Josh Clemence • March 19, 2020
Ministries around the country are finding the value in livestreaming, as it allows them to reach and engage their communities in ways that they were unable to before. Since you’ve found your way to this article, chances are high you’ve decided that streaming could enhance your own ministry.
Choosing video equipment can be an overwhelming task. We’ve put together a list of our favorite equipment to make your decision as simple as possible.
Though BoxCast works well with all kinds of cameras and production equipment, these are our top choices for whether you’re new to the world of streaming, a professional videographer, or fall somewhere in between. To see all of our equipment recommendations, visit this page.
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For camera advice, see our post on the best video cameras for livestreaming. If you want multiple camera angles for your livestream and don't know how to make that happen, check out our intro to video switchers. Or view how to buy livestreaming equipment if you're in the market to add to your AV arsenal. Otherwise, read on.
If you’ve decided to dive into video production for the first time, these devices could be just what you’re looking for. When churches are first starting to stream, many will mount a single camera in the back of the sanctuary to capture their Sunday sermons. The technology in these gadgets is great for single-camera setups and helps you put your best foot forward, even if you don’t feel like you totally know what you’re doing.
Why we like it: The Canon Vixia HF R800 is a great starter camera if you're new to livestreaming and using a video camera. It allows you to shoot 1920 x 1080/60p video with a light, compact body that fits in your pocket.
Why we like it: There’s a common concern that you have to update your entire lighting system to look good on a live video stream. This HD camera looks good in natural low-light conditions and shuts that misconception down. The HF G21 is a great camera for beginners looking to shoot more professional video. It comes with manual settings similar those on a professional-level camera, easily adjusted on a user-friendly, 3.5-inch touchscreen. With 20x optical zoom, you can position your camera in the back of a sanctuary and still get close to your subjects.
Blackmagic's ATEM mini is the most affordable video switcher on the market. With 4 HDMI inputs and a few other built-in bonuses (picture in picture, basic audio mixing, etc.) this device is perfect for entry-level video switching.
Note: This won't scale as easily with your productions, since there's currently no way to use a multi-view monitor, but for smaller events, the ATEM mini is the perfect live switching companion.
Why we like it: This durable tripod is great for any level and will last a long time. Its fluid drag head lets you tilt and pan so there’s no jerkiness to your image. It also has both rubber and spiked feet, making it great for indoor and outdoor use.
You have a developed understanding of video equipment and are no longer seeking the most basic production tools. Still, you’re not ready to attempt mastering the most technologically advanced options. It can be tough to navigate this middle ground, so we’ve done your research for you! These cameras, tripods, and microphones are bit more sophisticated than the ones for beginners.
Why we like it: The Canon XA15 is a compact camcorder that comes fully loaded with the professional features of cameras you'll typically find in the $4,000 price range. A 20x optical zoom lens allows you to shoot subjects at long distances. Its HD-SDI/SD-SDI output and HDMI outputs make it compatible with other equipment, and the 2X XLR audio inputs guarantee high-quality audio.
Why we like it: (See above)
Why we like it: Wirecast is one of the most user-friendly software switchers in the game. You can easily switch back and forth between various camera angles and incorporate graphic overlays onto your stream. Though you do have to pay for it, you can test it out with a free trial.
Note: Software switchers require the purchase of video capture cards in order to allow your computer to receive a video signal from an individual camera.
Why we like it: Roland's highly popular prosumer switcher is an excellent choice for multi-cam livestreaming for small churches, smaller corporate meetings, and youth sports. With four HDMI inputs, a built in audio mixer, and picture-in-picture capability, this devices offers professional features for producing live events at a fraction of the cost.
Why we like it: Similar to the Roland V-1 HD, this portable switcher comes packed with four professional SDI inputs and outputs, along with four HDMI inputs, and a built-in audio mixer. This is a great switcher for the professional video producer looking for a more compact solution.
You’re a seasoned broadcaster and are looking for tools that'll truly enhance your production. We’re sure these devices will help you do just that.
Why we like it: This well-rounded camcorder is packed with professional video features. It provides 20X optical zoom and 40x "clear image zoom" which still appears to be in HD past 20x optical. A beautiful Sony G lens provides great picture quality and does well in low light thanks to a maximum aperture of f/1.6 and three CMOS sensors built into the camera. Overall, this is probably the best camera option for general event coverage — the only limitation is that its maximum resolution is 1080p60. If 4K isn't important to you, you'll love this camera.
Why we like it: This is a complete tripod system studio for indoor/outdoor scenarios and is capable of handling camera rigs weighing up to 16.5 pounds. The pan and tilt this tripod offers are smoother and more adjustable than what you'll find in the Magnus VT-4000. It also has an impressive maximum height of 66 inches, which is especially useful when livestreaming events with large crowds.
Why we like it: The ATEM Television Studio Pro an upgrade to the switcher above. It offers up to 8 video inputs (4 SDI and 4 HDMI). Everything you need to produce a polished, live production is available on the built-in front panel controls. This includes special effects, transitions, and audio mixing. It’s an affordable solution but sacrifices no quality and is comparable to production equipment that you may find in studios.
If you've decided to stream but aren't sure which streaming provider is right for your organization, you're not alone.
Our free Buyer's Guide to Live Video Streaming highlights key features you should consider when evaluating your options.
Here are some other resources you might find helpful: