Christmas is one of the highlight seasons of the year for most churches. It’s a time for community building, support, and an opportunity to reach more members of your parish with special events. But with restrictions limiting interactions, season favourites, like carols, are a bit tricky to pull together. Fortunately live streaming offers an opportunity to keep some of these traditions intact, if a bit different than usual. If you’re considering how to live stream carols, we have a few ideas. Plus tips for how to use our favourite streaming camera, the Mevo, in the process.
Invite Your Community to the Event
Once you’ve decided to live stream your carols, you will want to make sure everyone knows when and how to tune in. This is a live event many will want to participate in. So it’s a great time to use the two-way meetings feature on our app, so that your home-based carollers can see and hear one another.
We imagine this as a way to be as close as possible to recreating the carolling experience we all know and love. In this two-way, connected participation, you can build community spirit as people join together from home to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Whether you host one or more live stream carolling events, create an event link you can share with your congregation and community at large.
Set the Stage Online and at Home
To help with the sense of community carolling, let your attendees know how to prepare. You may have hymn books people could pick up. Or you could send the song selections via email and social media.
Another ideas is to invite your congregation to dress up and even grab props that will go along with the event. Make it fun and also easy to participate.
If you will be singing by candlelight, let the participants at home know so they can keep set a similar atmosphere.
Prepare Outdoor Spaces
Stage your on-site carollers in a way that adheres to the current guidelines of your area (see below for more details on this). If possible, stage an outdoor space to improve ventilation and distance between singers. This is where having a camera like the Mevo really comes in handy.
As a wireless device, you can take it anywhere you want. If you have a devoted camera-handler, they could walk along a row of carollers, zoom in and out, and even capture small groups in different locations. You can also do this if you decide to do a mix of live and pre-recorded songs.
Checking Your Mevo Settings for Your Event
Since this may be a bit of a departure from your typical services, we recommend you check your settings in preparation before you live stream carols. Audio and visual quality will be especially important to help make sure that feeling of shared experience rings through.
Decide if you plan to zoom, remain static or incorporate more movement than usual?
There are two settings, “maximum zoom” and “default tap zoom”. If you intend to stream in full HD. We recommend lowering both of these values down to “1.6” for “maximum zoom” and a “default tap zoom”.
Using the Mevo app you can tap anywhere on the screen to zoom in. You can also pinch to zoom with two fingers. And at any point, if you wish to go full screen, tap the button that looks like elevator doors.
Adjust your camera settings for lighting
Keep in mind how different this is from your usual services. If you are planing to live stream carols from outdoors this will impact lighting and sound. Similarly a venue away from your normal services may have different constraints. So you’ll likely want to adjust your settings.
When it comes to lights you have a few options. You can either manually adjust your lighting settings or go with pre-determined settings.
Make manual adjustments
If you find that the image coming out of your camera is too bright or too dark or maybe the colours just look a bit odd, open the Mevo menu (…)
Go into lighting (the symbol with the three circles). Tapping these allows you to change how the camera interprets the scene.
The key settings to look for are exposure, contrast, and saturation. You can also enable HDR mode, which simply enriches the image slightly.
Select pre-made options
- Stage: this setting is designed for when you have large amounts of light projecting onto you,
- Backlit: this setting is best if have windows or lights behind you or to the side that are brighten the scene behind you
- Outdoors: this setting is best for natural lighting, such as when you are outdoors. You also have various colour settings that you can apply
We suggest testing these and finding the best settings that work for you to set the mood for the event.
Do a test run with your audio
Since you may have a larger group of singers than usual, or a completely different setting, make sure the audio captures high-quality sound. To adjust the audio levels in the Mevo system, tap the three dots (…) to open the menu. Select the microphone option. You can configure the built-in microphones on the top of the Mevo camera if you are not using an external device.
If you do have an external input plugged in, this screen will display new options that allow you to adjust the level of the input devices.
To hear the audio that’s coming in, there is the speaker icon in the top right-hand corner, which will play back the audio through your device.
We recommend either using headphones – wired or Bluetooth – to ensure that you will not cause a feedback loop by having the audio on and feeding back into the camera.
Following Size and Spacing Regulations
From 2 December, the government has adopted a regionally-differentiated approach, where different tiers of restrictions apply in different parts of the country. If you don’t know, make sure to check your Tier when planning your services by visiting the Local restriction tiers page. As a quick primer:
- Tier 1 restrictions: friends and family who do not live together (or make up a support bubble) must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors. This includes places of worship.
- Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions: people may not meet with friends and family indoors in any setting, including a place of worship, unless they are part of a household or support bubble.
- In Tier 3 restrictions: prohibits even outdoor meetings.
So if carolling in a group, ideally organise outdoor events and also be sure to separate people following the guidelines:
- Limit the number of performers as far as possible
- Position performers in a way that avoids face-to-face performance, as far as possible.
- Good ventilation plays a crucial role in reducing transmission. Do what you can to improve ventilation whenever possible.
- Always ensuring there is a gap of at least 2m between any performers and the first row of worshippers. Further mitigations like screens or other barriers between performers worshipper may also be considered.
- Based on public health advice, if worship takes place inside, the congregation should not participate in any activity that can create aerosols, including singing, shouting and chanting. This follows the advice generally for the Performing Arts.
- If worship takes place outdoors, the congregation may join in with singing, and should follow the principles set out in performing arts guidance. This includes ensuring that congregation members follow social distancing.
- The maximum number of people present should take into account the area of the space and the requirement to maintain 2m social distancing at all times.