Livestream Tip #3 – Tools to Livestream
For the 3rd chapter in this series about livestreaming, I want to give you some of my favorite tools for livestreaming on Facebook and / or Instagram. (Note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you purchase something through them, I’ll buy a cool new crayon color! Or actually, maybe half of a crayon…)
These will NOT be the highest of the hi-tech livestreaming tools.
If you want to livestream a sporting event or a mega church service, I’m not your gal.
If you’re starting or growing your business and want more visibility by getting your voice out there with livestreams, this will be super helpful for you.
Before you say “Oh but you’re very tecchy Maritza!” let me explain.
I’ve been playing with online video since 2005. I put videos of my horses online and also made DVDs to sell to subscribers.
It was so much harder than it is today.
(Cue: “When I was your age… I walked 18 miles to school in the snow – barefoot.”)
Today, it’s a matter of knowing which buttons to push in which order. If something isn’t working, there’s always a reason why so keep your cool, walk away and come back to try again later.
Tools for Low-Tech Livestreaming
The smartphone you already have works.
Start there, it’s all you need.
I began livestreaming with an iPhone 6s and now use an iPhone 8 (the big one). The camera is better on the 8 but I could have easily kept using the 6s with NO problem.
Before you go investing in different cameras I recommend starting with your smartphone and low-tech tools. When you feel more comfortable with that and you’re being consistent, then consider upgrading.
These are my favorite earbuds for livestreaming. Again test whatever you already have, they’ll probably work perfectly.
You can also go a little “fancier” if you want to use a lapel microphone with your smartphone.
Adjustable arm – makes it easier to livestream.
This is my current favorite smartphone adjustable arm. This comes in handy when you want your livestream to be steady or you want 2 free hands. (For example, if you’re pulling cards or showing things on your art table (or ACTUAL desktop.)
If you do mostly “talking head” videos you could also use your built in webcam or get a good external webcam like this one.
The very best low-tech lighting is going to be daylight. If you have a good window, test different times of daylight to find one that looks good.
Direct strong sunlight can give a lot of unflattering shadows so be sure to test different windows or directions of the sun in your home or office.
Low cost lighting.
This selfie ring light is good for talking head or art table livestreaming. It’s not super strong but enough to brighten your face or your table.
Tools for High-Tech Livestreaming
These are more advanced tools than the ones above YET are do-able for someone like me, a non-tecchy.
I began my fancy livestreams with these 2 cameras:
DSLR Canon Rebel – This takes BEAUTIFUL still photos which is what I usually take the high quality photos of my artwork with.
I also recorded videos with it before I started livestreaming.
There is a HUGE drawback to using this camera though. Even if you change the settings, if no one touches the camera, it will auto-turn-off at the 30 minute mark.
So if you’re livestreaming on your own, like I currently am, and your livestreams are over 30 minutes, the camera will turn OFF. Your livestream may keep going, but the screen for your viewers will go black.
I tried finding a hack for it. If there is one, I’m not tecchy enough to have found it.
The expert at my local camera shop said there’s NO way to disable that for a DSLR camera. So the hunt was on for something to replace it.
My favorite livestreaming camera.
This is my current favorite Canon handycam.
I have 2 of these for the “fancy” livestreams with the 2 camera angles.
I LOVE these because they’re super easy to adjust the white balance and the exposure.
Before I got the second one of these, I’d returned a SUPER expensive camera because it didn’t have these easy to use features.
For me, being able to manually adjust the white balance and exposure was a dealbreaker so I returned the super expensive camera and got a second Canon handycam and I LOVE them!
Stand to securely hold the overhead camera.
It was really important to me to have the camera angle above my head so viewers could see me painting or doodling on my art table.
I use a Microphone Boom Stand that is set up to one side of my table and hangs right above my head.
If you’ve ever tried to do video or livestream with a camera, you’ve probably been surprised at just how dark it can look, even in a relatively well lit space.
I used to have giant bulky box lighting and umbrella lighting that took up a lot of space in my art studio.
It also just looked messy.
I traded all of those bulky lights for a couple of great new ring lights that I LOVE.
These are much sleeker so my studio stays less cluttered looking yet the lighting is powerful and adjustable.
For my “fancy” livestreams, I invested in one of the best Microphone Headsets you may have seen speakers using from stage.
I love the way it sounds and it even looks a little cool.
Hopefully these tips will help you get started livestreaming or help you up your livestreaming game.
Remember, if you’re new to livestreaming, start with what you have.
You can always invest in better equipment slowly and as YOU decide what you want to add along the way.
It can feel scary at first but it’s FUN.
Next week, I’ll share some of my favorite hacks for livestreaming on Instagram and Facebook!