Want to know how to live stream? From choosing the right equipment to live streaming an event or Q&A, here's our step-by-step guide for live streaming like a pro.
Live streaming is an easy way to share events with a large audience online. Everyone, from tiny businesses to major corporations, is now participating in the current live video craze. Local governments, performers, and influencers are creating strategies to capitalize on the popularity of live streaming and interactive video, including virtual town halls, demos, and online education.
There are several reasons to jump on the live streaming trend, but most importantly it’s a great way to engage your audience. Whatever type of streaming event you’re looking to host, you have to ensure you’re giving your viewers the best possible experience. Creating an industry-grade live streaming video is not an easy task, but by following the proper process – which we’ve helpfully outlined below – you’ll be live streaming like a pro in no time.
Whether you’re planning to live stream an event, connect with your community, or host a live Q&A, here’s our step-by-step guide for hosting a seamless live stream.
There is undoubtedly some equipment that every streamer needs to have to go live. However, with the vast range of tools available, it can be hard to know where to start. Here is some essential equipment every live streamer needs.
You can stream games and other screen-based activities over the internet without additional hardware, but you can’t show your viewers anything else. With a good-quality video camera, you can broadcast content, speak to your audience, and attract more viewers to your streams. Webcams, DSLRs, camcorders, and action cams are the four different types of video cameras used for live streaming – all of which require a video encoder to send live videos, gameplay, or screen grabs to your streaming service.
There are a few things to consider when buying a streaming microphone. USB microphones work best for streaming as they record audio more clearly – you don’t want your viewers switching to another broadcast due to subpar audio quality.
A software encoder is a device that compresses video or audio data to use less bandwidth (or storage) space. Software encoders take video and audio data from a computer or any other source and transmit them to your live streaming platform. Not all formats are suitable for streaming online, so the encoding step is critical. A software encoder will encode whatever signal it receives into the MPEG-4 H264 format, certified for use in streaming internet material by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Although YouTube is the most popular platform that adheres to this guideline, many other hosts also comply with this format.
If you want to stream content from other devices like game consoles, the best solution is a standalone PC. If you want to stream content directly from a computer, you can configure it to handle both your computer usage and streaming simultaneously. Everything depends on the kind of content you provide. For example, you would need a strong CPU and GPU computer to run a game and control your computer usage while streaming.
Although laptops can broadcast games, doing so is typically not recommended. A laptop will work if it’s your only computer and you don’t have the money for a streaming setup. These devices will be seriously taxed by playing and streaming, and not all of them even have Ethernet connectors for a wired connection that is more dependable.
It’s crucial to ensure your live stream is as reliable and high-quality as possible. Upload/download speed is the main focus of internet providers due to the frequency of live streaming (e.g., Spotify, Netflix, etc.) However, when you provide a live broadcast, you’re transferring video footage to a server, making fast upload speed (not just download speed) essential. Your entire setup is useless if you can’t give your audience a flawless experience.
The quality of the content will affect the video file size for live broadcasting. The upload speed that we advise is:
The most frequent sort of streaming hardware is hardware encoders. They convert video feeds into a data stream you can send over the internet. This real-time technique does not require post-production or editing, as the encoded output is sent directly to a computer’s web browser, mobile device, or set-top box without further processing. The main benefit of using hardware encoders is that they do not require software installation like other types of streaming devices.
A mixer and an external sound card are the optimum mixing equipment for streaming. This setup will ensure all the essential inputs, outputs, and controls to offer the highest-quality audio to your audience. Creative Labs and M-Audio produce the most popular USB sound cards, while Behringer provides a wide range of mixers.
A capture card is a device that transforms video signals from your camera into a digital format so that your computer can easily recognize them. Its main job is to take in video signals and turn them into digital files that you can use on a computer or mobile device. People invest in capture cards because they provide many benefits, such as dual-streaming and high-quality game streaming. Dual streaming is the practice of streaming simultaneously over two or more platforms.
Some other mandatory tools for live streaming include tripods, good lighting settings, production software, etc. However, there are no hard and fast rules, and you can choose according to your requirements while live streaming.
The next step in creating a live stream is choosing an encoding software. Many cameras are designed to record rather than live stream, so investing in an encoder that works with your camera is wise. Encoders compress the video files from raw to digital to send them over the internet, ensuring viewers can access your session without any glitches.
The next important step is choosing a live streaming platform. There are several free live streaming solutions available, like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, or more comprehensive options like Muvi or Restream. Regardless of which avenue you go down, choosing a top-notch live streaming platform is vital – or else it won’t matter how fantastic your live streaming studio is. Selecting the best live streaming platform can be challenging with many live streaming platform providers all offering different benefits.
Here is a list of the essential features and solutions to search for in a top-notch live streaming platform:
Be aware of how regularly the live streaming platform is updated and maintained, how simple it is to combine various systems and solutions, and whether it requires coding or technical expertise. It’s wise to select a live streaming platform that requires minimal technical support or effort to concentrate on the most crucial part – live streaming!
Here are some popular, reliable live streaming platforms to try:
With over 2 billion active monthly users, YouTube is still the most popular live streaming platform. In addition to its massive viewership, YouTube provides analytics and monetization options. Since YouTube is also a video storage platform, it saves each of your live streams so users can watch the replay whenever they want. YouTube Live also has a chat function so viewers can send messages to you and each other throughout the stream.
Facebook has a massive reach, with a global base of 2.7 billion monthly active users. The platform also appeals to several demographics, with millennials its largest user group. Facebook allows you to build on a network of established users and offers monetization options, live broadcasting from desktop and mobile devices, analytics, video editing, live chat, and live stream scheduling. You can also go live from a personal profile, page, or group.
Muvi Live comes with cutting-edge capabilities and options to enable flawless live streaming. It offers users their own custom live streaming website and app and simple social media integration for broad audience reach. Muvi Live offers a free 14-day trial, so you can explore everything the platform has to offer at no charge.
When multistreaming with Restream, you can stream to 30+ social channels simultaneously. Multistreaming widens your reach so viewers can watch you on their preferred platforms. Restream is free and broadcasts to your Facebook, Twitch, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Mixcloud all at once.
Some other popular live streaming platforms include:
We recommend creating a budget-friendly live streaming studio to create quality and engaging live stream video. A live streaming studio is an all-inclusive setup that provides the room, technology, and other tools to allow you to professionally live stream your events, shows, meetings, etc.
A live streaming studio makes the process more efficient, rather than having to set up before every broadcast. Although many people prefer setting up their live streaming studio in their home, you may also choose to set up a more professional live streaming studio at your office or workplace.
Choosing the ideal location for your live streaming studio is the first step. Any room in your house or business can work – here are some things to consider:
You must make your room soundproof to get the most out of your live streams. Let’s go over the key recommendations for soundproofing your live streaming studio.
Once you’ve found your space, it’s time to set up your audio and video. You can use a built-in webcam or a camcorder to capture videos, but we suggest using a high-quality camcorder for better quality.
Your chosen streaming quality should be 1080p or 4K if your equipment allows. We recommend selecting a camera that can broadcast at least 720p, even for beginners. You can also use video mixers to combine several live video sources to provide top-notch visual effects.
Choose a high-quality standing mic, an XLR (External Line Return) microphone, or a USB microphone for high-quality audio recording. While XLR mics have many benefits – such as high-quality audio, adaptability, and portability – they are often pricey. You can even fasten a lav mic to your clothing if you need to walk around while live streaming.
To finish your live streaming studio, you might also want to invest in tripods, ring lights, string lights, or even a backdrop or branded neon light to take your setup to the next level.
Before starting your live stream, it’s vital to create a plan. If you don’t write a script or make an outline for your live stream, you risk producing an unprofessional or unorganized result. When planning your live session, consider your goals and objectives and any topics or points you want to discuss.
“You don’t necessarily need to script your live stream, but you should have a good idea of what you want to talk about and when to change topics,” explains Victor Bous from Restream. “Put everything in your run of show document, including cues for music, lighting, guests, and any other part of your stream.”
“It’s also important to brief your guest if you have one,” Victor continues. “Most of Restream’s live shows feature a guest, so our video producer will briefly review the show before the stream starts.”
To host a great live stream, you need people to attend! There are various ways to promote your live stream and push your content to reach your target audience. That can be achieved by:
It’s also crucial to embed a link to your live stream on your website. Embed the link on your homepage, so visitors don’t need to visit the hosting platform directly.
Testing your equipment is an absolute must for live streaming. It’s the best way to ensure all your gear is running correctly before going live. Most live streaming platforms allow you to test your equipment in a “dry run” to ensure everything works.
“We record a short video before we go live with the camera, mic, lights, computer, and all other equipment in place to be sure everything is working right,” says Victor.
To avoid technical issues, use an Ethernet cord instead of wireless internet during the stream, and close all other non-necessary programs on your computer.
Once you’ve completed all the previous steps, it’s time to go live! Spend a few minutes welcoming people to the chat, then dive into your topic or introduce your guest. But the work doesn’t stop here!
Ensuring your audience is engaged and interactive with your live stream is the key to its success. In fact, adding interactive elements draws more viewer attention, and increases watch time by 57%-68%.
In live streaming, interaction is essential for connecting with your audience. Where people passively consume content in on-demand streaming, in live streaming, the audience actively participates in the discussion. They might be searching for answers to their queries, asking for help with their problems, or simply wanting to get to know you. Real-time interaction encourages viewers to engage and builds trust with your audience.
Here are a few suggestions to make your live stream more interactive:
“The key to making your Livestream more entertaining is to enjoy yourself! If you’ve planned everything properly, focus on having a good time and letting your personality shine through — your audience will respond best to that,” says Victor.
Live video streaming marketing increases brand recognition, generating conversion-oriented collateral for your sales funnel. Without a dedicated call-to-action, your live stream will be pointless. Calls-to-action are the primary door to the sales funnel, and you could miss potential clients by failing to add a CTA.
Your call to action (CTA) should inspire your audience to take concrete action and become a client, customer, follower, or subscriber, which could be the difference between a conversion and a lead.
For example, Mitsubishi Motors enhanced its automobile launch by utilizing Amazon Live. Using Amazon Live, viewers could remark on, ask questions about, and receive answers regarding the vehicle in real-time from the designers and engineers who created it. The result? For the first month following the Amazon Live event, Mitsubishi booked out all test drives through the live stream link, and advertising sales jumped 67%.
Whether you aim to increase traffic to your brand’s website or increase the sale of your product and services, including CTA can help you achieve enhanced sales and boost overall traffic to your website.
One of the surefire methods to boost engagement in your live stream is a Q&A. As we all know, one-way communication is not result-oriented. Allowing users to interact with your brand through a Q&A creates a dialogue between the brand and consumer. Audience questions will also help you identify consumer needs and allow you to learn more about potential leads. Questions from your audience will clarify the value and purpose of your offering and show how it can solve their problem.
You can add a Q&A session at the end of your live stream or set aside time to answer viewer questions (you can even prepare a few of your own to ask if there are none from the audience).
A significant portion of your viewership can tune in after your live stream has ended. Use a live streaming studio or a platform that allows you to save your live video for replay so you can generate views even after the live stream is over. You can also download the video to share across multiple social media channels or embed it on your website if it’s valuable.
Once your live stream is done and dusted, it’s time to start thinking about the next one! If you want to grow your audience, consistency is vital. Stick to a schedule, and go live regularly. If you continue live streaming consistently, your following and audience trust will increase. And don’t forget to show your viewers – no matter how few – that you value them.
“If you’re just starting as a streamer, the one thing to remember is consistency,” advises Victor. “Stream as regularly as possible because the more you show up, the more likely people will notice you. And always thank your audience, even if you only have one viewer.”