For content creators such as YouTubers and Twitch streamers, live streaming is a great way for their followers to have a raw and unedited peek at their lives or activities. Generally, the best type of content for live streaming includes gaming, podcasts, tutorials, and live events.
Aside from identifying the best equipment for live streaming content creators embarking on their first live streams will also need to familiarize themselves with the best ways to live stream their content. Listed in this article are the easy, intermediate and advanced live stream methods for content producers who want to document noteworthy events as they happen.
The Easiest Way to Live Stream
YouTube vloggers with at least 100 subscribers on their channels can live stream on their mobile devices using YouTube’s live streaming feature. Live streaming is native to the YouTube mobile app, so there’s no need to download a separate app just for live streaming.
While mobile devices offer the easiest way to live stream events, they do have some notable shortcomings. While some smartphone cameras have relatively high-quality sensors, they typically lack the versatility of professional cameras, which offer interchangeable lenses and adjustable exposure settings. Also, audio quality in smartphones can be limited, especially in situations where the speaker is situated far away from the mic or in cases where a lot of noise and activity is happening in the venue.
Smartphones are also usually handheld, which could result in shaky footage.e.
The Intermediate Way
The intermediate way of live streaming can be broken down into two parts: connecting a camera to your computer and connecting your camera to a livestream hardware or software. Both parts are essential to live streaming, and one cannot function without the other.
Connecting a Camera to Your Computer
Live streaming with a dedicated camera is a viable option for content creators who want to deliver crisp broadcast quality to their viewers. You can connect your camera to your computer with a USB or HDMI cable and then send stream your video content using video encoder hardware or live stream software.
DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras
DSLRs offer ultra-high photo resolutions, superb video quality and better low-light performance. Mirrorless cameras also possess these characteristics, but come in more compact and lightweight frames. Although neither DSLRs nor mirrorless cameras are designed exclusively to be video cameras, both are notable for producing high-quality digital images and videos. These make them the go-to cameras for content creators, especially those who’re into video recording and live streaming.
If you’re going to use a DSLR or mirrorless camera for live streaming, make sure your particular model allows longer recordings. Most camera models have a default setting which causes them to switch off when recording for long periods. Once you’ve verified that your camera is suitable for live streaming, you’ll need to connect it to a video encoder to send the camera’s output to online streaming platforms.
Specifically built for recording video, camcorders are great for live streaming. These cameras take less effort to set up and are structurally designed for comfortable handheld shooting so that you can film longer streams. Moreover, many of the latest camcorders have 4K resolution, giving you the best video quality.
For capturing truly immersive videos that will help you engage with your audience, action cameras are the best tools to use. Despite their diminutive size, they are capable of capturing some of the highest-quality and most stabilized footage, making it the perfect choice for live streaming professionals, adventurers and athletes.
This type of camera is normally equipped with a wide-angle lens and offers first-person views, which somewhat limits the output to informal live streams. Nonetheless, with today’s action cameras evolving to have more advanced specs, they’re becoming one of the more popular choices for streaming live events.
Connect Your Camera through Live Stream Software
Upon connecting your camera to your computer, you can then connect it through live video streaming software such as Open Broadcast Software (OBS) or Wirecast. While both Wirecast Studio and Wirecast Pro come at hefty price tags, a free version, known as Wirecast Play is also available, though crucial features are omitted from the free version.
We will mainly be discussing the free-to-use OBS and how to connect your camera to OBS.
Configuring Your Camera
Cameras now have desktop software that enables them to connect to a computer. Upon connection, the software enables cameras to shoot remotely and deliver a live view of what the camera is shooting. For this example, we’ll be focusing on Canon DSLRs.
- The first thing to do is download the Canon EOS Utility app on your desktop. With Canon having different versions of the software for different cameras, make sure you download the software that is compatible with your camera.
- Connect your camera to your desktop or laptop with the cable connector your camera came with and turn it ON.
- As soon as your camera is turned on, a new window will pop up on your computer screen. There will be an option labeled Remote Shooting.
- Another window will pop up. In the window, click the Live View shoot option and it will open a new window which showcases what your camera is currently seeing. Disable the grids on your live view shoot window and keep it open.
Upon downloading OBS, there are a couple of things that are needed to start a basic stream. These are as follows:
- Open your OBS software and start by configuring the resolution of your stream. Click on the Settings button on the lower right of the screen. On the Video tab, choose the desired Base and Output resolutions that are most suitable for your computer and internet speeds.
- To adjust the bitrate, go over to the Output tab and click on Video Bitrate and Encoder. The bitrate value of 2,500 is sufficient for most scenarios but may be adjusted more or less depending on the bitrate the machine you’re running on needs.
Choosing a Source
- Hover over the lower left of the OBS interface. Under the Source column, click the “+” symbol.
- There will be various options that will pop up and your choice will depend on what type of stream you prefer. The following are some of the most common options:
– Display Capture will capture the entire display but not in full screen
– Game Capture is for capturing games or other activities in fullscreen.
– Window Capture is for capturing a specific window or application that you have running.
3. Click Window Capture and it will pop up a little window where you can specify your preferences for the sources. Upon configuration, click OK.
4. In the Window Capture drop-down menu labeled Window, choose the EOS Utility Remote Live View window and click OK.
5. This will pop open another version of your EOS Utility window which you will then resize for it to completely fit the camera screen itself. To do this you’ll need to hold on Alt and then crop it by dragging the sides of your EOS Utility window capture until the live view of what your camera is seeing will be the only thing visible. To make it full screen, drag the cropped screen again, this time without holding Alt, until the live view shooting of your camera will be the only thing visible on your computer screen. You are now ready to shoot a live stream video using your DSLR.
Connecting to YouTube
- Open the YouTube Live Dashboard and look under Encoder Setup for your Stream Key.
- Copy your Stream Key and go back to the Stream tab in OBS. Under Service, select YouTube / YouTube Gaming. Under Server, select Primary YouTube ingest server and then paste your Stream Key into the Stream key field. It is important to note to never give out your Stream Key to anyone or they’ll be able to stream from your YouTube channel.
- Click on Start Streaming to begin your live stream.
The Advanced Way
Dedicated Streaming Boxes
Using dedicated stream boxes to stream is arguably the most advanced way to go live. A dedicated streaming box is a capture device that you connect to your computer. This converts the video signal from your camera’s output into a digital format your computer can recognize. If you intend on using a camera that outputs HDMI, HD-SDI, component, etc., then you will need a capture device in order for Livestream Producer or Livestream Studio to recognize your camera or cameras.
Some notable streaming boxes brands are as follows:
● Livestream Broadcaster
Ready, set, live!
Sometimes it’s best to start simple. Choose the setup that works for your style of production — it’s ok if that means streaming only with your phone. And with that, you’re ready to go live!