If you want to start doing live broadcasts, you are in the right place.
This essential guide on how to go live breaks down what gear you’ll need and what you need to do to get more fans. Nowadays, live streams are in vogue and they deal with a lot of new topics that people consume on a daily basis.
From modest beginnings with Justin.tv to the gargantuan spot that Twitch.tv occupies today, many people have built their careers on live streams where they do everything from art to playing video games. As this industry has matured, so has the equipment that people use to broadcast live. And if you’re just getting started with this, you’ll probably have a hard time understanding how to get it all to work properly.
That said, whether you’re just starting out or looking to improve your live streams, there are certain pieces of equipment and software that make your life easier and serve as the foundation for your streams.
1. Browsing Speed + Computer Specs
To stay on topic, let’s assume you already know the hardware and connectivity requirements for live streaming There’s a lot of information online that you can access if you need to know how to prepare or optimize your computer for live streaming, so don’t should be a problem.
This article seeks to summarize all the necessary information about the equipment available on the market and the results you can achieve. But if you need more detailed information about it, you will find an infinity of online tutorials on each particular topic.
OKAY. You already have your new computer and the internet connection is super fast, so you’re ready to start streaming live. Before you start, you should consider some technical aspects. Do you want someone to see your broadcasts? Are you going to want to capture audio and video with ease? Do you want to have a smooth and good quality audio? How complex are you going to want your audiovisual production to be?
Let’s analyze each of these points in particular.
2. Webcams vs cameras
If you want people to associate your name with your face, you’re going to need a camera. Most people choose to buy a webcam. The best-selling options today are the Logitech C920 and C922, as no other model will offer you better video quality in that price range.
However, when you see a person’s video quality being particularly good, it’s most likely because they’re using a DSLR or camcorder instead of a webcam. Although the leap in quality is evident, for this it is necessary to invest a larger amount of money and use special software and a video capture card.
BOTH WEBCAMS ARE GREAT FOR LIVE STREAMING. IT ALL DEPENDS ON HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO INVEST.
One thing to keep in mind if you are going to use a DSLR camera for live streaming is that its sensor was not designed to use the camera in video mode for such a long time. Therefore, the sensor is likely to wear out much faster than if you use the camera in the normal way.
Camcorders do not have this problem. But to achieve the same video quality as with a DSLR camera, you’re going to have to spend a lot more money. Unless you’re the focus of the live stream (for example, if you’re playing an instrument, cooking, or doing something else that requires a full-screen camera), webcams are going to be ideal for you.
However, if you want to improve the image quality a bit more, you will need a video capture card. Let’s talk a little about it.
3. Video capture cards
Those who want to stream live while gaming on their console, who want to stream with two computers simultaneously, or who are looking to capture video from other devices (such as cameras or camcorders), are going to need to use capture cards.
In the world of live streaming, few pieces of equipment can give you as many headaches as capture cards. Therefore, it is important to understand what exactly you want to achieve in order to choose the correct capture card. Generally speaking, you have to consider all of the following: What resolutions should the card support? How many frames per second must the card be able to capture? What audio features do you need the card to have?
Today, the resolution of most video content is moving from 1080p to 4k. While 4k resolution is almost standard in PC gaming, consoles are already beginning to support this same resolution, as are many DSLR cameras and camcorders.
While it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be doing a 4k live stream from your PC in the near future, the capture card should be able to support the video resolution you’re using. More and more capture cards support 4k and therefore it is very unlikely that this will cause you much inconvenience when you need to use that resolution.
THE HD60S IS THE MOST POPULAR CAPTURE CARD AMONG VIDEO GAME LIVE STREAMERS.
Game consoles and most other video content run at 60 frames per second (fps) or less. Therefore, almost all modern capture cards support 1080p content. However, in the PC world, many monitors give you screen refresh rates of up to 144hz.
Typically, the maximum number of frames per second depends directly on the lowest common denominator of the video hardware, which, in this case, is the capture card. The capture card’s ability to support higher screen refresh rates at higher resolutions (1080p – 4k) depends on the available bandwidth. Even if a card claims to capture 1080p or even 4K video, that doesn’t mean it can capture 1080p video at 144 frames per second. To make sure that the capture card is going to serve you to do what you want, control the number of frames per second that said card supports at different resolutions.
The final thing to consider when it comes to capture cards is whether you’re going to need them to support audio as well as video. While most major capture cards, like the popular Elgato HD60S, support audio over HDMI, more professional capture cards, like Magewell or Datapath, sometimes only support video.
If you’re looking to keep everything as minimal as possible, capture cards that support audio, while very useful, aren’t the highest quality option. Depending on how you process the audio, you may have other options available to you.
4. Audio interfaces, microphones and external hardware
When it comes to live streaming, few things are as important as audio quality. Many people livestream while they work. For them, audio can become even more important than video.
Whether you’re capturing audio from a microphone, instrument, video game, or combination of these devices, having good audio quality is essential for professional live streaming. Luckily, and not coincidentally, Audient offers you a wide range of products that will make your life easier and your live broadcasts sound fantastic.
The Audient iD4 is a great choice for those who need to connect a single XLR microphone or want to record one instrument per line. For those who require two microphone inputs or need to capture audio from their consoles or other devices in optical format and don’t want to rely on inferior audio quality from video recorders, the iD14 is the ideal choice for all this and much more. For those who are true audio professionals and use compressors, effects or other external equipment, the iD22, which does everything the iD14 does, allows you to connect a wide range of audio processors and route them based on your needs.
If you want to offer your audience the best possible audio quality, Audient interfaces offer you excellent preamps and converters that guarantee an unforgettable experience. You’ll also love the Audient interfaces’ foolproof drivers and super-intuitive user interface.
And if you’re interested in maximizing the capabilities of these great interfaces, you can use DAW software like Adobe Audition to get the most out of your audio.
DEPENDING ON THE FEATURES YOU NEED, AUDIENT INTERFACES OFFER YOU THE BEST COST-BENEFIT RATIO ON THE MARKET.
If there’s one thing people don’t want, it’s to go deaf every time you get too excited about something. If you process the microphone with the recording software (DAW), you can compress, equalize, smooth and modify the signal in many ways.
If you don’t understand what we’re talking about, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Luckily, you’ll find plenty of information online to learn how to use each of these processes to improve audio quality. Of all this, compression is the most important thing for anyone interested in live streaming to understand, as it helps you control excess volume so as not to hurt your ears.
If you have a good audio interface, like the Audient, you can send the signal from the microphone to the computer or first process the signal as much as you want from the recording software (DAW) and then send the processed audio to another computer.
VB-Audio or VAC are great virtual solutions that allow you to send the microphone signal from recording software (DAW) to live streaming applications. To send the signal to another computer through your interface, you’ll need a mixer (such as the Yamaha MG10) or another interface with two inputs (such as the Audient iD14).
5. Software to broadcast live
There are tons of programs that allow you to broadcast live. Among all these programs competing for your attention, most of the people use Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) or Xsplit Broadcaster/Gamecaster.
OBS is a free, open source program that is used by many because it is constantly updated and includes many more features than you may ever need, without being too difficult to use or consuming a lot of your computer’s resources. It is a great option for both beginners and people who need some more advanced features. Xsplit offers you two versions: a paid version that includes all available features (Xsplit Broadcaster) and a free but limited version (Xsplit Gamecaster). While Xsplit Gamecaster is a good program, it can’t beat OBS due to the number of features that the latter packs.
However, Xsplit Broadcaster can be a great tool for those who need a lot of features and support. The choice between a mixer or an audio interface depends on your preferences, the space available and/or the number of inputs you need.
Interfaces often have better preamps/converters than mixers and were designed more specifically for use with DAW recording software. However, they typically have fewer inputs than mixers. Mixers, in addition to being larger, usually have many more inputs and more knobs and buttons for volume controls and other functions. Additionally, some mixers also allow you to process the audio internally.