The video production for your livestream can be an elaborate, multi-camera/location setup, or as simple as one person sitting in front of a webcam. It’s up to you to decide what you want and need and to produce the video content / livestream outside of the software. This article provides on overview for planning and producing your livestream. Once you've decided how to produce your feed, use these instructions to connect your livestream feed to your event site.
Note: some organizations (esp. government and school organizations) restrict video and/or livestream displays on work devices. We suggest recommending that your supporters connect with their personal computers, as our software has been designed and tested with all of the major browsers (using their default security settings.)
Latency is the amount of time that lapses between when something is recorded and when the viewers see it.
Our built-in streaming platform provides extremely low latency - typically < 1 second) for direct, unedited video feeds (broadcasting from a single webcam).
Using multiple webcams, locations and/or incorporating pre-recorded videos, static images and overlays (green screens) require more processing and will introduce additional latency (typically +1-5 seconds) depending on the level of processing and the tools/settings used.
Our software can also accept an embed source code for livestreams from Facebook, Youtube, Twitch, or Vimeo, but the video will display with the source's latency rate (generally 10-60 seconds).
Planning your Livestream:
Easy and Lowest Latency: Direct Video Feed from a single webcam
Broadcasting from a single webcam is the simplest and fastest option. From a technical perspective, this is the easiest set-up. . . once you've chosen the direct feed option you'll click a "Broadcast" button from the computer you're going to use for the webcast, then "Start Livestream" when you're ready to launch. All livestream feeds launch in preview mode - when you're ready to stream to your supporters, a slider allows you to switch from preview to live.
- To minimize latency on direct video feeds, you'll want to make sure you're recording from a well-powered computer with highspeed and reliable connectivity.
- To prevent feedback from multiple mics - all other computers/devices in the webcast room must be muted or used exclusively with headphones.
- If possible, conduct a dress rehearsal at least a day before your event. Test lighting, audio, connectivity, video feed and all communications/instructions you'll be sending to your supporters.
More Tools and Low Latency: Multiple and/or Pre-Recorded Video Feeds
If you want to include pre-recorded videos, static images, overlays and/or video feeds from more than one location/webcam, you'll need to use additional tools (or the services of a video professional) to manage the various elements within your livestream.
Regardless of the tools used, your video content needs to be formatted using the web-standard RTMP protocol.
ManyCam offers both free and low cost ($60) options for incorporating pre-recorded videos and/or multiple webcam feeds into your livestream. It is fairly easy to use and both free and paid options provide the same features/tools - but the free version will display the ManyCam branding as a watermark on the lower portion of your livestream.
StreamYard provides a low cost ($20-$39/month) option. Note: Streamyard's free version is NOT compatible with our software. Streamyard is an online tool, so it doesn’t require any installation (though it does require that you use Chrome or Firefox).
Streamyard is a better option for incorporating feeds from multiple locations than OBS (see below), but it doesn't have direct support for streaming a pre-recorded video clip (though it is possible to use it’s screen share feature to share the video from your screen.)
Open Broadcast Software (OBS) is free open-source software - it is a very powerful, robust tool, but it is not the easiest piece of software to use. It should be learned well ahead of the event, by someone who is computer and video savvy. If you choose to use OBS, you must edit your Output settings to support our ultra low latency stream.
OBS is a better choice than StreamYard for incorporating pre-recorded videos, but does not have the tools needed to incorporate feeds from multiple locations.
If no one on your team has experience or expertise with Video production - you should consider hiring a video studio or professional. Video production for live streaming can be fairly complex, especially since additional "processing" creates additional latency. The difference between amateur and professional video production for livestream may be most noticeable in realized (vs anticipated) latency level.
Easy but High Latency: Embedded Video Feed
You also have the option of playing the livestream* from an embedded source (YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, or Twitch) at your Virtual Live Auction. The latency for these options will be similar to the source's platform (typically 10 - 60 seconds).
Make sure you're using the platform's livestream option (rather than regular video recording option). The embed codes often look similar (and will work in the player) but operate differently. Livestreams are showing the same live content to all viewers at the same time. Videos will start playing when the viewer arrives on the page - and viewers can pause, restart and skip around using the player controls.
Avoid the inclination to broadcast your feed in high definition. High definition settings add significant latency in exchange for little gain in image quality.
Use these specifications to ensure a broadcast with a good balance between image quality and reliable streaming:
- 720 p
- 20 frames/second
- bandwidth = 1.25 - 1.5 megabits/second