Guide to livestreaming for beginners
Through technological development, livestreaming has basically become accessible to everyone in our part of the world. If you have a newer smartphone, a tablet, a computer with a web camera, and a reasonably good internet connection, you may be well on your way to sending out synchronous video content in the digital world.
But maybe you need a little guidance about the technical aspects of handling everything. We will try to give you a little insight into that with this guide. In other words, here we help you get a grip on the basic elements that need to be in place before you can independently send out effective video content over the internet.
First and foremost: Get the right equipment
As mentioned earlier, you may already have what it takes for you to somehow “go live” immediately. In principle, the only thing required for you to stream video out to the world around you is a smartphone with an internet connection. But if you would also like it to look a little better than the results you get with a phone, then it demands a little more from your equipment.
We have tried to categorize it some, so you can see an overview of what you need here. What you need is:Hvis vi forsøger at dele det lidt op, kan du se oversigten over, hvad du har brug for her. Det, du skal bruge, er:
1: A video signal
Signal means something that can create a video signal and some sound. When we talk about video, for instance, it may mean cameras and screen action. Screen action means those things that happen on your computer screen when you are playing a game or doing something creative in a piece of software, which you would like to share in your livestream.
For this reason, a computer screen is also considered a video source. Clearly, a camera is also a video source – perhaps the most obvious one. Here, the camera captures a video signal of wherever the camera is pointed. Simple. But if you are a gamer, for instance, you might benefit from combining a video signal from a camera with a screen signal, so people can see your face, while they look at what you are doing in your game.
2: A sound signal
You may also want to have some sound sources. Sometimes cameras have a microphone, however, an additional microphone is sometimes best, as you can place it close by whatever the sound source for your recording is, so you get the best possible sound for your livestream. You may also need to stream the sound coming from your computer or other sounds that are not part of the “real sound”, as we call it, in the same way as we described earlier in terms of video. You should, however, avoid using music selections that you don’t own the rights to, since it could result in you being banned from the streaming platform you are using.
A camera and an external microphone are a good place to start if you are brand-new at this. Lots of perfectly good equipment for beginners can be connected to your computer via USB, while more advanced equipment often uses HDMI and SDI, which require a so-called capture card as a go-between to your computer. In time, we will create other guides, where you can read more about which cameras are best for livestreaming, etc. – Stay tuned!
Tip: With some cameras, you can run an external microphone signal in through your camera. That way, both the sound and video signals enter your computer via just one cable.
3: Video encoder
The encoder can very well be the software that transforms your video signal(s) into a digital and web-friendly video feed that can be livestreamed. There are also hardware encoders – but that puts us up into a higher level than that where most beginners start.
Therefore, we recommend that as a beginner you start with a software encoder – meaning a program on your computer that can collect your signals into a livestream. And it works just fine! – but it requires you to have a powerful computer that can handle the demanding process.
There is a wide range of good software for livestreaming. OBS Studio is among the most popular choices for beginners. Among other things, it stands out by being free to use – as well as being relatively easy to learn, and they offer plenty of online tutorials that can help you get started with using it correctly.
4: A streaming platform
You also need to choose where you would like to publish your livestream. Here, you also have several options that appeal to and attract different types of viewers. Some of the most common livestreaming platforms are:
YouTube and Facebook have the advantage of being free to use. Twitch, which is used primarily by gamers, is basically free as well – but it offers various upgrades that cost money. You may not need the extra features you can buy, however.
Which platform you choose depends mostly on your personal requirements and wishes. But to some extent, it may also be a little dependent on the type of content you make. You might want to try to find somebody who is making something like what you want to do on the various platforms before deciding to go with one of them. In addition, there are lots of specialized platforms that extend beyond those mentioned in this list. But if you don’t have any markedly specialized content to livestream, we recommend that you start and have your first educational experiences here.
5: A fast and stable internet connection
At Litemotions, we find that many beginners don’t prioritize their connection sufficiently when livestreaming – and this would definitely be considered a beginner’s error.
The best-case scenario is to use a cabled connection to your computer. Of course, it is possible to use wireless connection – but those types of connections tend to drop, which will negatively affect your video stream sooner or later.
Some believe in following a rule of thumb that says you should multiply the current bit rate with 1.5 to get an idea how fast your internet connection should be. E.g. if your livestream has a bit rate of 5 Mbps (megabytes per second), your network should have a minimum of 7.5 Mbps of free upload speed.
Tip: Usually, you can regulate the bit rate of your livestream in your software encoder for greater stability.
6: Let there be light...!
Many guides to livestreaming skip right over this part. But if you want a quick fix for making your livestream look considerably better, you should consider getting good lighting. There are many effective options with LED technology that don’t cost much – but which will give you a bit of the effect you get in a photographer’s studio, where the face is illuminated properly.
There are lots of different methods and setups, but you can actually achieve decent results with just one light. One of these methods is called loop lighting, where the light is placed so it hits you from a 45-degree angle from the front and a 45-degree angle from above.
You can easily make your own experiments as to what works best for you. Film a bit of video with various settings before sending out your first livestream, so you know exactly how your livestream will come across. It is awesome to have a personal feel for personal use – and when you have fixed lighting for livestreaming, you know that you can hit that same style every time you go live. It makes for consistency and recognition, which are great thing to have, if you want to go live often.
Remember that practice and preparation makes perfect
Livestreaming requires quite a bit of preparation – and the more you practice, the better you become! So go ahead and jump in with both feet. Check that things are working, before you start. Internet speed, lighting condition, sound level. You may want to practice on a hidden YouTube channel before you go live to an audience for the first time. And feel free to experiment with everything, until the sound is great, the lighting is awesome, and everything is coming out 100%.
Livestreaming is a personal thing – and you are the only one who knows how it should look. Still, we hope that we have given you some hints and a direction to follow once you feel like jumping into the livestreaming universe as a beginning.
All of us at Litemotions wish you good luck, and we hope you have fun!
You can read more about how we at Litemotions work professionally with livestreaming on this page.