Live streaming is becoming a preferred way for professionals and brands to connect with their audiences. The realtime view offered allows people to establish an immediate sense of authenticity and trust with their desired audiences. On top of this, live streams receive far more engagement than other types of content. People naturally feel far more inclined to contribute to live content than a pre-recorded video or a blog post.
Here are the main steps and components involved in setting up a successful live stream…
1. Video and audio source.
First off, you will obviously need recording equipment to capture your video and audio signals. You can get your video and audio data from the same source using a camera with a built-in microphone, or you can opt for a separate mic to ensure optimum sound quality. Those new to the live streaming scene are best to stick to a single audio-visual source, which may be a DSLR camera, camcorder, webcam, or even a simple smartphone. If you want to offer a more high production streaming experience though, you can offer a range of different layouts and adapt your stream by adding in multiple cameras or microphones.
2. Encoding equipment or software.
The next step is to convert your audio-visual data into content that can be streamed online. This is where an encoder comes in, to compress and convert your signal(s) into web-friendly and comprehensible streams.
Encoders don’t have to be chunky, heavy or expensive pieces of kit – there are now plenty of cheap or even free options for encoding software online. It saves you having to cart around extra equipment and means you can control everything from one interface. While software is cheaper and easier to set up though, you will likely need a capture card to bridge the gap between your camera feeds and your computer. It’s also important to note that if your computer isn’t powerful enough to handle both your encoding software and live streaming, you are at risk of things going wrong or crashing during your live event.
Hardware encoders are recommended for experienced live streamers who plan to use multiple audio and visual feeds or those whose computer may not be reliable enough to run the software. Encoding hardware doesn’t have to break the bank and there are now all kinds available – you can even use encoders that are designed for easy transport.
3. Streaming platform/destination.
The third step is deciding on your delivery. Where do you plan to share or embed your live stream? There are plenty of free content delivery networks (CDNs) available, with all main social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram allowing users to go live at the click of a button.
Or, if you plan to implement an effective live streaming strategy and use it build a loyal audience, you should opt for designated streaming platforms. Zidivo’s live streaming platform is suited to anyone, from individuals to established brands, allowing users to customise the look, feel and accessibility of their live videos. Using a platform like Zidivo allows you to add branding to your content and obtain embed codes to share your streams on any webpage or site.
4. Strong internet connection.
Finally but arguably most importantly, your live stream setup can all be for nothing if your internet connection lets you down. Obtaining a strong and reliable internet connection can be the hardest part and may require some trial and error to get right. More often than not, WiFi simply isn’t consistent or powerful enough to allow you to stream, especially not for prolonged periods of time. It’s best to use ethernet connections with a high enough upload bandwidth to handle your stream. Identify the bit rate of your stream and make sure your bandwidth is higher to allow room for error.