There is no question live streaming has become more accessible in recent years.
With virtual events on the rise, streaming has become an essential part of our lives, from celebrating important milestones, like wedding and graduation ceremonies, to businesses and organizations looking to connect with their guests and customers in real time.
We’ve put together a quick guide, along with equipment and operation advice to keep your business humming and informed. Engage with your customers anywhere you are, on the go or even in the comfort of your own home.
WHAT IS LIVE STREAMING?
Live streaming is the process of broadcasting an event to allow an audience to view the online media and interact with the host in actual time. This opens new windows of opportunity for anyone to be creators and presenters of their own content and not just passive listeners of others’.
Unlike pre-recorded videos, live streaming brings an authentic dimension to the virtual space, in that there is no editing process. One of the most prominent cloud platforms is Zoom, the top of the food chain for video conferencing and live streaming, with the capability to make events private. Traditional social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have also adopted live in-app service to add value to their customer experience.
ENTRY LEVEL SETUP
The fastest way to go live is to use the equipment you already have - All you really need is your phone or computer with its built-in audio system. However, as a business, you would probably want to ramp up your production value and start crafting a name for yourself in the live streaming world. By understanding the professional live streaming equipment involved, you will be able to scale up or down appropriately and adapt to any event requirement.
Live streaming requires high-speed internet with reliable upload speeds, hence your computer must be able to support multiple applications running concurrently. Although most computer today will be able do the job, we recommend a computer with at least an Intel i7 processor with a minimum 8GB of RAM. As you may learn, Windows is the preferred operating system for video production around the world.
2. WEB CAM OR VIDEO CAMERA
The easiest and most cost-effective cameras to use will be external USB webcams that can be affixed to a stable surface. As most come with a short cord, you may need to purchase a USB extension cable to position the camera in various places. Do note that the longer you try to stretch the connection, the device may lose its maximum resolution.
For the best quality video and filming longer streams, you may wish to consider a 4K resolution camcorder with HDMI connection to output the highest quality stream. With that being said, no videography kit would be complete without a handy tripod to provide firm grounding. However, you may want to do some research in this area as you wouldn’t want to spend thousands on high-end camcorder either- unless you are well verse with all its functions and plan on using it frequently.
Not too sure which is the right camera for your job? Or looking at renting for a one-time event? You may contact us for more details on our package deals with technicians to help you on-site during your event.
3. AUDIO RECORDING EQUIPMENT
Depending on your budget and streaming setup, there are ample options to capture and manage your audio. Although, built-in camera microphones may suffice, we recommend relying on external microphones instead. For starters, a lapel microphone should get the overall job done but it will be practical to explore different audio recording options to cater for different situations.
· Lapel Mic: Discrete and non-obstructive clip-on microphones in either wired or wireless (our preferred choice) options; Great for more dynamic setup, where speakers are standing or on the move. Because lapel mics tend to pick up more room noise, it is crucial to invest in better quality ones that are more reliable and can switch to multiple frequencies in the event you get an interference.
4. VIDEO ENCODING SOFTWARE
Now, here comes the technical part! Encoding converts your video into digital format for transmission over the web. This ensures that your viewers can access your live streaming video without any issue. You can choose between a hardware encoder or installing the encoding program on your computer. Each comes with their set of pros and cons. We recommend the latter for its flexibility to control the appearance of your broadcast.
Hardware encoder are dedicated processors, typically used by broadcasters, that lets you bypass the need for a computing device. These encoders come in both smaller, portable boxes and larger permanent fixtures, designed specifically for encoding.
Although, software encoders may lack the overall speed that its hardware counterpart offers, it is where the true magic happens. For example, you can switch from one video feed to another, mix your audio, adjust audio latency and insert or overlay graphic embellishments to create a polished stream, completed with scenes and transitions. There is a great extent of video streaming software out there, both free and paid. Most options offer free trials too. Make use of those to test the waters before investing in the premium services.
Below are two of the top live streaming and video production solutions in the market:
OBS: OBS studio may not be the best streaming solution but it is a multi-faceted broadcasting tool that supports mixing between multiple sources, camera transitions, audio tools and more. It is easily accessible and fairly-easy to use, which makes it attractive to new broadcasters who are still learning the ropes of this arena.
vMix: High-end powerhouse Pro-level encoder software with video mixer and switcher capability that allows users to broadcast in 4k UHD, using all types of video capture devices like webcams, video cameras, data storage cards and more.
4. STREAMING DESTINATION
Once you’ve gotten your equipment together, it is time for the final step, choosing your live streaming platform.
Social Media live streaming app
If you are planning a one man show product advertisement or short introductory content engagement, for example, and broadcasting from a single stationary computer, social media live streaming is just for you. They not only provide brands with direct access to your customers but also an opportunity for your audience to interact, comment and learn more about what you have to offer.
To list a few:
- Facebook Live
- Linkedin Live
- Youtube Live
Currently widely used in enterprise communications, Zoom has been used for meetings and remote interactions. It is perfect for small groups who wants to engage in group calls or webinars. If you are already familiar with Zoom, it can be a good option to explore and drive viewership for your brand. Just know in order to do this, you will need a Zoom pro plan to allow live streaming meetings, with unlimited time.
If you are looking for something where you can control the video and sound quality, you can connect your Zoom to an encoding software.
Source: Hybrid virtual-physical event, with social distancing measures kept in place, for NTU Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine
5. SECURE A RELIABLE HIGH SPEED INTERNET CONNECTION
For a truly successful live stream, you will most definitely require a fast quality internet connection with enough bandwidth. Having a dedicated network is always best for live videos- you do not want to be sharing your connection with everybody. We highly recommend that you use hardwired internet and avoid WI-FI at all cost!
Remember to TEST, TEST, TEST before going live.
6. PREPARE FOR “MURPHY’s LAW
“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. There is no stopping and no do-overs. This may sound scary to first-timers but do not be intimidated. Go in with a concreate plan. Set things up in advance and conduct technical rehearsals to ensure everything is tested and operating smoothly. With the right support, quick thinking and constant dry-run feedback, you will be prepared for anything unexpected that comes your way.
SETTING YOUR VIEWERS UP FOR SUCCESS
While there are many more steps to take around content and strategy of your live stream, we hope these basic live streaming tips help you and your team understand the background works of live streaming. This is to encourage you to take a step forward for a memorable event your viewers will remember.
At Roxwell, we know there are plenty of challenges that can come from pivoting to a new experience, hence our live stream professionals are more than happy to guide you through your journey. With the agility to quickly respond when the inevitable hiccup arises, we are adequately prepared to act on the fly to avoid any disaster.
WE DESIGN. WE BUILD. WE MANAGE. Meaning, we are with you from the very start of the project. From planning to marketing to executing the stream, we believe in providing a holistic and customisable package for your needs.
Ready to start or have any questions? Please feel free to keep in touch with our friendly personnel.