Live streaming has become an essential tool to spread brand awareness in this digital age. Many of us are starting to realize the importance of providing information real-time and engaging with your fans. This has also led many services to create their own streaming platform. Twitch and Youtube Live are just two examples.
Live streaming not only allows you to converse with viewers in an interactive way, but it also opens up the opportunity to make extra income if you have a large enough fanbase to monetize.
Now the question is, is it easy to be a streamer?
No, not at all, but if you want to do it professionally, then you should level up live streaming equipment instead of relying on the regular one.
- Live Streaming Equipments
- FAQs – Streaming Equipment for PC
- Final Thoughts
Live Streaming Equipments
1. Computer or laptop
While you can stream on your Smartphone, a device that can handle taxing tasks is a better option for the job. If you have gamers you are fans of, you’ll notice that most of them stream on their computers or laptops. This should give you an idea that both types of devices are indeed preferred for streaming. You can also use two at the same time. One is for playing games, while the other is for broadcasting the playthroughs.
A desktop PC is more reliable than the average Smartphone. Besides, it comes with a much larger screen, so it’s easier to navigate through menus and add cool effects to the streams. Another benefit of using a computer is you can use a mouse and a keyboard, both of which provide better controls and ease of use compared to touch screen on Smartphones.
What are the minimum specs to look out for?
If you’re going to use the device for gaming, then make sure the specs are high that it can run your favorite games. Different games have different graphics and requirements. Read the specific information before you search for a desktop computer.
There are a few ways to talk to your viewers during a live stream. The first one is through text, and the second one is through speech. Which one is better?
A combination of both is good. However, we can’t rule out the fact that audio is clearly important in keeping engagement high. Your subscribers would want to hear your voice while playing games. That’s what they deserve after paying for a subscription.
What about the mic that’s built into the camera, isn’t it enough?
For a streamer who’s still building a base, it’s good enough. But if you’re starting to become an established name in the industry, giving the best treatment to your fans should be the highest priority. A quality mic doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many products that deliver great audio but come at affordable prices. In choosing a mic, there are a few things to consider, such as:
- Frequency response: this term you’ll come across a lot while shopping for a mic since it is an essential attribute of a mic. Frequency response refers to a range of voice frequencies that a microphone is able to pick up, which is measured in Hz and kHz. The first figure shows the lowest frequency, while the second figure represents the highest frequency. The rule of thumb is find a mic with a range of 20 to 20,000 Hz.
- Pickup pattern: this is equally important as it determines how a microphone picks up sound. A polar pattern also shows which areas of a mic are more sensitive relative to others. There are a few common terms used to describe this. The first one is unidirectional. When a mic has this pick up pattern, it focuses on one sound source only. The most sensitive area is usually right at the front. The sides and the back are less sensitive. Therefore, it’s ideal to be used in interviews where the respondent’s and interviewer’s voices are all that matters. The background noise won’t be picked due to the specific angle from which it picks up sound. If you need a mic that captures everything, then an omnidirectional mic is the answer. It picks up sound from the front, sides, and back. With this trait, omni mics are technically more sensitive. And there’s also bidirectional pickup pattern that has two sensitive areas, the front and back.
- Connectivity: USB and XLR microphones are types of microphones classified by operation. USB mics are also widely known as plug and play mics, which as the name implies, require a USB port to work. Basically, you just have to plug it into a USB port to start using it. An XLR mic, on the other hand, needs a device that works as a hub between the mic and the PC. That device could be a mixer or another. While it sound s a bit more intricate, it has its own benefits, so don’t be discouraged if you want to use it for recording.
Your viewers won’t be able to see your face if it wasn’t for a camera. Your laptop or monitor may have one installed already, but is that enough?
Providing the best experience is an important thing in streaming and a low quality camera can’t do that. If you need something more powerful than the built-in monitor camera, you can consider a standalone webcam. It offers many benefits.
First, in terms of placement, you can clip it onto the monitor or use the tripod / base that comes with the package to set it on the desktop. And then, you can tailor the specifications to the needs. There are a few things to consider in choosing a webcam, like processing power. In case your PC is in mid-level category, avoid buying a webcam that drains resources as it would adversely affect the PC performance.
But if the PC is built for gaming, then even a high-end camera won’t be a problem. Resolution is also important because it’s closely linked to sharpness and details. You should aim for at least a 720p resolution. A 1080p or 4k resolution is better.
A higher resolution lowers the risk of videos looking blurry when viewed on larger displays. And then, think where you’re going to place the camera. It can perch on your monitor or stand on the desk. If it’s the latter, buy one with a leg or a stand.
4. Green screen
This is not mandatory, but it’s always fun to offer something new to the viewers.
What does a green screen do exactly?
It’s the same as green screens used in making CGI movies. Technological advances allow us to bring objects from the realms of fiction to reality. Not all streamers implement this, but for those who do, it makes a difference to the experience. With a green screen, you can turn your usual backdrop into a theme you like or have never imagined before.
Or maybe the room where you broadcast looks unsightly that you need to cover it up with something. In this scenario, a green screen can also help. A green screen, just as the name implies is just a piece of fabric that comes in the color green. There’s nothing extraordinary about it.
But although it’s a simple object which can be found everywhere, we still advise that you use a green screen specifically designed for professional use. Green screens made professionally have some distinct traits. For example, they are collapsible, meaning that you can fold them down for easy storage. They also come with supports that allow them to extend to different heights.
As trivial as it may sound, lighting plays a big part in how you look on camera. Without proper lighting, the stream may look grainy if the webcam is low quality.
Isn’t it easier to just turn on the lights in the game room?
Well, if you like to play under bright light, this can be the answer. However, ambient light doesn’t usually point at your face, so you’ll still look darker than the surroundings. Perhaps, the best source of light is your monitor. The problem is setting brightness high is probably not the option you want.
It’s better to use proper lighting to enhance visibility. It will illuminate your face, which is useful if you like to play with lights out. There are many types of lights to choose from.
First, you can use a ring light to be placed around the webcam. One source of light isn’t enough. There will be shadows and glare that look unsightly on camera. You need to shine light on these areas using additional light fixtures. It could be a desk lamp or another.
FAQs – Streaming Equipment for PC
What are examples of streaming?
Streaming is a common activity we do on a daily basis on the internet. Watching Youtube is one of the many examples. In layman terms, streaming means consuming an audio or video file as it’s being downloaded. Listening to a podcast is another example.
When you’re listening to a podcast, that event is being broadcasted live, and if you enjoy the content live, all you do is basically called ‘streaming’. Meanwhile, if you wait until a file is completely saved before watching, then it’s called downloading. The main difference between streaming and downloading is streaming is done real-time, while downloading is not.
How do I use live streaming app?
There are many streaming apps with different setups. If you’re a beginner and want to know how to get started, first you must prepare all the equipment needed to take quality videos. All the essentials mentioned above are the important ones.
Another important tool you should obtain is an encoder. This is a device that serves to transform content into a format that’s compatible with the service you want to use.
And of course, a speedy internet connection is also necessary especially for streaming in high quality. And then, pick a platform to launch your stream. It can be Twitch, Youtube Gaming, or another. Follow the instructions on how to use the specific platform.
What does it cost to stream?
It depends on what constitutes stream here. If you mean streaming as in watching videos and programs on Netflix or Hulu, then it does cost money. Subscription fees vary across services.
Twitch is slightly different. It starts out free, meaning you don’t have to pay to follow a channel. But to subscribe to a channel, there’s a monthly fee.
Is watching a live stream illegal?
What’s illegal is distributing copyrighted content like movies. To enjoy multimedia content legally, you have to subscribe to a streaming service that archives it.
There are many services where you can stream movies and programs legally, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO GO, etc. But if we talk about free streaming, then it’s not illegal at all. Streaming your favorite gamers on Twitch isn’t a cause for concern because there’s a section for free users. And if you want to subscribe to a channel, the service also facilitates that.
Is Youtube Live free?
Youtube Live is one of the features that vloggers use a lot. It helps them keep in touch with their fans in real-time. The good news is it’s totally free and easy to use.
All you have to do is create a Youtube account and wait until it’s verified. Youtube Live is interactive especially with the chat window situated right next to the stream. Anyone can jump in the conversation, but you should sign in first.
Where can I live stream for free?
There are many sites where you can live stream, actually. Even social network sites where you set up accounts also have the feature. For example, Instagram has a live feature.
The same goes with Facebook. It’s called Facebook Like. Even LinkedIn also facilitates its users to do it for free. Just choose one that you use frequently.
Looking at the current state of internet marketing, live broadcasting has morphed into something whose benefits can’t be ignored. The impact it has on sales is too massive to overlook.
If you already have great visibility online, then why not put it to good use?
Many people do the extra mile to build a name for themselves. Once they have got a sizable following, they’ll try to use it as a means of promotion. There’s nothing illegal about it.
After all, your fans would love to see what you’re doing and promoting as well. But don’t forget to pamper them with the best experience, one of which is by improving your live streaming equipment.