Eyes are windows to the soul. You’ve probably heard of that saying. I guess it’s possible to identify traits of a person’s character through their eyes. Similarly, your livestream can play an important role in giving a first impression of your church.
In many cases, when you watch a show or movie, you are engaged and committed to see it through until the credits roll. You might even get annoyed if you are interrupted because the phone rings or the cat needs to go outside (sorry, cat guy here).
So how does this compare to an online church experience? Sure, it’s different content and requires participation, but with the right production plan in place, you can take your online experience to the next level – no matter the size of your media budget.
As a member of Liberty Baptist Church in Appomattox, Virginia, I’ve been leading the livestream team for a few years now, but I’ve been working in video production for the last 20 years. I’m grateful that I get to share the talents God gave me with my church and community.
I’m in the thick of live-streaming every week. Some days go well, and others not so much. And I’ve found three simple ways to improve the online church experience. Go with the three C’s: CHANGE your shots, CONNECT with eyes, and COMMUNICATE with viewers.
CHANGE your shots
When you watch your favorite program on your device, you don’t realize how many times the camera angles are changing. You will see tight, medium, and wide shots mixed. This video switching creates the desire to want to watch more. This is one of the reasons we don’t want to stop watching.
If you have only one camera for your church service, start a fundraiser to get another one. Having the flexibility to bounce back and forth among wide, medium, and tight shots makes a tremendous difference for the online viewer. And we want that viewer to keep watching.
Many churches use a simple livestreaming platform that allows for only one camera. Keep in mind that adding another camera may require an upgrade to a video switching platform. Check out the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro HDMI Live Stream Switcher. For $295, this is a fantastic resource.
CONNECT with eyes
I mentioned earlier the impact that our eyes can have. When we speak with others, we are engaged in conversation because we can read the emotions shared through their face. In the video world, if we cannot read these facial expressions, we will quickly lose our audience.
It is critical that you have a tight shot close enough that we can read the face of the talent – whether it’s a singer or speaker. Make this shot take priority over the others while sprinkling in medium and wide shots to keep it interesting.
COMMUNICATE with viewers
My last point is obvious, but it is often a failed attempt by many churches when it comes to platforms like Facebook and YouTube. Online communication must be responsive and correct.
If a viewer is asking a question, answer it! I like to think of it this way. When I’m speaking with someone face to face at church, it would be kind of weird if I was asked a question, walked away, and came back to answer the question the following week. Do not delay! Return a comment. Give a like. This will keep your viewers engaged. They will feel like they are part of the church.
These easy changes can really help. I hope this will enhance your livestream and better engage your audience for God’s glory and honor.
Ishmael would love to hear if these tips helped your online experience. Feel free to connect with comments or questions: email@example.com
Bonus Resource: Video Switcher Basics