Worship Streaming Projects on the Rise for ProAV Integrators


ptzoptics church prod setup

By Paul Richards

The ProAV industry is pivoting to find new sources of revenue following a year that has hit professional integrators hard. While boardrooms and corporate locations are not filled with people, livestreaming projects have captured the attention of enterprising AV professionals. Now is the time for them to boost their technology skills with a new arsenal of tools for projects that remain critical for connecting. From virtual events and town hall meetings to worship services, livestreaming is here to stay.

Since earlier this year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions to socially distance, houses of worship have sought ways to meet the spiritual needs of their congregations. Recently, our team helped Abington Presbyterian Church in the Philadelphia suburbs integrate PTZOptics cameras for livestreaming its weekly services. A local professional AV installation team guided the church on the best locations for the cameras, the different types of cabling options and how power over ethernet can be an advantage over traditional power cables. The church chose a 30x optical zoom camera, mounted at the back of the church, and a 20x optical zoom camera placed on the side of the altar. The 30x-SDI camera can zoom in 135 feet to capture a close-up view of the altar, while the 20x offers a cross shot of the church to capture musicians, singers and even baptisms. With this new technology, the church uses just two volunteers to stream its weekly services.

Working in the worship space for many years, this project was rather straightforward for us. We help ProAV installation companies design livestreaming production systems like this almost every day. Church leaders and volunteers need proper guidance to implement technology smartly. That is why our engineering team has developed PTZ camera integrations with software such as Wirecast, vMix, Livestream Studio, OBS, Tricaster and many more. By the time volunteers sit down to operate the live streaming system, they should be able to produce a production easily, using any of the top video production software, and have camera controls for PTZOptics cameras built directly into their workflow.

Church Production Set Up

PTZ camera controls that are built into livestreaming software allow a single volunteer the ability to operate the entire system with a simple keyboard and mouse interface. Some of our more savvy ProAV integration partners will color code camera inputs, name them in the software for their clients and even set up multiple PTZ presets for popular locations. A PTZ preset location is a stored preset in the camera that can be recalled with the click of a button. Many of the latest video production software solutions can also store a picture of the location inside the software, so volunteers can simply click a picture of where they want the PTZ camera to move. Still, many churches like to have a physical PTZ joystick controller such as the HuddleCamHD Serial Joystick or the PTZOptics IP Joystick. In the case study referenced above, the customer ended up with a PTZ joystick accompanied by a laminated cheat sheet full of PTZ preset locations. Small folders of information like this can really put the finishing touches on a project installation that can make the customer happier and more likely to refer you to another project when the time comes.

If you or your teams are looking to hone technical skills for livestreaming — specifically for the growing house of worship market — head over to Worship Summit Live 4 Wednesday, Nov. 18. After three successful educational sessions this year, Worship Summit Live is back in time for professional integrators to acquire critical technical training for a busy upcoming holiday worship season that will remain at least partially virtual for many houses of worship. The online event will host church production and technology experts who will demonstrate the best methods to safely produce engaging worship celebrations for online viewers. Attendees can view technical sessions at Worship Summit Live for free, as well as access a separate networking and collaboration meeting via Zoom for only $5.

Books in Church

Gain the practical tools needed to create high-quality live productions or video recordings of spiritual services. In a half-day format, sessions will focus intently on technical topics, including deep dives into two popular video production platforms: OBS and vMix. Well-known worship pastor Jake Gosselin will share his worship streaming tips, and worship producers will share and explain their technology setups. Skills taught during Worship Summit Live 4 should improve audio visual integrators’ skills for a future that is all but certain.

Another great way to get up to speed on the unique needs of houses of worship is the “Helping Your Church Live Stream” book, available for free at PTZOptics.com/book.