I completely agree with the built in encoding being a huge benefit, and for 95% of our church plants I am going to recommend they stick with that. With us being the largest church, and also the "mother church" from which most of the other churches are planted, I would like for us to reach for a higher quality than is needed for most of the other churches. because much of what happens within our church is used in a variety of ways for the other churches.
Gotcha, that makes perfect sense.
The issue we are currently having I think has to do with the Irig stream we are using to get audio into the phone for the broadcast. The audio begins to skip like a record, and stays stuck there until you reset the stream. It could be a software issue on the phone, but I have read in Irig's online forum that it is something others have struggled with as well. Most people recommend reaching out to them and they will replace the unit. The church has used many different irig devices over the years and they seem to fail often and so I would like to remove that from the setup.
I agree with that choice. The iRig devices tend to work fine for short-form recording, but I've seen a lot of issues with them when used for live streaming as well.
I should say, that I am planning on switching over to multitrack recording our services soon, in order to be able to provide quality backing tracks for some of the church plants that currently do not have anyone to lead musically. So I was already anticipating needing to pick something up to handle encoding so that I can stream straight from protools out of my MBP. I was thinking of using the ATEM mini to do this, is the mini pro really worth the extra $200?
IMO, the ATEM Mini Pro is worth every penny, especially the extra $200 compared to the ATEM Mini. I would be pretty hesitant to have a MacBook Pro do both multi-track audio recording and live stream encoding simultaneously. That's asking a bit much for a computer that gets thermal throttled pretty easily. The benefit of the ATEM Mini Pro is that it takes the processing load off the computer and handles all the encoding/processing within the unit. This will give you better long-term consistency and reliability.
One thing you could consider is getting the ATEM Mini Pro to start with and run the iPhone into the switcher with the Apple Lightning to Digital AV Adapter. Pair that with the FiLMiC Pro app and you get a clean HDMI output compatible with the ATEM Mini switchers. That way you can continue to use the iPhone as your camera, skirt the issues with audio interfaces, and space out your purchases a bit until you have more funds to get a camera. It's not ideal, but I've seen it work decently depending on the iPhone model/age. Just a thought that may help you think through phases instead of one large purchase.
As for cameras, the Panasonic G7 with the 14-42mm and 45-150mm kit lenses would probably be a good fit for your situation given the 60-70 foot distance. The problem, though, is that the prices for that camera and package have gone back up, so you can't find them for under $600 like you used to. 😕
The Panasonic AF100 was pretty abysmal in lower light, and I would hesitate to invest in a camera of that age and quality. The FS100 was a good camera, but again it would be hard for me to recommend spending money on cameras that old, just for sake of long-term reliability. The original a7S would look killer, but I would be hesitant to use it for live streaming due to overheating issues. I had the a7S overheat on me quite a bit back when I traveled with it and used it for longer durations.
The G7 is just about the craziest bang for the buck I've ever seen. The only other cheaper option I would probably recommend is using a camcorder like the Canon VIXIA HF R800 (which also appears to have gone up in price) or a refurbished Canon VIXIA G20 or G21.