Live-streaming event basics: platforms, equipment & useful stuff to know

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Live-streaming now plays a major role in the events industry – partly thanks to the pandemic, and partly because technology has opened up a whole new world of remote, live event possibilities in recent years. 

And, judging by the popularity of everything from home-based celebrity music gigs through to live webinars, it’s obvious live-streamed events are here to stay. 

In this article, we look at some of the fundamentals you’ll need to get familiar with to host your own.

Let’s get started.

What is the best way to live-stream an event?

To live-stream an event, it’s crucial to first choose a live-streaming platform that suits your needs. Which one you go with will depend on things like:

  • whether you want to pay for a live-streaming service or use one for free, and

  • the size and scale of your event (some live-streaming platforms have much higher capabilities than others).

Some of the most notable platforms currently around have been built off the back of the major social media sites:

But there are tons of other platforms out there too, dedicated solely to the art of live-streaming. Some to consider include:

  • Uscreen – great for monetizing live-streamed videos

  • Wowza – great for embedding videos into your own website

  • Brightcove – great for enterprise-level events

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What equipment is required for live streaming?

Once you’ve chosen your live-streaming platform, you’ll need to lay your hands on the right equipment. Here’s an overview of what you’ll most likely need:

  • Laptop or desktop computer: make sure you have enough RAM – at least 8GB. Make sure you have enough USB ports too, as you’ll probably need these for other equipment.

  • Camera: you can potentially use the internal camera of your laptop/computer, but if you want to make sure your live-streamed event is really professional, it’s best to buy a separate one. Zoom and GoPro make great cameras for this kind of thing, or you could go for something like a DSLR.

  • Microphone: it’s essential to have a good microphone (or microphones) for any live-streaming event to succeed. The good news is that there are some really great value mics on the market that are perfect for live-streaming – you don’t have to spend the earth.

  • Audio mixer: investing in an audio mixer is key if you want to use multiple microphones, or incorporate multiple sound sources into your event (like if you have people playing instruments). 

  • Lighting: there are tons of options for lighting your live-streamed event, ranging from pretty cheap-and-cheerful, through to seriously high-spec. Just make sure to do your research and buy the products that are right for your type of event and space – shoddy lighting is one way to kill the vibe pretty quickly, whether you’re hosting a talk, comedy night or something else. 

Choosing a venue for your live-stream event

You may be happy live-streaming from a home studio (this can totally be your living room), or you may be looking for an all singing-and-dancing conference venue. For the latter, you’ll want to consider things like:

  • Whether the venue comes with its own audio equipment

  • How easy it will be for you to rehearse your live-stream event at the venue 

  • The cost of hiring the venue vs your budget

  • How easy it is to get to and from the venue with all of your equipment

How to market your live-stream event

Now you’re set up with your live-streaming platform and equipment, it’s time to get the word out about your event. We have articles that can help you with that:

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How much does it cost to live-stream an event?

How much it costs to live stream an event will depend on a range of factors. In terms of streaming platforms, there are some great free options available, so it doesn't have to cost you a penny in this respect. These include:

  • Facebook Live

  • Periscope

  • Instagram Live

  • YouNow

  • YouTube Live

But of course, there are other factors to consider too, like your equipment and marketing costs. Try to see hosting a live-streaming event in the same vein as an in-person one. You’ll need to devise a budget and stick to it if you’re looking to make a profit (or break even).

Once you’ve wrapped your head around these live-streaming fundamentals, you’ll be ready to start planning your project. Lights, camera… you know the drill! 

PS. You might also find these articles useful: