Live Streaming Hardware Guide

APi’s Managing Director Andy Pidsley shares his knowledge on hardware requirements for live streaming.

Every streaming system has these fundamental components:

  • Camera
  • Microphone
  • Streaming server (hardware or software)
  • Broadband connection with 6mb/s upload speed
  • Hosting Platform eg Facebook Live, YouTube

For example a tablet or smartphone wrap all of these functions in one device.

Entry Level – Smart phone, ideally with external microphone -remember the audio is the most important carrier of information so this should be a lapel type ideally to reduce the amount of room noise and reverberation picked up.

Level 2 – Laptop with integrated or separate webcam and microphone. 

Level 3 – Laptop with video capture device. One or more remote cameras with a means of switching between them, plus a feed from an existing sound system, wired or radio microphone.

Level 4 – Laptop with installed remote cameras, switcher, feed from sound system.

OR as above but with a dedicated streaming unit instead of a laptop (this provides a simple to operate and very reliable system removing the need for a dedicated laptop).

Within level 3 and 4 the cameras may be fixed or temporary and may be purpose built units or a camcorder or digital SLR camera with HDMI output.

Environment

This needs to be somewhere quiet, background noise can be distracting at best and reduce intelligibility particularly for those with less than perfect hearing. Make a test recording and listen back through headphones, how much of the ‘room’ do you hear? If you are recording in church speaking more softly rather than projecting your voice may produce a lower level of reverberation which will be less noticable. If recording at home try hanging a spare duvet up out of sight of the camera this can reduce the ‘boxy’ sound from small spaces. 

Golden Rules

  • Make sure you have enough bandwidth – check who else is using the broadband.
  • Simple and reliable is better than complicated and flaky.
  • Check your background – no bright lights or windows.
  • Do a test recording and listen back on a similar device that your users will be using.
  • Audio is king! Ultimately good clear audio is far more important than pin sharp pictures. Avoid reverberant spaces and keep close to your microphone.

To discuss how APi Sound and Visual could assist your church with live streaming your services, please call us on 01392 677668 or contact us online.