Your Feedback

Podcast and streaming

Live Streaming Guide

Streaming has long since ceased to be just a trend and has become an integral part of the online and internet world. Especially in times of the pandemic, live streaming on social networks has gained a lot of importance. Solo musicians, bands, podcasters and influencers use social platforms like Youtube, Twitch or Instagram to distribute their content. For newcomers, the question now is what requirements are needed for live streaming. In our guide, you can find out what you need to consider if you want to start live streaming.

1. What is streaming and how does it work?

Even though the topic of streaming is now on everyone's lips, not everyone has an idea of what it means. When people talk about streaming, they almost always mean so-called "on-demand streaming" and also "live streaming".  

With "on-demand streaming", video or music data is "streamed" on computers, smartphones, tablets or TV sets via the internet or special streaming apps, while the files are stored in another location. Unlike a download, streamed content can be watched or listened to immediately. Unlike a download, however, streamed content cannot be used offline because it is not stored on the device, but only in the device's memory.

In addition to "on-demand streaming" of films or music, there is also "live streaming", in which an event is broadcast in real time. Besides sports and gaming, live streaming is often used for press conferences, online training, seminars or online events of any kind.

In the course of the pandemic, so-called "live streaming concerts" have now also established themselves as a considerate alternative to live concerts with large crowds. More and more national and international bands, solo musicians and DJs are therefore moving their concerts to the internet. After even well-known metal and dance music festivals had to be cancelled, their organisers came up with something very special and brought the festivals into the living rooms at home as digital editions.

Thanks to the many elaborately produced livestream concerts, fans can at least enjoy live music online and thus experience their favourite artists at home in their living rooms. Especially for unknown bands or artists, live streaming offers the chance to develop a reach that a concert itself without restrictions cannot provide.

An important factor for streaming is a smooth and fast internet connection. Anyone who intends to stream outdoors or via WLAN connection should therefore always bear in mind that fluctuations in speed can occur during data transmission. Although some of the media memory is always buffered, if the connection breaks down or is too slow, all that remains are annoying loading times, interruptions and lousy picture or audio quality. For constant, smooth transmission, an upload speed of at least 6 to 10 Mbit/s is recommended. Remember: the higher the bit rate, the better the quality of the stream!

2. Live streaming platforms

YouTube and comparable platforms such as Facebook Live, Twitch or Instagram offer the possibility of making live streams accessible to a particularly large number of viewers.

Youtube

With a reach of over 2 billion users, Youtube is considered the world's most comprehensive video portal and at the same time the second largest search engine in the world, meaning that live streams can achieve a wide reach. Before the start of the live stream, various settings can be made with regard to the camera and microphone, and a title as well as a description and the type of publication can be set in advance. Interacting with viewers during the stream is also possible via the comment function. However, in order to generate financial income through live streaming via the Youtube partner program, certain requirements must be met, including a minimum of 1000 followers. In addition, 360° videos can be transmitted via the portal. 

Live streams can also be saved and called up again later. 128 kBit/s audio quality is supported for transmission. Unlike Facebook or Instagram, viewers do not need an account to watch the live streams.

Facebook Live

Since 2015, Facebook Live is a streaming tool integrated into Facebook. To stream on Facebook, all you have to do is click on "Live Video". However, the live stream is only visible to viewers with a Facebook account. The comment function is integrated in the live stream so that viewers can like or comment on the stream. The videos can also be saved on Facebook Live.

Twitch

The platform Twitch, previously known for gaming content, is becoming more and more popular with musicians, especially DJs. If you have at least 50 followers, you can apply for the partner programme to generate financial income through advertising or donations. Commenting on streams is also reserved for those who have a Twitch account. Watching, on the other hand, is also possible without an account. Video transmissions can still be viewed in full for 14 to 16 days after the stream.

Instagram Live

Currently, it is only possible to start an Instagram live stream via smartphone, which makes the platform particularly suitable for spontaneous, short live streams, as long as the broadcast does not last longer than an hour. Viewers can only watch the stream on mobile devices via the Instagram app and must have an account themselves. The advantage of a live stream on Instagram is the intensive interactivity via the direct comments of the viewers.  The live streams can be saved and are then accessible for 24 hours, after which they are removed.

Especially suitable for musicians or bands - Stageit and Stagetasy

As a virtual online concert venue for solo musicians, DJs or bands, Stageit offers the chance to perform and stream live concerts for a fee. The reach can be quickly expanded by connecting to social media channels. At Stagetasy, after registering and entering the concert info as well as the binding confirmation of the gig date, a separate channel is activated. For a gig, spectators can support artists voluntarily or via a ticket.

3. Picture and light setup

The image is an important part of the communication between the streamer and the viewer and should not be underestimated. Of course, a live stream can be performed using a smartphone or a normal webcam. However, in order to be able to offer high-quality live streams, a good camera is required. The camera transmits its signal to an interface where all video signals converge. In this image or video mixer, it is determined which signal is to be seen at which time. It also controls visual effects such as cross-fades, picture-in-picture or the insertion of graphics. Common manufacturers of picture and video mixers are BlackMagic Design, Roland or RGBLink.

The Atem Mini models from BlackMagic Design offer many extensive functions and are also affordable for semi-pros. With the ATEM Mini (LIG0017193-000) and ATEM Mini Pro (LIG0017194-000), up to four HDMI signals can be connected. All incoming signals can then be synchronised in the unit and equipped with the corresponding effects. Finally, picture-sound synchronisation is achieved by setting the appropriate delay in the sound signal. The picture and video mixer is connected to the PC via USB cable. Its output is processed as a webcam signal in streaming software such as OBS Studio 26 / Streamlabs OBS, Wirecast or X-Split and then transferred to the desired platform.

In order to offer a varied streaming experience or to do justice to the performance of a band during a live streaming concert, it is advisable to provide several camera perspectives. Especially for a live performance, it is a good idea to place cameras in a fixed position to catch the drummer's or keyboardist's playing from a perspective that would usually be difficult to reach. This way, you can look over the drummer's shoulder during a fill or the keyboard player's shoulder during a solo. The ATEM Mini Extreme (LIG0017799-000) from BlackMagic Design presents itself as a picture and video mixer with 8 HDMI inputs.

Just as important for a successful live stream is proper lighting. Nowadays, there is a wide range of different powerful spotlights that have been specially designed for live streams. For small setups, a good selection of products from Elgato is recommended.

However, if you want to prepare a larger live stream, you naturally need powerful spotlights for greater illumination. The PLL panels from Eurolite are recommended for this.

Examples:

LIG0016393-000, LIG0017793-000, LIG0016394-000 and LIG0016395-000

Of course, classic theatre spotlights can also be used for lighting. Accents in the background are always important, so it is recommended to design the background in colour.

Products:

LIG0016694-000, LIG0016937-000, LIG0014659-000, LIG0015729-000, LIG0015652-000 und LIG0017001-000

4. Audio setup

As a streamer, it is important to be understood clearly by the audience. That is why a good microphone is an important part of the set-up. Of course, you can also work with a headset microphone, but this means that you have to make sacrifices in terms of sound quality. A solid microphone does not cost the earth and improves the quality of the stream immensely.

In a live streaming concert, the instrument can either be captured directly or via a suitable microphone. This audio signal is then transmitted to a mixing console or audio interface. There it is processed accordingly, sent to the image and video mixer and merged. The signal is then embedded in the video. Finally, the signal is converted into the required format and uploaded to the appropriate platform to then appear on the viewer's device.

Basically, until the signal arrives at the mixing console, the basic setup of microphones and DI boxes is no different from a regular concert. However, it should be ensured that every instrument that can be heard in the room also ends up in the mixing console or interface. Unlike a concert in a venue, where the sound of the PA can be heard in the room and directly adjusted, at a live stream concert the final sound that reaches the individual audience member remains hidden.

In contrast to a live concert, only the recorded signal is heard. If space permits, the mixing console or the place where the FoH mix is made should therefore be isolated as much as possible from the band's or artist's room sound to ensure that only the signal in the mixing console is noticed. The band can then do an ordinary sound check, levels can be adjusted as usual, and the monitor mix can be set according to the artists' wishes.

Finally, it is recommended to consistently reduce the interferences between the instruments to a minimum. This is especially relevant during a live streaming concert, as many viewers will be watching the live stream on a smartphone or laptop. As in a studio production, any "phase mess" in such a monitoring situation has a much more negative effect than would be the case in normal live operation.