If you feel like your work-from-home setup was created a little too last-minute, there's no better time than now to invest in an upgrade. With the right gear, it’s easier than you think to improve your online content, your live-streaming sessions or even your next FaceTime call with your family.
Check out these simple solutions to get things going:
This includes cameras and computers, along with microphones and mixer feeds. Depending on your setup, you can have a simple stream with just one source, or you can make it more complex with two or more audio and video sources. These combinations are commonly called “scenes” or “layouts.” Common video sources include:
Some of our favorite live streaming video gear includes the Panasonic HC-X1500 and the Canon G7X III, which also comes as a creator kit option with a tripod grip and memory card. Both have direct live streaming capabilities in-camera.
If you own a compatible camera from either Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm or Panasonic, all four brands have released separate downloadable software that will allow you to use your DSLR or mirrorless camera as your webcam by simply connecting your camera straight to your computer via USB. Sony will be releasing theirs hopefully in the next upcoming months.
Common audio sources include:
- USB microphone
- Lapel mic
- Handheld mic
- Audio file
If you run your audio through your camera, it becomes embedded in the video, which is the easiest and most popular way to capture audio. Some of our favorite high-quality audio sources include the RODE NT USB and the RODE Video Mic NTG.
You’ll need to capture the signal from your audio/video sources to start streaming online. If you’re using a USB camera or microphone, you simply have to connect them directly to your computer. Most video sources today use HDMI or SDI outputs for external connection, both of which can carry embedded audio along with video.
For a more advanced Livestream and if you’re using a computer with a software encoder to stream, you’ll need an intermediary device called a capture card, which connects to the camera on one side, and to the computer over USB on the other. The simplest and most reliable piece of hardware is the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini or ATEM Mini Pro. These both convert the HDMI signal into USB and acts as a switcher board to toggle between multiple video and audio options.
Don't underestimate the power of good lighting and a professional backdrop. Really make your message stand out online by investing in some professional lighting, rather than relying on your desk lamp or – gasp! – your overhead light. Some of our favorite fixtures include:
A professionally produced backdrop will help keep the focus on you as the subject of your content. Available in a variety of colors, textures and finishes, a professional backdrop will keep viewers listening to what you have to say, rather than roaming around your sloppy bookshelves in the background. We love the Westcott X-drop background, which also comes with a green option for green-screen capabilities and special effects.
Also called a content delivery network (CDN), this is the platform where your video content will be viewed. Many services, both free and paid, are available and cater to a variety of different audiences:
- YouTube – A widely available and popular free service that carries a broad range of lifestyle and personal content.
- Facebook Live – Also free, this service helps you connect with your established community, share important news and grow your personal brand.
- Twitch – This service is primarily for gaming, and is free to start with different paid levels of service.
- Specialized paid services – This includes streaming via Vimeo Livestream, StreamShark, and DaCast, and are generally suited for larger events like concerts, sports or corporate meetings and gatherings.
- Very specialized paid services – Platforms like Streamingchurch.tv are tailored to very specific streaming needs, such as religious services.
Stable Internet Connection
Well, obviously. You don’t want to lose your connection mid-stream. Check what’s available in your area, and follow your provider's directions to maximize your connection speed.
With these simple solutions, it really is easier than ever to create content like a pro!