From choosing the right equipment and streaming platform to finding the setup and location that fits your brand or aesthetic, there are many factors to consider when building your live stream setup. This article will cover some tips and recommendations to help you build your dream live stream setup without driving yourself up a wall in the process.
Step 1: Determine Your Streaming Goals and Target Audience
Before building your live stream setup, you should set your goals and identify your target audience. What type of content will you be streaming? How would you describe your potential viewers? Answering these questions will help you determine what equipment you need and how to set up your live stream. Additionally, this will help you when getting to the fun parts like finding decor that makes sense to add to your live stream setup.
For example, if you're a gamer who wants to stream on Twitch, YouTube, or any other platform, you'll likely need a powerful gaming PC, a capture card, and a high-quality webcam or camera. On the other hand, if you're a musician who wants to perform on stream, you'll likely need a good-quality microphone, audio interface, and camera to get going.
Step 2: Choose the Right Equipment
Choosing the proper equipment is crucial for building a high-quality live stream setup. Below are some equipment recommendations to consider.
Camera: A good camera is essential for a high-quality live stream. Many options are available, but some popular choices include DSLR or mirrorless cameras and webcams. Make sure to choose a camera with high-quality resolution and good low-light performance (though you should consider upgrading your lighting regardless—more on that in just a second). Explore this list of best cameras for live streaming to understand better what options exist. Also, when you’re just starting out, don’t shy away from using your smartphone camera as many can record and stream in HD and beyond.
Microphone: Though many people put it on the back burner, audio quality can truly make or break your live stream. A good microphone will make your audio crisp, loud and clear. Some popular options include USB microphones, XLR microphones, and lavalier mics. One of our favorite microphones is the tried and true Blue Yeti (USB microphone) which is great for everyone from beginners to pros. If you're curious, you can check out this list of more microphone recommendations.
Headset: A headset is an essential piece of equipment for game streamers as it provides high-quality audio for an immersive gaming experience. If you don’t have a microphone you can chat with your audience and create a professional and engaging streaming experience using a headset mic. A quality headset such as the Logitech G733 wireless gaming headset offers sound quality for both the streamer and the viewer. Between the surround sound, voice filters, and advanced lighting, this headset will add a ton of style and personality to your streaming setup.
Gaming Keyboard and Mouse: A gaming keyboard and mouse are also key pieces of equipment for streamers, as they offer programmable buttons and eye catching lighting (yay aesthetics). With these accessories, game streamers can improve their gameplay while adding a splash more personality to a live stream. Below are some of our picks for these key gaming accessories.
Lighting: Proper lighting is essential for creating a professional-looking live stream. Whether you opt for natural, three-point or even throw in RGB lights, optimal lighting improves the overall quality of your video in addition to setting the right mood, tone and atmosphere for your content. One great option for streamers of all backgrounds is the Logitech Litra Beam LED Streaming Key Light. This premium light features TrueSoft technology and delivers balanced full-spectrum LED light with cinematic color accuracy for a natural, radiant look for all skin tones.
Capture Card: If you plan on streaming gameplay from a console, you'll need a capture card (unless you’re an Xbox streamer using Streamlabs Console). A capture card transfers video and audio from your game consoleand streams it to your platform of choice. Though they can cost a pretty penny, there are budget capture cards on the market that you can grab for under $150.
Step 4: Choose the Right Streaming Platform
Choosing the right streaming platform and software is essential for building a high-quality live stream setup. Here are some popular options to consider:
Twitch: Unlike some other popular live streaming platforms, Twitch established itself as a live stream platform right from the very start. Twitch is a prevalent platform for live streaming gameplay and other content. It offers a variety of tools and features, including chat, emotes, and ways to monetize for creators.
YouTube: Though YouTube is most known for long-form pre-recorded content, it is growing in popularity as a destination for live streaming. It offers various content categories, including gaming, music, lifestyle and more. YouTube’s brand recognition is what sets it apart from other live streaming platforms.
Facebook Live: This feature of Facebook that lets users live stream directly to the social network platform. Viewers can react, share, and comment during a live stream.
Multistreaming: If you want to stream to multiple platforms at once, multistreaming is also an option and will be a huge factor when determining the software you'll use to stream.
Step 4: Find a Software to Suit Your Streaming Needs
Live stream software is essential for building a high-quality live stream set-up. It allows you to set up your camera, microphone, and add overlays and other graphics to your stream. Most importantly, it ensures that your live stream is stable and reliable.
Streamlabs Desktop: Streamlabs Desktop is a popular streaming software that offers a variety of tools and features, including built-in widgets, chat alerts, and overlays. In addition to having amazing tools available to creators free of charge, Streamlabs offers an Ultra subscription for $19 per month that gives access to the premium features of Streamlabs Desktop, in addition to more premium apps for creators like you.
Melon: If hardware is a barrier in regards to live streaming software, you'd be happy to know that Melon is a browser-based application that allows you to customize your live streaming (from anywhere)—no downloading or complicated setup required.
Step 5: Find the Right Location and Aesthetic
When building your dream live stream setup, choosing the right location, aesthetic, and background can help create a cohesive and engaging viewing experience for your audience. Below are some tips to help your live stream get the look you've been dreaming of.
Choose a Clean and Clutter-free Space: Securing a space without visual distractions can help ensure that your content remains the focus of your stream. A clutter-free space will serve as your foundation before you begin incorporating elements of your brand or aesthetic to convey a sense of personality and identity.
Add Visual Interests: Objects such as plants, artwork, and decorative objects can help keep your audience engaged while showing (not telling) your brand's aesthetic. Instead of running out and grabbing new decor, start with trinkets that you may already have elsewhere in your home. Lend your own decor to our live stream setup until you determine that you have the funds and desire to buy something specifically for your stream. Think of it as testing driving your aesthetic before committing to purchasing.
Draw Inspiration from Other Creators: Don't be afraid to look towards some of your favorite creators for inspiration for the visual aspects of your setup. Whether you create a mood board on Pinterest or take some notes, you’ll quickly find your creative juices flowing once you gather a few references. The goal is to be inspired, not make your setup a carbon copy of another streamer. So if neon signs and lava lamps aren't quite your thing, leave them alone and find something better that reflects you and your brand.
Building your dream live stream setup is a process that requires time, effort, and attention to detail. By choosing the right equipment, streaming software and creating an attractive filming location, you can be on your way to a high-quality live stream that will captivate your audience and help you achieve your goals as a content creator.