Video Streaming for Your Church: Your Most Frequent Questions Answered (Part Two)
Welcome to part two of our series which covers the most frequently asked questions we receive about video streaming for House of Worship. In case you missed it, you can read part one here. In this post our resident media and ministry expert, Phil Gauthier, responds to another round of questions about multi-site coaching, time shifted video playback, sim live, and analytics.
Q1. What is multi-site coaching and why do I need it?
Multi-site coaching is a best practice used by executive pastors and ministry to both record and observe church services and activities at remote and local campuses. Internet connected cameras send video feeds to high performance recording software which allows staff to record, review, and notate comments in the video to help disciple and encourage campus pastors, staff, and volunteers. A key feature of Haivision’s multi-site solution is the flexibility to view content anywhere – on laptops, desktops, set -top boxes, and mobile devices. Executives and other remote campus staff can also use mobile devices as video sources to send content to the recording software.
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Q2. What kind of connectivity do I need for a multi-site coaching solution?
Haivision’s multi-site coaching solution does not require a dedicated fiber network between the campuses. It works well even using the public Internet. The overall required bandwidth at each campus depends on two factors: 1) how many live sources are being utilized, and 2) how many viewers are expected to watch simultaneously. While there are no bitrate restrictions on the platform, most of our partners find 2-4 Mbps for live streams to be satisfactory for monitoring and coaching purposes.
In order to compensate for fluctuations in the network, it is generally recommended to have at least 100% overhead to the actual bitrate set at the source contributing encoder. For example: if a remote campus is sending a single 2 Mbps feed to the Multi-Site Monitoring platform back to the main campus, it is recommended to have at least a 4 Mbps link available between the remote campus and the main campus (2+100% = 4). The same math applies to the required bandwidth at the main campus to accommodate viewers on the Multi-Site Monitoring platform – if each feed is 2 Mbps and you expect approximately 10 simultaneous viewers at any given time, the minimum required bandwidth would be 2Mbps*10+100% = 40 Mbps.
Q3. What is time shifted video playback?
Time shifted video playback, also known as timeslip or DVR, allows ministries and churches to stream to remote campuses providing flexibility at those locations to begin playback of content such as a sermon following a worship set or other live activities occurring on the platform at that remote location. This allows for minimal distractions during sensitive activities search as worship, prayer time or tithing. As the content is streaming from a cloud server, there is typically no need for high bandwidth connections at the remote campuses.
Q4. What is sim-live and how do I leverage it?
Sim-live is short for simulated live broadcasting which simply means a ministry organization is rebroadcasting an originally streamed service as a repeat of that live event. This means the content is not offered as video on demand and thus the scrubber is removed from the player embedded in the online campus page, allowing the viewer to experience the content as if it were live. The advantage of this workflow is that it enables global audiences to experience services as if they were live while allowing online engagement across multiple time zones. This can help build a ministry or a brand globally while expanding real online engagement.
Q5. How can analytics benefit my online streaming ministry?
The beauty of streaming online both live and on demand is that it provides new and powerful ways to track, measure, and understand how audiences are experiencing content. Equipped with these insights, ministries and organizations can better engage with their viewers and identify content consumption trends as well as viewers’ physical locations. Technology for live streaming video now offers the ability to track live audience behavior in real-time providing real online engagement during live services by painting a picture of the service segment consumption by the viewer. When using a targeted name acquisition strategy for video consumption, along with API connectivity to a church management program, it’s easy to identify and target outbound messaging to specific viewing audience segments and groups. This is a very powerful tool for donations, event registration, and eCommerce offerings.