Diocese of Portsmouth

Coronavirus: advice about video

The closure of our churches might encourage clergy and lay ministers to ‘live-stream’ prayer and worship from their own homes, or to pre-record sermons, reflections or words of comfort. You might imagine that this is technically complex to do, but there are ways of doing so simply.

Read the CofE digital team’s blog on livestreamingIf you would like to read the full national Church of England advice about how to live-stream via Youtube, Facebook or Instagram, you can do so here. But if you’d rather just stick to one simple way of doing so, all you need is a decent Smartphone and good Wifi, and you can stream using Facebook Live. The instructions are as follows:

  1. Tell those in your congregation and others that you plan to do this in advance, via email, social media and/or text.
  2. Go to your personal or your church’s Facebook profile and click the button that says ‘Live’, under the box that says ‘What’s on your mind?’ (personal) or ‘Create a post’ (church page).
  3. Add a title and a few words of description, and then click ‘Start Live Video’, when you are ready. If you are using your own personal profile, do make sure you’ve set it to ‘public’.

The advantage of pre-recording material is that you can keep trying until you are happy with it. Here’s some advice:

  1. Record yourself using a video camera, tablet or Smartphone.
  2. When you’re happy with it, you can upload it to Youtube, your church’s website, Facebook or Instagram (IGTV).
  3. On Facebook, you can click a button that allows you to ‘premiere’ your video at a certain time, which means those following your Facebook page will be notified that it has started to play.

Whichever way you choose – live or pre-recorded – here are some guidelines for capturing good video and audio:

  1. Don’t stand so close to the camera that only your face fills the screen, but don’t stand so far away that we can’t hear you (many only have built-in microphones).
  2. Try to speak clearly, look at the camera and smile.
  3. You may also want to make sure that the device you’re using is wedged in place to keep it still (or, even better, use a tripod).
  4. Landscape or Portrait? If you are pre-recording your video then use your device in landscape (on its side). If you’re going Live and you’re leading an act of worship, use landscape. But if you are chatting, preaching or praying, use portrait. This is actually all down to the way audiences connect to and engage with what they’re seeing.
  5. Don’t rush, take your time, and be aware of what your body is doing – don’t fold your arms, or wave your hands about as you talk, or even put your hands in your pockets, just as you wouldn't during a conventional church service.
  6. If you are filming indoors make sure you provide plenty of light. Fluorescent lighting is typically poor for filming, and your main room light might not be quite enough. Being in a naturally well-lit room can work well, as long as you are facing the windows through which the light is coming in. Do not stand in front of the windows as you’ll become a silhouette on your video.
  7. If you are filming outdoors, be aware of where the sun is and use its light as much as possible. Don’t have the sun behind you, don't stand in shadowed areas, and be aware of what shadows the sun is casting on your face. The wind can be a hindering factor, not only in blowing your clothes and hair about but also being picked up by your device’s microphone (you may not hear this until you view the recorded video back).
  8. Take notice of what will be in the background of your video. If you are leading worship, you may want some kind of appropriate backdrop behind you. Check the titles of books/DVDs that might be in the background. Remove photos of children.

There’s some more detailed advice from an experienced producer for the BBC who now works as a priest in Blackburn diocese here. Do feel free to ask if you need further advice, by asking our communications team here. www.portsmouth.anglican.org/contact-communications/

Manchester Diocese has produced this very helpful video for those who are regularly filming videos for streaming through their parish social media platforms. It’s packed with great advice and tips for producing well-presented, audible and engaging videos:


Which licence do you need?

With so many churches now streaming some kind of service through their website and social media platforms, and so much innovation going on with how to create the parts that go into an online service, there are understandably many questions surrounding what can be done legally, and which licences are required.

Licences only relate to the online activities of churches, and not individuals. So, for instance, if a member of your church films themselves singing a worship song they can then post that video on a social media platform without needing any kind of licence. The broadcasting of that ‘performance’ is covered by the social media’s own PRS licences. It is quite possible that those social media platforms will flag a video if they think that copyrighted material is being used for monetised purposes (ie. you are using that video to then sell your own product, or you’re receiving some kind of sponsorship through advertising), but this is down to the individual to manage.

Many musicians and singers are now producing videos at home, or playing worship songs and hymns live, for their church to use as part of their online services. For these videos to be streamed legally on social media platforms and on your website, the church needs to have a CCLI Streaming licence (even if the video has already been posted by the individual on their own accounts). This licence also covers adding lyrics to the worship song video. (There are legal requirements for adding lyrics to videos which include displaying the title and author of the song, the copyright holder and the church’s CCLI licence number. This can be displayed in a small, non-imposing font size but they do have to be there during the broadcasting of the song). If your service is being streamed just on social media then you do not need the PRS Limited Music Online Licence, as the social media platform has their own PRS licence.

If you wish to play either your own home-recorded or other music videos as part of your online service via your website (regardless of whether you are also streaming or not on social media platforms), you will need the CCLI Streaming licence and the PRS Limited Music Online Licence. This is because your website is considered your own property and requires a licence to play copyrighted music. Unfortunately this part of your property is not considered part of your venue, for which you should already have a PRS licence for playing music.

It should be noted that most hymns are now in public domain and have no copyright restrictions on their use, but some special arrangements of hymn tunes or rewritten hymn lyrics will most likely be copyright protected and will therefore need a licence to use.

You can get more information about licences from from the national C of E here (scroll down to their FAQ and click on ‘what is the guidance on live streaming and copyright?’) or by contacting CCLI (you will need to know your CCLI licence number).

Do feel free to ask if you need further advice, by asking our Communications team.

Churches that are live-streaming

Here’s a list of churches that have been live-streaming their services so far, with links to where those livestreams are taking place. They may well be live-streaming Sunday services, but we can’t guarantee it. Click on the links for each church to find out more.

Some of these churches are using Facebook to stream their services, so you will need a Facebook account to watch them. Some will be streaming on YouTube, which can be watched without requiring an account. To stay up to date with when services will be broadcast you should ‘like’ the church’s Facebook Page or Youtube channel and accept notifications of future broadcasts when asked.

If you would like your church added to this list, please contact our Communications team.