Live Streaming on a $1000 budget

Recently, a friend serving at a small church here in Alabama approached me about helping them with live streaming their services. Of course, my first question was, “what’s your budget?” Their budget was like that of most typical church’s – small. $1,000 to be exact.

They also wanted something that was super-volunteer friendly and easy to stream with. A bonus would be if it was able to be expanded at a later date. This definitely presented a challenge.

So, the recommendation I put together totaled $1007.86 for them. All the items were purchased from B&H Photo and Video and Amazon. There are many options available but they had the best deals for this particular setup.

Here’s the shopping list:

The heart of the system is a new Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro HDMI Live Stream Switcher for $595. Brand new to the market in 2020, this device can switch 4 HDMI inputs, and stream your production from one interface. It includes two audio inputs so you can send audio straight from your soundboard. It also has a multi-display to view all your inputs, outputs, and live streaming status.

The key part of this system is the ability to stream straight from the switcher without the use of conversions or an external computer. You can choose YouTube or Facebook to stream to along with recording straight to a USB flash disk.

We’re starting with only one camera so we chose the least expensive HD camera we could find. In this case it’s the Sony HDR-CX405 HD Handycam for $198.00. It has a mini HD output so we converted that and bought a Anbear Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable (HDMI to Micro HDMI Adapter) for $6.99 and NTW 25′ High Speed HDMI Cable to go to the switcher for $16.99.

For audio, our switcher will be right beside the audio board so we bought a DISINO 1/8 to 1/4 Stereo Cable, Heavy Duty 3.5mm Mini Jack TRS to 6.35mm Jack TRS Audio Interconnect Path Cord Lead – 3.3 feet for $10.99.

Other than the switcher and camera, we wanted to make sure a significant investment was made in the tripod. The support for your camera is exceptionally important in making sure you have a watchable video. Shakiness, bumps, sudden slides from side to side – buying a tripod with a fluid head and solid legs will help reduce that. I’m a big fan of Manfrotto and their products so we bought a Manfrotto 290 Xtra Aluminum Tripod with 128RC Micro Fluid Video Head for $179.88.

I can’t wait to see it all installed and working at the church soon. We’ll update this post with some pics when it’s done so you can see the final product. Live streaming for under $1000 is possible with a little help!

Live Streaming Shopping List:

If you enjoyed this article on setting up your live stream you may benefit from our tips at Video Conferencing Like a Pro also! Check it out!

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