Recently I have been looking at LIVE streaming and specifically the tools and equipment for live streaming.
Being on YouTube now days means that you have two options to reach your audience,
Video publishing and live streaming.
Even though the two use a “camera” but they are very different animals.
LIVE Streaming is unique because it allows limited interaction directly with your fans.
because of this fact, the requirements and equipment needed to deliver a reliable stream to end users in real-time (or near real-time with a slight delay) is not small but achievable.
LIVE Streaming Basic Requirements
- Internet Connection – with at least 10 Mbps upload for 720 or 1080p streaming – i’m on a Fibre 15/10 service currently.
- Internet Router/Modem – A good reliable router is essential. The bigger the better as the more devices you have on your network will demand more bandwidth.
- Streaming Software – to Stream and control what the end viewer sees as well as translate the feed from camera to internet: I’m using Open Broadcaster Software or OBS.
- A good Headset or earbuds – To hear the stream while its going.
- A Good Microphone setup – Easily the number one thing when live streaming is having good audio, if the audience can’t hear you they will tune out quick
- A good Web Cam or camera – Most phones have decent cameras now but if you want to up your game professionally get a good webcam or buy a DSLR and then stream that through your computer using some extra equipment.
- Optional – Stream deck Switcher – This little guy can easily streamline your show allowing you complete control at the touch of a button (more on this later)
- Green screen or Office backdrop – If you have the dedicated space to stream, then setting up your space to look presentable on camera is a great option. If you don’t a Green screen can help. (more on this later)
- Lighting – Lighting is important for your image to appear decent to the camera. All cameras need a good lighting source. Use lighting best practices from when you do videos. Lighting can be as cheap as LED bulbs or as expensive as studio lights.
Here are some Links for equipment from Amazon that I hand-picked to fill that list of requirements:
Pre-sonus’s Audiobox 96 USB – The basic audio device that you can use to connect an XLR microphone or a TRS microphone to your computer (TRS microphones are like the old school headset connector on some stereo receivers – they are also what a Guitar for example could connect to). This unit is a good little unit and does the job. Up to 24-bit 96 Khz (no lag) recording and 2 channels also powered by USB bus!
The one model up from that…
Pre-sonus’s Studio 26 USB – The next level up in terms of capability and quality. Its got a digital level display for easier dialing in your audio on the fly. Its got increased Audio quality up to 192Khz 24-bit natively and 2 line (analog) outputs in case you need to feed an external mixer or something. Like to previous 96 USB model, it has MIDI in and OUT. It also includes Presonus’s Studio Artist software package.
There are higher end models that support more inputs! Click on one of the links above on Amazon and check those out if that’s something you need in your studio!
I’m not an expert at audio. I’ll admit it. When it comes to Microphones there are so many to choose from. It will also vary depending on what you are recording. Choosing a mic for vocals is a lot different than choosing one for instruments as example. For YouTube we typically look at Vocals for either Pod casting or just plain recording your voice. I will tell you what i use however feel free to experiment with different mics. The basics are this. XLR mics tend to the be the best for microphones because they are analog sources, have balanced connections (which means less noise or distortion on the line). Also, XLR mics don’t rely on internal electronics to process the sound, that is why you need an analog to digital converter like the Sonus boxes above, that have good quality components to do that for you. Your computer audio or a USB mic will work as well however you will not get the same quality (or anywhere near the quality) you will with the proper audio.
That being said there are still a wide variety of options.
I am currently using a Vocal Mic that was originally meant for Kareoke. It’s a Behringer Ultravoice XM8500. It’s a dynamic cardioid microphone and set up specifically for Vocals and also isolating vocals (hence the cardiod pattern). this means that its a good mic for recording because it doesn’t tend to pick up any background noise, you have to be fairly close to the mic itself for it to pick up anything. If you have watched any of my videos, any audio recording i have done where i am not onscreen was used with this mic. I think it sounds pretty decent for the price of it. There are a lot of other options available that are superior however in terms of the vocal range however some users on amazon reviews say this mic is basically a Shure SM-58 without the price tag.
It is still available from amazon!
My friend and fellow YouTuber Nick Nimmin uses a RODE Procaster mic which is fantastic but a lot more expensive. If you are looking for serious sound this is a great option.
I’m currently using a Logitech C920 (Carl Zeiss version) 1080p Webcam for my live streams. There are newer version of this camera, but so far this Webcam is fantastic. image quality is superior to most and it has quite of bit of image features for getting your exposure correct using the logitech software.
Logitech C920 Webcam (Amazon Affiliate)
Green screens are definitely not a must for streaming, in fact they can get quite complex fast in terms of getting them working correctly however considering I will be implementing green screen shortly into my own stream.. I found this amazing time saving device and thought i would share! Elgato is a company that makes the extremely popular Stream deck (see below), based on that product the Green screen is no exception to the quality standard. Green screen setup time has always been a real sore spot for Green screen owners. I currently own 4 green screens, 3 are fabric with 1 being a large size, the third is a roll of green screen paper. The paper i almost never use, it can get destroyed fast, requires a lot of set up time and requires storing it in a location that can accommodate the length of it. The fabrics i bought because i felt it would be easier to set up and take down on a regular basis. modern software allows for more variance and forgiveness with creases and lighting setups however i soon found that lighting the green screen properly and getting a space large enough to do “proper” green screen is a challenge.
The Elgato solution isn’t perfect, its less than 5 feet wide (which is smaller than my main green screen) but for setting up a live stream or temporary situation, the Elgato solution can be implemented in seconds. For me to set up a smaller fabric one the way I am doing right now, would take a lot longer. For me, lighting a green screen for live streaming is less involved anyways, so the elgato solution fits the bill and saves time.
Check it out here!
The Elgato Stream Deck is quite possible the coolest and most useful thing you can have while performing a live stream show on Youtube, Twitch or facebook! Integration to Open Broadcast software as well as others, this switcher also full customization of functions for live stream to put your switching all at the command of a button. Everything from playing sound effects, media sources, YouTube chat text and windows hotkeys are all available for customization on the stream deck. The best part is that Elgato Stream deck is actually a miniature screen for each button. It allows you to assign custom images to each button. With version 3 of the software you can even assign animated GIF files! This allows for a truly unique experience and allows you to organize your livestream features in a convenient way!
For all the links above I get a small commission from amazon when you check out your cart within 24 hours of adding it. Please consider purchasing through these links! It really helps out!
What other equipment do you want to see on this list? Have any cool tech you want to share! Contact me on YouTube and I can check it out!
Thanks again for visiting!
until the next Article! Keep on Streaming!