With the Covid19 disruption many businesses are moving online and getting to grips with live streaming. There’s a wide variety of platforms and technologies to help, so many in fact that it can all become a bit overwhelming if you’re new to this.

Here’s our quick and simple guide.

In our studio, for day-to-day, quick videos which I’ll stream live onto YouTube, we use a Sony HXR camera, on a tripod. It’s set up, in position, all the time, along with Sennheiser lavalier radio mics. We could use a higher quality DSLR camera but we prefer to keep ours for our video shoots for clients and use our secondary equipment day-to-day for my own live streams.

Whatever camera you use, it’s best to have a camera with an HDMI out, which is plugged into the Blackmagic Ultra Studio Mini Recorder. This connects to the ThunderBolt port on an Apple iMac.

The Apple iMac runs free software called OBS Studio. This receives the feed from the camera and allows me to add custom graphics, such as a logo, or text overlays as well as other ‘scenes’ such as a PowerPoint slide deck, video clips or images.

Good lighting is essential. We use 3 Yongnuo Yn600 Air LED lights, on stands. It’s important to us that our equipment is portable as some of it is also used when we visit other businesses to produce corporate videos for them.

I sit at my desk, with a green screen pop up behind me and the Elegato StreamDeck in my hand. This allows me to start and stop my stream, change scenes and even send out automatic Tweets, while I’m streaming, at the touch of a button.

OBS Studio allows me to customise my background. For example, it can be made entirely white, allowing me to insert my face in the corner of a PowerPoint slide deck. Or I can appear in front of the Glasgow skyline, or even run an animated video behind myself.

All of this is done in OBS Studio, which then sends the feed to my live streaming platform of choice. Additional tools such as ReStream.io allow live streaming to multiple platforms at once – for example Facebook Live and YouTube Live simultaneously.

In the studio, we use 2 screens. One will run OBS Studio and allow me to keep an eye on what I’m sending out, and the other runs the PowerPoint slides or whatever I’m talking about. If it’s just me and the camera I won’t use the second screen but for producing training videos or if I’m commenting on some social media news stories then it’s helpful to have. If I’m doing a lengthy live stream I may also use my Chromebook to keep an eye on the live chat and comments that come in while I’m on air.

Comsteria recently produced the ‘Secret Sessions’ living room gig for our musician friend Yvonne Lyon. She required a high quality, more sophisticated sound set up, for example her vocals and instruments has to be independently balanced. We used the Roland QuadCapure, or its larger sibling the Roland OctaCapture to achieve this. Yvonne’s mic and instruments connect to the Roland QuadCapture inputs and it then connects via USB to the iMac. Instead of taking the HDMI sound from the camera in OBS Studio, we selected the sound from the Roland QuadCapture instead.

To make for a more interesting viewer experience, we positioned a Logitech HD WebCam (this camera is also excellent for webinars we run) on a tripod, above Yvonne, to provide an alternative angle. During the performance, the Elegato Streamdeck allowed us to quickly switch between the main camera and the alternative angle at the touch of a button.

If you are intent on using a mobile phone, and don’t have professional camera equipment then the ScreenLink app from Elegato allows you to wirelessly connect your mobile device to OBS Studio and you can live stream from there.

The best way to learn, is to give it a go. Have fun and we’re here if you need any help.