How to Live Stream Holiday Events in 6 Steps – 2021 Update

By Emily Krings

28 Min Read

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Emily Krings

Emily is a strategic content writer and story teller. She specializes in helping businesses create blog content that connects with their audience.

    The holidays are approaching fast, and this year, the festivities look a little different. Lots of events are coming up, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, Hanukkah, and much more.

    In order to keep gatherings small, a lot of organizations are live streaming their holiday events and encouraging participants to attend online.

    Live streaming at the professional level may seem like a bit of a daunting task, but with the right information and support, hosting a virtual event is not too difficult.

    In this article, we’ll discuss six key steps to live stream holiday events. We will cover everything from sharing the news with your audience to configuring streaming equipment.

    To get started, let’s take a look at a few types of festive live streams that churches, cities, and other organizations will be hosting this holiday season.

    Table of Contents

    • Types of Holiday Live Streams
    • 6 Steps to Live Stream a Holiday Event
      • Prepare Your Audience
      • Set Up Equipment
      • Choose an Online Video Platform
      • Configure Your Encoder
      • Create a Live Channel
      • Start Streaming
    • How to Stream Hybrid Holiday Events
    • 10 Platforms for Live Streaming Holiday Events
    • Conclusion

    Types of Holiday Live Streams

    holiday live streams
    There are several types of events that you can put on to spread the holiday cheer.

    The holiday season is known as a time to gather and spread cheer, but this year, gatherings are limited in order to avoid spreading germs. Thanks to live streaming and video conferencing technology, people can come together from the comfort and safety of their homes.

    Here are a few different types of holiday events that can be live-streamed:

    • Tree lighting ceremonies 
    • Christmas pageants and concerts
    • Church Christmas programs
    • New Year’s countdowns
    • Office holiday parties

    Live streaming your event will help your community stay connected even when they have to keep a physical distance from one another.

    6 Steps to Live Stream a Holiday Event

    Live streaming is easier than ever before. In fact, live streaming technology has progressed to the point where nearly anyone can set up a live stream. With the right tools in place, only a small amount of technical know-how is required. 

    Here’s a detailed tutorial on how to live stream holiday events in 6 steps.

    1. Prepare Your Audience

    virtual holiday party
    Getting everyone together on both sides is the first step to a successful virtual holiday party event.

    The first step to live streaming isn’t technical. Instead, it’s about your audience. Once you’ve decided to do a live broadcast, you need to give your audience a heads up. 

    You can promote your virtual event on your social media platforms, website, email list, physical mailers, or as an announcement at any prior in-person events.

    Ask interested viewers to share their email addresses or cell phone number with you so that you can send them reminders for the event and instructions for tuning in. If you are monetizing your event, require guests to enter an email address on the paywall.

    2. Choose an Online Video Platform

    online video platform
    An online video platform with live streaming capabilities is essential to broadcasting a live holiday event.

    The next step to prepare for your holiday live stream is to choose a professional online video platform (OVP). An OVP is a platform for hosting and delivering online video streams.

    Broadcasters hosting virtual holiday events like yours are encouraged to invest in a professional option. The range of features that come with a professional online video platform provides several advantages over free, consumer-grade streaming solutions.

    When you choose an online video platform to live stream a holiday event, you’ll have a range of specific needs. Some of these needs include:

    One video platform that could meet these needs is Dacast. Dacast’s live streaming platform includes each and every one of these features ideal for holiday event streaming.

    For parties and more intimate gatherings, web conferencing might be more appropriate. Make sure that your chosen online video platform either offers real-time latency or integrations with a web conferencing tool.

    Dacast, for example, integrates with Zoom. This way, the stream becomes interactive, rather than a one-sided broadcast. The advantage of using a professional video platform rather than the web conferencing tool on its own is that users don’t have to worry about time constraints, overloaded servers, and other limitations that Zoom and other consumer-grade platforms come with.

    3. Set Up Equipment

    Live Streaming Video Equipment
    Professional-grade equipment is important for high-quality streaming.

    Live streaming equipment comes down to a few basic tools, including cameras, microphones, and an encoder. Cameras and microphones are for capturing the content, and encoders are for taking those captured files and converting them into a format that is easy to stream over the internet.

    There are thousands of different live streaming cameras available. Which is best for you will depend on your budget and technical needs. The same is true with audio equipment. However, we recommend XLR microphones as the best available option. For specific equipment recommendations, check out our guide to live streaming equipment.

    When it comes to encoding, you have a couple of different options. Most often encoding is done with special software on a computer, but a hardware encoder is an option, as well. 

    If you go the software encoding route, a moderately high-powered laptop should be suitable for most live streams. You’ll need to install encoding software directly on this laptop. There are a variety of encoding software packages available. We recommend starting with OBS Studio, which is a free, open-source software encoder.

    One critical element to live stream a holiday event is an internet connection. You’ll want a fast, reliable internet connection for live streaming. Tethered internet is the best way to go, but wifi can be a suitable alternative.

    If you’re live streaming outdoor events, you’ll also have additional equipment needs. Please check out our special guide to live streaming outdoor events for more information.

    4. Configure Your Encoder

    Now that we’ve figured out the equipment basics, let’s talk about how to get your video online. Specifically, this step requires configuring your video encoder

    For video resolution, you’ll want to choose the best quality you can. Then, you’ll need to choose an appropriate video bitrate for that resolution. We’ve put together a few combinations of suggested bitrates and resolutions. 

    • 4K (2160p): use 30 Mbps
    • 2K (1440p): use 20 Mbps
    • HD (1080p): use 10 Mbps
    • SD (720p): use 5 Mbps
    • LD (480p): use 2 Mbps
    • SLD (360p): use 1.5 Mbps
    • ULD (240p): use 0.5 Mbps

    Of course, these aren’t strict rules. However, varying too much from these numbers could cause issues.

    After setting your resolution and bitrate, you’ll need to choose some other encoder settings. Here are a few recommended settings for broadcasters live streaming with Dacast:

    Here are a few recommended settings for broadcasters live streaming with Dacast:

    • Video Codec: H.264 or x264
    • Audio Codec: AAC or AAC-LC
    • Audio bitrate: 128 kbps or higher
    • Sample Rate: 48 Khz
    • CBR vs. VBR: CBR 
    • Frame Rate: 30 fps is standard for online video. However, 25 is standard in certain geographic regions. 
    • Keyframe interval: 2 seconds

    If you want to broadcast a live stream in multiple bitrates simultaneously, you’ll need to configure this in your encoder. This makes adaptive bitrate streaming possible, which means that viewers are automatically pushed content in the rendition of the video that best suits their internet speed.

    Check out our guide to multi-bitrate live streaming with the Dacast platform and the Wirecast software encoder.

    5. Create a Live Channel

    live channel streaming
    Set up a live channel to generate the embed code for your video player.

    The next step is to create a live channel, which is the final step before going live. When using a platform like Dacast, the process is pretty straightforward.

    First, log in to your Dacast account and click “Live Channels” in the menu. This will open your list of existing live channels. Click “New,” and you’ll have a chance to name your new channel and choose a few other parameters.

    At this point, you can navigate to the “encoder settings” tab. Here you’ll receive a list of configuration options to link your live channel with your encoder. This includes stream name, stream URL, login code, and login password. Simply copy this information and enter it into your encoder at this stage.

    Once you have your live channel set up, you’ll copy the embed code and paste it into the code of the webpage where your video will live.

    6. Start Streaming

    Once you have all of your equipment set up and settings configured, it is time to start streaming. For most online video platforms, getting started is as simple as clicking “Start Streaming.”

    We recommend testing out this whole process at least once before your big event. That way, if any problems arise, you can deal with them without the pressure of a live audience.

    How to Stream Hybrid Holiday Events

    If you want to accommodate both in-person and remote participants for your holiday events this year, hosting a hybrid streaming event is the way to go.

    Streaming hybrid holiday events is very similar to the process we covered above. However, you also have to plan the in-person portion of the event. You must choose a date, secure, and book the vendors.

    When you choose a venue, make sure that the setup is suitable for streaming. Think about where you will set up your cameras and how you’ll manage your streams. Also, you’ll be busy hosting the holiday event, so make sure that you have a dedicated team to manage the stream.

    Once you’ve got all of your plans lined up, it is time to promote your event. Some of the most popular methods are via paid ads or promoting to your social media followers and your email list. As you promote your event, specify that interested attendees can in-person or online.

    It is important to test out the stream at the location of the event before you get started. Get permission from your venue to come in for your streaming trial run. If your trial run goes well, the streaming aspect of your hybrid event is ready to go.

    As the event approaches, confirm that everything is good to go with your venue, vendors, and other important participants.

    10 Platforms for Live Streaming Holiday Events

    As we discussed, an online video platform is an important part of live streaming holiday events. There are a variety of different platforms available to host your event streams.

    Let’s review ten of the top OVPs that holiday event planners should consider when choosing a tool to host their live streams.

    1. Dacast

    hybrid events
    Dacast is a great tool for live streaming holiday events.

    Dacast is a unified streaming solution that supports live and on-demand video streaming. Our platform is equipped with a wide variety of professional live streaming tools, including video monetization, white-label streaming, easy embedding, and more.

    What makes Dacast great for live streaming holiday events is that our platform offers a special pricing plan for event streaming. These one-month plans are available for broadcasters that only need video hosting support through the holiday season. 

    Features:

    Best Use Case:

    Dacast is best suited for hosting holiday live streams that require monetization or white-label streaming.

    Pricing:

    Streaming platform pricing plans with Dacast start at $39/month and include:

    • Starter: $39/month (billed annually); ideal for newcomers with 1.2 TB of bandwidth and 50 GB of storage per year
    • Scale: $188/month (billed annually); includes 24 TB of bandwidth per year, with 1 TB of storage; add phone support, monetization paywall, an M3U8 online player for live channels, ad insertion, white-label streaming, and video API access.
    • Event: $63 per month (or $750/year); ideal for organizations that would rather not sign a year-long contract; includes 6 TB of bandwidth and 50 GB of storage upfront

    Additional data and storage are available for purchase on all monthly plans.

    Dacast also offers custom-priced streaming plans for advanced streaming needs. Contact Dacast for a more information

    2. Cincopa

    Cincopa streaming solutions
    Cincopa supports live streaming for virtual and hybrid events.

    Cincopa is a unique platform that offers both live streaming and multimedia hosting. This platform is well-equipped with the tools that holiday event planners need to stream their events.

    The live streaming tools on Cincopa support both paid and free streaming events, so you can charge “admission” or open your event to the public.

    Features:

    • Live streaming
    • Multimedia hosting
    • Customizable video player
    • Monetization tools
    • Integrations for customization
    • Reliable content delivery
    • Secure video streaming

    Best Use Case:

    Cincopa is suitable for streaming holiday events of different sizes since the platform offers platforms for a wide variety of budgets.

    Pricing:

    Cincopa offers three different pricing plans, including:

    • Plus: $25/month; includes CTAs, email integrations, and more
    • Corporate: $99/month; advanced broadcasting tools
    • Agency/Enterprise: $350/month; advanced broadcasting tools with more flexibility 

    Please check out Cincopa’s pricing page for a further breakdown of storage and capabilities that come with each plan.

    3. Uscreen

    uscreen ott platform
    Uscreen’s OTT streaming technology is useful for event live streaming.

    Uscreen is an OTT streaming solution that event planners should consider for streaming larger holiday events. This powerful platform offers a variety of features that are specifically designed for hosting live event streams. These include preregistration, live event countdowns, and live chat for viewer participation.

    Another interesting aspect of Uscreen offers a few advanced tools for video monetization. Uscreen supports monetization through subscriptions and pay-per-view.

    Features:

    • Live event streaming
    • Video analytics
    • Viewer interaction features
    • Video monetization
    • High-level privacy and security

    Best Use Case:

    Uscreen is best suited for hosting larger holiday events since the streaming plans are on the pricier end.

    Pricing:

    Uscreen has three different pricing plans for broadcasting, including:

    • Basic:  $79/month + $0.50/subscriber
    • Amplify: $159/month + $0.50/subscriber
    • Uscreen Plus: Customizable plans for enterprise users with greater needs

    4. Livestorm

    Livestorm video platform
    Livestorm is a great option for live streaming holiday events.

    Livestorm is a live streaming platform that offers dedicated support for virtual event hosting. Livestorm’s features are specifically designed to create a lifelike virtual event by encouraging participation from the audience.

    In addition to virtual event streaming, Livestorm also offers a variety of solutions for webinar hosting.

    Features:

    • Live event streaming
    • Event promotion
    • Viewer participation tools
    • Video analytics
    • Secure streaming
    • Reliable customer support
    • Educational resources for broadcasters

    Best Use Case:

    Livestorm has plans ranging from free to high-ticket custom-priced plans which makes it suitable for hosting virtual holiday events of different sizes.

    Pricing:

    Livestorm has three pricing plans, including:

    • Starter: free; support for basic streaming
    • Premium: $99/month
    • Enterprise: custom-priced to suit advanced virtual event streaming needs

    The rates above reflect prices when billed annually. Livestorm charges additional fees for additional hosts or viewers on some plans.

    5. StreamYard

    streamyard streaming platform
    StreamYard is a Livestream alternative with support for in-browser streaming.

    StreamYard is an in-browser streaming site that is great for basic event live streaming. Since StreamYard operates entirely in-browser, it doesn’t require downloading any software.

    This streaming site is easy to use, so it is suitable for event planners that want to live stream their holiday events but don’t have any previous broadcasting experience.

    StreamYard also has built-in multistreaming support, which is definitely a bonus for organizations that want to distribute their streams to multiple destinations at once.

    Features:

    • In-browser live streaming
    • Brand customization 
    • Graphic overlays
    • Simulcasting
    • No downloads required
    • Multiple on-screen presenters
    • Screen sharing 

    Best Use Case:

    StreamYard is best suited for live holiday events that have minimal streaming requirements. It also comes in handy for streaming your holiday events to multiple destinations. 

    Pricing:

    StreamYard offers four pricing plans. These include:

    • Free: Access StreamYard on a limited basis for free.
    • Basic: $20/month; access some advanced streaming features, including unlimited streaming, brand customization, graphic overlays, simulcasting, and stream recording.
    • Professional: $39/month; adds additional usage allotments
    • Enterprise: StreamYard also offers enterprise plans that are priced on a case-by-case basis.

    These rates reflect the monthly pricing when billed annually.

    6. Resi

    resi streaming platform
    Resi is an end-to-end live streaming platform for professionals and broadcasting of events.

    Resi is a multi-functional broadcasting tool with a specific solution dedicated to live streaming. High-quality streaming is Resi’s focus, so its streaming solution is equipped with powerful tools, such as adaptive bitrate streaming, transcoding from the source, stream monitoring, and more.

    What’s interesting about Resi is that it uses advanced streaming protocols to optimize delivery and improve the streaming experience.

    Features:

    • Live streaming 
    • All-device streaming 
    • Simulcasting 
    • Cloud transcoding
    • Automation tools
    • Stream monitoring

    Best Use Case:

    Resi’s live streaming solution is a great option for hosting virtual holiday events that demand the highest video quality.

    Pricing:

    Interested broadcasters must fill out an inquiry form to get information on Resi’s pricing

    7. Restream

    Restream Broadcasting Software
    Restream supports in-browser streaming for basic virtual event hosting.

    Restream is another multi-functional broadcasting tool that supports in-browser streaming. Restream offers several solutions, and the Studio solution is the one that is designed for hosting live streams.

    Since Restream is an in-browser streaming service, it is less powerful than some of the software options we’ve discussed so far. It is also worth noting that multistreaming is one of the primary functionalities of Restream, which is certainly a value add.

    Features:

    • In-browser streaming
    • Engagement tools
    • Multistreaming 
    • Tools for audience interaction
    • Custom branding 
    • Event scheduling tools

    Best Use Case:

    Restream is best suited for broadcasting holiday events that have minimal streaming requirements. It can also be used for distributing the event stream to multiple destinations.

    Pricing:

    Restream has several pricing plans for both individuals and businesses. These include the following plans billed annually:

    • Free: $0/months (for individuals)
    • Standard: $16/month (for individuals)
    • Professional: $41/month (for individuals)
    • Premium: $83/month (for businesses)
    • Business: $249/month (for businesses)

    8. Panopto

    panopto video platform
    Panopto is a great video hosting option for internal streaming.

    Pantopto is another powerful streaming solution that is suitable for live streaming holiday events. It is equipped with all of the tools broadcasters need for stream recording and distribution. 

    Panopto’s live streaming tools are designed for virtual event hosting, which is definitely a plus. This platform offers secure, high-quality streaming at a reasonable price.

    Features:

    • Live streaming
    • Auto-archiving for on-demand playback
    • Secure video streaming 
    • White-label streaming 
    • Brand customization
    • API access for customization
    • Video analytics

    Best Use Case:

    Since Pantopto offers a wide variety of pricing plans, ranging from free to high-ticket custom-priced plans, it is suitable for hosting live holiday event streams of any size.

    Pricing:

    Panopto recently simplified its pricing packages and includes the following three tiers:

    • Basic: Free
    • Pro: $14.99/month
    • Enterprise: Please contact Panopto for custom pricing.

    9. YouTube

    YouTube Live streaming platform
    YouTube is one of the most popular video platforms.

    YouTube is one of the most well-known streaming platforms in the world. This is a free, consumer-grade platform, but many businesses and organizations that are new to broadcasting use it for hosting one-off events.

    Other than the fact that it is free, the value of streaming on YouTube is that many viewers are familiar and comfortable with the platform. It is easy to use for both broadcasters and viewers.

    There are some significant drawbacks of streaming on YouTube, such as limited monetization, limited security, and the YouTube-branded video player

    Features:

    • Live streaming
    • On-demand video streaming
    • Comment and chat threads
    • Ad-based monetization
    • No white-label streaming

    Best Use Case:

    YouTube is best suited for live streaming holiday events on a budget. It is not a professional solution, but it can be a valuable tool for broadcasters that are just getting started.

    Pricing:

    YouTube is free to use.

    10. Facebook

    Facebook Live Streaming Platform
    Share live video to all your brand’s social media followers using the app already on your phone.

    Another free option for live streaming holiday events is Facebook. This popular social media platform is a great option for holiday event planners that are content with a simple streaming setup.

    Like YouTube, Facebook lacks the professional features of most of the other platforms we’ve mentioned. However, the social media/community-building aspect of Facebook is certainly a plus.

    Features:

    • Social media live streaming
    • On-demand hosting for replays
    • Built-in chat thread
    • No white-label streaming
    • Free to use
    • Popular amongst viewers
    • Easy to get started

    Best Use Case:

    Facebook is best suited for low-budget holiday event streaming. It is also great for reaching your brand’s existing community on the site.

    Pricing:

    Facebook is free to use.

    Conclusion

    virtual holiday live stream
    Spread some holiday cheer with a virtual holiday live stream.

    The holiday season is an exciting time, and events of all kinds are a big part of the seasonal experience. Live streaming a holiday event is a great way to spread cheer to people both near and far. 

    In this blog post, we’ve provided some actionable insight on how to live stream a holiday event. We hope that it has given you the confidence to live stream a holiday event for your business, church, or other organization.

    If you want to get familiar with the live streaming tools that come with an online video platform but aren’t ready to commit, we invite you to try our platform risk-free for 14 days. Create a Dacast account today to start your trial. No credit card is required.

    Get Started For Free

    Contact our support team directly with any questions regarding your specific streaming goals and needs.

    For regular live streaming tips and exclusive offers, you can join our LinkedIn group.

    author avatar

    Emily Krings

    Emily is a strategic content writer and story teller. She specializes in helping businesses create blog content that connects with their audience.

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