How to Set Up a Live Camera Feed and Webcam Stream in 8 Steps
Live streaming is the latest trend in the world of content creation and sharing. There’s something seemingly more authentic about watching an un-filtered webcam live stream in real-time that resonates with viewers worldwide. So much so that more than half of marketers report live streaming to be their preferred medium of sharing content online.
Webcam live streams are a great way to connect with your audience quickly via a live broadcast. If you have a designated spot you prefer to live stream from, you can set up your streaming space and just turn your webcam on when you are ready to go live.
When you just want to connect and talk directly to your audience, webcam live streams are a great way to achieve that goal. Engaging with your viewers is much easier when you’re not shooting off a pre-recorded, edited, and orchestrated video. You can also set up a continuous live webcam when you have a space where you want to record and share what is happening in real-time, such as with a nature camera.
While webcam live streams have many benefits to offer to companies, brands, and organizations of all kinds, learning the technical skills involved can seem challenging. Live streaming can open new horizons for you and help generate new revenue streams.
That’s exactly what we’ll help you overcome today by breaking down the process in easy-to-follow steps. Today, we will discuss the advantages of using a live camera feed as a medium to share your content.
Don’t know how to set up a live webcam stream, and what equipment you’ll need for your webcam live stream? No worries! We’re here to help you learn how to set up a live feed camera and broadcast webcam, going over all the details, from choosing a hosting platform to promoting your live stream.
Table of Contents:
- Why Use a Live Camera Feed?
- Equipment and Lighting
- How to Set Up a Live Camera Feed and Webcam Livestream
- Choose an Online Video Platform
- Learn How to Setup a Live Webcam
- Secure an Internet Connection
- Set Up a Live Channel
- Embed Your Video Player
- Promote Your Live Stream
- Test Your Webcam Setup
- Start Streaming
Why Use a Live Camera Feed?
A webcam live stream is a continuous live stream that is captured on a webcam. If you’re unfamiliar, a webcam is a digital camera meant to capture photos and videos when connected to a laptop or computer.
The basic purpose of a webcam live feed is to connect with your audience by giving them direct access to your location or exhibit.
A webcam can also be used for a live feed. A few ways common uses of webcams include:
- Nature cams
- City cams
- Animal cams
The point of a 24 7 webcam livestream is to allow you to observe a specific space or area over an extended period of time. Live feeds are not just for nature watching; they can also be useful for businesses.
For example, schools and daycare centers can run private live feeds of their classrooms. This allows parents to peek in and see how their kids are doing throughout the day remotely. Creative businesses like glass blowing studios could use live cams to show the creative process.
One perk of streaming with a webcam is that you can stream live from your cam. There is usually no need to use an encoder with a webcam because they are digital cameras. That means that it captures “streamable” content, so no conversion is necessary. You need less technical knowledge to start a webcam live stream and less equipment as well.
It is easy to learn how to set up a live webcam, making this is a great tool for new and advanced broadcasters.
Equipment and Lighting
Setting up a live webcam feed is straightforward as long as you have the proper equipment and tools.
Technically, you don’t need any fancy, high-end equipment for a successful webcam live-stream. The webcam on your phone or laptop can do the trick. Especially if you only plan on live-streaming just a few times.
Using your phone or laptop’s webcam is also a great idea to test the digital waters of live-streaming if you’re just starting.
Any camera that can:
- Hook up to your internet connection to stream in real-time
- Capture at least 720p at 24fps of footage.
Any camera that can do the above can be used to shoot a live stream. We cover webcams in more detail further in this post with our top recommendations and set-up instructions.
Webcams built into your phone or laptop aren’t always very efficient in capturing good quality audio for webcam live streams. If audio is important to your live stream it might not be a good option to rely solely on your webcam to capture sound. Keep in mind that there might be factors in the environment that might further deteriorate the audio quality.
Traffic, aircraft, or passers-by are a few examples of how sound quality might get compromised. Unlike pre-recorded videos, you can’t edit out the unwanted sounds from your webcam live stream. So plan ahead and make sure you’re audible to your viewers.
You can improve audio quality drastically by investing in a mid-range microphone to record sound. Depending on your budget, many options are available in the market.
If you want to invest in better equipment, it’s best to do your research before spending on any gear. You can doctor up your gear as much as you want to, here is a checklist of the bare minimum you need in way of equipment when setting up your webcam live stream:
- Lighting source
- A stable place to set up your equipment
- A reliable internet connection
The next item on the checklist is lighting. The best gear can be rendered useless if your lighting game isn’t on point. As many of us discovered during online classes and work-from-home, poor lighting can be a serious buzz-kill. The good news is that this element is relatively straightforward to tackle.
We highly recommend investing in a three-point kit if budget isn’t an issue. Otherwise, a simple ring light combined with natural light can do the trick. Remember how light will shift and change throughout the day when shooting longer streams, especially 24-7 webcam live streams. Especially if you’re using it as your primary source of lighting.
How to Set Up a Live Camera Feed and Webcam Livestream
Let’s take a look at the steps for setting up a webcam live feed of your own.
1. Choose an Online Video Platform
Choosing a reliable online video platform with live streaming capabilities to host your video feed is very important.
The streaming platform you use for getting your webcam live stream online can make a huge difference in your viewer’s experience and quality. Make sure you select a forum that can support the genre of live-streaming you wish to do.
One of the top features to look for is a platform that supports browser-based streaming, also known as webRTC. With browser-based streaming, you can start your live stream directly from your web browser without having to use any third-party software. This makes webcam streams easy and accessible.
Some other features to look for in an online video platform include:
- HTML5 video player (most customizable and compatible option)
- An easy-to-use live streaming platform
- Powerful video CMS
- Privacy and security features
- API access for customizations
- White-label streaming
- 24/7 tech support
A CDN ensures that your content will be broadcasted live all over the globe without clogging your servers. Dacast, for example, has partnered with Akamai, Limelight, and other top-tier video CDNs to provide global content delivery.
Check out our online video platform comparison post to learn more about Dacast and how it stacks up to other solutions on the market. Take your time and choose a quality online video platform running webcam streams easier. If you’re on the fence about trying out Dacast’s service, we offer a free 14-day trial, so you can invest in the platform with full confidence.
2. Learn How to Setup a Live Webcam
Setting up a camera for live streaming is a simple process. As mentioned above, you will need a high-quality webcam for streaming. Depending on your strategy, a microphone might also be needed, but not required. In fact, many live feeds are done with no audio at all.
If you are streaming indoors, then you have a lot of leeway in your camera setup. In fact, just about any webcam will do for your broadcast.
You can also use professional cameras as well, although you will need a capture card and encoding equipment if you do.
Learning how to set up an outdoor webcam is easy to do when you follow our IP camera streaming guide.
If you are streaming outside, IP cameras, or security/surveillance cameras, are a good option. They offer flexibility and stealth in terms of location. They are a little different to stream as compared to most sources, though. We recommend checking out our IP camera streaming guide if this is the direction you want to go.
As you compare webcam options, make sure that you’re looking at IP cameras that are compatible with your online video platform.
Connecting to a Platform
Once you’ve chosen a camera, connect it to your online video platform. You will connect it as a source or an input. This verbiage varies from platform to platform.
You can either use a cameraman for your live feed or you can set the camera up in a secure place if you want to stream live 24/7.
Also, ensure your streaming setup is secure from its surroundings, and make sure your streaming equipment can withstand the harsh conditions of the outdoors, if applicable. You never know when it might rain or worse. When setting up an outdoor webcam, you need to account for the weather’s variability brings to the live streaming experience.
3. Secure an Internet Connection
These days, viewers are spoilt for choice when it comes to live-streaming options to watch. Make sure you never lose viewers just because of a spotty internet connection.
It’s important to have a reliable internet connection when live video streaming. Blackouts and blank screens are some of the worst things that can happen during a live broadcast.
The best internet options are:
- Tethered ethernet
- 5G wireless internet
Tethered Ethernet is the most reliable internet connection, and Wifi comes in as a close second. A strong internet connection is essential for live feed cameras. No matter which way you go, you’re going to want to pay close attention to your upload speed.
We recommend using an upload speed that is around double what you plan to use to live stream, so you can comfortably use 50% of the speed. That will leverage great scalability options without needing to make any changes to your current set-up if you need to use more. You can push this to up to 80% of your internet connection speed if need be. For example, a 1,000 kbps connection would let you stream from 500 kbps all the way to 800kbps.
In order to check your internet’s upload speed, you can search “speed test” on Google. The first result is a built-in Google tool that can help you test your internet speed.
If you are streaming from a remote location without access to Ethernet or Wifi, we recommend checking out our remote streaming guide that provides information on circumventing these issues.
4. Set Up a Live Channel
After getting your internet and equipment into place, it’s time to set up your live channel. This can be done via your online video platform. This process varies from platform to platform, but if you’re streaming on Dacast, you can reference our live stream setup guide for a tutorial paired with pictures.
No matter what platform you use, you’ll be prompted to configure your live channel with your preferences. You can name your live channel and add a description. You also want to make sure that your live channel is set to “Online.”
Here are a few tips for writing an effective channel description that will let viewers know what your channel is about and that will help your channel be found in search engine results:
- Complete keyword research: Complete keyword research to better understand what your audience is looking for, and find what keywords are trending in your industry. You want to choose keywords with high search potential.
- Be specific: It’s the era of defining your designated niche. Use specific keywords that relate to the content you will be using on your channel.
- Include a value proposition: Tell viewers why your content is valuable. In other words, sell your live stream as you would market a product. What will it your live stream teach them? What will they get out of watching your content? What value can your live-stream add to their lives?
- Focus on the top 150 characters: Remember most viewers’ short attention spans? That applies here as well. The top 100-150 characters are what will show up in search descriptions, so be sure that the first characters of your channel description really describe what your channel is all about.
- Add a call to action:
- Add a call to action to your channel description. Make it that much easier for your audience by adding a CTA that seems like the next natural step. Do you want people to check out your blog? Buy something? Connect on social media? Tell them!
- In order to have a live stream, you need to have a live channel, so be sure to implement this step.
5. Embed Your Video Player
Once you have a live channel, you’ll be able to generate an embed code and share a link. With the embed code, you can embed your video player on your website or app.
We recommend using the JS embed code because it’s more universally compatible with the full-screen feature. The JS embed code is also a requirement for the URL referral restriction feature to work (which restricts content based on the websites allowed to host it).
Although the JS code is more compatible, there are some specific situations where you should use the iframe embed code. The iframe embed code is more compatible with and/or required for some frameworks, including WordPress and WIX.
Once you have chosen a code, it is as simple as copying and pasting it into the HTML of your website. More instructions on embedding can be found in our video player embedding tutorial.
Once you have done that, you now know how to set up a live cam and start an online live stream.
6. Promote Your Live Stream
Next, you need to promote your live stream so your viewers know you are going live. There are lots of ways to promote your live stream; here are a few of our favorites:
- Schedule your stream: Not all streaming time is created equal. Although it can be great to spontaneously go live, you will get more viewers if you schedule your live stream. That way, people will know when to tune in.
- Share it on Facebook: Facebook is one of the world’s largest networking sites. Make sure you use that to your advantage. Although it might seem too mainstream, be sure to create a post with a link to your stream. You can also simulcast with Facebook Live, extending your reach.
- Tweet it out: Twitter is great for real-time updates. Leverage the power of hashtags by creating one for every live stream you upload. Share a link to your live stream on Twitter, and include industry-relevant hashtags. Create a separate hashtag just for your channel, so as you gain viewers, they can search for that hashtag to get information about your channel.
- Create an engaging thumbnail: Thumbnails are what introduce your content to all potential viewers. When you share your live stream on social media, the thumbnail will show up. Be sure your thumbnail includes images related to your live stream and includes a short text message about the content.
- Share in community settings: People gather in many digital communities, from Discord to WhatsApp. Be sure to share your live stream in the communities you are connected to.
Need more tips? Check out our post on how to increase live viewership by 800% and get more people to watch your stream.
7. Test Your Webcam Setup
With everything in place, it is time to do a trial run. Test your entire streaming setup to identify weak links.
If you’re doing a live feed that will only last part of the day, make sure your test run is at that same time of the day. A 24/7 webcam requires you to run a more in-depth test to ensure you can produce a quality live stream all day.
That gives you an idea of how the lighting and sound will be. If you plan to do 24/7 streaming, run a 24-hour test run and check in on it periodically.
Doing a test run will help you identify problems within your set-up and make contingency plans accordingly. In the event that you identify weak links, figure out if you’re better off having a backup on hand or replacing it altogether.
8. Start Streaming
Now, the hard work is done. Once you’ve confirmed that everything works as intended, it is time to start streaming. On most live streaming platforms, getting started is as simple as clicking “Start Streaming.”
If you are having trouble getting started, go back through and check all of your configurations to make sure that you have everything properly set up.
Live streaming is a medium of getting your content out there that’s just hitting its full potential. Make sure you claim your space in the digital arena by learning how to maximize the impact your live stream can have on your audiences. Learning how to set up webcam live streams properly can help you achieve that.
Setting up a webcam live feed is fairly straightforward. As long as you have a strong internet connection, a high-quality live streaming camera, and a reliable online video platform, you should be good to go.
We invite you to take advantage of our 14-day free trial to test out all our features for yourself. Create a Dacast account to start today. No credit card is required.
Finally, for regular tips and exclusive offers for live streaming, you can join our LinkedIn group. Let us know your comments, questions, and feedback below.