Live streaming requires the help of the right software, but your hardware can make or break your broadcast. Talking like a pro is one thing, but creating the right level of production value is equally important. Read through this comprehensive guide to the essential equipment for professional live streaming to make the most out of your broadcast.
First and foremost, you need great camera gear. There are many devices through which you can record video, but not all of them deliver professional-grade results. If those are the results you’re aiming for, follow industry-leading trends in video recording tech. Below, you’ll find the best way to capture clear, impressive-looking videos for your streams.
Poor camera quality is an easy way to scare away audiences. Some experts only stream video games straight from their console, which is a suitable avenue to take. However, if you want to stream live video through a camera, you have to be precise with the tech you’re using.
Luckily, modern streaming cameras can deliver crystal clear picture quality for viewers to enjoy. You should consider three key factors when buying a live streaming camera—battery life, frame rate, and resolution. Battery life speaks for itself; you don’t want a camera that’ll die before your stream ends. However, frame rate and resolution are where you’re getting that professional look from. Go for a camera that has the ability to deliver 4K or 1080p resolution; anything less will look far from great.
Regarding frame rate, find a camera that can produce 30-60fps (frames per second) images. A camera with 60fps is fantastic, but settling for 1080p at 30fps is perfectly suitable for streaming. With high frame rate capabilities, the image you’re streaming will appear stable and smooth instead of jittery or muddy. Anyone who plays video games knows inconsistent frame rate can be incredibly distracting; suffice it to say, the same principle applies to video content. Good video quality won’t make up for bad content, but if you deliver good content that looks great, you’ll make your stream stand out in a big, positive way.
Video Capture Device
Even if you have a great camera, you need a high-quality video capture device to convert that image for streams. Through video capture devices, streamers take video from an external camera or game console and send it to the computer. As a result, you can stream videos from external devices easily. Choose a capture device that can handle the input and output of your high-grade video gear. If you find a device that can take a 4K 30fps input and convert that to a 1080p 30fps output, you’ll be in good hands. Video capture devices open the door to the tech you can use. Instead of relying on a lackluster recording device, you can connect more powerful cameras to your laptop or PC.
As you can see, the ability to ditch low-quality webcams and broadcast with high-quality 4K cameras instead is invaluable. However, when using an external camera, you can’t simply lay it down on your desk or a nearby flat surface. Instead, the device needs a stable camera stand to support it.
With a good camera stand by your side, you can set up the video recorder anywhere you can fit the stand without compromising image stability. Without a stable place to put the camera, you limit the angles you can use during broadcasts. Plus, if you set up the recording device on an unstable surface, you run the risk of knocking over and damaging the camera accidentally.
Whether you’re broadcasting from a camera or a gaming console, the audience needs to hear you. Poor audio quality manifests in multiple ways—too low, too loud, or completely incomprehensible. If your broadcast’s audio is obnoxious or otherwise insufficient, your audience will look elsewhere for content. In this section, we’ll detail the right steps worth taking to ensure the audio quality matches your video gear.
Thankfully, when it comes to streaming microphones, the answer is simple. To capture suitable audio, use a USB condenser cardioid mic. Streaming with a high-grade USB mic is an effective and convenient way to deliver the sound quality your audience is looking for.
Pop Shields and Adjustable Arms
However, match your condenser mic with two helpful attachments—a pop shield and an adjustable arm. Pop shields prevent literal audio pops, which are very distracting and annoying for viewers to hear. Luckily, a good pop shield protects the audio, hence the device’s catchy moniker. Adjustable arms are similar to the camera stand—they provide you a convenient way to move the mic around in various positions comfortably. With these accessories, you can make the most out of your microphones, and the audience will notice.
Relying on the natural light situation in your workspace will yield inconsistent results. Top-tier LED lights are the perfect tools for capturing the right look for live streams. LEDs are better than tungsten or halogen lights for a few reasons, the biggest of which is flexibility. While tungsten or halogen’s light temperatures have limits, LEDs can display either warm or cool lighting. The best method for live streaming lighting is using two lights to balance the look in the camera frame.
For this reason, among Ikan’s broadcast live stream equipment, you’ll find streaming video kits that come with two LED lights. In some cases, you might not need both lights. However, having two light sources gives you even more flexibility; it’s more convenient to put one light away when you don’t need it than wait until you need a second light to buy one. Forward-thinking will help you find a quick solution to technical difficulties, both big and small.
Now that you’re more familiar with the essential equipment for professional live streaming, you can avoid looking like a novice to your audience. Gathering the right equipment takes some time, but if you want the audience to take your content seriously, investing in the right gear will be well worth the effort. Standing out from other streamers is a challenge, but it’s attainable.