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Facebook Live Setup for Church Services or Other Events

I’m sure that with the measures taken in the states and abroad that your services and events have been disrupted in some way. To make it a little easier, I wanted to put together a how-to article on live-streaming. It’s probably easier than you realize. Let’s get to it!

First, the equipment. I’m going to go super simple and then suggest ways to up the quality if you can or if you have the time.

  • Phone – I’m using an old iPhone 6s, but anything should work as long as it can take video.
  • Camera stand and phone mount – This is what I have, but you can get anything similar or even a high table and/or books.
  • Long USB to phone cord – that’s a USB to Lightning or whatever your phone needs to connect to a computer (and reach the computer from the stand). Here’s a good choice at Amazon.
  • Computer with internet connection – I’m using a MacBook Pro, but anything that meets the requirements here.
  • Streaming software – OBS is awesome. And free. So use it by downloading here (compatible on all major operating systems).
  • Facebook Profile – we use Facebook, and this article is centered on Facebook, but you can use YouTube and others as well.

 Have you purchased or have clever substitutes for those things? (Seriously, a stack of books on a table about 15ft away from a small band or 6ft away from a speaker will do in the place of a stand.)

Equipment Setup

  1. Turn the iPhone on and open the camera. Select the video mode in the camera. 
  2. Now point it in the direction of the band or speaker with everything centered appropriately for you setup using the stand.
  3. Connect the phone and computer using the USB to Lightning cable.
  4. If your phone asks you to trust the computer, follow the directions for trusting the computer.
  5. I’m going to assume that you downloaded and followed the wonderful instructions for installing OBS. Now open OBS on your computer. 
That’s the physical setup. Really easy, right?! Next, we move to the software setup to really get things going live!
Software and App Setup
  1. In OBS, the sources list is where most of the magic happens. It looks like the image on the right.
  2. Click the plus (+) sign to add a “Video Capture Device”. Select the Create New option and name it something that makes sense and that you’ll remember. “James’ iPhone 6s” is nice and specific and obvious for me.
  3. The next window will allow you to select the device and the preset. From the Device dropdown, select “Phone”. And then set the preset to “High” setting.
  4. But this doesn’t look good. Let’s fix that now.
  5. I have the phone in laying horizontal with the cord on the right side. So right click the stream window, choose “Transform”, and Rotate 90 degrees CCW.
  6. You can now drag the window to fill the screen and get rid of the camera options. This takes a little bit of playing to get right. And you’ll want to lock the auto focus. Here’s a good guide for that. My suggestion is to angle the camera where the center stage is in the bottom right corner of the camera and lock the auto focus. Then you can center the stage in the iPhone camera and streaming window again. (I know that was a bit technical. Play with it until you get the results that work for you.)
  7. Now in your web browser, navigate to Facebook Live Streaming page.
  8. Click “Create Live Stream”.
  9. You have options here to share where you want the stream on the right hand side of this page. We stream to our church’s page that I manage. It’s important to set this so the stream key will be the same when you stream next time.
  10. In the center of this same window is a stream key and a few options. Check the “Use a persistent stream key” option. Then copy the stream key.
  11. Back in OBS, click Settings in the bottom right box. Then choose the Stream option in the left hand menu. 
  12. Here you should choose “Facebook Live” for the Service setting and paste your stream key. Click “OK” to save the options.
  13. Once you select the Start Streaming option in the bottom right box of the main OBS window, you can go back to the browser where you copied the stream key. If all is correct, you’ll see the stream start.