Welcome to the 2nd part in my series, “How to Start Streaming Like a Pro”, where I give the basic information to get you streaming at home like a pro! In the first part we went over how to organize your ideas for a show into the foundation you’ll be using to build your show off of. I explained the importance of these steps and how to best approach hurdles in your way. Now we move on to the fun part, at least in my opinion. That’s right, gear! What gear do you need to make this happen?
First of all, you’ll need a computer that can handle what you plan to do for your livestream. Do you plan on live-streaming video games? If you do, you’ll need to consider that your computer will now be carrying the load of processing your game and also the video you’ll be streaming to the internet. A strong video card will help you achieve stutter-less video quality while not sacrificing graphics quality of the game. Finding a happy balance between the two may vary from game to game as well. Great and plentiful information can be found online regarding building a pc from scratch, and there are pre-built machines that can fit your needs as well. Owning a capable computer is a great place to start when beginning your journey to streaming like a pro. Even if you’re not going to be gaming, you’ll be set up to edit video and motion graphics for your new streaming show, and not be slowed down by a slow computer.
Next to a great computer would be great audio. You need to be able to record your audio so that your viewers will be able hear you. Bad audio can quickly remove a viewer from what would be an otherwise great show. It’s just unbearable to not be able to hear. So with all of the choices in microphones out there, what is the best for your use? A great place to start is whether seeing the microphone is an issue. Do you want to hide the mics? Then maybe consider lavalier mics or overhead shotgun mics. Not an issue? Look at your favorite streamers and podcasters to see what they use. My personal favorite is the Shure SM7B Vocal Dynamic Microphone, which I’ve used to great satisfaction. I’ve also used $40 cheapo mics that work fine to get started. With a little care and finesse, you can get acceptable quality out of anything really. I tend to recommend going the cheap route to start out, then replace once you’ve proven the need for it. Unless you have the money of course, then go for the better item and you can always sell it if you decide you don’t have the time to stream anymore. Chances are you’ll end up using it and enjoying it for a long time though.
I think you know what’s next, and where would streaming be without video? Well it would just be like, internet radio or something. Great video goes completely unnoticed mostly, and it’s usually the same for audio. Once you find your groove and are putting out consistent content, improving your camera game is essential. You want to at least start out with a camera that can be set manually, so your white balance and exposure don’t change in the middle of recording. Trust me, it doesn’t seem important but light changes and other things can make you look weird colors and people notice. It will also help to have consistent looking video for viewers sake and should help grow your popularity. I use Panasonic’s Lumix GH5 DSLR camera because it easily connects to my PC and has a lot of features for video recording. It’s a great camera to get if you want to do other videos as well or even if you want to brush up on your photography skills. If you’re on a budget, a simple HD webcam will do just fine.
Whatever your budget or skill level is when starting your own streaming project, the most important piece of advice I could give is to just do it. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. As you keep making content, you’ll get better and better. And if you find yourself in a jam and need some outside help, please feel free to reach out by contacting Jon here.