3 best live streaming setups for social media platforms
Live streaming to social platforms like Facebook Live and YouTube offers a variety of benefits to professional content creators looking to grow their brands and foster deeper relationships with fans and followers.
Regardless of technical expertise, content creators need to configure hardware and/or software components to help best realize their creativity and produce captivating social broadcasts. And given the variety of cameras, encoders, and capture devices on the market today, the breadth of technical setups can be as diverse as the content creators themselves.
So from a small single-camera setup to a much larger multi-camera live production with switching, here are the best live streaming setups you can use to broadcast to followers on your favorite social media platform.
Use case 1: Streaming using equipment you already have
The most basic in our list of best live streaming setups. With hardware you likely already have—such as a smartphone camera or an integrated webcam on your computer—you can live stream a single video source to Facebook Live or YouTube without additional camera, capture, and encoding equipment.
Social streaming using a smartphone is a great mobile option for vloggers on-the-go or for those streaming directly from an event. But while smartphone cameras might offer relatively high-quality sensors, these devices typically lack the extended customizability of professional HD cameras, such as interchangeable lenses, exposure settings etc. Audio quality is generally less than ideal too, especially in situations where the speaker is far away from the smartphone operator or in cases where there is lots of activity in a room or venue (concert, conference, etc). Smartphones also need to be held in the hand, resulting in a less stable viewing experience for your audience.
At this time, only Facebook Live supports mobile live streaming. To broadcast live with a smartphone, you need to download the Facebook app and create a new post using the “Live” option.
Using a webcam on your computer is another low-cost alternative to purchasing an HD camera. However—what you save financially often costs you in terms of image quality, as most (but not all!) webcams capture in lower resolutions. Webcam placement can also be challenging for professional-quality live streams. Some integrated webcams on modern laptop computers, for example, are positioned very low within the hardware, resulting in an awkward field of view for your audience.
Use case 2: Streaming using a single HD camera (or source)
Streaming using an HD camera is ideal for professional vloggers or video personalities looking to share topical issues, answer questions from fans, or comment on the day’s events. And streaming using an HD camera is an excellent option for content creators looking to deliver the best quality broadcast possible.
There are plenty of different types of HD cameras out there on the market today that are packed with features at increasingly affordable prices. If you don’t currently own a camera, take a look at our list of different types of HD cameras to get a sense of precisely what camera best suits you.
With an HD camera in hand, you need a capture device to capture the camera’s signal (such as AV.io HD) and either a hardware or software encoder to encode and deliver the content to your selected social platform.
The easiest way to broadcast your content, however, is to use a designated social streaming device, like Webcaster X1 for Facebook Live and Webcaster X1 for YouTube. These devices are designed from the ground-up to streamline the social streaming experience for content creators. To describe the process in a nutshell, you simply connect your camera to the device and enter a unique device code into a web field to begin the stream. No capture tools or encoders required.
Read more tips and watch more videos here.