I had watched live streaming events on YouTube before Covid19 changed our world, but never really given much thought as to how one would go about “doing” a live stream. For the most part, it just seemed like someone sat in front of their computer camera and microphone and talked about something, had people make comments, and then answered the questions or comments. No big deal, right?
Well maybe, if that is how you are approaching live streams. But when we were told that our church services were over as we knew them for the time being, and that we should make “a video” available to our parishioners, those of us who got together to discuss how to make our services available knew that just plopping a computer down and turning it towards the service wasn’t going to work. Rather, it seemed like we were going to have to go into the television production business and then somehow get those sounds and images into a computer and then out to you! Three steps that turned out to have a pretty good learning curve attached to them just to add to the confusion.
So Dave Elfering, Jim McDonnell and I started to explore how this might work. It turned out that a great little Australian company, Blackmagic Design, had a few months ago started selling a little box that would make our life much less complicated in that it facilitated the merging of cameras and computers at a price that was actually doable, unlike those boxes in all of the years past. But of course, back-ordered! So we started to look for alternatives and found one in the gaming community of all places. Seems that those kids like to be able to live stream themselves playing games and talk about it at the same time, a combination that was very close to what we needed to be able to do. So I did another internet search for this, and the same thing – back-ordered again. But we thought this might be kind of a consumer thing, so we started checking local stores and bingo! We got – literally – the last one on the shelf at Target. So now we were looking like we might be in business. And after 9 hours spent by the three of us at the chapel trying to get this to work the day before we were supposed to do our first Divine Liturgy live stream, we left for home that evening thinking this might actually happen. And it did!
As a team, we keep trying to make the improvements we know are needed, and then try our best to trouble shoot the problems that keep popping up. So far, some good and some not so good on that front, but we’re still working on this and are hoping that especially as Holy Week approaches, we can really have a smooth and oiled machine by then. Thanks for your patience – it has been one wild ride!