Lena Kelly • January 15, 2018
Live video streaming is taking off. Churches around the country are realizing that when they stream, they can connect with their communities in new ways and engage members when they can’t make it in person.
Still, even the most devout believer is going to have a hard time watching with a live stream if the sound quality is poor.
Muffled sound, background noise, wild swings in volume and distortion can essentially ruin a live stream. Anyone who has ever watched an amateur video or live stream knows that the sound is one of the hardest things to get right — and one of the most difficult flaws to overlook.
While most viewers don’t expect Hollywood-caliber post-production sound, there are simple things a church can do to improve the audio on its broadcasts:
Amateur video and sound equipment is of a higher quality and more affordable than ever. Investing in a decent camera and mic will quickly pay off with a larger and more satisfied audience.
Monitoring your audio might be easier than you think. Try plugging your headphones directly into the camera to monitor the sound quality.
This is the quickest way to determine what your viewers will hear and to detect problems. Listening through the mic gives you a more accurate representation of what your viewers will hear and it is the quickest way to detect problems.
If you can, use a high-quality external microphone (unidirectional) and get it as close to the source as possible. Lots of churches have found that equipping the primary speakers with wireless mics is a worthy investment.
If your church can’t do that yet, make sure the speakers know where the mic is and remind them to stay close to it when possible.
Experiment with different types of microphones and different locations to determine what works best.
Though background noise isn’t always be within your control, it’s worth spending some time to determine what you can do to eliminate ambient noise -- the hum of electronics and appliances or even natural sounds, like bird calls and cricket chirps.
Though you might have to close the windows on a hot day, you’ll be surprised how background noises that barely register in person become distracting on a broadcast.
You’re not in a recording studio, but do what you can to dampen echo and unwanted noise. Does your wooden stage creak when people walk across it? Do their footsteps echo like gunshots? Put some rugs down.
Take these simple steps to improve sound quality and your audience will thank you.
If you've decided to stream but aren't sure which streaming provider is right for your organization, you're not alone.
The free Buyer's Guide to Live Video Streaming highlights key features to consider when evaluating your different options.
Here are a few other resources you might find helpful: