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Church + House of Worship

Why You Need To Improve Your Church Lighting

This post covers best practices and advice for lighting in your church or ministry. It's part of our series on church live streaming.

How much easier would video streaming be if those watching at home could easily overlook murky audio, poor camera angles and insufficient lighting?

But they don’t.

We’ve all seen too many movies and TV shows to let us ignore those deficiencies. Of course, the members of your church don’t expect a movie-quality production, but low-quality broadcasts take away from the viewing experience and, eventually, could lose your viewership.

Previous posts have dealt with how to improve sound and how to appear more comfortable on camera. This aims to explain how to improve the lighting on your live streams.

Do You Need Better Lighting?

How can you tell if you need better lighting? It’s safe to assume that any church or worship space not designed or modified specifically for video production can benefit from improved lighting.

Looking for what to improve? It seems counterintuitive, but don’t just trust your eyes.

We’ve been blessed with eyes that are more sophisticated than the most expensive cameras. And perhaps more impressive is that our brains can fill in the details of what we don’t see.

It’s easy to overlook a shadow in person because our brains process what the shadow is covering. Amazing! However, that ability doesn’t transfer to live streams. The same shadow that goes unnoticed by those in attendance is distracting for people watching the stream.

To get a better sense of what we’re talking about, try this exercise:

Watch a streamed service and note whether parts of the podium are in shadow and whether people move in and out of the light. Do the windows let in too much light or not enough? Are people’s faces in shadow? Is all the light coming from overhead? Is there glare on sunny days?

How Can You Tell What You Need?

If you can hire professionals to assess and design the lighting, or if you have a qualified volunteer to help, that’s wonderful. But even if it’s a DIY situation, don’t worry! There are some simple things you can do to improve the lighting and your viewers’ experience.

Begin by identifying the light sources. How is your stage lit? Do you rely on natural light from large windows? How does the light change on cloudy days and how do you compensate in the evening and during different seasons?

Are all the artificial lights directly overhead and pointed straight down? Do you have track lighting? If so, where is it pointed? Is all the light coming from one direction? How far from the altar are the lights? Is there lighting focused specifically on the podium?

Again, don’t trust your eyes — judge by what you see on the live stream. Use an inexpensive light meter to identify dark areas and uneven lighting. Once you know where the problems are, you can begin to fix them.

The next post in this series offers simple and inexpensive solutions for some of the most common lighting problems.

Final Thoughts + Further Reading

Lighting is only one piece of the "Perfect Stream Puzzle." If you'd like some recommendations on top video streaming equipment, read The Best Live Video Streaming Equipment for Your Ministry.

Here are a few other resources you might find helpful:

The Best Live Video Streaming Equipment for Your Church

The Best Ways to Buy Used Video Equipment for Your Church

7 Types of Camera Shots To Consider When Filming Church Services

Why Churches Want Lower Thirds In Their Video

4 Ways to Make Your Church Video Announcements Great

5 Easy Ways to Improve the Audio of Your Church's Live Streams

How to Fix Your Church's Lighting Problems

How to Choose the Right Microphone for Your Pastor

Does Live Video Streaming Hurt Church Attendance?

Top 5 Reasons Your Church Should Be Live Streaming

How to Better Connect With Your Live Stream Audience

How to Get the Most Out of Your Worship Service on Your Live Stream

Why You Should Add Lower Thirds to Your Church Live Stream