Get started streaming with great equipment
If you have a newer smartphone, you basically have what it takes to go live on the internet anywhere and anytime. But if you are slightly more ambitious, you may benefit from our guide to getting a great setup with some decent streaming equipment, which will then give you many more options for livestreaming than just a smartphone or a web camera.
If, on the other hand, you need our expertise in livestreaming of important events or webinars, you can read more about our professional service here.
Camera and microphone – a little about the essential tools for live-streaming
As with other technical equipment, all tools for streaming are not equal. Of course, there are cameras and microphones for livestreaming that perform better than others – and depending on your ambitions and perhaps the primary topic of your recurring live sessions, you can certainly find good equipment without blowing your personal budget completely.
Perhaps you have been inspired by some of the greatest live streamers, who make it all look like child’s play while delivering topnotch quality. But you can be pretty sure that they started their journey in the same place where you are now. Therefore, there is no shame in selecting streaming equipment that is suitable for beginners – because as you gain more and more experience as to what works for you, you will also become much better at choosing specific equipment suitable for your genre and for the personal look you want to deliver.
In this guide, we assume that you already have a device (a PC or a Mac with a stable internet connection) for streaming. As mentioned earlier, you can also stream from a phone or a console, but here we will focus on streaming via your home computer.
About cameras for livestreaming
The most affordable solution for livestreaming is a web camera. Webcams are popular, as they are easily connected to your computer, and they often have a built-in microphone that makes the start relatively problem free. This solution can be a good place to start for several types of streamed content – live chats, gaming, etc.
If you would like a slightly higher video quality, there are good options among modern DSLR cameras or mirrorless cameras that often deliver in very high resolution. Here, you will also need an encoder to send out your video output in a streaming-friendly format. Finally, there are also dedicated video cameras that represent the highest level of quality. These cameras are usually marketed to the professional segment – and they are priced accordingly.
Choose a microphone that matches the rest of your streaming equipment
Several studies indicate that good sound is actually more important for the impression of quality than video. Therefore, we obviously recommend that you prioritize the selection of a microphone for your streaming equipment. The most popular microphones for streaming are USB microphones, which today have a quality that approaches that of several studio microphones, and which are somewhat easier to work with. This is probably a result of the increasing popularity in areas like livestreaming, podcasts, etc.
Another advantage of a good USB microphone is the fact that you don’t need to handle all kinds of extra equipment in terms of the sound. Because although a studio microphone with an XLR cable in principle could give you even better sound, you need to be aware that it can also require a mixer and a preamp, as well as the necessary knowledge to handle audio at a professional or semi-professional level.
The most important add-ons
When you have a good idea of the cost to acquire the optimal streaming equipment for you, you also need to remember the add-ons, which are certainly not insignificant. This could be things like a holder for your camera, a boom arm for your microphone, LED lights that can improve your look considerably, and the associated stands and cables. You may also benefit from a green screen, so you have the option of changing the background on your video.
The choice of streaming equipment depends on what matters most to you. So don’t think that the most expensive stuff in the ultimate quality is necessarily best. Go for a decent beginner setup that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg – and soon enough you will have a much better idea of what equipment you need to add to your setup to improve your results. And remember that it isn’t the video quality per se that will get you thousands of followers.