Are you thinking of taking up streaming as a hobby?
Streaming services help watch a video in ‘real time’ rather than downloading it on your computer and watching. That is exactly what happens when you are watching something on Netflix or YouTube. The only difference is that being a streamer, you are the one uploading the videos.
As you can imagine, it can be an utterly enjoyable activity that can help you connect with an audience. So, what exactly do you do? Where should you start? What equipment do you need?
As a student, if you are pursuing your interest in streaming, you might first need to consider your niche and target audience and come up with creative ideas for your content. In order to do all this, you will require plenty of time in your hands.
After all, your study schedule might be taking up all your energy. By addressing a write my paper expert to get help for your class assignments, you can dedicate more of your time to the preliminary planning. It will give you more room to work on your streams and promote them on other channels. After that, you can start investing in equipment.
With this in mind, let us take a closer look at the equipment students need to start streaming.
Before you can invest in any other tools, you will first need to check whether your computer has suitable technical specifications. Most of the models available today can offer you smooth performance and quick processing.
If you are looking for a new computer, look for one with:
- Intel i5 or i7 CPU;
- at least 8GB of RAM;
- multiple USB ports.
In case you are not so keen on the portability and convenience of a laptop, then the cheaper alternative would be to buy a desktop computer. It will have more options for customization as well as expansion. You will also be able to add a few more USB ports and upgrade the computer in the future without serious difficulties.
Against all the misconceptions, you do not need a high-end professional camera to produce a top-quality stream. Instead, the most cost-effective method would be to use a standard USD webcam. In fact, a quick online search will reveal that there are dozens of camera models exclusive for the purpose of streaming. For instance, the Logitech C922 Pro is a great model that is budget-friendly for students and efficient.
Depending on your camera, you might also have to invest in a tripod and get a USB repeater extension cable.
Most beginners go wrong in assuming that your microphone is not important. However, its role is as essential as that of your camera.
The type of microphone you need will also depend on your streaming setup. For instance, if you are typically on a stationary mode behind a desk, then you can look for a condenser microphone.
Wireless lapels will give you more flexibility to move around. However, they will pick up a lot of background noise.
Additionally, if you intend to use an audio mixer, then your microphone will also need an XLR or an audio connector. The issue is, you will not be able to use USD microphones. You will need to connect your mic to your laptop or mixer with audio cables. The latter can be bought separately.
Streaming software, or an encoder, is perhaps the most important thing you need. It is where your video input gets converted into digital format. You can find both hardware and software encoders. As you can imagine, the latter is more accessible.
In fact, you can even find solid streaming software at affordable costs or even for free. A few notable options include:
- XSplit Broadcaster
- Streamlabs OBS
- OBS Studio
- Twitch Studio
- Restream Studio
If you have access to free trials, make sure you try them to get an idea of how to work your way around the tool. User-friendliness is significant if you are a complete beginner to streaming and video editing.
One thing you cannot compromise on while streaming is the quality of your internet connection. You will need to have sufficient bandwidth to deliver a stable stream. For this, it might be best to choose a wired network connection instead of Wi-Fi. If there is an interruption, then your video will drop out, or the audio will not work.
When you are connected, make sure to check the speed every time you go live. It is suggested that even if you can work with less bandwidth, you should always try to maintain a speed between 2 to 5 Mbps.
If your budget for streaming accessories is high, you can consider buying equipment such as an audio mixer and video lighting without breaking your bank. Depending on your content, you can also look into green screens.
Ultimately, think of the platform you want to use for live streaming. Channels such as YouTube and Facebook can give you access to a wider range of audiences. Yet, if you target a specific niche, you can consider Twitch or Periscope. You even have options such as Amazon and LinkedIn live for professional and eCommerce-related streaming.
You can also upload snippets on multiple channels for promotion to help establish your online presence. There are also output platforms that will allow you to live stream to multiple channels at the same time.
Although this list might seem a bit overwhelming, many of these items are easily accessible and come in budget-friendly models. When you’re only starting, you don’t have to invest in expensive tools. As you progress and learn more about the latest software and techniques, you will have a better idea of what exactly you need.