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How to Set Up a Live Camera Feed and Webcam Stream in 8 Steps
Live streaming is the latest trend in 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 achieve that goal when you want to connect and talk directly to your audience. 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 learning the technical skills can seem challenging. Live streaming can open new horizons and help generate new revenue streams.
That’s precisely what we’ll help you overcome today by breaking the process into 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? Read on, live streamers! 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 Set Up 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 streaming setup is a continuous live stream captured on a webcam. If you’re unfamiliar, a webcam is a digital camera that captures photos and videos when connected to a laptop or computer.
The primary purpose of a webcam live feed is to connect with your audience by giving them direct access to your location or exhibit.
You can also use a webcam for a live feed. A few common uses of webcams include:
- Nature cams
- City cams
- Animal cams
The point of a 24/7 webcam live stream is to allow you to observe a specific space or area over an extended period. 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. That 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 streaming live from your phone or laptop. There is usually no need to use an encoder with a webcam because they are digital cameras. That means it captures “streamable” content, so no conversion is necessary. Live streamers and content creators need less technical knowledge to start a live streaming webcam setup and less equipment.
It is easy to learn how to set up a live webcam, making this an excellent tool for new and advanced live streamers.
Equipment and Lighting
Setting up a live webcam feed is straightforward as long as you have the proper equipment and tools. It’s not vital that you own the best webcam out there or that your webcam boasts many features and add-ons.
Technically, you don’t need 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 starting.
Any camera that can do the above can be used to shoot a live stream:
- Hook up to your internet connection to stream in real-time
- Capture at least 720p at 24fps of footage.
We further cover webcams in more detail in this post with our top recommendations for the best video quality and set-up instructions.
Webcams built into your phone or laptop aren’t always very efficient in capturing high-quality audio for webcam live streams. If audio is important to your live stream, relying solely on your webcam to capture sound might not be a good option. Remember that traffic, aircraft, or passers-by noise might further deteriorate the audio quality.
Unlike pre-recorded videos, you can’t edit out the unwanted sounds from the live video on your webcam live stream. So plan and make sure you’re audible to your viewers.
You can improve audio quality drastically by investing in a mid-range microphone or even dual mics to record audio instead of your built-in microphone. Depending on your budget, many options are available in the market.
If you want to invest in better quality equipment, it’s best to 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 the 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 will be useless if your lighting game isn’t on point. The good news is that this element is relatively straightforward to tackle.
We highly recommend investing in a three-point kit to upload high-quality streams if budget isn’t an issue. Otherwise, a simple ring light combined with natural light can do the trick. Remember how light shifts and changes throughout the day when shooting longer streams, especially 24-7 webcam live streams. This is even more important to note if you’re using natural light as your primary lighting source.
How to Set Up a Live Camera Feed and Webcam Livestream
Let’s take a look at the steps for setting up your own webcam live feed.
1. Choose an Online Video Platform
Choosing a reliable online video platform with live streaming capabilities to host your video feed is essential.
The platform you use to get webcam live streaming can significantly impact your viewer’s experience and video quality. Make sure you select a forum that can support the genre of live-streaming you wish to do.
If you want to run a continuous live cam, you need a platform that supports live streaming and one that supports linear or continuous live streaming.
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 live streaming directly from your web browser without using any third-party live streaming software. That 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
You also want to pick from among streaming solutions that offer a reliable content delivery network (CDN).
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 deliver global content.
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 that you can invest in the platform with full confidence.
2. Learn How to Set Up 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 not be required. Many live feeds are done with no audio at all.
If you are streaming indoors, you have a lot of leeway in your camera setup, audio, and video quality. Just about any webcam will do for your broadcast.
You can also use professional cameras, although you will need a capture card to ensure quality and encoding equipment if you do.
When you follow our IP camera streaming guide, learning how to set up an outdoor webcam is easy.
If you are streaming outside, IP cameras, or security/surveillance cameras, are a good option. They offer flexibility and stealth regarding location, especially if you want to stream vibrant, colorful video. They are a little different to stream compared to most sources. We recommend checking out our IP camera streaming guide if this is the direction you want to go.
As you compare webcam options with various price points, ensure you’re looking at IP cameras that are compatible with your online video platform and operating system.
Connecting to a Streaming Platform
Once you’ve chosen a video capture device, connect it to your online video streaming 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 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 harsh outdoor conditions, 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 brought to the live streaming experience.
3. Secure an Internet Connection
These days, viewers are spoilt for choice regarding live-streaming options. Make sure you never lose viewers because of a spotty internet connection and slow internet speed.
It’s important to have a reliable 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 how you go, you will want to pay close attention to your upload speed.
We recommend using an upload speed that is around double what you plan to use for the live streaming session, 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 up to 80% of your internet connection speed. For example, a 1,000 kbps connection would let you stream from 500 kbps to 800 kbps.
To check your internet upload speed, you can search “speed test” on Google. The first result is a built-in Google tool that can help test your internet upload 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. You can do that 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.
Whatever your streaming platform, 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 ensure 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.
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 streaming content as you would market a product. What will 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!
For live streaming, 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 can generate an embed code and share a link. You can embed your video player on your website or app with the embed code.
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 with stream content, 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. You can find more instructions on embedding in our video player embedding tutorial.
Once you have done that, you now know how to set up a live cam and start live streaming.
6. Promote Your Live Stream
Next, you need to promote your live stream, so your viewers know you are going live. There are many ways to promote your live streaming content; here are a few of our favorites:
- Schedule your stream: Not all streaming time is created equal. Although it can be great to go live spontaneously, you will get more viewers if you schedule the times you go live. 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, 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 streaming session 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 introduce your content to all potential viewers. The thumbnail will show up when you share your live video content on social media. Be sure your thumbnail includes images related to your live stream and 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 before you plan to go live.
Need more tips? Check out our post on increasing live viewership by 800% and getting 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 the same time of the day and have a ring light available for emergencies. 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. If 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 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 your configurations to ensure that everything is set up properly.
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 properly set up webcam live streams can help you achieve that.
Setting up a webcam live feed is pretty straightforward. You should be good to go if you have a strong internet connection, a high-quality live streaming camera, and a reliable streaming platform.
Ready to give the Dacast online video platform a try? With secure video upload, many customizable features, and even private video hosting for VOD, we’re here to help.
We invite you to take advantage of our 14-day free trial to test all our features. 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.