The Definitive Streaming Setup Guide – How to Set Up a Live Stream
Table of Contents
Live streaming is an important tool for businesses and organizations across many industries. It helps brands to connect with their target audience, schools to facilitate distance learning, organizations to work with remote teams, and more.
Successful streams require the support of a solid streaming setup. However, setup requirements for streaming vary depending on the level of streaming you hope to achieve.
In this post, we are going to cover everything you need to know to create the most effective streaming setups for different scenarios in 2021. We will start by reviewing some of the basics of live streaming before we dive into our in-depth guide on creating the perfect streaming setup for different levels of broadcasting.
We’ll take a close look at the necessary equipment, software, and support for beginner, intermediate, and advanced broadcasters.
Table of Contents
- Live Streaming in 2021: The Basics
- Uses for Live Streaming
- How to Set Up a Live Stream
- Basic Streaming Setup
- Full Streaming Setup
- Advanced Streaming Setup
- More Live Streaming Setup Considerations
- Final Thoughts
Live Streaming in 2021: The Basics
Online video streaming makes it possible for businesses and organizations to connect with their audiences while bypassing location limitations. Live streaming, in particular, creates a lifelike experience that is truly engaging.
Over the past few years, leaps and bounds have been made in the online video streaming industry. Broadcasters with different levels of experience can create high-quality streams thanks to the development of powerful streaming solutions and related equipment.
Several highly technical processes go on behind the scenes to power online video streams. However, most professional streaming solutions take care of the technicalities and make it possible for broadcasters to operate their streams with an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI).
Luckily, these streaming tools are more affordable and accessible than ever. Broadcasters can create effective streaming setups on any budget.
Uses for Live Streaming
There are many professional uses for live streaming in 2021. Since this type of style of video distribution is known to be engaging and lifelike, brands harness those perks to connect with their audiences.
Some of the top uses for live streaming include:
- Virtual events: conferences, webinars
- Education: remote learning, lectures,
- Sports: games, matches, championships, tournaments
- Church: services, charity events, choir concerts, small group meetings
- Sales & marketing: product launches, demos, sales pitches
- Government: town hall meetings, city-sponsored events, archives
The beauty of live streaming is that brands can get creative as they’d like to leverage this type of video content. There are truly no limits on how video streaming can be used.
How to Set Up a Live Stream
Creating the perfect live streaming setup looks different to every broadcaster. Since live streaming is used for so many different purposes across so many industries, there are different things to consider when creating the best streaming setup for your organization.
Although each streaming setup will look different, there are a few considerations that remain the same: software requirements, necessary equipment, and expert support needs. Let’s take a look at how to set up a live stream for streaming at different levels
Basic Streaming Setup
Some broadcasts can be done with a basic streaming setup and a small budget. A simple streaming setup will suffice for independent creators and small businesses. Educators can also usually get by with a basic streaming setup as long as they have streaming software that supports screen sharing and stream recording.
That said, let’s look at the components of a basic live streaming setup.
If you are streaming at a very basic level, you may be able to get by with a free streaming site, like YouTube or Dailymotion. However, if video monetization, white-label streaming, reliable security, and other streaming features are important to you, it’s worth investing in a basic plan from a professional solution.
Other streaming software may be necessary for some basic streaming setups, such as a simulcasting tool or simple mixing and production software.
There are a few pieces of equipment that are necessary for any broadcasting, including a camera and a laptop or computer to operate the streaming solution on.
A basic streaming setup requires the support of a webcam or a basic camera. An even simpler setup can make do with just a smartphone or tablet. If you’re streaming with a smartphone or tablet, you won’t even need a computer.
If you’re streaming with a webcam or mobile device, you might not need an encoder. Your streaming setup could be as simple as a laptop, webcam, and a professional video hosting platform.
While you can get a decent quality stream with a smartphone or tablet, the quality won’t be as good as streaming with a basic camera and a laptop. Smartphones are best suited for mobile streaming.
A basic streaming setup shouldn’t require the support of an expert. You may need some help creating a website and embedding your video player, but if you stream with a solution that offers customizable streaming galleries, this isn’t necessary.
Full Streaming Setup
Many live streams need a bit of a more sophisticated setup to achieve a higher-quality end result. A full streaming setup is necessary for situations where more professionalism is required but the extravagance of a TV-grade stream is unnecessary.
Virtual events, product demos, and corporate webinars are examples of streams that benefit from a full streaming setup. With that in mind, let’s take a close look at some of the essential elements for this type of streaming setup.
An online video host is essential for a full streaming setup. A basic to mid-level plan should suffice. You’ll also need encoding software, a switcher, and production software.
A full streaming setup typically involves a powerful computer, a high-quality camera, audio capture equipment, and potentially, a hardware encoder.
While a professional camcorder would help you create a higher-quality stream, they are expensive and are not absolutely necessary. A DSLR camera with 4K streaming capabilities should get the job done.
Depending on the scenario, you may also need a green screen, a backdrop, studio lighting, tripods, and other studio equipment.
The most complex you make your streaming setup, the more expert support you’ll need. A full streaming setup will likely require a small camera crew. It is also beneficial to have somebody in charge of production who knows the ins and outs of switching and mixing.
Advanced Streaming Setup
Now, let’s shift gears to advanced streaming. By “advanced” we mean professional or TV-grade streaming. Think of newscasts or sports broadcasts. These types of streams are often broadcasted to large audiences that are depending on your stream to catch a piece of the action.
That creates a lot of expectations and puts pressure on advanced broadcasters, which means the streaming setup must be impeccable and infallible. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the essential components of a professional streaming setup.
Like the other streaming setups we discussed, a professional stream requires the support of a professional online video platform.
For the other streaming setups, we said that basic or mid-level online video platform plans would suffice. However, with a more professional streaming setup, your needs are much more advanced, so you’ll likely need a custom-built enterprise plan.
Like a full streaming setup, an advanced streaming setup will need the support of encoding software, switching software, production software, and mixing and editing software.
Professional streaming setups require more advanced equipment. You’re going to need the studio equipment we mentioned in the full streaming setup, plus some other tools. Depending on your unique streaming needs, you may opt for a hardware encoder rather than a software encoder.
More advanced cameras, like professional camcorders, are also a must. The number of cameras required will also depend on your unique streaming needs, but you will definitely need multiple cameras.
If you are on-site, like at a game or event, a studio setup will not be necessary. However, you’re going to need a powerful streaming setup that is optimized for mobile streaming. Some additional equipment requirements would be gimbals, stabilizers, and advanced audio capture equipment.
Streaming at an advanced level requires a lot of expert support. TV-grade streaming, for example, requires producers, dedicated camera operators, lighting specialists, and more.
Large events need a team to monitor the streams in the event that the stream needs to be suddenly cut because something “unstreamable” is recorded. Knowledgeable assistants will also likely come in handy to keep everything running smoothly.
More Live Streaming Setup Considerations
As you map out your streaming setup, there are a few more things to consider. Let’s take a look at some considerations that apply to broadcasting at any level.
The key to creating a successful streaming setup is to plan ahead. Map out exactly what you want to do and what you want to achieve.
Think about your audience and why you want to reach them. What sort of results are you looking for? Think beyond a specific viewer count. Do you want your viewers to become customers? Are you simply trying to share information, or is there something that you’re looking for in return?
Determine what you need to bring your streaming vision to life.
Many broadcasters live stream with the intention of generating revenue. The three most popular video monetization models are advertising, subscriptions, and pay-per-view.
Determine what sort of monetization strategy you want to use and find an online video platform that offers the necessary support.
In order to maximize your reach, you’re going to want to properly promote your stream. The way that you promote your stream will depend on your specific audience.
You can use different digital marketing and advertising techniques to promote your steam. Some approaches you can take include:
- Paid advertisements
- Posting on social media
- Email blasts
- SEO landing pages
Make your stream discoverable and encourage viewers to RSVP so you have some sort of idea of who will show up.
It is very important to track the results of your stream. Pay attention to how many viewers you had and how long they engaged with your stream. Make note of where your viewers tuned in from and if your turnout was on par with your expectations.
In order to do this, you’re going to need to choose an online video platform with powerful reporting and analytics. If you’re embedding the video player in your website, it is also wise to set up Google Analytics to give you even more insights on your page views.
Internet connection plays an important role in online video streaming. Ethernet is the most reliable type of internet connection for streaming. WiFi can work, but wireless connections tend to be less consistent and reliable.
Cellular data should only be used as a last resort because it is significantly slower and less reliable.
How your craft your live streaming setup will depend on your unique streaming goals and needs. Different broadcasters will need different equipment, software, and support to create a live stream that works for their brand. Plan your stream ahead of time and map out your goals so that you can create the best streaming setup to reach your audience.
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With plans starting at $39/month, our solution is built to support broadcasters at both the beginner and professional levels. Unlike other online video hosts, our live streaming platform provides access to almost all of our professional features, including white-label streaming, live and VOD, video monetization, and 24/7 support, on every single plan.
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