A Beginner's Guide to Professional Live Streaming

If you're new to live streaming, you're probably asking yourself all these questions and more about how to start live streaming effectively. With so much to consider, from cameras and microphones to software and security, it's no wonder people get overwhelmed.

However, you only need to put the work in once. After you've sourced the equipment, arranged the stage and signed-up to a reliable live streaming platform, the only thing left to do every time is start your stream.

In this guide, we cover the basics. By giving you the fundamental tools, you'll be able to start streaming stress-free while earning money for doing what you love.

Essential live streaming equipment

Camera

There's no need to over-complicate things with costly cameras. Instead, the quickest way to go live is by using the equipment you already have. Most phones, tablets and webcams allow you to connect to the internet easily while producing good-quality visuals. Once you've mastered the basics, then consider investing in a more professional camera that captures higher resolution videos.

There are options to suit all budgets, but we suggest choosing a model that costs between £450 to £900. Anything cheaper produces poor quality content while the more expensive options may include features you'll never use. Either way, prioritise full HD 1080 video and HDMI output.

Keep in mind camcorders and DSLRs require a capture card, and all video cameras need an encoder (we explain this in detail under ("Useful live streaming tools").

Microphone

Studies show that audio quality matters more than clear visuals and people are more likely to forgive lag as long as they can hear you speak. But with so many microphones on the market, how do you know which one to choose?

We recommend USB and 3.5mm microphones over the built-in options on entry-level cameras, phones, laptops and tablets. A standard wired 3.5mm lavalier mic (also known as a lapel mic) is a popular choice, significantly improving sound quality without breaking the bank.

Accessories

Whether you're using a phone or camera, a sturdy tripod is a must, letting you record hands-free for a steadier, less irritating experience for viewers. Plus, if you purchase one with a rotatable ball head, you can adjust the angle of your frame.

Alongside a tripod, additional lighting makes the most inexpensive setup look more professional. Most live streamers opt for softboxes because they spread light more evenly throughout the space. However, LED ring lights are ideal if you're streaming close to the camera and want all eyes on you.

Useful live streaming tools

Now we've covered the essential equipment, let's dip into some helpful tools that'll supercharge your live streams and simplify the process.

Tidze

Tidze is a live streaming platform that allows performers, creators and teachers to get paid for doing what they love. With no contracts, low booking fees, quick payouts and a simplified scheduling tool, it's perfect for beginners and experienced creators who are searching for a less taxing way to share their live content.

OBS

Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is a popular piece of open-source software used for live streaming and broadcasts. Thanks to its ability to capture video and audio simultaneously, it eliminates the need to purchase an internal capture card.

It's helpful if you want to mix sources and stream something a little more complicated. For example, with OBS, you can incorporate footage from multiple camera feeds, overlay videos or still images and capture your screen in real-time.

Encoders

Both hardware and software encoders transform RAW video files from your camera to streamable digital files. However, there's a difference between the quality of output.

In general, hardware encoders perform better because they're specifically designed to convert formats whereas software encoders are multi-purpose. Nevertheless, many people still opt for software-based options because they're inexpensive and beginner-friendly.

Lights, camera, action!

Setting the stage shouldn't be an afterthought because clutter, stutters and unwanted cameos can turn the most well-planned live stream into a shambles.

Clean, not empty

Your audience can see everything in the background of your shot. To avoid embarrassment, tidy your space beforehand (because four-day-old coffee cups don't exude expert vibes) and remove any clutter that could distract viewers and/or cause an accident.

Yet, you don't want your live stream to feel empty. Break up boring backdrops with plants, cushions or furniture, and create depth by positioning yourself further away from the walls behind you. Consider window placements because most low-budget cameras have little exposure control. As a result, if you have outside light in your background, the picture will seem darker for your audience.

Soundproof

While it's near impossible to eradicate all unwanted background noise, there are ways you can minimise its impact. Soft materials absorb sound waves better than hard materials, so fill large empty rooms with cushions, rugs and curtains. If you're running low on household objects, you can purchase soft foam panels that stick to walls and ceilings.

Practise your live streams

Even if you have the most bubbly personality in the world, it's not uncommon to feel nervous when streaming live. But, like anything new, practice makes perfect.

Start with your body language. How are you sitting? Where are your hands? Do you smile enough? Too much? It can feel uncomfortable placing yourself under a microscope like this, but it'll only improve your ability to engage with viewers.

When speaking, make sure you're concise, well-paced and, as much as possible, use your natural voice. If you're likely to stumble over words, prepare cue cards or notes so you don't forget important points.

With Tidze, we recommend you start your live stream early to make sure everything looks good - your audience won't see you until you let them in.

Set a schedule

Setting a schedule holds you accountable and builds trust with your viewers. Plus, it's a practical way of ensuring privacy. Let members of your household know when you'll be live to avoid awkward mid-stream interruptions.

Types of live streams

There are two primary ways you can communicate with your viewers - via a broadcast or an interactive live stream. With Tidze, we support both methods.

Broadcasts

Broadcasts are effective because they're accessible - people can tune-in without having to install software. Plus, there's no limit on the audience size, meaning more exposure for your content and the potential to earn more money.

With Tidze, you can broadcast HD video and crystal clear audio. We're built on the same technology used by global media companies, we've distilled it down so it's affordable and accessible.

Interactive live streams

It's easier to communicate via interactive live streams because you can hear and speak to viewers in real-time. As people tend to prefer a more personalised experience like this, they're likely to pay more for access.

However, for a performance you will have to tell people to mute their mics or turn off cameras. With Tidze, we give you the host the control to mute all mics and cameras with one click.

Pricing

Don't feel self-conscious about charging for online offerings. After all, you've bought the equipment and spent time creating amazing online classes, workshops or events - you need fair compensation.

If you're not sure how much to charge, experiment! Most people are genuinely happy to pay full price, but you can always lower your rate or offer first-time discounts to bolster sales. Another lucrative option is to re-sell past recorded streams.

Security

Several factors can make live streams risky, including unwanted sign-ups and trolls (we all remember what happened to Boris), theft of content and payment scams. As a result, you must use a secure platform.

With Tidze, your live streams are fully secure as a digital ticket must be purchased to access the stream. Our digital tickets are so secure you can't even open them in another browser tab!

Plus, by managing payments through Stripe (a popular platform used by millions of companies across the globe), participants can rest assured their money is travelling directly to the right places.

Preparation checklist

The final thing left to do is check and check again. Before every live stream, ask yourself the following questions:

If you need further guidance with how to get started with live streaming, or would like to arrange a training session, please send a message to hello@tidze.com