My tip of the week this week is for those who are interested in live streaming video to social media. This may be especially useful to pastors who are interested in broadcasting their sermons on Sunday morning. If you hang out with me, you know I like new toys and gadgets. And I just got a new toy! My newest little gadget is called Mevo. It is the camera that I now use to live stream sermons on Sunday morning to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and more.
Last Sunday was the first Sunday I used the Mevo. You can check out how it turned out here:
There are still a few things that need to be tweaked, but I am more than happy with the results.
What I Love about Mevo
The Mevo is not cheap. It cost $750 for the Mevo Plus Pro Bundle. The Pro Plus Bundle included a stand and a case. Most importantly you get Mevo Boost with this pro bundle which adds some additional capabilities (like ethernet) and battery capacity.
I did not love the cost, and I wondered if I could justify the cost of the camera. But one comment I received on Facebook proved to me that it was all worth it. One person wrote:
“Pastor. I want to thank you for giving me a blessing today. I felt sad because we missed church due to my husband’s health. This afternoon as turned on my iPad, I saw your church service. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for caring for people like me.”
If I never get another benefit from the camera so be it. So the first thing I love about this camera is the opportunity it provides.
The second thing I love about this camera is that this camera has a wide angle lens. It allows for wide angle shots like the one below.
But some of the smart technology of the camera will allow it to zoom in. It has face detection and motion detection that allow it to do this automatically. You don’t need to control it. You turn it on, set it, and forget it.
Here a shot that is zoomed in.
This leads to the third thing I love about the camera, and that is the leanness of the setup. I am a pastor of a small church. Volunteers are at a premium. And it can be difficult finding the right person who would be able to operate a complex camera system. While I will be enlisting volunteers to run the Mevo in the future, this first week I was able to operate the camera on my own without any assistance. This means our live streaming will utilize volunteers, but will not be completely dependent upon volunteers.
The fourth thing I love about this camera is that there are no wires. It runs on battery power and connects to the network via wifi. You can always plug in wires if you want, but there is no need.
Having it be wireless was important for our set up. We have an older sanctuary and power is not readily available throughout the room. Having the wireless system allows me to put the camera in the ideal location without having to compromise.
The fifth thing I love about this camera is that it is small. This means the camera is not distracting in worship. It is about the size of a thick handheld microphone when it has the Boost attached. Without the Boost, the Mevo is smaller than a baseball. The stand is a skinny little pole. I imagine that if I had not pointed out the new camera at the beginning of my sermon, that most people would not have even noticed it.
Some of the Details
There is no viewfinder or digital screen on the camera itself. The camera is controlled by an iOS or Android device through a wireless connection. Video is received to the camera but audio can be received by either the camera or the controlling device.
Something important to remember if you are interested in streaming video. You can have bad video quality, but you cannot have bad audio. Your audience can tolerate blurry video, but they cannot tolerate poor sound. If your sound is not good, they will turn off your video guaranteed. So it is extremely important that you have good audio. And Mevo helps you get that good audio.
Although getting good audio was the most difficult part of getting everything set up. The camera itself does not have a great microphone. The ideal solution is to take the audio from a microphone and connect it to your controlling device. I did not have the right cables to hook my microphone up to my iPad last week. That will be the plan going forward. For this week, I was fortunate the iPhone has a very good microphone. Instead of using my iPad, I used my iPhone to control the Mevo. After starting the live video on the iPhone simply stuck the iPhone is my suit jacket pocket to pick up my voice. I was extremely pleased with the quality of the audio that it produced.
The motion tracking is very good. However, I discovered that it is important to stand back from the camera when you have it set up for automatic motion tracking. When I stood too close to the camera, it had trouble tracking me. At one point it zoomed into the floor. But when I stood further away, it all worked flawlessly.
Another thing I will plan to look into is how to better show the monitors in our sanctuary. I did not greatly use the screens in last Sunday’s message. But there are many times when I will show something on the screen that is pertinent to understand what I am saying. In these moments I would like for the person operating the Mevo to be able to show the screens. Because of the brightness of the LCD screens in our sanctuary causes them to appear washed out. But I imagine that as we play around with the system a bit more, we can find a setting that will help this out.
The final thing I have to say about the Mevo is that I would love to be able to stream video to multiple locations. We only streamed to Facebook last week because this seemed like it would be the most popular for live video. However, we have also uploaded the recorded version to YouTube. To stream to multiple locations with the Mevo requires a special Vimeo producer subscription that costs $15/month. Since I am just getting started, I could not justify the cost of that. But maybe in the future.
I bought this set from Mevo directly. It appears that it could be picked up cheaper on Amazon. But the kits sold on Amazon do not appear to be the official Mevo stand and case. I felt more comfortable purchasing from Mevo as I knew I would be getting the real deal.
In the end, I still have more to learn and tweak in the system, but it has left me contemplating the possibilities. I already love my Mevo and look forward to what I can do with it beyond live stream sermons on Sunday morning. I highly recommend this system to any pastors who are interested in live streaming on Sunday mornings.