Podcasting and livestreaming are on the rise, with 63% of people aged between 18-34 watching livestreamed content regularly, with 100 million hours of videos watched on Facebook every single day. Spotify host 5.5m podcasts alone, whilst Apple Podcasts hosts more than 75.7m episodes.
People are getting out there with their content, and as we explored in a recent piece on Desmond Reddick’s podcasting tips, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about recording and presenting. For instance, when you’re recording audio only, you still need to invest in a good microphone and, as we recommended, some strong editing software.
Livestreaming is another layer of complexity on top of podcasting. As well as audio, you have to think about visuals, and as you’re live, there are all sorts of other considerations. Which platform is best for you to present your show? Where will you broadcast? What equipment do you need?
Whilst the first two questions could produce full articles of their own, the latter is an easier one to answer. If you’re looking at jumping from podcasting to livestreaming, here are some equipment essentials you need to know.
Picking a camera to live stream from is a big choice – there are lots out there, with many different types with varying qualities and benefits.
Of course, you can use the webcam on your laptop for livestreaming. For some older models, that may mean compromising quality, but if you’re looking to keep costs down, then it’s an option.
If you’re streaming from an older Apple MacBook, then the facetime camera is a solid enough option, at least for beginners. It’s only 720p, and it features quite a bit of noise in low lights, but again it would be adequate, if not a solid option. The newer Apple MacBook cameras are a full 1080p which might be suitable for your requirements, but as they record from a fixed perspective, they can also be a little limiting as you develop your live stream.
The obvious choice for a live stream is a webcam. They’re usually connected to your laptop by a USB connection and come in a variety of different specs. Some have inbuilt microphones, while others are small and compact for transport. There are plenty on the market, and your budget will dictate which you buy as much as anything.
The Logitech C290 webcam is a popular choice, as it comes in at under $100, but is a flexible camera with great picture quality. It captures sharp 1080p pictures and videos and runs at a smooth 30fps. It’s also flexible in terms of angles, so can be adjusted for height; useful if you wish to film guests on a show and need to shuffle your camera about. Logitech tends to be the most popular webcam manufacturer, and their PTZ Pro 2 is another solid option, albeit at around $600.
Did you know you can also set up a digital SLR camera to record your live streams? There are advantages to using a digital SLR – you may already have one you can repurpose, and the quality is likely to be a notch above even the best webcams. They’re expensive, depending on which you buy, but they’ll make your live streams looks great, especially as you can pair them with different lenses and filters.
The above video highlights how Canon is one of the best DSLR manufacturers on the market, and they are easily adapted as a webcam. You need a couple of cables and some software, but once set up, a Canon DSLR is a great choice for livestreaming. If you buy the Canon EOS R6 digital SLR camera online it might come in at around $2,500, but with oversampled 4K 60p recording capability, you’ll notice the difference, as will your viewers. If the price is a bit rich, then a Canon EOS Rebel T7, closer to $350, might also suit.
If you’re podcasting, you’ll likely already have a good microphone, and your camera may have one built in as well. If not, then there are some solid, low-cost options you can choose. For instance, the Blue Snowball is around $50 and the Blue Yeti runs around $100. Either should certainly suffice for a live stream.
You may also wish to provide additional light for clarity, and a ring light is a great way to do this. It distributes the light equally around the subject to avoid shadows, and even basic models have three or four hues for different effects. An adequate light ring should set you back no more than $20 to $60, with many makes and models available on Amazon.