How to Live Stream an Event: A Step-by-Step Guide [2021 Update]

Live event streaming

In recent years, live-streamed events have become the norm in our technology-driven and globally-connected society. In fact, the live streaming industry grew by 99% between April 2019 and April 2020.

Since this trend is still on the rise, now is the best time to learn how to live stream an event. Today, it’s possible for even small businesses and startups to live stream concerts, sporting events, graduations, conferences, and much more. 

In this post, we will walk you through the basics of how to live stream an event. We will start by mentioning some of the benefits of live streaming an event before we dive into the tutorial. We will wrap things up by discussing how to live stream an event with Zoom.

Table of Contents:

  • Why Live Stream an Event?
  • How to Live Stream an Event
    1. Create a Plan
    2. Choose an Online Video Platform
    3. Set Up Equipment
    4. Configure Your Encoder
    5. Input Your Sources
    6. Create a Live Channel
    7. Embed Your Stream
    8. Do a Test Run
    9. Prepare Your Audience
    10. Start Streaming
  • How to Live Stream an Event with Zoom
  • Bonus: How to Live Stream a Virtual Holiday Event
  • Conclusion

Why Live Stream an Event?

There are many reasons why organizations live stream events. Sometimes, the purpose is to increase brand awareness. Other times, it is meant to create a paid experience. Live streaming gives you the possibility to generate revenue and maximize profits with virtual tickets.

Live streaming an event can help you continue to connect with your audience even when they can’t be there in-person. Lockdowns related to COVID-19 truly proved the value of live streaming technology.

How to Live Stream an Event

Live streaming an event is very straightforward, especially when you invest in the right tools. Let’s take a look at 10 steps that you can follow to live stream your first event.

1. Create a Plan

Since live streaming requires several moving parts, it is a good idea to identify your goals and intentions from the start.

Answer the following questions:

  • What sort of event will you live stream?
  • What is the purpose of live streaming that event?
  • What do you hope to achieve?
  • What is your intended return on investment?
  • Will you monetize the event?
  • What is your budget?

Once you’ve come up with answers, it is time to create a plan. Create a detailed outline of your vision for the event and determine what tools you’ll need to reach your specific goals.

2. Choose an Online Video Platform

Online video platform
Choosing a professional streaming solution makes broadcasting live events easy for professionals.

A streaming solution is a platform that hosts your live stream.  When considering how to live stream an event, you’ll need to choose a streaming solution that is capable of bringing your vision to life. 

Many professional-grade live streaming solutions are equipped with HTML5 video players that are totally white-labeled and can easily be embedded on your website, app, and social platforms.

When using one of the professional video streaming platforms, you and your viewers have access to specialized servers and sufficient bandwidth, among many other features, to ensure successful broadcasts. 

A professional streaming service can typically handle large volumes of viewers, thereby allowing you to live stream events remotely to reach a larger audience. If your streaming solution uses a global content delivery network, your virtual streaming event stream will also accommodate large volumes of viewers in remote locations around the globe, and the streaming quality will be higher.

In short, the better the service you select–in terms of features, support, and cost–the better the broadcasting experience will be for you and the better the viewing experience will be for your audience. 

We recommend taking the time to compare several streaming platforms, and to take advantage of free trials, before deciding on the right plan for you. Dacast, for example, offers a feature-rich free trial to give you the chance to test out our service for yourself.

There are a few main features to consider when comparing live streaming services.

If you plan to generate revenue from your streams, you’ll want to ensure your streaming video platform offers monetization opportunities. Professional platforms (including Dacast, IBM Cloud Video, and Livestream) offer video monetization features such as pay-per-view, subscription, and advertisements. Dacast’s secure paywall, for example, is integrated into the live streaming platform. 

Another benefit of professional streaming platforms is the absence of unapproved ads. With free broadcasting services, like Youtube, your viewers experience a constant stream of unwanted and untimely advertisements.

Additionally, with a white-label video player, you can create and embed your own watermark or logo onto your original content.

2. Set Up Broadcasting Equipment

live streaming camera equipment
Using a professional-grade camera will yield a high-quality live event stream.

Once you’ve chosen the live streaming solution that meets your needs, it is time to consider what sort of recording equipment to invest in.

This is a crucial component for streaming video, and it can be overwhelming to weigh all the options. That said, we recommend taking the time to research a few different options before making a decision. That way, you can be sure the equipment that you invest in is truly the best fit for your streaming goals.

If it’s in your budget, we strongly recommend investing in a quality camera to ensure a professional-grade streaming experience. A high-quality camera will pay dividends for your broadcast. Moreover, it will improve the quality of both the audio and visual aspects, which will help to attract and retain new viewers.

There are three recommended streaming cameras that we recommend based on Engadget reviews, and these include the following:

Canon Vixia HF R300 to live stream an event
$350
  • Canon Vixia HF R300

 

Sony HVR-NX5U to live stream an event
$3,999
  • Sony HVR-NX5U

 

Canon Vixia HF G30 to live stream an event
$1,349
  • Canon Vixia HF G30

 

Engadget features regular reviews of new technology, including cameras, so we recommend heading over there to compare your options. B&H Photo Video is another useful site for technology comparisons and purchases.

We’d like to point out that smaller-scale streams may be able to make do with lower-cost webcams and capture devices. Live streaming a lecture or small conference-style event may not require a hefty investment in professional equipment. It is up to you to determine what sort of streaming quality you need to best suit your audience and deliver your message.

When live streaming with a camera, you often need a capture card to properly convert the video into streamable content. You can purchase a capture card yourself, and then install it on your computer. Once installed, you can plug the camera into the capture card to get ready to stream.

For those of you who are recording live events through your laptop’s webcam and not using a camera, you will most likely not need to purchase a capture card. This is true for most “webcam” methods, as they are already stream-friendly. 

Not sure if your webcam is compatible? Simply open Skype on the computer with which you plan to stream. If the video feature shows up, then your computer/webcam does not require a capture card.

It is also a good idea to invest in an external microphone to improve the stream’s audio quality. As for microphones, there are a few different ways you can go. We recommend checking out the list of best professional microphones by The Techlounge which is updated for 2021.

When live streaming with a camera, you often need a capture card to properly convert the video into streamable content. You can purchase a capture card yourself, and then install it on your computer. Once installed, you can plug the camera into the capture card to get ready to stream.

For those of you who are recording live events through your laptop’s webcam and not using a camera, you will most likely not need to purchase a capture card. This is true for most “webcam” methods, as they are already stream-friendly. 

Not sure if your webcam is compatible? Simply open Skype on the computer with which you plan to stream. If the video feature shows up, then your computer/webcam does not require a capture card.

4. Connect Your Encoder

live event video encoding
Encoding, which is compressing video files so that they are not saved as individual images but as fluid video, is essential to high-quality streaming.

Whether you’re using an external camera or a webcam, you’ll need to use an encoder to convert RAW video files to streamable digital video files. You can use either hardware or software encoder. There are several options available for either type.

If you are totally new to live streaming we recommend OBS Studio. It is a free, open-source software encoder that is fairly easy to navigate. More advanced alternatives typically cost between $500 and $1000. Some hardware encoders range beyond $3000.

It is important to choose an encoder that is compatible with your chosen online video platform so that you won’t run into any issues when configuring your settings. If your online video platform uses RTMP ingest, pretty much any RTMP encoder will do the trick.

How you configure your encoder will affect the quality of your live stream. Please check out our encoder setup guide for more information on how to successfully connect and configure your encoder.

Required Encoder Setting Configurations

If you’re streaming on Dacast, you must use the following live encoder configurations if you want your stream to work properly. 

VIDEO CODEC H.264 (x264 may work)
FRAME RATE 25 or 30
KEYFRAME INTERVAL 2 secs (or 2x frame rate)
SCANNING Progressive
RATE CONTROL Constant (CBR)
AUDIO CODEC AAC-LC
AUDIO BITRATE 128 kbps
AUDIO CHANNELS 2 (Stereo)
AUDIO SAMPLE RATE 48 kHz (48,000 Hz)

5. Input Your Sources

Once you’ve got your encoder setup, it is time to input your source. Source inputs are different for every encoder and online video platform, but this is important for every stream. 

At this stage, you must connect your camera, microphone, and any other sources to your encoder or switcher so that they can be incorporated into the stream.

Please check out our dedicated guide to multiple source input.

6. Create a Live Channel

Next, it is time to create a live channel on your online video platform. Again, this process is a little different on each platform, but it is really easy on Dacast.

If you’re streaming with Dacast, you can use the following steps to create a live channel:

  1. Log into your Dacast dashboard
  2. Click the purple “Add +” button on the menu on the left-hand side
  3. Select “Live Stream”
  4. Give your live stream a name, indicate the source region, and select the number of renditions you’d like to create
  5. You’ll be directed to another page where you should fill out the fields as prompted
  6. Save your changes

7. Embed Your Stream

Embed code for Live Streaming
With a professional video solution like Dacast, embedding your video player only takes a quick copy-paste.

Fortunately, embedding video is quite simple when streaming via a professional service like Dacast. Simply copy the embed code on the live channel that you created and paste the code into the code of your website.

Broadcasters can choose between two embed codes: JS and iframe. Both of these work for playback on your website or app via desktop and mobile devices as long as the content itself supports it. The JS embed code is the default embed code for Dacast, and it supports the most features. This includes being responsive if the elements are designed inside is a different size and working with the referrer restriction feature. 

The iframe embed code is the most universally compatible embed code. The caveat is that some features do not work with it. This embed code is not responsive, which means it’s a fixed size. The full-screen feature is also sometimes removed. This usually happens only if you are using iframes within iframes. 

8. Do a Test Run

Once you have everything set up to live stream an event, it is time to conduct a test run. Test runs are very important because once you’re live, you have an audience so there it is more difficult to quickly troubleshoot and fix mistakes.

It is also a good idea to test your setup so that you can identify any weak links so you know where you need to have backup options on hand.

You should run through your entire stream. Presenters can use this opportunity to practice their parts. This trial run should take place at the same time of the day that your stream so that you have a good idea of what the lighting will be like.

We also recommend testing your internet speed to make sure that it is sufficient. The upload speed should be about double what you need for your stream.

9. Prepare Your Audience

In order to ensure that you have an audience for your stream, you should promote your stream in advance. Create promotional teasers and post clips on social media. Reach out to your email list, and ask recipients to either RSVP or buy a virtual ticket. 

You could also run ads on social media, send press releases to get coverage, and advertise in any other way that you reach your target audience. 

10. Start Streaming

It is time to switch your live channel to “Online” and click “Start Streaming.” With that click, you are live. As you present, it is important to stay confident and have fun with the stream.

Encourage viewers to participate if you have a chat or Q&A plugin so that you can keep everybody engaged throughout the event.

How to Live Stream an Event with Zoom

Some events, like webinars, conferences, and private streams, call for participation from the audience. Peer-to-peer conferencing, which is the technical way to describe a video chat, is a valuable technology that gives viewers the ability to participate in virtual live streaming events.

Zoom is among the most popular peer-to-peer conferencing tools, but on its own, it is not capable of the advanced streaming professional online video platforms are. However, some of these online video platforms, including Dacast, can be integrated with Zoom to give broadcasters access to the best of both tools.

Let’s run through the four steps for live streaming an event with the Zoom live streaming integration on Dacast.

Please note that this tutorial requires you to have a  Zoom Pro, Business, Education, or Enterprise account to access the “Custom Live Streaming Service” Zoom feature.

Step 1: Create Your Dacast Live Stream

Log in to your Dacast account, and go to the “Live Stream” section on the left-side vertical menu. Click “Create Live Stream” on the right side of your screen. Enter a stream name, then select the type of stream. Click “Create”:

Your live stream should now appear in your live streams list. You can manage the stream by clicking the “Edit” icon on the right side.

Step 2: Enable “Live on Custom Live Streaming Service” 

Log in to your Zoom account. On the vertical menu to the left navigate to Admin. Click “Account Management” then “Account Settings.” 

In the section “In Meeting (Advanced)” under the meeting tab, turn on the option “Allow Live Streaming Meetings,” and check the sub-option “Custom Live Streaming Service”:

Dacast - Zoom live streaming - enable live stream

Update the instructions so that the meeting organizer can configure the required settings when scheduling the meeting. You can find these instructions in your Dacast account.  Edit the live channel you want to use to stream the Zoom meeting.

Under the “General” tab, click “Encoder Setup,” and use the copy icon to copy and paste the required values into your Zoom account:

Make sure to use the following format: 

Stream URL: rtmp://{Username}:{Password}@{Server (without rtmp://)}

Stream key: {Stream Key}

Live streaming page URL: you can use your website URL or the Share Link in the General tab of the live stream.

This is what it should look like:

Zoom Set Up Dacast Example

Step 3: Set Up Your Zoom Custom Live Streaming Meeting 

On your Zoom account, click “Meetings” then “Schedule a New Meeting.” Enter the required information, and click “Save” to display advanced options:

At the bottom of the page, click the “Live Streaming” tab. Then, click the “Configure Live Stream Settings” link:

Zoom live streaming - Zoom Meeting Launch

Apply the information in the green box in accordance with the format we provided in Step 2:

Dacast - Zoom live streaming - configure the custom live stream

Click “Save” to save your live streaming settings. Now, the host will be able to live stream this meeting without having to add these settings after the beginning of the event.

Step 4: Start Streaming 

On your Dacast account, make sure that the live stream used for the meeting is set to “Online”:

zoom live stream online

Open the Zoom application or web portal, and start your meeting. At the bottom of the Zoom window, click the “•••” icon and select “Live on Custom Live Streaming Service.” 

If the Streaming URL, Streaming key, and Streaming page URL have not been entered at this point, Zoom will open a window where you can paste these values from the Encoder Setup section of your Dacast live stream.

You are now ready to live stream your Zoom meeting straight to your website via Dacast.

Bonus: How to Live Stream a Virtual Holiday Event

holiday live streams
Share the holiday spirit with family, friends, or coworkers by hosting a virtual holiday live stream for remote attendance.

During the holidays, the demand for live streaming increases. This is especially true this year since many businesses and organizations are located in areas that experience winter weather or are practicing social distancing in order to control the spread of COVID-19.

It is common for organizations like grade schools and churches to live stream Christmas pageants, concerts, sing-alongs, and other special ceremonies during the holiday season.

Over the past year, businesses and cities are hopping on this trend to bring their festivities to the members of their communities in the comfort of their homes. 

Web conferencing holiday parties will help friends and co-workers come together to celebrate. Light-up nights, New Year’s countdowns, Santa sightings, and other cheerful events can also easily be streamed.

Here’s a detailed tutorial on how to live stream a holiday event in 6 steps:

  1. Prepare Your Audience
  2. Set Up Equipment
  3. Choose an Online Video Platform
  4. Configure Your Encoder
  5. Create a Live Channel
  6. Start Streaming

For more information on hosting a virtual Christmas event, we recommend checking out our dedicated virtual holiday event streaming guide.

Conclusion

Hosting live stream events has many benefits for businesses, especially when it comes to engaging a remote audience. Live streaming an event takes a bit of preparation and setup, but the process is very straightforward.

As we mentioned, choosing the right online video platform plays a major role in the success of your live stream event. We suggest taking advantage of free trials to test out different platforms and familiarize yourself with their features.

Not sure where to get started? Why not give the Dacast platform a try? Test out all our great features risk-free for 30 days to see how our platform can help you achieve your live streaming goals. No credit card required

GET STARTED FOR FREE

Have further questions about how to live stream an event, or anything else related to streaming? You can explore the entire Dacast blog for articles on a vast array of streaming-related topics. Additionally, you can post any questions or feedback in the comment section below. We love to hear from our readers, and we’ll do our best to respond as soon as we can. Finally, for regular tips on live streaming and exclusive offers, you can also join our LinkedIn group.

Thanks for reading, and, as always, good luck with your broadcasts!

2 thoughts on “How to Live Stream an Event: A Step-by-Step Guide [2021 Update]

  1. Pingback: Live Educational Streaming Around the World

  2. Kate Hansen says:

    It was really helpful when you said to consider what broadcasting equipment you need. My brother was telling me last night about how he wants to look into live streaming an event in a couple of weeks, and he wants to make sure that he does everything right. He might have to hire a professional to help him since it will be his first time live streaming. I’ll make sure to pass these tips along to him once he starts preparing for his event.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *