How to Record a Live Stream – Everything You Need to Know in 2021

how to record a live stream

Live streaming at the professional level requires a lot of hard work and resources. When you’re investing a great deal of time, money, and effort into your live streams, you’re going to want to keep a recording of your live stream for future use. 

Whether you want to offer on-demand access to the event after it has taken place or you want a copy of the stream for your archive, recording your live stream is a good idea.

In this post, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about recording your live streams. We will address when and why you might want to create a live stream recording of your event. We’ll dive into how you can record a live stream, the equipment needed, and which online video platform to choose.

Table of Contents

  • Why Record Live Streaming Video?
  • How to Record Streaming Video
  • Live Recording via Encoding or Streaming Software 
  • Record Live Streaming Video via a Hardware Encoder
  • Online Live Recording via a Video Platform
  • How to Monetize Live Stream Recording
  • Final Thoughts

We’re covering a lot of knowledge in this article. If you’re looking for just one section, be sure to scroll down to find what you’re looking for. If you’re hoping to become an expert in how to record streaming video, let’s start from the top.

Why Record Live Streaming Video?

record streaming video
Learning how to live stream is an important tool for business, remote learning, and remote event attendance.

There are several advantages to keeping live stream recordings. Some key reasons to do live event broadcasts include:

  • Saving footage for the archive
  • Using recordings for promo reels, advertisements, etc.
  • Continuing engagement after live events have ended
  • Generating revenue via on-demand video

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the top reasons that broadcasters opt to create a recording of their live streams.

Reach Larger Audiences

Perhaps the biggest advantage to live stream recording for events is the ability to reach larger audiences. With live events, this tactic becomes especially valuable.

Due to scheduling conflicts and other issues, only a small portion of your total potential audience can likely tune in to a given live event in real-time. Given that reality, you can easily double, triple, or quadruple your total audience by creating a recording and publishing it after the stream has ended.

Furthermore, recordings allow you to reach people whose internet isn’t fast enough to handle live-streamed events. With proper buffering, download offerings, or even DVD/USB stick-based files, you can expand your reach to almost everyone.

Give Viewers a Second Chance to Watch

Another key reason to capture and publish your live recording online is to give viewers a second chance to watch.

Making live streams accessible after the stream has ended is particularly beneficial to your biggest fans. A viewer may find so much value in a stream that they come back to rewatch your live stream recording again and again. 

Nourishing relationships with these dedicated followers is important since they are likely to tune in to future streams and live events. True fans can be extremely powerful, and recording your live streams can help you to capitalize on this potential.

Extend Revenue Generation

One popular reason for streaming video content online is to generate revenue. If this is your goal, recording streams for on-demand playback can help you to maximize your profits.

As we noted above, a large portion of views for any given program will likely occur after the live event. However, that’s only possible if you make the content available to your viewers. 

We will discuss more specifics of monetizing your live stream recordings further along in this post.

Promo Reels and Previews

Other great use-cases for previous footage include commercials, promo reels, and demonstrations of your past work. Even if the old footage is worthless in its own right, it can be valuable as “b-roll” or background shots.

During video editing, use footage from previous events to create a montage to illustrate the efforts of your company or organization. A rapid series of cuts showing various events, speakers, gatherings, and other pre-recorded content can communicate a great deal in a short time.

If for no other reason than the possibility of future use, we highly recommend keeping old stream recordings around for the long term.

How to Record Streaming Video

record live streaming
At Dacast, we recommend eight or more GB of RAM and a modern i7 processor if you intend to record directly.

There are several ways to record a live stream. You can do it through an encoder, an online video player, or through a dedicated screen-capture tool. 

Let’s take a look at how to record live streaming videos with each of these methods.

1. Live Recording via Encoding or Streaming Software

There are a couple of types of software that are used for capturing live stream recordings. The most common two are encoding software and streaming video software. Oftentimes, the two are merged into one software.

As a quick refresher, broadcasters use a video encoder to convert RAW video files into a digital format. The digital format is compatible with online players and devices. As the name implies, software encoders are video conversion programs that run on a local computer. Software encoders have graphic interfaces to manage the conversion process and allow control over elements such as bitrate and stream quality.

Software encoders are appealing because of their low cost and ease of operation. They also support future performance enhancements as the software can be upgraded as new features or product versions are released.

Streaming software is very similar in nature. The main difference is that they offer more functionality than just encoding. In fact, many include encoding tools in addition to “studio” tools that are designed for mixing, editing, and adding other elements to live streams. Stream recording is another important function that many offer.

Let’s say you’ve chosen a streaming software to record your live stream. You can set up stream recording on your internal or networked drives. However, this approach does require two important components: spare processing power and disk space. 

Also, please note that streaming solutions, in general, require a good deal of processing power. Simultaneously transcoding your stream into a commonly recorded format (e.g., MP4) can tax mid-range computer hardware. A powerful machine should be able to tackle this task. 

Secondly, you’ll need access to disk space. Video recording takes up a great deal of space. Depending on your encoder, recordings you save directly to local drives will encode in the format the camera sends.

Often, this file arrives at a much higher bitrate than the online stream. As a result, you’ll need considerable storage space. For a multi-hour event, that easily amounts to hundreds of gigabytes. In that case, multi-terabyte hard drives may be necessary. Factors affecting this requirement include recording resolution, audio quality, frame rate, and other settings that affect the bitrate.

The exact process for live stream capture will vary from software to software, so we encourage you to look for instructions specific to your chosen platform.

2. Record Live Streaming Video via a Hardware Encoder

Hardware encoders are a bit different from software encoders. They are standalone, dedicated devices that do not require a PC to run. Hardware encoders have specialized internal components and firmware and don’t share resources with any other processes. Because of their efficiency, professional broadcasters and enterprise brands tend to use them more often.

This high speed comes at a price though (literally) as these devices are considerably more expensive than their software counterparts. Hardware encoders are also less flexible overall.

With a hardware encoder, on the other hand, live stream recording is a somewhat different process. First, you want to explore your encoder settings to determine if this method is possible.

Some hardware encoders feature internal disk space to which you can save content. Some, like the Matrox Monarch HD, are optimized for this usage. Others may require you to plug in an external hard drive before recording content.

Also, some hardware encoders don’t support simultaneous live stream recording at all. Before depending on a hardware encoder to record your live stream, consult the manual to make sure it’s possible.

3. Online Live Recording via a Video Platform

If you’re looking to use an OVP, be sure to compare each platform and what they offer. Every platform is unique in its’ own way.

The other main way to record live streaming video is to record via your online video platform (e.g., a streaming provider, like Dacast).

We’d like to point out that some video hosting platforms either don’t offer live stream recording. Make sure to review all the features for the platform and plan you have before you try to record your live streams.

When available, live stream recording via a streaming service is usually as simple as enabling an option in your account settings. You may also need to enable streaming for the specific live stream/channel that you plan to record.

In fact, there are quite a few advantages of recording live stream video content on a professional live streaming platform. For one, the processing power for transcoding locally isn’t required, nor is the storage space. This approach also means that you don’t have to worry about local disk failures. 

The reason for this is that OVPs record to redundant RAID-based servers. You also maintain control and rights to all of your content when you stream with a professional OVP like Dacast. In that sense, it’s a win-win.

Potential Disadvantages of Recording Streaming Video via an OVP

As with anything, there are disadvantages to this approach as well. The main disadvantage is that your OVP can only record live streams in the highest quality of content you send to the platform. 

Since you’re likely significantly compressing your video between the camera and streaming to the internet, you can lose a great deal of quality here. This is especially true for broadcast-quality cameras, which may record at 30+ Mbps. From there, video files must be compressed down to 5 Mbps or less for streaming.

However, these potential drawbacks aren’t unconquerable issues for most broadcasters. Unless you’re worried about doing a lot of video editing in posts, files recorded online should be of sufficient quality for many uses. Even professional broadcasters who are recording locally may want to enable cloud live stream recording. That way, you have an automatic off-site backup in place should issues arise.

Troubleshooting Live Streaming Issues

Additionally, it can be quite frustrating when issues arise in the middle of a live stream. We’ve witnessed first-hand the complications that can arise, and we know that the average broadcaster can’t don’t have the financial or technical means to address all of those issues.

We’ve put together a thorough guide with our top 10 tips to help you troubleshoot live streaming issues and identify the root of the problems. Using the troubleshooting framework we’ve laid out, will get your stream back on track in no time.

Auto-archiving Via The Dacast Platform

auto archive streaming
Auto-Archiving allows you to record your live stream and share it as a video-on-demand (VOD). By keeping a record of your live events, you enable your viewers to re-watch your videos whenever they like.

Now, let’s take look at one online video platform example: Dacast.

Dacast is an online video platform that offers hosting for both live streaming and on-demand video content. In addition, we also offer an auto-archiving feature that makes it simple to record live stream events with minimal extra effort.

With the auto-archiving tool, you can easily record live streams and have them automatically uploaded to your on-demand video library.

To use this feature, you’ll need a Dacast account. Once you have your Dacast account set up, turning on the auto-archiving feature is easy.

Here’s how to activate live stream recording and auto-archiving on Dacast:

  1. Log in to your Dacast account, which automatically re-directs you to your Dashboard.
  2. Create a new live streaming channel. For existing channels over which you’d like to enable auto-archiving, click “Publish Settings.” [Note that only channels with the following settings are supported at this time: HTML5 channel type, H.264 video codec, AAC audio codec, maximum bitrate 3.5 Mbps, and channel status set to “on.”]
  3. Click the “Auto Archiving” slider to toggle it to the “on” position.

When you configure your settings as such, your account will now automatically record all of your live streams. You can always disable auto-archiving if you wish.

Please note that when you record streaming video events, it does count toward your bandwidth usage. Specifically, each recording is equal to one user at your maximum bitrate. Also, individual files must be a maximum of two hours in length. If your stream runs over two hours, our system will divide your stream into multiple parts.

Auto-archived live stream recordings save to the “Video On Demand” library on your account in the mP4 format. Once recorded, you can share, embed, monetize, and download the content.

To learn more about how to record live stream broadcasts with Dacast, check out this auto-archiving video tutorial.

Live Stream Recording with Other OVPs

Other platforms, including Livestream and Wowza, also offer live stream recording functionality. Both of these providers also output files in the MP4 format, and files are archived in your account. IBM Cloud Video has similar functionality, as well.

When it comes to online live recording, however, each platform is a bit different. Some have unique features, and some are easier to use than others.

How to Monetize Live Streaming Video

video monetization
Monetization is key for recording live streaming video. You want your viewers to be able to pay for your content in a safe and secure way.

As we mentioned, recording your live streams and uploading them as VOD content can help to extend your revenue generation, both in terms of time-span and total sales brought in. 

Financially speaking, video is a very significant asset. For many businesses and organizations, high-quality prerecorded video content is as good as gold. Simply put, if you manage it properly, you’ll get high returns. Instead of just throwing something out there for viewers, put it to focused and advantageous use.

For example, let’s briefly consider the NBA. If you’re not aware, the NBA now generates the majority of its revenue via live broadcasts on TV. However, it also records all live-streamed content and makes that coverage available to subscribers on-demand. This expands the NBA’s revenue potential while making true fans very happy. For avid sports fans with busy lives or no cable, live stream recording allows them to watch every game from their favorite teams on their own time.

You can take that monetization model, and make it your own.

At Dacast, we offer secure video monetization, which means that both you and your viewers are protected on transactions that take place through our paywall. All data collected by the paywall system is enforced and protected

Viewers can purchase content securely by credit card, and all payments processed by the system are SSL encrypted to protect data during transmission.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some specific applications of live stream recording in more detail.

1. SVOD 

Subscription-based video on demand, or SVOD for short, is the monetization option most viewers are accustomed to. This subscription-based model gives users access to content in exchange for a monthly recurring fee. Netflix and ESPN+ are two excellent examples.

2. AVOD 

Advertising-based video on demand, or AVOD for short, gives users free access to content with the stipulation that sponsored ads are part of the experience. YouTube is a perfect example. 

AVOD allows broadcasters to generate revenue without requiring paywalls, ongoing subscriptions, or transactions with viewers.

3. TVOD 

Transactional video on demand, or TVOD for short, is another monetization option. This type of monetization is based on users paying to view specific content not available elsewhere. 

A pay-per-view model such as HBO charging extra for a boxing match or concert broadcast online is TVOD in action. Prime Video and Apple TV also use a version of TVOD.

Which Monetization Method to Use

Ultimately, the monetization method you use will come down to your specific audience and what sort of content you provide to them. Depending on your monetization strategy, you’ll want to choose an online video platform that offers one or more of these VOD options. 

With Dacast, pay-per-view, advertising, and subscription packages can be set up for all your video content. Our paywall supports transactions in over 140 currencies and purchases can be made through credit card or PayPal transactions. 

You can set up as many pay-per-view streaming prices as you want on your video content. Control rates, promo codes, and viewing windows are also included. Dacast’s integrated payment system will handle all transactions directly in the player for fast and easy access to your video.

Final Thoughts on How to Record Streaming Video

There is a lot of value in recording your online streams for on-demand playback and other uses.  In particular, live stream recordings are great for reaching new audiences, extending engagement, and providing content for your true supporters. Let’s not forget that they can also improve revenue generation.

The live stream recording process differs depending on whether you use a professional OVP, like Dacast, or an encoder. However, no matter what method you choose, the recording is important. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to “set it and forget it” so that you’ll have a high-quality recording waiting for you after every broadcast.

If you’d like to try Dacast for free, you can access your 30-day risk-free trial by signing up for a Dacast account today. No credit card required.

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Are you recording your live streams? Why or why not? We’d love to hear from you! We know that many of our readers are experienced live streamers themselves. Drop a note to our 24/7 support team, and we’ll get back to you.

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