How to Live Stream | Ultimate Live Streaming Guide 2018
So, you’re ready with some great content, and you’re looking for the best way to share that with the world. The one problem you have is deciding on a way to do it. Well, look no further, today we’ll give you all the tips you need for a great live stream. Live Streaming is the quickest way to deliver content to your audience due to the immediacy of your video’s availability. Never seen a live stream? Check out the video below for a great example.
One TIME® Wood Preservative Interview with Kathy Fishel
42 Expert Live Streaming Tips for YouTube and Facebook, Live Stream Ultimate Guide 2018
While many of us are still posting videos after post-production and hours spent tediously working over our raw footage to see what makes the cut, Live Streaming has revolutionized the way that content creators can upload their videos to the web. For those of you who are new to Live Streams we’ve compiled this list of industry tips and tricks to get your live stream running today!
For live streams it is necessary to pick quality equipment to make your production quality look like you’re a pro! Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go out and spend thousands of dollars just for your stream to look okay, but it does mean that some care must be placed in deciding on what works. For those of you who don’t have the time to do this, we’ve put together a quick list of the equipment that you should bare minimum be using:
- Make sure whatever webcam you purchase can record HD (720p and above) quality video. While the content in your live stream is the most important part, what separates the amateurs and the pros is production quality. While you may hear people telling you to stream in 4k resolution, I would recommend 1080p because your internet connection may not be fast enough to support the higher resolutions.
A Microphone (or two if you’re recording a live interview!)
- You should spend somewhere around $75-$100 on a decent cardioid microphone. Audio quality is the most important part of any live stream. If your audio isn’t good, you may lose viewers just due to that. Nobody wants to hear crackling, fuzzy vocals. If they can’t hear you, they won’t watch you. To save some up-front money, try and find a good USB microphone. I recommend CAD microphones for a decent quality, inexpensive USB microphone.
An Audio Interface
- Now, while this might not be absolutely necessary – If you’ve, for example, purchased a USB microphone – an audio interface gives you an easy way to monitor the vocal track of the live stream. Additionally, if you’re using an audio interface, you have the ability to properly mix two (or more) microphones or instruments! This is what “separates the men from the boys”. All professional live streams use an audio interface to monitor and route the audio.
What is typically overlooked in most live stream checklists is the necessary computer hardware to make sure your show runs smoothly. Something that we actually learned early on in our live streaming endeavors was that it is of the utmost importance to have a discrete graphics card in your computer. While Intel boasts their HD4600 graphics and above, it is not sufficient if you are doing any sort of overlay graphics or if you are running multiple scenes. So, here is our list of necessary hardware:
- While this may seem like filler content, let me assure you – IT ISN’T. Too many people are going live from their cellphones, and are sacrificing on quality! Now this isn’t to say that it cannot be done, but if views are your goal, make something worth viewing. The software available on desktop computers for live streaming is FAR superior to that which is available on mobile.
- Not only will a discrete graphics card make your computer run more smoothly, but it will also improve your live streams! When using discrete graphics, your computer will route all video through it, freeing up resources. This means that when you add overlays and multiple scenes, you won’t get choppiness or dropped frames! By doing this, you are ensuring a better viewing experience for your target audience.
IMPORTANT: Before You Consider Investing in Live Streaming Equipment, Check Your Upload Speed Below!
A very important factor when live streaming is the upload speed of you internet provider. For a smooth, uninterrupted, live stream make sure your upload speed is above 5 Mb/s
42 Live Streaming Tips:
Now that I’ve bored you with our suggested live streaming equipment, here is what you’ve been waiting for!
- Much like Noah’s ark, it is imperative to have two of everything!
- By having two of everything, you ensure that you’re live streaming on time, every time. If your webcam breaks, you don’t have to sweat about it if you have another brand new one!
- Have guests on your show!
- If you’ve been doing videos for a long time, topic generation can be rough. In a rut and need quick content? Bring another person on the show!
- If you’re recording from a cordless device, always make sure to have charged batteries
- Nothing ruins a live stream more than dead air. Never let a camera die during recording, you can lose your entire audience
- After you’ve recorded, if there is a section that is bad, edit it out!
- Most VOD services (i.e. YouTube) allow you to trim your live stream after it has aired. Use this to make your content more concise, or to remove hesitations!
- Keep your cable management neat.
- Need someone to swap a cable across the room? Nothing makes that easier than neat labeling and cord management.
- Have one day a week for recording, but want to be able to live stream every day? Pre-record your sessions and run it through live streaming software!
- If your current live stream software doesn’t support streaming media files, it’s time to consider a new one! Try OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) for your live streaming and see the difference yourself!
- Share your live stream link in Facebook groups!
- You never know when your live stream could go viral, so make sure to introduce it to new viewers!
- Check your equipment specs
- Newer equipment does NOT necessarily mean it’s better! Make sure your hardware supports live streaming.
- Title text matters
- The title text determines the search operators that your video will list under! Make sure your live stream topic is clearly defined or you won’t get views!
- As I mentioned above, make sure your upload speed is fast enough!
- Be consistent with your posting! If you cannot live stream consistently, follow tip #6!
- Make sure your equipment won’t over heat
- If you’re live streaming an outdoor event, try and use an umbrella or some sort of fan to try and cool your equipment. Your equipment could cease to work if you aren’t careful!
- ALWAYS run a test before going live
- Setup a “dummy” account to live stream to so you can test for dropped frames and make sure your audio is on!
- If your equipment worked yesterday, but not today, swap it out!
- The best way to make sure that you don’t have a problem with your equipment in the future is to set it, then leave it. pick a room that you’re broadcasting from, set the equipment up, and don’t take it down. Consider getting some mobile equipment so that can stay static.
- If filming outdoors, check the on site lighting to make sure you don’t have to compensate!
- Outdoor lighting can be tricky at times, so it’s best to find out with enough time to make changes.
- Be mindful of the sun
- Another outdoor tip, make sure that the sun isn’t behind the person being filmed! This will mess with the camera’s light sensor and really ruin your shot.
- Minimize background noise
- Background noise may not be noticeable while you film, but most microphones will pick it up. Try live streaming in a location where you can control the noise levels.
- Be mindful of active equipment
- While you, the person controlling the live stream, may be conscious of it, others working on your show may not. Always make sure that your crew knows what equipment to stay away from. This will save you from a HUGE headache if someone were to accidentally switch off a device.
- Wear a single colored shirt, not striped or checkered
- While this isn’t the biggest problem with live streaming, it is much easier to get a clear shot when working with solid colors. Especially when using a green screen, using fewer colors usually helps the overall quality.
- If you must use a cell phone, there are a few things that will help your live stream quality:
- Use a tripod to stabilize your shot. Nobody is watching your shaky video, otherwise.
- Use a speed test, such as the one on this page, to check your upload speed
- Pay attention to your battery life so your live stream isn’t cut short
- Give some cues to the camera man
- Sure you know how you want your video to look, but does your camera man? Especially when live streaming, it is imperative to tell the camera man when to switch scenes or cameras! If possible, give your camera man his own monitor.
- 2 angles are better than 1
- The more professional your live stream looks, the more engaging it will be. Gone are the days of the “selfie” camera videos, so having a second angle adds to production quality. If you’re putting up a static camera, make sure it’s away from foot traffic to avoid a shaky shot.
- Create a checklist
- Create a checklist for your live stream so that there is no question what needs to be done. This speeds up your setup time, and makes it so you can worry less. A Win-Win!
- Meet with the crew before the live stream
- While you have already met with the camera man, everyone involved with the stream should meet before. This way, any last minute additions can be discussed and prepared for.
- Consider a private streaming platform
- A private streaming platform will allow you to sell monthly subscriptions to your live stream. If you’ve already built your following and are looking to monetize, this tip is for you!
- Market your stream in advance
- If you don’t post on a consistent basis and need to drum up interest in your stream, then the best way is to market it. Our suggestion would be 2 weeks in advance to gain as large of an audience as possible.
- Regular broadcasts are key
- If you still watch TV, you know how important it is to make timely, regular posts. If you’re an American Idol fan, and you’ve been waiting a week to see the next episode, you would be disappointed if the show didn’t come on, or came on hours after it was scheduled. Make sure that you follow a pattern for your live streams so your following will be able to anticipate your new show.
- If possible, rehearse the entire show in advance
- By rehearsing, you can smooth out any rough spots in the show. Live streaming has made it possible to produce high quality content, much more quickly. This only matters if your material is quality.
- Keep it simple, silly.
- By cutting out some of the more advanced features available to live streamers, you can guarantee a consistent quality. Many of the options available only add to the clutter of your daily checklist. If you find that you don’t have the resources to easily keep up with it, make your live stream more simple by, for example, not using a green screen.
- Graphics or lower thirds for context
- Sometimes people end up on a live stream and don’t necessarily know anything about you or the content creator. The best way to fix this is by having graphics that say your name and what you do, or having a scrolling bar at the bottom to give relevant information
- Hire extra crew for the unexpected
- As in any live situation, Murphy’s Law applies. Anything that can happen during your live stream will happen, and you must be prepared for the worst. Hiring extra crew helps solve some of these issues, but not all. Again, some of these problems will inevitably happen.
- Intentional noise
- In the situation of a live sporting event, consider how ESPN has announcers. If they didn’t, their show would be incredibly boring to watch. Keeping this in mind, if you are live streaming a sporting event, consider hiring a student commentator, or make sure that the naturally occurring sounds can be heard. Silence is NOT golden in a live stream.
- Offline graphics for info
- Can you imagine a basketball game with no score? Neither can I. This is why it is of the utmost importance to have some pre-made graphics to place in your show. You’ll like how it looks, and so will your audience.
- Don’t be scared!
- While messing up on camera sounds terrifying, it is very easy to stop a live stream and delete the video before MANY more people view it. Remember, nearly every content creator out there has at least one video they aren’t proud of. It’s all a part of the learning process.
- The audience is more interested in your content
- While as a content creator, I hope you are at least mildly engaging, at the end of the day your audience cares more about the content. If you have information that only you can share, or you have extra tips or tricks that nobody has mentioned before, still share it. Don’t worry about how it looks if it doesn’t already exist.
- Don’t strive for perfection
- Perfection is impossible, and you shouldn’t waste your time with it – Especially so in a live stream. Again, it’s content over the visuals.
- Be creative, and don’t be afraid to go big.
- Have a ridiculous idea that you think people would love to watch? Follow through with it, waiting too long might mean someone else beats you to the punch. Live streaming is great for those spur of the moment, crazy ideas.
- Have fun and enjoy the journey
- Sure you may just be in it for the money, but you won’t get those results unless you have fun with it too. Nothing is better than watching an engaging speaker.
- Budget time for audio
- Many people ignore the audio portion of live streaming, but nobody cares what you have to say if they can’t hear it well!
- It gets easier over time
- Don’t get discouraged by failure, live streaming only gets easier to do the more times you do it! Plus, failure is almost surely the best way to learn what NOT to do.
- Look at the camera, not the monitor!
- Some of you may be thinking this is a ridiculous tip, but for those of you that are camera shy, or don’t have much live streaming experience, make sure to look at the camera. It will help engage your audience with your content!
- Respond LIVE to comments!
- Doing a live stream is more than just getting content out there, it is all about building a community. Nothing builds an online community better than replying to fan comments during a show. Now there are times where this is impossible, such as if you’re running on a delay because your replies won’t be timely. As with any of these tips, take it with a grain of salt. Not everything on this list could possibly apply to every live stream out there.