The entertainment industry has seen a large amount of development in the ways which creators of all levels can release content for their viewers. One of the major recent developments is the ability to live-stream content. With this, content creators have been able to reach their audiences and engage with them on a more personal level.
One of the key factors to think about when you start planning your live-streaming is what content you want to put out. Not everything will do well as a live-stream and finding the right kind of content to attract audiences is crucial. The main type of content that is streamed around the world falls under the categories of gaming, podcasts, tutorials, lesson content and live events. This is because these forms of content are easy to gain a large fan base around, and are quite simple to stream — plus, they depend heavily on the timeliness of their delivery or participation from the audience. Many companies, including Nissan and Nestle, have used live streams to promote the launches of their new products. In 2016, during the New York auto-show, Nissan revealed their new Maxima, which gave an opportunity for fans who couldn’t make it to the show to experience the moment live. Events like these are becoming more and more popular amongst marketing teams because live-streaming allows them to share their brand or product with audiences all around the world with a significantly smaller budget than having a full television broadcast setup.
What device should you use?
For streaming setups, the choices fall down to mobile devices like phones and tablets or dedicated camera setups. The device you use for streaming depends on what kind of content you put out. For vloggers or content creators who often travel to different locations, using a mobile device is a great choice, as it allows you to easily move around and start a live-stream without any large setups slowing down your process. Many apps, such as Producer, allow you to broadcast live from your mobile device, and Producer in particular has now been updated to allow you to live-stream through all GoPro HERO cameras. This app has incredible streaming quality at 1320 Kbps and gives you the option to chat live with your audience, keeping you connected and on a more personal level with them. You can also share photos and updates with your audience while broadcasting in either portrait or landscape mode, which is perfect for anyone who streams from mobile devices.
However, if you are looking to create a more professional live-stream that is situated in a studio-like environment, then you should look into using dedicated cameras. Having specific cameras for your stream means that you will be able to put out higher quality content and allow for more than one viewing angle. This type of setup works best for streams that have more than one person involved and might need to switch between shots of the presenters and an event or product they are discussing. Any camera with an analog, HDMI, or HD-SDI output can be used to stream with the appropriate hardware and software. SDI-capable cameras offer the most professional connections to use for streaming, but are also the most expensive. Cameras with HDMI connections are usually sufficient in most settings.
Show more with multiple cameras.
Live event streams or guest-based shows will incorporate multiple cameras in order to give their audience various views, showing either the event or the guests that they have on their shows. Again for a stream like this, HDMI or HD-SDI cameras will do the trick, as they can be connected to a switcher. A switcher is a device that allows an operator to seamlessly switch between the various cameras, giving the audience multiple views of the stream with the ability to add transitions, effects, and even graphics. This is a big step up from the limited single angle mode, which is generally possible with on-the-fly streaming from your mobile device.
By having specific cameras focused on an event or person, you will be able to keep your audience focused on the topic of the stream.
Multiple cameras are perfect for directing the attention of the audience. By having specific cameras focused on an event or person, you will be able to keep your audience focused on the topic of the stream. Multiple shots will also prevent your viewers from losing interest.
A good stream has good audio.
Just like with any film or video production, the audience will appreciate clear audio far more than good-quality video. So, making sure that your audio is clear and of good quality is key to having a successful live-stream. There are many options for audio when it comes to streaming; some people will go for a microphone that either connects directly to their camera either through the use of an XLR cable or a 3.5mm jack.
However, if there is a multi-camera and multi-microphone setup then many users opt to have the microphones connected to an audio mixer to help them keep control of the audio levels. Routing the audio output of your mixer through one of your cameras will ensure that the audio is embedded with the video inside the camera and is brought into the switcher through one of the video inputs. This way the switcher maintains the audio/video sync, avoiding any delay between the audio and video.
Many live-streamers will use the Rode Microphones’ condenser microphones as they offer good audio quality, but are at a more affordable price than other professional microphone rigs.
How to Put It All Together
Having the abilities and equipment needed to live-stream is important but running and organizing all of the above mentioned components is not an easy task. This is where products like the Newtek TriCaster series come into play. TriCaster is a line of multi-camera production systems that allows a user to easily switch between multiple cameras while live-streaming and also record full resolution live program outputs as well as the raw sources from any camera, saving you time in post-production.
While systems like this are a big investment, having a production system like this ensures that your audiences will have the full experience of your live stream and will be left with a professional opinion of your content. These systems will also allow you to quickly edit and export your live stream to a video sharing platform of your choice for viewers to re-watch whenever they desire.
TriCaster isn’t the only option out there for your live-streaming system. Wirecast and DataVideo offer similar capabilities at different price points, so even if your budget is limited, you still have options.
Where should you stream?
There are many different platforms that offer live-streaming capabilities, and they all allow for professional levels of output for creators. The main platforms used these days for streaming are YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Deciding on which platform to host your streams depends on what kind of content you wish to put out.
Facebook is the largest social media website on the Internet and many brands choose to use it as a way to promote their products or events. A large user of the Facebook live feature is Red Bull; they use it to broadcast their sponsored extreme sporting events. By doing so, they are able to display their products and the athletes that they sponsor to millions of followers.
YouTube is a platform that is used by a wider range of content creators, from gamers, to live podcasts, and even live tutorial/lesson based shows. Many content creators from YouTube have started adopting the idea of live-streaming more and more. This way they can connect with their fans and audiences on a different and more personal level than is possible with the edited work that they upload to the platform.
Instagram also recently gave its users the ability to live stream, this feature was widely accepted by actors, musicians, sports personalities, travel vloggers and journalists. Seeing as Instagram is a platform that was primarily focused on picture sharing, the added function of live-streaming meant that people with large followings because of their pictures can now share their experiences and what makes them unique with their fan-base. This ability, just like with YouTube, gives content creators the chance to connect more personally with their audiences and maintain a creative approach to their work.
Engage Your Audience
It’s important to engage your audiences. Every live-streaming platform has a live chat ability where the viewers can send messages for each other or for the person that is carrying out the live stream. As a content creator, you must make sure you answer their messages and comments and show them that you appreciate their support and are still actively relying on their opinions in order to produce the best content for them.
Live-streaming, whether for an event or a simple chat with your fans, is a great way to connect with your audience and bring them deeper into your content. Find the best setup for the content you want to create and get streaming.
Antonio is always looking for new ways to expand his filmmaking knowledge, from cinematography to editing; there is always something new he’s trying to learn. Whether it’s new technology, equipment, or platforms to share work on, Antonio will make sure he keeps himself updated on as much as possible.