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Live streaming
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A beginner’s guide to live streaming

Live streaming is one of the most popular ways people consume content nowadays. Broadcasting live to thousands and millions of people used to be reserved for people on television, requiring a hefty budget and a truck full of fancy equipment. But with the prevalence of mobile phones and laptops, we can now take videos and share them with the world on Facebook, Youtube and Vimeo in mere seconds.

 

The COVID-19 crisis and social distancing regulations only accelerated this phenomenon. In fact, a report conducted by the Market Research Future stated that the global live streaming market is projected to reach USD $247,275m by 2027! We definitely don’t blame you for wanting to get into live streaming.

 

But where do you even begin? Although you see live streams everywhere, getting started can be a bit intimidating if you don’t have a basic understanding of how live streaming works. That’s why we created this quick guide to live streaming. Whether you’re a total beginner with zero broadcasting knowledge or experience, or an amateur live streamer who wants to get it right, this is the article for you. we cover everything you know to get started.

cyberport live streaming hong kong
A sound-isolating booth for livestreaming at Cyberport's office in Hong Kong

 

The ingredients: 6 essentials you need to start live streaming

 

1. Space

 

As it turns out, having a good space to livestream from is just as important as where you choose to stream to! Having your own live streaming studio space is beneficial for many reasons – it helps to establish your brand, gives your live stream some continuity and is also way more convenient for you since you can leave all your livestream gear in one place!

 

Some people choose to stream from their home, or rent out a dedicated space each week. Another option that has popped up in recent years are live streaming booths that you can set up easily without messy construction. Whatever you choose, make sure it reflects what your live stream will be about and maintain consistency – that means you should avoid jumping around different locations for every live stream session!

Make sure you're also able to place a green screen, or any other backdrop you'd like, behind where you're seated, so you can always make sure your background is livestream-ready, and nothing (or no one) unexpected appears on screen!

 

2. Lighting

 

If you’re lucky, the live streaming studio space you rent or the corner of your home where you’re live streaming from has good natural light! But even then, investing in some lighting gear is essential. After all, you can’t count on it being sunny every time you want to record a live stream.

 

If you’re just starting off, even one good key light and some additional fill lighting would be enough to create a fairly professional looking live stream. But if you’re looking to go a step further, a combination of dimmable LED light sources with adjustable colour temperatures can help to create an even better looking video no matter the location or the weather.

 

Camera live streaming
Source: Canon Europe

3. A good camera

 

You might think that an iPhone or mobile tablet will do the job, and to be honest, if you’ve prepared in advance, it actually works pretty well! The cameras on our phones and digital devices are getting better every year, but if you’re considering a long-term live streaming career, investing in a good camera or USB webcam to connect to your computer is worth the extra expense.

 

There are a lot of options out there, but choosing the right one for you depends on budget, how comfortable you are using cameras, and also personal preference! To narrow it down, there are three basic options: a video camcorder, a DSLR camera or a webcam. When looking at cameras for live streaming, you’ll need a device that captures HD video at 1080p 30fps at the minimum. Whatever you decide to go with, do your research before making a big purchase!

 

4. Great audio

 

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt about live streaming, it’s to avoid the built-in mic on your camera at ALL COSTS. External mics have much better sound quality, and there are a ton of options out there to suit your specific needs and budget. You can run your mic directly into the camera and control the volume from there, use a quality on-camera mic, or an audio inserter to combine audio from your mic with the video sound recorded on your camera.

 

Source: Teradek

You can also control the amount of unwanted, outside noise in your stream by being in a sound-isolated space, such as a booth for recording and livestreaming. This is especially helpful if you're sharing a space with others, such as inside your office or home.

5. A video encoder

 

In short, a video encoder is the computer software or a standalone hardware device that will get your content onto the Internet. OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) is a popular choice for video recording and live streaming because it’s free and open source. However, you’ll need a computer with enough computing power to handle processing the video stream or risk experiencing dropped frames, shaky audio, or worse. A dedicated hardware encoder is the more robust option, so if you want to ensure a reliable stream, this is the option for you!

 

6. Stable Internet connection

 

Last but not least, you need a reliable and secure Internet connection with lots of upload bandwidth to make sure your stream doesn’t freeze or drop off entirely. The best type of internet connection for live streaming is Ethernet, but WiFi comes a close second.

Source: Neil Patel

 

The recipe: how to live stream in 5 simple steps

Once you’ve got the ingredients together, it’s time to start setting up. We break it down:

Step 1. Set up your space: make sure the space is tidy and the lighting is adjusted to the right setting.

Step 2. Connect your camera and audio to the encoder

Step 3. Configure the encoder and stream destination settings

Step 4. Copy and paste URL and stream key into the encoder

Step 5. When you’re ready, click “Start Streaming” on the encoder to begin your live stream!

Extra tips

 

  • Prep and test everything beforehand. There is nothing worse than having something go wrong while you’re in the middle of a livestream, and the only way to prevent this is to be as well prepared as possible. Testing your live stream on a private channel or fake account, testing the connection speed, sound quality and video quality are all an essential part of getting ready for a live stream. It also helps to check that you have extra batteries or all the props you might need on-hand during the live stream.
  • Once you’ve completed the majority of the planning and set up for your live stream, you need to promote it! After all, you don’t want to put in loads of effort to create a video just for your mum and cat do you? There are many different ways to promote your live stream which would require a separate article altogether, so have a quick Google and you’ll find lots of helpful tips!

 

So there you have it! A quick guide to live streaming as a beginner.

 

Whilst we weren’t able to cover everything in detail, we hope you found some useful tips on how to start live streaming in this post and provide some clarity on the essentials you need to get started! With some practice, you’ll be hosting a professional live streaming channel in no time. And if you want to share your experience, feel free to send us a message via our website. We’d love to share your story on our social media and blog!

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