The following contribution is from another author.
Whether you’re a gamer, a musician, an artist, or someone who just likes to hang out with an online community, streaming has become a huge deal as of late. From Mixer to Twitch to YouTube Live, content creators are finding platforms and people who will gladly share their interests with them. But there’s a lot of tech that goes into setting up a stream. Here, we’re going to look at the tools you’re likely to need.
A second screen
If you’re streaming using only a webcam, then you might not need a second screen. This is most relevant for those with basic music or art setups. However, if you want to do anything else besides using stream software, whether it’s playing games or using a browser, then only having one screen is going to be a constant frustration. With a dual monitor setup, you can do and capture whatever you want while still keeping your streaming software up and active on the other screen.
Now, this one isn’t strictly necessary. If you’re a little shy about showing your face online, there are plenty of streamers who do not use a webcam at all. However, if you do want that face-to-face connection with your audience (one-sided as it might be) or to broadcast your physical art, then you are going to need a webcam. Great webcams are much more affordable nowadays than they used to be, thankfully. Aside from that, make sure that whatever you’re filming has good lighting, so that it doesn’t look too washed out or too dark to make out clearly.
A decent mic or headset
Whatever you’re streaming, you’re going to want to be heard over it. Unlike webcams, it’s very hard to get any kind of success if you can’t connect with your audience by talking directly to them. After all, usually, you’re too busy to type in chat. Most professional streamers will recommend a standalone recording microphone. However, gaming headsets can also be very good, even if they don’t have quite the same crystal clear quality. If you’re in a busy home, soundproofing your room to make sure you don’t pick up sounds from the outside can be helpful, as well.
A capture card
If you’re using a webcam or capturing footage only from your PC, then you might not need one of these. However, if you’re planning to stream video games from consoles like the PS4, Xbox, or Switch, your options are limited. PS4 has a feature that allows you to stream directly to some platforms, but you can’t customize your stream while broadcasting directly from it. As such, a capture card sends the footage directly to your PC or laptop so you can broadcast it and edit it through your streaming software. It’s an expensive addition, but crucial for streaming some games.
If you get yourself set up with all the devices above, things can get pretty messy. We’re not just talking about cable ties, either. If you’re using a capture card and connecting to multiple consoles, then there’s also power considerations to be made. For instance, you might need to use an HDMI switcher to make sure you can quickly switch to broadcasting a different feed, and a splitter to send the video directly to your screen and to your PC at the same time. To that end, you need to find the best docking station to make sure that everything gets the power supply that it demands. It also has the benefit of keeping all your wires connected to a single place for that supply, tidying things up.
Aside from capturing the footage you need, you also need to get it online. For that, you need to ensure you have a great internet connection, with wired being the optimal setup. Besides that, there are streaming software options like OBS and StreamLabs to consider, as well. Effectively, these allow you to get the live footage online, as well as to do a wide range of things such as set-up stream layouts, alerts, and much more. They’re not necessary, but if you want to have a good looking, branded stream set-up, they’re highly recommended.
One thing we didn’t cover here is the streaming platform side of things. All the platforms have their own ways of doing things, so setting up with any one of those would necessitate its own guide. However, if you’re looking at taking streaming seriously, you need to consider at least some of the tools above.