Live streaming has become an inseparable part of people's lives. It has become a main source of entertainment for most people daily.. For internet celebrities and YouTubers, creating live videos to share their experiences has become a way to earn economic income. For professional media and enterprises, live video is also a marketing tool to gain brand exposure. The workflow of making a live streaming video can be complicated. Things like using a video camera to capture footage and a microphone for the audio—the video and audio signal go intothe computer via a video capture box. Then, the OBS software installed on the computer process the input signal and lived stream to the streaming platform.
When streaming video, the easiest way is to use a smartphone to shoot and stream video directly. Although using smartphone live stream video is quite handy, the quality of the image, audio, and streaming of the smartphone is fundamental, and it is impossible to make advanced features, such as image switching, applying transitions, and using subtitle effects with the smartphone. To make a high-quality live streaming video, you must have the following handy tools.
The resolution and quality of the video gives the audience the first impression of your content. Even high resolution is not the only criteria to make a good quality video, but it can never meet the professional video standard without good image resolution. Therefore, a high-quality camera is necessary for a video content creator to produce high-quality live streaming video. The video cameras are better option than using the built-in cameras on your smartphones. The built-in camera lenses from smartphones don’t compare to the professional video cameras in sensor size and optical performance.
Most digital SLR or mirrorless digital cameras have HDMI interfaces, which are convenient for users to input images directly to computers and monitors. In addition to HDMI interfaces, broadcast-grade cameras also have SDI interfaces. A lock design on the SDI connector makes the SDI cable more stable and reliable. Preventing any interruption caused by cable falling off is vital for live streaming or any production.
The video capture box can directly convert the video and audio signals captured by the camera into the live streaming source, which can then be used as a webcam or as a source in OBS (or other software) for live streaming. The video capture box is equivalent to a mediator between the camera and the computer. There are two types of connecting interfaces commonly used to connect a camera and a laptop- "HDMI to USB 3.0" and "SDI to USB 3.0". While consumer digital SLR cameras and M4/3 mirrorless cameras mostly use HDMI signal output interface, professional broadcast ENG handheld cameras have SDI signal output interface. Users can choose the appropriate video capture box according to the type of camera interface.
An image capture box can only support a single camera to shoot streaming video. You must use multiple capture boxes if the user wants to produce video with multiple cameras. However, utilizing numerous capture boxes is not practical. Adopting multiple video capture boxes will increase your equipment budget, and a laptop may need more USB 3.0 ports to support multiple image capture boxes. What you need is a video switcher to support the multi-camera production.
A 4-channel switcher that supports four video inputs is a practical and cost-effective choice for a small studio. With a video switcher, the video producer can easily switch the images from multi-cameras using a fingertip. Additionally, a switcher integrates various live broadcast effects on the buttons. Besides video switching, a switcher has picture-in-picture (PIP), chromakey, and audio mixing features. Video producers can make their live streaming videos more brilliant and attractive by using video-switching features.
Audio is often overlooked while producing live streaming video. Microphones can be divided into two types- condenser microphones and dynamic microphones. The advantage of condenser microphones is that they are more sensitive and have a more comprehensive range of directionality so they can receive many small sounds. But the high sensitivity may be double-edged. The noise, such as noise from cars and air conditioners, is also recorded by the condenser microphones. Therefore, condenser microphones require a higher standard of sound insulation and are more suitable for professional recording studios. In a noise-free recording studio, more sound details can be recorded.
The sensitivity of dynamic microphones is lower than that of condenser microphones. Doing a live streaming video in a room without professional sound absorption, dynamic microphones, can be a better choice because it does not record the echoes and ambient sounds in the space.
The shotgun microphone can be installed on the top of the DSLR. The quality of audio collected by the shotgun microphone is much better than the camera's built-in microphone. However, it should note that the audio collection of the shotgun microphone is directional. The sound collection effect will be greatly reduced if the audio source is not in the "fan-shaped" sound collection area pointed by the shotgun microphone.
The most common microphone interface is 3.5mm, often adopted by mobile phones and laptops. The lavalier microphone and iPhone headphones are examples of 3.5mm microphones. Laptops commonly accept another type of microphone, the USB microphone. The USB microphone converts the analog signal into a digital signal, so it can directly plug into the laptop. But using a USB microphone on the computer often faces audio and video synchronization problems. The reason is that the transmission speed of the audio signal is faster than the video signal's, which causes the audio and video are not synced. To solve the problem, you will need an audio delay to adjust the speed of the audio, ensuring that the audio syncs with the video.
These are the main video and audio equipment needed to set up your workflow for live streaming video.