Do you want to get the most out of your live stream events online? Whether it’s a concert, conference, or an art exhibition, knowing how to live stream an event online is fundamental; however, insufficient. If you are looking for the best way to live stream an event, you need to know how to set up your live stream properly and what you should do before you go live. Consider this article your ultimate guide to learn what it takes to live stream an event. From announcing your live event to the equipment needed to live stream an event, knowing the right way to set up your live stream event is integral to its success.
The Planning Phase; Announcing Your Event
Before streaming live events, start planning early. If possible, months in advance. Take fewer chances of making any errors on the day of the event by ensuring everything is ready to go well before you live stream your event. During the planning phase, remain flexible and open to deal with any unpredictable changes. Find a support team capable of improvising and finding quick solutions to any problems that may arise.
Once you sort everything out, announce your event. To effectively do this, use social media and email marketing. If necessary, you can also use other software solutions to reach out to more people. But in general, social media alone can do an excellent job of effectively announcing your event.
Here are some things you can do to announce your live stream event effectively:
- Select an ideal time and date to announce your live stream event. Try the mornings, when most people are usually up and scrolling through their feed. And also be wise not to advertise your event on a day when another big event is happening.
- Create a flyer, image, or banner. Make sure your images’ size and format are compatible with social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. There are different types: banner image, square image, and poster image. Do not forget to use compelling visuals to announce your event effectively.
- Make an announcement post on social media. Create a post that is clear, specific, concise, engaging, and fun to read. The more likes, shares, and reactions you get, the more exposure your live stream event will get.
- Have your team announce the live stream event at the same time. The goal is to get more people to share the event and create more hype around the event’s announcement. If you can, try to get people you know, friends, relatives, and acquaintances to share the announcement.
- Create a Facebook event page. Fill out every detail and add captivating content. Use the event page to invite as many people as you can to your live event video streaming.
- Make announcement posts on your event page. Keep your audience updated. And keep the intensity going to attract even more guests. If you believe in your event’s greatness, you can also get others to think the same. Excitement is everything.
Event Streaming Equipment
When it comes to equipment, you might ask, “What do I need to live stream an event?” Overall, the general stuff you need to live stream your event are cameras, tripods, microphones, a streaming platform, and a video encoder. Let’s take a closer look at each piece of equipment necessary to live stream an event:
- Camera(s): You can find a wide variety of cameras, including PTZ cameras, camcorders, DSLR, and mirrorless cameras. So it would be wise to research the kind of camera you need. The type of camera mainly depends on the kind of event you plan to live stream.
- Tripod(s): These sturdy three-legged stands to reduce camera movement and improve picture quality. Tripods can hold cameras, camcorders, and even flash units, slaves, and reflectors.
- Microphones: This device helps you capture the combined audio from the set or master board. Wireless microphones are also useful; however, you will require a receiver to connect to an encoder or an audio mixer. Consider the following mics, a Lapel Mic, a Shotgun Mic, and a Handheld Mic. It is also a good idea to use an audio mixer with your microphone of choice to control for different levels of sounds.
- Streaming Platform: With many platforms to use, from YouTube, Facebook Live, to more advanced professional solutions, you have many options. Some platforms are free, while others are paid.
- A Video Encoder: This device takes and converts your final audio and video stream into a language the internet understands and displays as a live feed. You can use streaming software, also known as software encoding. You will need a capture card to receive the video signal from each camera if you use your computer. Also, keep in mind that streaming takes up a lot of processing power, which could significantly slow down or crash your computer. In short, use a hardware encoder to switch, record, and stream your event.
Always make sure that your equipment is working fine. One thing that could discourage your attendees from sitting through your online event is poor audio and video quality. Make sure everything flows excellent and that there aren’t any disturbances.
How to Setup Your Event in a Few Steps
If you are here to learn how to stream a live event, you are in the right place. A live streaming setup consists of several components, including video and audio sources, encoders, and software. In general, how you structure your event largely depends on the type of event, your budget, and what you want to achieve. Follow the following steps on how to set up your next live stream event.
Survey the Venue
Let’s start with the venue, if any, where you plan to stream your event. A streaming venue can vary from just a single room to a large auditorium or even a huge outdoor stadium. Whatever your site is, make sure you know where to allocate your resources and where to place the equipment you will use. Through a camera, you can make any place look entirely different from what it may seem to the naked eye. Use your imagination to bring the site to life, and create to impress your audience.
Reliable Internet Connection
The next step is to have a reliable network connection. If you are going to use hardwired internet, which is always preferred, locate the ethernet access point and secure it. Typically, large venues, such as exhibition halls, often come with additional costs for more reliable internet service. However, consider alternative internet connections such as a hotspot, cellular data, or just good old wifi if you are on a budget.
One thing to keep in mind is to have access to at least 1.5x as much bandwidth upload as your live stream’s bitrate. Always have more room to upload after your live stream content because the last thing you want is distress in the middle of your live feed. Find a dedicated network connection for your live stream, and do not share your link with others.
Figure out where all the power outlets are and arrange your equipment in the best place. Practice running your stuff on AC power just to be safe. Even if your batteries are good enough, it is always better to connect to an outlet to avoid any problems.
If you plan to live stream from a wireless camera, double-check that all your batteries are charged and consider having backup batteries available. For more sophisticated live stream steups, especially outdoor events, a generator may be necessary.
After you settle your internet and power situation, look for a place that you can use as a command center or mission control center to control and monitor all your video and audio controls simultaneously. A command center can be something as simple as a sturdy table where all the video and audio sources connect to the encoder, the internet, and the power outlet or generator. The command center is also your switching station. If the venue you plan to use already comes with a control room or control booth, use it as your command center. It will most likely be the best place to access everything you need.
It is also good to get to know the place where you will set up and live stream. Look for places to arrange your cameras, microphones, and other equipment. Get familiar with the amount of space available, and how you can make the best out of your venue. You want to get the best angles, and you sure do not want your audience’s view to be hindered by an object while live streaming. Know your venue.
The Physical Limitations of Cables
Always consider the length limit of the cables you plan to use to live stream your event. For example, a CAT 5/6 ethernet cable can extend to about 100 meters (328 ft) maximum. Any longer and the signal may begin to degrade. While there are certain things you can do to extend HDMI cables and ethernet cables, it is better to situate your command center near the source. You can also consider using a network device interface (NDI) or wireless HDMI extenders to transmit video feed over longer lengths. NDI allows you to use any camera connected to the same network. However, wireless HDMI extenders require a receiver and a transmitter at respective ends to broadcast a wireless video signal.
Preparing Your Staff
Before your live stream event, prepare your staff by briefing them on what you to achieve and what you expect from them. Think about how you want your team to work towards helping you reach your goals. Communication is fundamental and making sure your team understands what you want and expect, will make the process easier and avoid any confusion along the way.
Live streaming is not a walk in the park. There will be many things in motion, and live streaming an event alone or with limited staff may be more complicated than you may think. Depending on the type of your live stream event, you will surely need a team to help you with the setup, equipment, management, and teardown. For example, if you can’t control your cameras remotely, you may need someone to operate them physically. And if a problem arises, you will most likely need someone to resolve the issue.
As such, brief and keep close communication with your staff. Use two-way radios to communicate better during the live stream. If possible, practice and prepare before the event for anything that could go wrong. Prepare contingency plans.
Setting Up Your Video Sources
Decide how many cameras and video sources you will use. Remember that video sources also mean computer screens with presentations, images, videos, or webpages. While you may only need one or two video sources for smaller venues, you may need several more cameras and video sources for a larger venue. The goal is to capture different angles and make the viewers feel as if they were present at the event itself. Think about having a wide shot of the event, a close-up of the people in the spotlight, and different angles to gain perspective. That’s already more than three cameras. Also, keep in mind that each video source will require a cable connected to the command center.
As for who will operate the cameras, you could either do this remotely from your command center or have a person operate the cameras. Just make sure the person operating the camera knows the event’s narrative to capture and show the right shots.
And at last, set up and secure your cameras. Use tripods or other sturdy fixtures. When it comes to larger venues, you may need to mount your cameras onto trusses or columns.
Configuring the Audio
If your venue already has an existing audio infrastructure, get familiar with it. Check if the venue comes with a fitted sound system, such as microphones for speakers. If it’s yes for everything, find the sound technician or DJ to help you reap the best benefits.
However, if your venue does not have an audio infrastructure, bring your audio. Bring microphones, a sound system, and an audio mixer. The camera’s internal mic will most likely not provide the best audio, no matter how close the camera may be to the sound source. You will have better sound quality by attaching an external 3.5mm microphone to your camera.
But most importantly, synchronize your audio and video. Your audio source should intertwine with your video source. Doing this might be challenging because some cameras might not have the appropriate audio input or because spatial limitations can prevent access. However, an audio inserter can take in HDMI video and 3.5 mm audio from one side and produce a combined HDMI signal with synchronized audio and video. In any case, pay close attention to your live stream’s sound quality when setting up and testing.
Configuring and Testing Your Live Stream
To rightfully configure your live stream event, determine your command center’s final location, collect all the sources, and connect them to your encoder. Most of the work in configuring your live stream comes in creating different arrangements of video and audio layouts. Also, add graphics, logos, backgrounds, and prepare the titles you want to display before, during, and after the stream. It is also useful to create a stream page and fill out all the details. There are also software solutions to help you do this.
Test your audio, video, switching, and graphics. To effectively test that everything runs smoothly, stream your event to a single destination first to see how everything works before you stream to your audience. After testing your live stream, check what could improve and what can change. Come early to the venue and test that everything runs smoothly again.
Getting the Right Encoder
An encoder serves as a tool that transcodes video from one format to another. For example, an encoder captures video content coming from your webcam, camera, or your phone and onto a video source. To get the right encoder to live stream your event consider asking yourself the following questions:
- Is the encoder compatible with my streaming platform?
- What features does the encoder provide?
- Is the encoding software the best option for my live streaming goals?
- What’s my budget?
With these questions in mind, here are some of the best encoding software options in the market:
- Open Broadcaster Studio (OBS)
To get the right encoder, consider their features, and think about:
- The size of your audience.
- The amount of camera feeds you plan to incorporate into your videos.
- The type of camera you will use.
- The type of operating system you will use.
- Whether to use video effects or video editing.
- The requirements of the live streaming platform you will use.
- How much you are willing to spend.
The encoder you ultimately choose to use will play a significant role in the quality of your live stream event.
Choosing a Streaming Platform
When the time comes to choose a streaming platform for your live stream event, think about what you want to achieve and what you want to get out of the platform you use. Here are some questions to help you with the thinking process:
- What do you need? A ticketing system, a pre-registration system, web or mobile content, an event page, attendee engagement solutions, a check-in tool, security features, monetizing features?
- Is the platform you plan to use mobile friendly?
- How well can you use the software, can you schedule a demo or a free trial?
- Does the software integrate well with other streaming solutions?
- Does the platform include full-cycle customer assistance?
You will find that many platforms offer exceptional features and benefits. In the end, whatever platform you choose to live stream your event, you can still organize and manage your live stream event with GEVME.
Streaming from a Website
Today you can use any social media network to live stream your event. Social media sites, such as Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram, and LinkedIn, are all good platforms to live stream an event, especially if your brand has a social media presence.
However, if you are wondering about how to live stream an event on my website? You have this option as well. You can use a free platform from a social network or use a paid live-streaming solution to create an embed code and stream from your website.
Consider the following three things if you decide to add a live stream on your website:
- Hardware for broadcasting
- Software platform to host the stream
- Embedded code to add on your web page
In any case, keep in mind that you will always need a secure and reliable internet connection.
Monitoring Your Live Stream
After your event goes live, your job is to monitor the live stream. Switching between layouts and shots requires a lot of attention. And while the quality of the video content is essential, do not forget to monitor the audio quality. Use headphones, monitor and reply to comments to maintain engagement with your audience. Keep an eye for the chat section, and stay on top of any changes or anomalies.
Social Media Monitoring
With social media, you can reach more people than you would by traditional means. Being able to promote, share, and ultimately stream your event on social media gives you the extra edge you need to access a broader audience. With that said, social media monitoring or social listening is a great way to measure your event’s popularity by extracting information from social media channels.
As a search engine, social media monitoring is an algorithm-based tool that surveys sites and continuously indexes them. You can track your presence on social media and prevent content from going viral for the wrong reasons. In general, you can keep a positive image for your event among your target audience with social media monitoring.
Tips for a Smooth Live Stream
There is always room for improvement. Your live stream event will most likely have plenty of things that you can improve. Here are some tips you can follow to stay on top of things and have a smooth live stream:
- Keep it simple. Be realistic and use what you need. Don’t overdo it, and don’t use more than what you need. It will only complicate things.
- Promote your live stream event. Use social media to advantage. If necessary, use email marketing as well. Some paid streaming-solution already come with this feature.
- Rehearse and prepare. Practice the event with your camera operators and everyone else involved.
- Double-check your audio and video synchronization. Pay close attention to the quality of the sound and the video. Your audience will quickly notice anything wrong with the quality of your live stream.
- Reduce your CPU’s workload. A CPU with a significant workload may interrupt the live stream. It would be wise to pair your cameras with portable hardware encoders to lighten up the workload.
- Engage your audience. Interact with your audience, answer their questions, and create live polls. Encourage engagement between your audience as well.
It’s important to give yourself enough time to figure things out and test everything. Live streaming doesn’t have to be complicated. Start smart and straightforward. Learn step by step.
Live streaming is quickly becoming more and more common. If this is your first time preparing a live stream event, create a checklist of all the hardware and software you will need. You have to make sure everything runs smoothly, so it is better to be extra-prepared than suffer unexpected technical difficulties. Trust the tools you will use and create engagement with your audience. Use everything in this guide to help you gain a better understanding of how to live stream events. Practice, and get to know the software you plan to use. It’s your time to live stream.