zooming and adjusting levels need to be done before the broadcast starts as these adjustments are not controlled via the iPad console.
Making Magic: Along the left side of the Console, note the camera views and their names. Double tap on one, or slide the small view into the lower right to make that camera LIVE (Program). The view at the upper right is for staging or preview. Having a preview camera cued up makes it easy to transition. Decisions on switching are live and should be considered part of the creative nature of how the service is presented. At its core, the multi-camera switching function brings a more dynamic nature to the broadcast and keeps a viewer’s interest; although switching between views should not be done so often that it would be annoying. Anticipate changes as they occur in flow of the service and switch camera angles prior to, or as they are happening.
Showtime: Prior to the service starting, tap the record button (recording is for backup purposes). To start live-stream, tap LIVE. You should see the signal health and runtime counting on the bottom of the console screen. You will want to use another device to see what others are seeing and hearing. Pay attention to the Program and make camera transitions as needed. By design, you should be able to take part in the church service from a pew without dedicating your time to this function.
On a different device (laptop?) launch YouTube Studio
. Here you should see the same view as the Program view on the iPad console. If instead, the view in the upper left shows a spinning icon, you may need to reset the key. The stream key is displayed lower in this window. Click to reset, then copy. Emailing this key code eliminates the need to hand write the code, but resetting the iPad’s network setting on the iPad (in order to pick up email) get’s wonky. In the iPad’s SlingStudio Console>Project Settings>RTMP setting, add new code and relaunch the stream.
Tips and Techniques
Cameras that are being utilized for the live Program should be fixed, but if you see something in that view that should change, transition away to another camera and before making the modification. Once done, transition back. Similarly, if a camera is not being used, it can be re-positioned. This is especially helpful if a camera needs to be put into service for a different shot (guitar close-up, crowd shot, etc.).
Also, the audio feed from the mixer is from Aux 3. Be aware that board adjustments can be made but should NOT affect the house audio (feedback in the sanctuary is a no-no). This is why adjustments to the audio are best done outside worship service time.
This breakdown of the live-stream video system through SlingStudio is ever-changing. Your input and critique is appreciated. Feel free to email Mitch Higgins
to make changes for this document.