Sharing your service on Facebook Live
If we have learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that worship in our brick-and-mortar facilities may never return to the way we have always known it to be. Congregations have had to become proficient in utilizing various social media platforms, e-newsletter production and most importantly digital media.
One of the most important digital media formats is livestreaming. And one of the most commonly used platforms is Facebook and particularly Facebook Live.
In this edition of the Presbyterian Communicators Network E-Newsletter, I provide tips on how to successfully share your worship service through Facebook Live.
Facebook Live does not require expensive equipment. You may use your computer or mobile device and you may livestream events like your congregation’s worship service or Bible study anytime.
This format allows you to show your service in “real time” and it provides a platform to speak directly to your congregation.
You can go live on Facebook from a mobile device or computer. A Wi-Fi connection is recommended for the best video quality, although it isn’t necessary — you can go “live” on your phone with just a cellular connection.
According to Facebook:
- To go live on Facebook, create a new post and tap “Live” or “Live Video.”
- You can select who can view your Facebook Live video, and whether you want to publish it to your profile page after the recording is completed.
How to go live on Facebook on a mobile device
- Open your Facebook mobile app.
- At the very top of your screen, in the new post field, tap “Live” (it’s next to a red camera icon). If you prefer, you can tap on “What’s on your mind” and then scroll down and tap “Live Video.”
Facebook makes the “Live Video” button easy to find on the mobile app.
If this is your first time, Facebook may ask for permission to use your camera and microphone. If so, grant permission.
- Before starting the video, you should first select who you want your audience to be. At the top of the screen, tap the downward arrow to the right of “To:” and choose who can see your video — it can be everyone (Public), just your friends, specific groups you belong to and more. Then tap the “X” to close this window. (If you want to test Facebook Live without letting anyone see you, you can choose “Only me.”)
- Above the blue “Start Live Video” button, hit “Tap to add a description…” and enter a short description for your video.
- When you are ready, tap “Start Live Video.”
- After a moment, you should see a red indicator in the corner of the screen labeled “Live,” along with indications of anyone who is watching your video.
- You can use the tools at the bottom of the screen while you are broadcasting. You can add filters to the video, flip to the front-facing camera and back again, and more. If you need additional light, the lightning bolt will brighten the screen, which will reflect off your face for a brighter video. You can also type comments while you broadcast as well.
- When you are done, tap “Finish.”
After broadcasting, you can tap “Share” to post it to your Facebook page, where it will appear with all of your other content. Anyone with permission to view it can watch the complete video. If you don’t want to post it, tap “Delete” instead.
How to go live on Facebook on a computer
- Go to Facebook in your web browser.
- In the new post section at the top of the screen, click “Live” (it’s next to a red camera icon).
If you prefer, you can also click on “What’s on your mind,” and in the pop-up that appears, click the three dots in the bottom right corner. Then select “Live Video.”
In the “Create post” field on your web browser, select the three dots to bring up the “Facebook Live” option.
- If this is the first time you’ve tried going live from your computer, you may need to give Facebook permission to use your camera and microphone. Grant permission as needed.
- You should now see yourself in a video window. In the panel on the left, enter a description of your video event and choose your audience (such as Public, Friends or a group you belong to).
- When you’re ready, click “Go Live.”
Choose who can view your live video, write a description and then click “Go Live.”
- When your video is done, click “End Live Video.”
- The video will automatically be added to your timeline when you click “Done.” If you don’t want to publish it, click “Delete Video” instead.
Before you can livestream to Facebook, you’ll need to download streaming software.
To create a livestream on Facebook:
- Go to com/live/create.
- Click “Create Live Stream.”
- Choose where you want to post your live broadcast.
- Select “Use a Persistent Stream Key” if you want your stream key to be permanent. If this isn’t selected, you won’t be able to use this stream key again after the stream ends.
- Copy and paste the server URL and stream key or persistent stream key into the settings of your streaming software and start the video stream from your encoder. A preview screen will appear.
- Write a description and title for your livestream.
- Click “Go Live Now.” If you want to schedule your broadcast for later, click “Schedule Live Video Event.”
During your livestream, people will be able to react and comment. You can write replies to comments or respond to them in your streaming broadcast.
If you’re livestreaming to your timeline, you’ll be able to choose your audience. When you end your livestream, it will stay where you shared it as a video post.