Livestreaming – Not as hard as all that

I must admit, I had always left livestreaming to the experts, thinking that it is a whole pile of questions and stress that I just did not want or need.

Then, not one, but two separate clients asked me that fateful question in the space of a couple of days, if I “offered these services”. Both were interesting opportunities and both felt like they could be achievable, at least they did on the phone calls…

So, first, what’s involved? Livestreaming can’t be all that hard can it? No, actually it’s relatively simple and not a huge investment, but still a significant learning curve. This short article covers the basics of what you need, but essentially, it’s four things – a camera, a PC, some streaming software and an internet connection

The Camera

Now you can run livestreaming straight off your webcam, but that’s so limited unless you’re okay with the “Zoom” look. Much better if you can hook up a decent camera. It doesn’t need to be all singing and dancing, but you do need to have good batteries or separate power source.

Live stream set up

You should also look to get a separate microphone so you can get your audio captured close to your source, for better sound. You can use your camera’s microphone but you’re likely to lose quality

I used a Canon C100 camera and separate Rode mic, but you can certainly get away with less expensive kit, especially if you have it already, though you do need to be able to feed audio /video out of your camera via HDMI or equivalent

The PC

Something meaty is needed here especially if you’re looking to multi source feeds into one stream. Think Intel i5 and 8GB RAM as a minimum and if your machine is fairly new, then you’re likely to be there already. You’ll also be better off with a decent Graphics card – Nvidia GeForce are strong here.

To attach your camera, you’ll need a capture card, so you can connect the audio and video feeds into the PC, via HDMI into USB3 (USB2 also is an option)

Streaming Software

OBS Screenshot

The “Go To” here is OBS, open source streaming software with loads of features and not too difficult to get your head around, especially with You Tube to hand for some tutorials…

Once the signal comes out, it can feed into a number of on line suppliers – I used my YouTube account as the vehicle, which did need to be set up as a Livestream account, but that is a simple process

The Internet connection

This needs to be consistent above all else, so an ethernet connection is highly recommended. It also needs to be a minimum of 3,000 upload (preferably 4,500) to ensure a good output. This can be checked using one of many online testing sites – I used Ookla and was well within limits

Speed Test Result

Going Live

Once you’re all plugged in, press “start streaming” in OBS and Go live on YouTube. People can then access the feed direct from your YouTube Account, or, as I did, set up a scheduled event and a privacy link to allow only those with the link to see the feed.

Summary

Inevitably, there are a few settings to get right along the way to maximise the experience but with these elements in place, the whole process turned out to be a lot simpler than I’d feared. So, why not give it a try?

Of course, it all depends on how far you want to take it – If you’d like to chat further, then get in touch on andy@photohello.co.uk