The VPM Blog

A Beginner's Guide to Live Streaming

Posted by Cody Lunsford on Oct 10, 2018 8:54:37 AM

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Have you ever wanted to go to an event, but couldn't make it because you were too far away from it or maybe you were sick and stuck at home? Maybe you're at a family reunion but you really want to check on the score of your favorite team's game. Or maybe you're somebody who is in charge of an event, like a graduation, and you want extended family members of students to be able to see the event. This is where live streaming comes in. 

Live streaming is exactly what it sounds like. It's broadcasting in real time over the internet, usually using a site such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, or Vimeo. And here's the thing: people REALLY like watching live streams. Around 78 percent of people on Facebook are watching live video and are ten times more likely to comment on a live video than any other post. The audience is there, so you now need to reach them. Here's a beginner's guide to live streaming that will tell you how you can make your live stream one that people will tune into. 

HAVE SOMETHING WORTH STREAMING

The most important component of your live stream is THE SUBJECT of your live stream. Is it something relevant to your audience? If you are a restaurant, don't livestream a family of rats. Is it something that benefits from being broadcasted live? If it would be better to do a produced video to get your message across, then do that! (If you're interested in doing a produced video, we've got you covered there too.) Don't just do live for the heck of it. All that said, you'd be surprised at the types of live streams people are willing to watch. Construction, traffic lights, kittens playing in a room, an event set up. All are things that don't seem like they're the most interesting things to watch, but people love them! But again: make sure it's something YOUR audience will care about. 

MAKE SURE YOUR TECH WORKS

Live streaming is highly dependent on technology and so a key to having a good live stream is making sure it all works! Make sure batteries are charged, or better yet, have your live stream set up plugged into a power source. It won't be good if your live stream goes off in the middle of the stream due to a dead battery. Another element of technology you need to keep an eye on is connection to the internet. If at all possible, plug in an ethernet cable directly. If you have to use Wi-fi, test the connection before you go online. One of the quickest ways to ruin a live stream is if it freezes up and skips around. People will not only tune out of the stream, they also will leave some negative comments. Make sure to test your connection and check your batteries before the stream starts because you don't want to start the stream late. Also, check for updates well before you stream! Live stream cameras will sometimes require firmware or software updates and you don't want your stream delayed while you're waiting on updates. Being stuck on an update can be incredibly detrimental especially if you're trying to live stream something with a firm start time, like a sporting event, a concert, or a donation announcement. 

Another thing to consider when it comes to tech is what type of equipment in the first place. Should you get a camera specifically built for live streaming like a Mevo camera? Should you get a multi-camera set up where you can switch up angles? It truly is specific to your needs. If you're just trying to do simple streams, go with a single streaming camera. If you want a highly produced live stream that happens consistently? Go with a full live stream studio set up. 

MAKE IT LOOK AND SOUND GOOD

Part of having a good live stream is making sure the stream looks AND sounds good. The higher quality your stream, the more likely people are to tune in. Get a good angle on the action and make sure that every element you want to show your audience is in frame. Make sure that it is well lit. Use studio lights if you have to. For sound, attach microphones to your live stream so your audience can here what's happening ESPECIALLY if you're live streaming someone speaking. If you're recording an event that is using speakers and a sound board, see if you can plug into the sound board to get a direct link to the audio. If you think live streaming is something that you will be doing consistently, and if you have the budget to do it, look into creating a "live stream studio." This allows you to control the environment and have a dedicated place to do live streaming. While it may seem cool to film your dean in their office, it may come across as even more ahead of the game to have them in a fancy studio space. 

Live streaming is a great way to grab people's attention and give them a chance to experience something live. It's an important part of a visual content strategy and is a unique way to present content. To learn more about how to effectively use visual content, check out our free eBook!

university's guide to visual content

Topics: live streaming

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