What do you need to stream on Facebook or YouTube?

Before we start our first streaming, we need to buy the equipment. Wanting and “some kind of computer or smartphone” are not enough. You have to remember that the streaming level is so high that poor quality of video or sound and lack of substantive preparation will disqualify any debuting streamer from the very beginning. This doesn't mean, of course, that you need to have a wallet full of cash, you just need to know what things you will need to invest in at the beginning.

There are two ways to stream in social media:

  1. We may use a native application, such as Facebook or YouTube, that allows us to quickly start streaming. However, these solutions have certain limitations.
  2. We can also use external tools such as Sparkly to connect our camera. Then we have many more possibilities for image processing and access to functionalities that make our streaming more engaging.

If you choose the second option, you should start preparing for live streaming by completing the equipment. A fundamental issue here will be the choice of camera and software that will transmit the image from the camera in RTMP format further straight to the portal where we stream.

What is RTMP?

The term RTMP (Real Time Messaging Protocol) is inextricably connected with streaming on Facebook or YouTube. RTMP is a type of protocol which maintains persistent connections and allows low-latency communication. To deliver streams smoothly and transmit as much information as possible, it splits streams into fragments, and their size is negotiated dynamically between the client and server. 

Simply put, if you want to stream on Facebook, your camera needs to send an RTMP signal. In practice, it is not so easy, because the cameras themselves do not have such functionality. So, we need additional software, which we install on our computer and which captures the signal from the camera connected to the USB and sends it further as RTMP. Such a program can be, for example, OBS. OBS is an extended platform for recording and streaming, distributed on an open-source basis. It is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS platforms. The application works with the most popular streaming services, offers a lot of useful features, and is free of charge. 

Okay, we already know what RTMP and OBS are and what’s for. What next? Camera!

What parameters do we have to pay attention to when choosing a streaming camera?

A webcam is a key to good video streaming. For a simple streaming video, you just need a webcam that you can connect to your PC. Find out more about the possibilities of two of them: 

1. Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 

This camera gives you bright and colorful video and makes it easy to post to your favorite social sites. It will work on your desktop, laptop, or notebook. The USB 2.0 connection fits virtually any computer. LifeCam HD-3000 also has a built-in omnidirectional microphone with noise reduction for crystal-clear sound. Besides, the camera has automatic exposure compensation in low light. It sounds good, right?

microsoft camera for live streaming
Source: microsoft.com

2. Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920

This camera guarantees excellent quality at a reasonable price. Among many streamers, the Logitech C920 is considered to be the best streaming camera. What makes you think that? Because it gives you the ability to record in 1080p resolution, without loss of smoothness, at 30 frames per second. What's more, you can enjoy high-performance H.264 compression when streaming. Plus, the camera comes with two microphones capable of recording stereo sound, Carl Zeiss optics, excellent autofocus and the ability to share recorded content quickly on social networks.

logitech camera for streaming
source: logitech.com

A digital webcam can be successfully replaced by a digital camera. Remember, however, that streaming requires image compression. In practice, it means that the image recorded by the camera at a higher resolution will have to be compressed so that the final file is smaller. In regular use, streaming to YouTube or Facebook, a digital camera is sufficient. In fact, even a good smartphone is often enough.

Live streaming on social media – what do you need off camera?

If we want to do something more with our streaming, for example, add extra graphics to it, publish the most interesting comments or do live polls among viewers, it's worth using Sparkly. It's a cloud-based platform that will enhance your streaming with additional features that will engage your audience and at the same time, ensure that the video signal sent to Facebook or YouTube is in the right format. 

What functionalities does Sparkly have?

  1. Easy to use web-based platform will help you create stunning looking videos yourself without involving a team of graphic designers and programmers.
  2. Creative features like a countdown, polls, comments, product list, interstitial, or coming up next will help you to make your content more engaging during live streaming.
  3. Timeline stream planning is easy due to drag and drop functionalities - you can quickly build the best streaming scenario and then just launch the required actions while recording live.

Are you ready to check Sparkly in practice?