Industry Articles

The 5 Basics of Live Streaming

Post by
Cole Morgan

In recent times, we have seen a major shift in the way live streaming has become a global norm for technology driven organisations and communities. 

The demand to globally connect, while respecting the comfort and safety of our communities is at an all time high; live streaming is the solution. From startups to corporate, chatting with friends to attending weddings, conferences and much more, every kind of individual and organization are adapting to live streams. Given the rise in this trend, it is imperative to understand how an event live stream actually works.

We will run you through the 5 basics of live streaming events:

  • Live Streaming Platform
  • Equipment required to broadcast
  • Capture Card
  • Encoder
  • Embed Code

Equipt with this knowledge, you’ll be able to start your event’s live stream with confidence.

1. Live Streaming Platform

A live streaming platform is a broadcasting application, software or website that hosts your live stream. Choosing the right kind of live streaming platform is of utmost importance. 

Specific requirements must be met in order for the live stream to work successfully. Sufficient bandwidth, HTML5 video players that are white labeled, being easy to embed, access to specialised servers, etc., are a few features among the many that are important behind the scene factors. The ability of the platform to handle your expected volume of viewers is primary. In cases of a high volume of viewers, it is a must that the live streaming platform uses a global content delivery network so that the stream quality is higher. Using a platform that accounts for these factors in a fast paced, technology-driven environment is key. 

For organizations or individuals looking to distribute content with a business perspective in mind, other points should be considered. A secure paywall can be a major advantage that can help you monetise your content distribution and manage payments smoothly and safely. Catapult’s pay per view live streaming feature helps meet this need. An added advantage is the absence of ads in the live stream, which can be distracting and annoying for your viewers. 

To keep viewers focused on your content, white label video players can play an integral part. White label video players let you create an interruption free video player. This circumvents third-party restrictions, adds, and plug-ins, while directing viewers to interact with your brand distraction free. Catapult’s commitment to viewer-focused content goes so far, as to not even put their logo on the stream to keep viewers focused on your brand. How great is that!

2. Equipment required to broadcast

The next decision is to pick the right recording equipment. This seemingly-simple step can turn into an overwhelming experience, as there are a lot of options on the market. It’s important to choose hardware based strictly on the requirements or purpose of your live stream event. We offer equipment recommendations based on your needs combined with various user reviews. For example, depending on budget and purpose, these are some cameras we like: Canon Vixia HF R300, Sony HVR-NX5U, Canon Vixia HF G30.

It goes without saying that a high quality camera is a quintessential requirement for your live stream. Having equipment that can capture excellent imagery, will result in a superior live stream output. It is that simple! 

A high-caliber audio and video will also help retain your viewership and spread further word of mouth. Hence, do not think twice before investing in the right gear for your live stream. 

3. Capture Card

Capture Card is the piece of equipment that helps you convert your video intro streamable content. You can simply purchase this and once it is installed in your computer, it is as simple as plugging the camera into the capture card and you are ready to stream!

If you are using your laptop/computer’s webcam, then there is a likelihood you will not even need a capture card. Most of the ‘webcam’ methods are already live stream friendly. If you want to check on your webcam’s compatibility, simply open Skype from your computer or laptop that you want to stream from and if the video feature shows up, then you don’t need a capture card and you can go ahead to the next step!

4. Encoder

Essentially, an encoder is a device that converts data of one format to another. If you are using an external webcam or camera, you will need an encoder to be able to live stream. 

You can choose from encoder softwares or hardwares. For beginners, encoding software is more feasible and easy to use. We recommend OBS Studio which is a free, open-source software program and is relatively simple to use and navigate. Wirecast is another more advanced option you can consider. However, it will cost you about $500-$1000 based on the features and add ons you pick. 

Once you get acquainted with live streaming, you can move to hardwares like Teradek, which provide features dedicated specifically for live streaming and will up your game significantly. The downside is that they are expensive and not ideal for beginners, but are super effective when you’re ready to invest. 

5. Embed Code

The final box on the checklist is ensuring that your viewers can access your live stream. Simply put, the ‘embed code’ is the link to your event. It is a block of HTML code which is embedded into the source-page, which when clicked, directs viewers to the desired content. An example of this would be a Zoom link, that the room host would send out to participants. If you opt for a professional live streaming platform they take care of these details for you. Catapult generates and provides embed code for the stream, hassle free for you. Then, it is just a copy and paste job to let the viewers access your live stream! 

Deciding on a platform influences the viewer’s experience and can determine if they will engage with your content again in the future. After choosing the live streaming platform, it really is as simple as seeing what equipment fits your needs: camera, encoder, and/or capture card. Then just embed the video player to your own website or email. Voila! You are ready for your first live stream. 

Ease and accessibility are important factors for you and the viewers alike. Choosing a live streaming platform that has your needs in the forefront of the conversation is important for your success, as each event, company, and individual’s needs are unique. Live streaming is not a new service, however, the demand for its presence in our global and local communities have promptly increased. This rapid change requires a service that will adapt with the consumer’s demands and global changes.

Check out Catapult, as they have a great set of features for an amazing live stream, with your success in mind.

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