Just in case you haven’t heard this lately… Thanks. Thanks a million for your willingness to help, and for your role in bringing the word of God to those who take part in worship online, from their homes. That’s key to the ministry of our church, and your role in that is appreciated.

During the pandemic, our efforts have primarily been to record, edited and upload. Since April, we’ve been live-streaming the worship events to YouTube and Facebook. This has expanded the skillset necessary. Steps for understanding the equipment, the SlingStudio camera switcher, social media connections, and general troubleshooting are detailed below.

We use a mix of camcorders and camera phones (iPhones or Android). Each push a signal to the SlingStudio hub –which, pushes out via ethernet connection. An iPad is used to perform camera switching using the SlingStudio Console app. The system has the capability of working with a maximum of 10 camera inputs and still graphics. Audio input comes directly from the house audio system via the audio mixer in the back hall. The white SlingStudio hub is the brain, allowing for wireless camera input and simultaneous recording to an external hard drive while also encoding the signal for broadcast to the internet.
Upon arrival

1. Power on the church sound system in the back hall (2 toggle buttons).
2. Turn on the power for the SlingStudio hub. The blue light should pulse for about 2 minutes while it connects to the network.
3. Power on all cameras and mount camera phones on tripods. On each phone, launch the Capture app, and ensure each is making a connection to SlingStudio wi-fi hotspot (not the upstairs wi-fi).
4. On the iPad, launch the SlingStudio app and drag each camera angle into the Program window to check level and composition. Four cameras: wide, pulpit, altar, music.
5. Adjust exposure on the camcorder nearest organ (+1) –optional.
6. Conduct sound check. Ask Pastors if add’l wireless mics are needed for this service. If so, ensure that batteries for wireless mics are fully charged. Swap with AA batteries in charger in the prep room off the Welcome Hall.

Preparing for Broadcast/Recording
1. On laptop, open several web browser tabs: Castr.ioYouTube Studio,  and Facebook Producer, and login to the following apps:
  a. Castrmitch@christ-lutheran-church.org (castr@1pass). Verify that both YT and FB platforms are toggled OFF.

  b. YouTubemitch@christ-lutheran-church.org (igpassword) Check to see if a stream has been scheduled in advance. Verify the date, time, auto-start and set to Public.

  c. Facebook CLCFred: Assuming you have Admin privileges, you can go to the CLC Fred page and Create Live / Video. Similar to YouTube, check to see if a stream has been scheduled in advance. Verify settings, including the “Persistent Stream Key.” Verify Title and Description fields.

2. In the SlingStudio app (on iPad) create a new project. Use the naming convention of: date followed by CLC Worship.
  a. Set resolution to 720/30 FPS
  b. Bitrate should be around 6Mbps.
  c. Select the SSD for recording and select the first and last buttons to record Program and each camera individually.
  d. Advance through the Live Broadcast screens, verifying the broadcast feed to Castr (no changes).
  e. Create/save project (skip popup windows).
  f. Open the Audio tab and verify that the headphone icon is illuminated in the Program (right slider). All channels should be at zero (muted) before the service begins.
  g. In the Graphics tab, add graphics from the Slate folder –but do not copy. Drag “Starting Soon” graphic to the top right preview window and adjust settings to allow full-screen. Tap Save, then Preview to Program to bring graphic to Program window.
  h. With audio on mute, wide shot in the top right window (in queue), and Starting Soon slate in the Program window, the SlingStudio is ready to broadcast live. There are 3 steps: press the Record button, press the Go Live button, and double check that the audio is muted. Advancing the audio and replacing the Starting Soon slate with a live wide shot are done as the Prelude music starts and the Pastors enter the sanctuary. Monitor stream strength in the lower area of the Program window.

Steps to Live-Stream
Once you have tapped “Go Live” in SlingStudio, switch to Castr. This can be done on a laptop, or the iPad by opening Castr.io in a browser. If the player window in Castr is black, tap the play button to accept feed. “Waiting for Stream” means that Castr is not detecting any feed from SlingStudio. If the feed doesn’t not show within 10 seconds, see the troubleshooting section below.
1. Assuming that the feed is showing in Castr, toggle both platforms ON (this will go live if the scheduled stream time is due).
2. Switch to the laptop YouTube Studio tab. Note the icons on the left, and choose the lower left scheduled event icon. Verify that YT is receiving feed from Castr. Regardless of scheduled stream time, you can launch the stream at any time.
Be aware that we have needed to tap the Go Live button in YouTube in order to start the stream. If the Live button is not illuminated, see the troubleshooting section below.
3. Switch to the Facebook tab. The stream should be accepted from Castr and the Go Live button is illuminated. Click to Go Live. If not receiving feed, verify that the Title and Description fields are filled out. Refresh page. If still not receiving feed see the troubleshooting section below.
At 10am, you should be seeing the “Starting Soon” slate on both Facebook and YouTube live streams. Switch to SlingStudio;. As stated above, once prelude music begins and Pastors enter the sanctuary, replace the slate graphic with the live, wide shot in the Program window and slowly advance the Program audio level to (almost) full. 
There are many things that can cause the stream to fail –some are out of our control. It is important to note that at 10am, if no connection is possible, one of the cameras should be used to push a singular feed to Facebook Live. This is a different, worst-case scenario that sends the video and audio from one phone only. No switching. SlingStudio can continue to record individual cameras and house audio for editing later. Steps for this process are forthcoming.
SlingStudio – Verify that you have pressed both “Go Live” and “Record”. Verify that in the Project settings, Castr is going to “rtmp://ny.castr.io/static”. SlingStudio relies on a strong network signal from the ethernet cord connected via the USB-C dongle. Check this connection and test the local network speed. Also check the wi-fi and run a speed test. If the strength of the wi-fi is above 8Mbps, the SlingStudio can be pointed toward this source, but be aware that a wi-fi connection is less reliable than a network connection.

Castr – Castr acts as the in-between and should show the stream coming from SlingStudio. Castr also generates a stream key for SlingStudio as well as holding the stream Key and URL for both YT and FB. These are attributes of the individual platforms for the YouTube RTMP and Facebook RTMP. If all else fails, you can delete either platform and create a new RTMP platform, using the key and URL found on the YT and/or FB pages.
Facebook – Verify that Title and Description fields are filled out. Refresh the page and recheck these fields again. It is not unusual for it to take :15 seconds before the stream appears in the FB window. In Castr, retoggle ON/OFF/ON for the FB platform.
If all else fails, copy the streaming key and streaming URL and recreate a new RTMP platform in Castr. 
YouTube – Verify that the setting in YouTube shows Public. It is not unusual for it to take :15 seconds before the stream appears in the YT window. In Castr, retoggle ON/OFF/ON for the YT platform. If all else fails, copy the streaming key and streaming URL and recreate a new RTMP platform in Castr. 
Note that if a scheduled stream has been entered, you cannot create a fresh live stream on top of that. Only one stream can use the streaming key. In YouTube Studio, click the lower left icon to view scheduled streams and work from there.
During the service, check the feeds on both YouTube and Facebook/CLCFred. Verify that the audio is good, and respond to comments. Know that both YouTube and Facebook are sensitive to copyrighted music and could suddenly end the stream if any copyrighted music is detected. If this happens, the stream can be restarted after the music has ended (future project: create an option to mute audio and introduce slate or new video). 
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.