In recent years, live-streamed events have become the ‘norm’ in our technology-driven and globally-connected society. A 2017 Forbes report on video marketing trends found that “internet video traffic will be over 80% of all consumer internet traffic in 4 years.” Likewise, for mobile streaming, in particular, Cisco predicts that online video will account for 72% of all mobile data traffic by 2019.
Today it’s easy for even small-scale businesses or individuals to live stream concerts, sports, weddings, graduations, conferences, and much more. Given this ever-growing trend and industry, now is the moment to learn how to live stream an event!
This article will walk you through the basics of how to live stream an event. Our goal is to help you understand how to live stream an event, as well as to explain the equipment and other requirements you’ll need to have success with your broadcast.
To start, here’s a list of the five key components for live streaming an event, which we’ll cover in detail below.
- Streaming Solutions
- Recording Equipment
- Capture Card
- Embed Code
How to live stream an event #1: Streaming Solutions
When considering how to live stream an event, you’ll first want to choose the right streaming solutions for you. There are some experienced broadcasters with the resources, time, and technical experience to run their own service, but this is generally not feasible for most people or businesses. By contracting with 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 streaming service will manage congestion, thereby allowing for large viewership. It will also accommodate large volumes of viewers in remote locations around the globe, and as a result, the streaming quality will be higher.
In short, the better the service you select–in terms of features, support, and cost–the better the quality and features you will have when broadcasting live video streams. We recommend taking the time to compare several services, 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.
How to compare professional streaming solutions
If you plan to generate revenue from your streams, you’ll want to ensure your streaming video platform for agencies offers monetization opportunities. Professional platforms (i.e. Dacast, UStream, and Livestream) offer monetization features such as Pay Per View, subscription, and event archiving. Dacast’s Paywall, for example, is integrated into the live streaming platform. This means that you, and your viewers need not sign up for a different payment processing service.
Another benefit of B2B platforms (i.e. Dacast)–compared to free, B2C services (i.e. YouTube Live)–is the absence of ads. With free broadcasting services, your viewers experience a constant stream of unwanted and untimely advertisements. Furthermore, these ads don’t promote your brand or content, but that of the free streaming app. In effect, you’re advertising for a 3rd party company instead of your own content.
By contrast, Dacast (among other professional platforms) is white-label. This means that there are no ads of any kind, and Dacast’s logo is not located on your video. This allows you to create and embed your own watermark or logo onto your original content. With Dacast, the Starter and Pro plan both include this customizable branding feature. (You can read about the Dacast live streaming pricing plans if you’re interested to learn more.) Livestream, on the other hand, only offers this feature with the pricey Enterprise package. Likewise, Ustream only includes it with the top-tier Pro Plan.
How to live stream an event #2: Recording Equipment
Let’s assume you’ve chosen the right live streaming solutions for you. Next up on our list of requirements is recording equipment. This is obviously 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 sure the equipment in which you invest is truly the best fit for your streaming goals.
Three tiers of recommended cameras, based on Engadget reviews, include:
- Canon Vixia HF R300
- Sony HVR-NX5U
- Canon Vixia HF G30
If you’re looking to do 360-degree video recording, you can check out this review of the 2017 Ricoh 360 degree camera line. Engadget features regular reviews of new technology, including cameras, so it’s a good place to start your comparisons. B&H Photo Video is another useful site for technology comparisons and purchases.
If it’s feasible for your budget, I strongly recommend investing in a quality camera if you are serious about streaming or you already broadcast daily/weekly. 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.
How to live stream an event #3: Capture Card
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 not using a camera–and instead of recording live events through your laptop’s webcam–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.
How to live stream an event #4: Encoder
Whether you’re using an external camera or a webcam, you’ll need to use an encoder. Are you looking for a free encoder? If so, we recommend OBS Studio rather than Adobe FMLE, as it’s a more reliable software. However, the Dacast platform does still support both encoders. Additionally, Adobe FMLE can be a good solution if you intend to do multi-bitrate streaming.
For a more professional stream, you should consider Wirecast. Although the encoder will cost between $500 and $1000, the benefits and added features will skyrocket the value of your broadcast. Overall, the Wirecast encoder gives your broadcast a more professional look.
Here are some of the features that Wirecast offers when considering how to live stream an event:
Unlimited Cameras: Plugin and start live streaming with Wirecast supporting an unlimited amount of camera inputs. Connect input sources to the computer, and Wirecast will recognize them as live feeds.
IP Cameras: Support for IP cameras, which you can connect wirelessly. IP cameras are not compatible with Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder.
Titles, Transitions, Scoreboards: Pick from more than 30 professional built-in titles and easily create polished transactions. For online sports streaming, you can also input scoreboards with Wirecast.
You can learn further details in this article on how to use Wirecast for live event streaming.
How to live stream an event #5: Embed Code
We’ve made it to the final piece of our “how to live stream an event” checklist. Once you have the streaming platform and the equipment in place, you want to ensure that your viewers can access your video content.
Fortunately, this step is quite simple when streaming via a professional service like Dacast. Simply locate the embed code that your platform provides you. From there, copy-paste the code into your personal or business website. If you’re streaming over Dacast (as shown here), you can restrict geographic areas or other websites from seeing your content. You can also customize the size of the video player.
And voila! You now know how to live stream an event onto your website.
This article has walked you through how to live stream an event in five basic steps. To recap, we recommend that you first sign up with a streaming platform (e.g., Dacast). From there, you can choose a camera, an encoder, and a capture card (if necessary). Once you’re ready to broadcast live, we strongly recommend embedding your live stream onto your own personal website.
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.
Interested to give the Dacast platform a try? Why not take advantage of our 30-day free trial (no credit card required) to test out all our great features for yourself?
Thanks for reading, and, as always, good luck with your broadcasts!
By Nick Small.