Hooray! Since you are reading this I’ll assume you’ve started live video streaming and I’m proud of you. We all are! Or maybe you are an experienced broadcaster. Regardless whether you are just starting out or a veteran, you will be hard-pressed to find a better list of tips to improve live streaming!
Now I know you’d like to fine tune your skills to take your live streaming to the next level. The tips below, each armed with its own special purpose, will guide you to new heights in broadcasting. Some of these may be obvious but it’s always nice to practice good streaming habits. So without further ado, let’s begin my 11 quick tips on how to improve live streaming.
1. Ethernet Connection
Improving your internet connection can be a crucial step in taking your live stream to the next level. Switching from WiFi to a wired LAN can vastly improve connection speed and therefore the quality and reliability of your live stream.
In addition to people and things that can interfere with the strength of the WiFI connection, your computer is periodically scanning for new WiFI networks even though it is already connected. This can cause dips in your connection speed and reliability on WiFi.
This does not make your internet speed faster, but the wired LAN will give you a faster, consistent local connection and more usable bandwidth between you and the router which is why a wired connection is the way to go!
2. Interact With Your Viewers
Interacting can be one of the best ways to gain viewership. While you have tons to offers your viewers, they will most likely want to offer something back. Having the ability to ask questions, make comments and interact with you, plus the other viewers, can have a profound impact on your live stream.
You could offer a live chat window next to your broadcast or conduct a Q & A session after your time is up. This will create engaging audience members and will have them coming back to your stream time and time again!
3. Proximity to WiFi Signal
If you can’t connect with the Ethernet cable then another tip is being as close as possible to the signal. It seems pretty obvious but some people overlook the fact that actually broadcasting closer to your WiFi connection will strengthen your stream and cause less connection problems.
Getting closer to the router is also ideal because it offers less opportunity to have the signal blocked. If you are three rooms away from the router that signal has to travel through three walls to connect. Whereas if you are sitting across the table from the router, it will connect a lot easier and you will have a more reliable stream.
4. Backup Everything
The artist known as Juvenile once said “Back that thang up” and he was probably talking about your files. Backing up your live stream lets you create Video on Demand (VoD) files and playlists afterwards that can be accessed by your viewers at any time. This is a great way to continue to build viewership as now anyone can watch a broadcast they missed or previous ones broadcast before they realized that they adore you.
To do this on the encoder is typically pretty simple:
For Adobe Flash Media Encoder click on the save to file option on the right hand side to save it to your hard drive.
For WireCast hit the ‘record’ button at the top to record your broadcast to your hard drive.
Most other software encoders also have this feature, but might be different to set up.
But the backing up doesn’t just stop there, o no! I also recommend backing up equipment as well. The last thing you want is a broken tripod that completely ruins the whole experience. Obviously having a backup camera can be expensive but at least having backup microphones, headphones, iPhones, xylophones (ok maybe not those last two) can be the difference between a successful broadcast and a forgettable one.
5. Plan Ahead
Live streaming isn’t just something that happens on a whim. I bet there was a set goal in mind when you first thought about live streaming. So keep thinking ahead and make sure you get to the location you will be filming early to check out the conditions/lighting/sound/distractions and plan accordingly. Oh, and don’t forget to also check out the internet connection – it isn’t unusual to find that the 5MBps connection you were promised is actually less than 1 MBps and that can ruin your day.
This also goes for promoting your broadcast. Make sure your viewers know when it is scheduled and how they can access the stream. Use appropriate marketing strategies and social media platforms to inform your viewers and update them on any changes. Don’t make extra work for your viewers to find you since that can lead to them missing the broadcast (and possibly not return as a viewer).
There are tons of things that can and will go wrong during a live broadcast, but being prepared for every situation is crucial in producing a successful stream.
6. Keep Organized
This may seem like another obvious tip but it can make live streaming a lot easier and more enjoyable. Keep cables from being tangled up to prevent things from becoming unplugged during the broadcast. Having a game plan will also help keep you on schedule and concise when live streaming.
If any problems may arise, locating and fixing equipment issues will be a whole lot easier with an organized work place.
7. Test your broadcast
Live streaming without doing a test run first is like going skydiving without checking your parachute. Sure you might have a perfectly working parachute and have the time of your life free falling 15,000 feet, but there’s also a chance you end up with an anvil attached to strings like Daffy Duck.
Run a full test, preferably at the venue where you are going to stream the real thing, and check for any sound, lighting, or encoder problems. Cameras, microphones, and other equipment will also be crucial to check before you go live. You don’t want to have your viewers not able to hear you because of a faulty microphone.
8. Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) Provider
Using a platform that streams over a real CDN is always very helpful. Content Delivery Networks allow your broadcast to reach more people, depending on the CDN. DaCast is partnered by Akamai, one of the leading CDN’s in the world.
Using DaCast’s platform allows you to live stream around the globe, giving you the opportunity to have many viewers from different places and backgrounds. The CDN prevents the servers from being congested from lots of viewers and gives your stream the reliability and professionalism you want.
9. Don’t Shoot Your Video Just In HD (High Definition)
Shooting your video only in High Definition will ensure that your video will not be seen by a portion of your viewers. Not everyone will have the capacity to watch your broadcast in HD and it will deter many viewers from watching. Make sure that if you live stream in HD (good for you!), you also push a stream in Standard Definition so everyone can participate! As a rule of thumb you want to stream at half your total upload speed. Use a speed test to measure your average upload speed to make sure you have the capacity to stream at the bitrate you want.
Just to explain in further detail the process of shooting in HD and SD would go something like this. Say you have a .5 megabytes (MB) SD version while streaming alongside a 2.5 MB HD version, which would net you 3 MB of per second of bandwidth. This would require around 6MB per second upload speed to maintain that stream without potential problems.
10. Closing Programs/Applications
If your stream is running really slow or is choppy, try closing all unused programs on your computer, including anti-virus. Make sure you haven’t just minimized them but clicked on Close, Exit, or Disable. You can also use the Task Manager (Windows only) to close programs that the system cannot.
The reason why you’ll want to close all of the programs is because live streaming uses up a lot of the computers resources. Specifically the encoder you are using to live stream. You want your computer to be putting forth all of its effort for the broadcast and you don’t want to waste any resources on unused programs.
**Make sure that if your virus scanner is active it is not scanning your computer because that will use up a lot of resources.
11. Consistency/Be On Time
This is an important tip for not only regular broadcasters but first time streamers as well. Being on time is a huge aspect of streaming that sometimes goes unnoticed. Being on time doesn’t just mean starting right when the time slated is- getting there 15 minutes early is always recommended. This prevents any viewers who are early from leaving because there is nothing to watch or do.
The other thing you want is to be consistent regarding what day and time you are going to stream. It will be hard to follow your broadcasts when you live stream on a Tuesday at 5 p.m one week but Friday at 2 p.m the next. Keep consistent with the day and time you stream to keep your viewership consistent and informed.
Now that you know much more about live streaming than when you started this article, it is time to go off into the world using these tips. Become the best broadcaster you can be by practicing good streaming habits and always challenging and pushing yourself to become better. Remember to plan ahead and keep organized because it will make a huge difference in your on-camera work if you are neat and tidy behind the camera.
Use any chance you can to market your live stream and yourself to your viewers and update them on any changes. Be consistent with the day and times you stream to keep your viewers informed and happy. This may not even be the most cliche’ thing I’ve ever said, but the most important thing to remember is HAVE FUN! (Oops sorry, cap locks got jammed).
By: Nick Small. Now that I got you here, can I talk about my lord and savior Google+?