Live streaming has found its place in the business world, and it’s serving a multitude of purposes. Some businesses offer paid live streaming solutions for events, and others use live streaming as a way to build online communities to support their brands.
While it’s possible to use Youtube, Facebook, Periscope and other third party social media platforms to live stream, there is value in setting up your own site and integrating a live streaming platform. It gives you more control over your content and comes across as more professional when done right.
Today, we’re going to walk you through the steps of choosing the right online video platform (OVP) and setting up a live streaming website.
Before You Get Started on Your Streaming Website
Creating a live streaming website is certainly a process, but it’s pretty straightforward. First and foremost, you’re going to need a website.
Before we go any further, there are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself:
- What sort of content will you be streaming?
- Who is your intended audience?
- Do you plan on monetizing your streams? If so, how?
- What sort of live stream plan fits your budget? How much are you willing to invest?
With your website in place and a general idea of what you want to do, you’re ready to get started on setting up live streaming video on your website.
1. Recording Equipment
If you want to create any sort of video content, you need the proper live streaming recording equipment.
Video cameras can be as simple as a webcam or as complex as a 4K ultra-HD professional camcorder. It is important that you use the proper camera for what you’re aiming to capture. For the best quality video, look for a camera with an HDMI connection. HDMI-compatible cameras can output the highest quality stream.
Investing in audio recording equipment is a good idea, as well. While built-in camera microphones may suffice, we don’t recommend relying on that option. The most professional quality audio comes from external microphones worn on the lapel or held just outside the camera frame.
Video cameras can be as simple as a webcam or as complicated as a 4K ultra-HD professional camcorder. What’s important is that you use the right camera for your job. For the best quality video, look for a camera with an HDMI connection. HDMI-compatible cameras can output the highest quality stream.
Of course, you’ll need some kind of audio recording equipment as well. While built-in camera microphones may suffice, we don’t recommend relying on that option. The best quality audio comes from external microphones worn on the lapel or held just outside the camera frame.
2. Encoding Equipment
One challenge that most live streamers face is that most cameras are designed to record rather than to stream. That’s why you’ll need encoding software or hardware that works with your camera of choice.
Encoding changes your video from a format optimized for recording and storage to one designed for transmission over the web. This ensures that your viewers can access your live streaming video without issue.
Hardware encoders are dedicated devices that let you bypass the need for a computer. This physical alternative to encoding software is useful in some professional broadcasting contexts.
Hardware encoders are typically used by professional broadcasters given their high price points. They are designed specifically for encoding, which gives them an advantage over software encoders.
Software encoders, on the other hand, are usually much more affordable than hardware. Small-scale producers generally prefer this alternative to hardware encoders. You can even opt for free and open-source software encoders. OBS Studio is a good option. Here is a live streaming encoder comparison between these two types of solutions.
Pro-level encoders like Wirecast Pro and vMix, however, are better options in terms of features and quality. Note that paid encoding software packages do require a computer with a fairly fast processor. You want a reliable machine that can deal with transcoding video in real-time.
3. Internet Connection
To achieve any level of quality in your live streaming video broadcast, broadcasters also need a reliable, fast internet connection. Most cable internet speeds are sufficient for live streaming.
However, you should avoid streaming while other users are using the same server’s bandwidth for other activities.
There are a few general rules of thumb for internet speed requirements for live streaming video.
You need an upload speed of at least two Mbps in order to broadcast high-quality live streams. At lower speeds, your video quality could be pixelated, lagging and potentially unwatchable. Make sure your internet service isn’t prone to disruptions or fluctuations in speed. Interruption of an important broadcast is the last thing you want.
There are some additional minimum upload speed requirements related to internet connection based on the quality of video you’re aiming for. If you want a higher video quality, you need faster internet speed. We recommend an upload speed of at least half the quality at which you plan to stream. For example, if you are doing an HD, 3 Mbps stream, you will need a 6 Mbps upload speed.
Furthermore, don’t accept the advertised upload speed from your internet service provider (ISP) at face value. Your ISP will quote you a peak speed. Your actual average speed will most likely always be lower. We highly recommend checking your true internet speed on testmy.net before you start streaming.
4. Live Streaming Video Hosting
Another tool you need is a professional-grade video streaming platform. YouTube is the most popular and easy-to-use streaming video host. However free, consumer-grade platforms like YouTube and Facebook Live pose serious limitations for live streaming video. Those services are designed for uploading videos, rather than for live streaming video content.
Using streaming solutions via a dedicated white-label video platform for agencies, such as Dacast, IBM Cloud Video, or Livestream is highly recommended. These will provide a better live streaming video service and give you more control over video placement, monetization, access, recording and more.
These services are completely built around live streaming. With a dedicated streaming platform, these are not secondary features of the service, but the primary attraction.
Review the features of your chosen platform before committing. If you need a lot of bandwidth, viewing hours and storage for advanced VOD and live event streaming, make sure that you choose an enterprise video platform that supports this.
The live streaming video solution you choose will also provide you with specific information related to your live channel. You’ll need this information to set up your encoding software or hardware to access the video host website for live streaming. That way, you can ensure a secure video upload for your viewers.
Of course, you’ll want to test out your setup before you launch your first broadcast to ensure that everything works smoothly. There are a variety of guides available to you, as well, based on your specific encoder. For example, here are the OBS Studio guide and the Wirecast Pro video broadcasting software guide.
Here is a short video tutorial using Wirecast 8 to give you a little more insight.
5. Generating an Embed Code
Once you have chosen the equipment and tools that you’ll use to create your live stream videos, you’re ready to move on to the second phase of this process. It is time to prepare your website for your first live stream broadcast.
This is a relatively simple process. First, you have to navigate to the administrative dashboard for your live streaming video host. Once you’re there, schedule a live stream event for the time your event will begin. After you schedule, you should be able to access the embed options.
You will want to test both on your website to make sure they work. WordPress sites, for example, require the iFrame code.
Once you choose one of these two coding options, select that embed code in the box and copy it to your clipboard.
6. Embedding on your site
The next step is to embed your video on a website. To do so, you need to access the HTML code view on your chosen site. Do not fret. You don’t need to know anything about coding to complete this step.
For example, if you’re using a WordPress site, you’ll proceed as follows:
- Click edit a post (or page)
- Click the tab for “text” to enter the code editor view
- Paste your video code on a new line
- Save the page and you’re ready to go.
Please note that most other website editors have similar tools for embedding HTML code quickly and easily.
Start Live Streaming Today
After you square away your filming and encoding equipment, test your internet speed, generate your embed code and then embed the video, you’re ready to start broadcasting live streaming video.
The only thing left is to start filming.
If you’re in need of additional information about live streaming, we’ve got you covered.
You can find a step-by-step walkthrough as an introduction to live streaming on the Dacast blog. You’ll find tons of links to helpful resources for video broadcasting.
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At Dacast, we help a wide range of businesses get started with live streaming. For more details, you can check out our live streaming pricing plans and customization options. Are you ready to try our streaming solutions for yourself? Just click the button below to sign up for a 30-day free trial (no credit card required). We’ll have you up and streaming in no time.