Live video streaming is taking off. Churches around the country are realizing that when they stream, they can connect with their communities in new ways and engage members when they can’t make it in person. Still, if your audio is poor, no matter how great the video looks, people will not stick around to view your stream!
Muffled sound, background noise, wild swings in volume and distortion can essentially ruin a live stream. Anyone who has ever watched an amateur video or live stream knows that the sound is one of the hardest things to get right — and one of the most difficult flaws to overlook.
While most viewers don’t expect Hollywood-caliber post-production sound, there are simple things a church can do to improve the audio on its broadcasts:
1. Invest in Good Equipment
On a budget? Today’s consumer grade video and sound equipment is of a higher quality and more affordable than ever. Investing in a decent camera and mic will quickly pay off with a larger and more satisfied audience. Here’s a short list of what we recommend.
2. Monitor the Audio
Monitoring your audio might be easier than you think. This is the best way to determine what your viewers will hear is to listen to the live stream. Yes, you will need to deal with the delay as you make adjustments but be patient and make small adjustments, one at a time.
3. Mic Placement is Critical
You must always do sound checks before the service starts with plenty of time to make adjustments. If you can, use a high-quality external microphone (unidirectional), and get it as close to the source as possible. Lots of churches have found that equipping the primary speakers with wireless mics is a worthy investment. If your church can’t do that yet, make sure the speakers know where the mic is and remind them to stay close to it when possible.
4. Check for Background Noise
Ask someone to do a critique of your audio to get a fresh pair of ears listening. Sometimes we get so used to background sounds we don’t realize how annoying they can be. Though background noise isn’t always be within your control, it’s worth spending some time to determine what you can do to eliminate ambient noise — the hum of electronics and appliances or even natural sounds, like bird calls and cricket chirps. Though you might have to close the windows on a hot day, you’ll be surprised how background noises that barely register in person become distracting on a broadcast.
5. Quiet The Unwanted Noise
You’re not in a recording studio, but do what you can to dampen echo and unwanted noise. Does your wooden stage creak when people walk across it? Do their footsteps echo like gunshots? Put some rugs down. Do the doors into your sanctuary make annoying sounds when they open and close? WD40 might be the answer. Take these simple steps to improve sound quality and you will keep your viewers.
I still maintain that your audio is probably more important than the quality of your video. Take some time and review your latest stream and listen carefully, you may be surprised at what you hear!
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