Getting Started with Livestreaming Mass
During this time of sudden closure of our churches, we are discovering just how helpful digital communications can be. It’s common to joke about 10-year-olds being much more capable than grown adults in this arena, and it’s true that digital natives have an advantage. But it’s also true that broadcasting a live Mass requires knowledge not only in the technical aspects of streaming but also in terms of liturgical dignity and effective communication. Many of our priests are able to set up livestreaming and get started in a couple hours, and others will need more support, perhaps from parishioners or the chancery. But it can be done and help is available for you. Consider this a starting place.
Note: For any livestreaming, good internet is a must. It may be wifi but it must have a very good signal or your broadcast will buffer (stream haltingly). Check your internet speed using your phone while in the church or chapel, with www.speedtest.net. You want to have a dependable upload speed of at least 3mbps, and 13mbps for high-def streaming.
Check out Reach Right Studios’ The Ultimate Guide To Live Streaming Your Church Services
The easiest way to stream Mass is with a mobile phone via Facebook. Click here for a PDF or here for a video with step-by-step instructions for livestreaming via Facebook and an iPhone or Android, which is a no-cost option.
Camera and Youtube, Periscope or Vimeo:
Click here for a PDF with instructions for getting started with Mevo, a camera you can purchase (for about $350) that allows cuts between wide shots and close-ups, and can stream to Facebook and Vimeo. The stream can be embedded on your website or shared with people via email or other ways via a link. The cost for Vimeo is $75 a month. Youtube is free. NOTE re Youtube: to stream from a phone your Youtube account must have 1000 subscribers. This is not necessary if streaming with a camera or laptop.
This document includes specific recommendations for equipment such as tripods and external microphones, on the last page.
Thank you to the Diocese of St. Petersburg for sharing the MEVO and PSG resources.
Tips for Livestreaming Mass Effectively
- Don’t hesitate to speak directly to the assembly, via the camera, before and after the Mass. This personal communication is valuable. Share information you may have about parishioners (with their permission!), announcements about confessions or new items on your website, Holy Week services, etc. Msgr. Harry Schlitt does this at the end of his recorded Masses (fatherharry.org) quite well.
- Introduce yourself! Many non-parishioners are following these Masses.
- Mention the Mass Intention.
- Remind parishioners that their financial support is still important. If the parish does not have an EFT program developed, parishioners can use the new “Lifeline” parish-donation page here: sfarch.org/lifeline.
- Especially on Sundays, if you are using Facebook and can have someone moderate comments (not the same person who is doing the filming), consider opening that section to allow parishioners to greet one another. The moderator can be off-site but must be an administrator on your account to be able to do that.
- Perhaps do a streamed announcement on Saturday with a reminder of Sunday Mass. This gives people an idea of how good it feels to be connected to their pastor and community.
- Watch one of your recordings to assess quality of audio, lighting, camera angle, pre-Mass activities, etc. and make adjustments accordingly.
- Consider using the stream for a parish-wide recitation of the Rosary or other prayer.
- Get the word out. Put a sign up on the exterior of your church, advertising where to access the livestream (e.g., We are livestreaming Mass on Facebook Sundays 10 am! Join us!) Put a notice in your community newsletter – they are low on events to share right now. Promote on social media and in your parish communications.