How to live stream your event – The first steps

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’re very well aware that live streaming its the rage when it comes to online entertainment right now. Big events like Eurovision and sports tournaments, which were exclusive to television, can be watched online now and it not only applies to big events. Small ones have caught up with the trend, too.

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So, why should you live stream an event?

Live streaming gives those who are not able to attend a chance to experience the occasion. Unlike what some argue, just because they can see it online, it doesn’t people will stop signing up. A stream will never replace the networking opportunities they’ll get in person.

Sure it’s trending but why go through all the hassle if it’s not going to benefit you in any way?

You’ll be able to reach more people
Whenever you rent a venue for an event, you will always have a maximum number of people you can host. While online, the number of users that can watch your stream is almost endless — assuming you have a good server that is.

It creates a sense of urgency
Even though platforms like Twitch allow you to save your streams as clips for people to watch later, live streams tend to be the watch-it-or-miss-it type of events. By announcing it as a unique experience that’s not going to be repeated, users will get a sense of urgency and go flocking to your stream.

Endless possibilities
Unlike TV, online live streams can be as long as you want and are don’t need to adhere to as many rules. Every platform will have its guidelines regarding the type of content that can be broadcasted but they won’t be anywhere near as constrictive as the ones from mainstream media.

A new way to interact with followers
If you’re looking into advertising your event organising skills than a live stream might just be the way to do it. Remember to add your logo, if you have one, and make your contact information clearly visible so people can reach out if they want to.

 

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What you’ll need to live stream your event

So now that you’ve made up your mind and decided to live stream your event, let’s go over what you’ll need to do it. While live streaming might seem complicated, there are only three simple things you’ll need.

1 – A good internet connection
It might seem obvious but it is important to know that not every internet connection will work for live streaming. When it comes to live streaming, the number that matters is the upload speed. Livestream recommends for you to have an upload speed of at least 2.2 Mbps if you want to stream a high-definition video.

2 – Hardware
Depending on the quality of the stream you’re going for, all the hardware you may need is just a recording equipment like a smartphone or a laptop. But if you’re going to shoot a high-quality stream in HD from an independent camera, then you will probably need a capture card.

Capture cards receive information from one end and ‘translate’ it so the other side can understand it. They are also associated with higher definition images. For more information on capture cards and other information on hardware for live streaming, check out DataCast.

3 – Software

Probably the most important element for you to live stream will be the software. Lucky for you, nowadays there are lots of good and free options for you to choose from. Here are just some of them:

Note: You might be interested in ‘10 of the best online ticketing platforms for event planners.’

Periscope

The Twitter-owned mobile app is dedicated exclusively to live streams of events. Users can post their videos from their mobiles or tablets. You can also search for streams by location, so it’s easy to see what’s going on around you in real time.

Pros: It’s easy to engage with people. Their comments pop up right on your screen as you live stream, so you can answer questions right then and there. Periscope also features selected streams on its homepage, and you can search for streams by location.

Cons: This works best for mobile, so if you need a big-screen option, this may not be it. It’s also not very customisable. But maybe the biggest downside is that your streams only stick around for a day before getting erased. You can save your videos, but people won’t be able to see them.

Further reading: Check out flight search engine Skyscanner’s creative Periscope campaigns. They pick a theme and invite people from all over the world to take over the app during a 24-hour period.

Facebook Live

Facebook might not have been the first one on the scene when it comes to live video, but they’re definitely fully on board with the trend now. One of the best features of Facebook Live is that your followers or friends will get a notification when you’re live. With such a huge base of users already on Facebook, there is a massive potential audience here.

Pros: The video becomes permanently available on your timeline after you’ve finished it. You can also block certain people from accessing the stream. Also, who doesn’t use Facebook?

Cons: Only people who already follow you can view the stream. If you want an open broadcast, you’ll need something to use something else.

Further reading: Facebook Live: Everything You Need to Know.

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YouTube Live

This live streaming option has seen a lot of action lately with the American presidential debates, which have been aired in real time via YouTube (along with all the major television channels, too). If you needed a sign that this is legitimate, there you have it.

Pros: You can stream lengthy, high-quality videos that are available afterwards, too, as part of your regular video stream. And it’s free!

Cons: It can be a bit fiddly to set up a YouTube channel, get it verified and make sure you have the right software to encode the video stream. 

Further reading: Still need more help? Here are the instructions from Google about using YouTube’s live streaming. At the bottom of the article, it links to more.

UStream

With a client list of huge names like NASA, Facebook and Nike, UStream provides a great video streaming service for all different types of needs. It lets you stream from both mobile and laptop devices, too, as well as different web browsers. They say they’re the largest live streaming service out there.

Pros: This is geared towards professionals and offers a really high-quality service. There are different options for different types of broadcast needs, like sharing a video with a small internal team or streaming a huge event to a worldwide audience.

Cons: There had to be a downside, right? This one is the only fully paid option on our list. You can get a free 30-day trial, but after that, the plans start from $99 a month.

Further reading: UStream: The Live Streaming Service Evolves for New Areas

 

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Bonus #1: Twitter and Snapchat.

While these aren’t strictly video social media networks, nor is it the same as having a constant video stream up, you can certainly share your event in real-time on them. For Twitter, make sure to use a hashtag so people can find all the posts related to the event. For Snapchat, remember that everything is deleted within 24 hours. You can be a bit more relaxed here, too.

Bonus #2: FaceTime or Skype

If you only want to share your event with a select group of people, these are great little apps. Apple’s FaceTime lets you call a friend with another Apple device so you can have a one-on-one live video of your event for a special person. Skype lets you call one person for free, but you can have a group chat of up to 10 people with the Premium version.

This might work well for a company event that’s strictly for a small group of employees, or a personal event like a wedding.

Bonus #3: Hire a company that specialises in live streaming!

If you can’t be bothered with figuring out and setting up a live stream yourself, there are lots of companies who can help you do it. In general, they’ll show up with any equipment you need and take it from there. This is also a good option if you need a video stream that’s higher quality than your phone but don’t want to invest in an expensive camera and microphone equipment.

While we can’t help you out with live streaming here at Printsome, we can make sure that you have some seriously awesome T-shirts for your event. Get in touch with us to get a quote on tees ASAP!

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Note: On top of the streaming platform, you’ll also need an encoder. This software will be the bridge between your recording hardware and the website where the stream will be broadcasted. You can check out the list of YouTube recommended encoders here.

Word of advice

While live streaming is popular right now and relatively easy to pull off, it is not flawless. As we already mentioned, live streaming requires a minimum bandwidth in order to enjoy the stream without interruptions and in the best possible quality. And while there are lots of software options, it also means that there’s more competition.

In the end, the world of event managing has been enhanced thanks to live streams but at the same time, it does not come without a price.


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