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Keeping The Stream Live

Created by: Greg Hyatt
Submitted on: March 2, 2021

Everyone at one point or another has experienced issues when watching our live stream. In this article we are going to be talking about keeping the stream live and things you can do beforehand to help enhance your online experience while watching our live streaming broadcasts.

I don’t believe there has been a Sunday that has passed that we don’t get comments in regards to the streaming quality while we are broadcasting. Whether it be our Sunday School broadcast or our morning worship services. In fact, I almost feel that I’m not doing something right if I don’t at least see one comment in the chat.

Keeping The Stream Live – Available Bandwidth

The most crucial item in any live streaming broadcast is the bandwidth in which is being provided by our Internet Service Provider. Keeping in mind that where we are located, we have to deal with the bare minimum quality that is provided by Centurylink.

Certainly not my preferred pick, however, it is the only one at this time that provides Internet service to our church’s location.

So let me provide you and illustration. Here at home we have Suddenlink/Altice and have what is referred to Gigabit WiFi, which delivers unparalleled speeds in both our upload and download capabilities.

Currently at the time of me writing this article, we have 365 Mbps on the download side and almost 55Mbps on the upload side. Keep in mind that this is is achieved on a machine that is connecting to our Internet via a WiFi router. If I was running a direct connection via an Ethernet connection, the speeds would be off of the charts.

However, even with the speeds that have been achieved are nearly 10 times of what we have at the church.

Weather and Keeping The Stream Live – Let TheWind Blow

Now add on the fact that we have slow speeds at the church, when there is any significant weather event such as storms or strong winds, you can pretty much dump the connection because is is nearly impossible to maintain any quality level of streaming capabilities.

Now there are other things, which play a factor in how you receive our broadcasts. Your Internet connection and speeds, also, play a vital role in how we are able to deliver a quality broadcast to your location.

Furthermore, the types of devices you use to connect can play a part as well. However, there are some things you can do to help improve your experience.

If You’re Not Using Your Bluetooth, Turn It Off!

Probably the number one thing I see in the chat is those who indicate they are unable to hear. Of course the very first thing you will see me ask is “Do You Have Your Volume Turned Up?” If you do, then let’s look at a few other things that will improve your experience.

  1. If you are not using any Bluetooth connected headsets or speakers, turn your Bluetooth off as it can cause struggles on your device as to where it is trying to send your audio to.
  2. Make sure and re-start your device prior to listening in with us. This will help to clear your devices memory and free up a little thinking space for it.
  3. If you’re using the Facebook App on your device and experiencing issues, try shutting it completely down. Then open it back up and re-connect to the broadcast to see if that improves anything for you.

The Accidental Button Push – Everything Just Got Quiet

With us constantly on the move to improve our broadcasting experience, occasionally, a button accidentally gets pushed that mutes our entire production. It happens. Although we try to avoid any of those issues, when you are busy trying to focus on 3 different programs, 3 different screens, and making sure everything is happening the way it is supposed to, things get a little hectic back in the booth.

Mixing The Audio Up – A Never Ending Story

While we try our very best to blend in the audio with all of the singers and various instruments on the page, there is going to come different times when things may be out of adjustment.

Believe me when I say that trying to keep up with two separate audio mixing boards, two computers, and a variety of programs on all of them can be more than a full-time job on a given Sunday morning.

We truly strive to get things as blended as possible, however, there will be times when things are completely out of our control that make delivering the seamless audio that everyone would like to hear, just isn’t possible.

Things like ensuring that the usual singers are using the same microphones, holding them at the proper distance from their mouth, are the batteries fully charged up, and let’s not even throw electronic interference into the equation. This normally occurs with frequency bumps and jumps that can be affected from all the electronics that are close, to include everyone’s cell phones.

Improving The Video Quality – Keeping The Stream Live

I’m sure most of you have seen that the video quality at times is less than smooth. We have been blessed to receive a better camera to utilize, however, it will be another two Sunday’s before it is up and live since we had to acquire two new components to make it all come together.

Once the cam is up and running, we still will have to push through the poor bandwidth speeds available from our Internet Service Provider. However, the new camera will assist in delivering a clearer image and output resolution.

Step Up To The Plate – See What It Takes

I do want to encourage those who may not be aware of exactly everything that goes on behind the scenes to come back and be a part of the team. See how much preparation goes into each of our Sunday morning worship live streams.

In addition, there is an abundance of post-production work that goes into both the audio podcast production as well as the creation of our graphics that are utilized both on screen for in-person viewers, as well as those viewing online.

Currently it takes me 16 hours per week to get everything prepped and ready and then put into final production and uploaded to the many locations that our streams are fed into.

So approximately 64-70 hours per month is what it takes for us to achieve our current level of production.

Tell Your Tech Team “Thank You” and Show Them Love

It takes the talents of several people to provide you with the things you have come to enjoy and expect throughout our growth into the new and various ways that we as a church are now required to communicate through. Believe me when I say it can be a daunting and sometimes overwhelming task, yet we push through and sometimes feel as though nobody notices us, that is until something doesn’t work the exact way they think it should.

If you will go back to a pre-COVID time and see where we were located then in comparison to where we are at now, I think you will find that we have made great strides in the quality of our streams and the technology that we rely upon to help us deliver God’s message to both our members as well as visitors around the world.

We are always looking for ways to improve, but equally important is the fact that we are looking for people to step up and get involved. Sometimes, we all need a break to sit in service with our families while someone else helms the controls.

Moving Forward

You can expect as we begin to re-enter a new era of worship, we will always be looking for more engaging ways to deliver the Gospel message. As we prepare to go back into a “Mask-Free” style of worship, we cannot afford to go lax in the level of our production.

Whether it’s three or 3,000, we will ensure that anyone who desires to catch one of our worship services online has the ability to do so. That’s why we’re here!

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