How To Improve The Quality Of Your Live StreamsFacebook Live, Instagram Live… the (digital) world is definitely moving towards live broadcasting.

It really comes as no surprise, because this medium is interactive, ephemeral, and authentic. People are craving to be in the know as events unfold, get an insider pass into the inner workings of a favorite company, or simply see your human side.

You really have to start employing this to your business advantage. Whether you have already dipped your toes into live broadcasting or you are just evaluating this content option now, it doesn’t have to be intimidating. One thing that will take the stress out and give a boost of confidence you need is the quality of your broadcasts.There are a few things that make any video, especially live broadcasting, light years better.

These are:

  • Clarity
  • Steadiness
  • Light
  • Sound
  • Visuals

Let’s dive into each one.

Clarity

How clear is your video? Are the pixels really visible? Does your face become one big smudge because of all the movement?

The first thing you can do to dramatically improve the clarity of your video is to find a strong Wi-Fi connection. I wouldn’t rely on mobile data in the park to host a live video session.

The stronger the connection signal, the higher the quality of your video. There is no lag, no mismatch between the sound and the image, no pixelated images. Want that crystal clear HD video? You’ll need a very fast Internet. So, it’s best to go live at home or at a public space where there is a strong Internet connection and not every one is trying to stream simultaneously. As you guessed by now, sports games and concerts are not well-suited because everyone is trying to tweet, snap, and stream the event.

Lens kit

To you make your live videos transcend the quality of a smartphone experiment with lens kits. They truly have a huge impact on the quality of a smartphone video.

You can find some as cheap as $5 but a $50 lens kit will make a world of difference. This is a worthwhile investment. The right lens will transform your live broadcasts, presenting you as professional and knowledgeable as you really are.

Stabilization

Have you ever tried to watch a video only to stop in the middle because you’re getting dizzy? We’ve all seen the videos that make you motion sick. It’s especially true with live videos, when their creators decide to “take us on a walk” or are so excited to share their news, they are trying to capture the whole scene at once.

One way to stabilize your video is to slow down, sit down, or slowly pan your camera across the scene you’re trying to capture. Also, try to keep your phone at one level – no need to jump up and down.

Tripod

This little piece of equipment will give you the most bang for your buck. It is uncomfortable to hold your smartphone during the whole presentation. Plus, not only is it distracting, shaky camera automatically drags down the quality of your video. To spare your viewers some nausea after watching your videos, invest in tripod. Mini tripods typically cost less than $30. Plus, a lot of them already come with a smartphone adapter. When you invest in a tripod, just make sure it comes with one.

Stabilizer

A stationary tripod won’t work if you need to move your camera a lot to show your surroundings. To keep your videos as sharp, and not to lose your viewers to motion sickness, explore handheld video stabilizers. You can find a product with great reviews for under $100.

Bluetooth remote

Maybe holding your phone is not an option; and running to and from your phone to switch a broadcast on and off doesn’t sound appealing. Bluetooth remote is your best option. And you know what’s even better? A wide range of them costs just about $7.

Lighting

Lighting significantly impacts the quality of your videos. If your video is too dark or too light, it looks amateurish. Besides, it affects how you look by adding dark circles around your eyes or making your nose twice as big with shadows.

Always strive to find a natural lighting. Indoor lighting usually messes with natural colors. Fluorescent lighting adds blues and greens, while incandescent lighting makes everything look yellow.

Also, think about how soft or harsh the light is, because it makes a huge difference in results.

Lighting significantly impacts the quality of your videos. If your video is too dark or too light, it looks amateurish. Besides, it affects how your appearance.

If the harsh light source is right in your face, you’ll look washed out. If the light is natural and soft, you face will be evenly lit, which creates a nice balanced look with minimal (if any) shadows. If you position yourself at 45 degrees to the window or light source, it can create a very flattering look that gives your facial features a depth. However, again, if the lighting is too harsh, you’ll be left with very unflattering shadows. Furthermore, if you place a light source at 90 degrees, this usually achieves very dramatic look; too dramatic for most live streams. Place your light source behind and your face becomes one dark blurb.

Thinking about placing your light source above or below your face? Unless, you’re streaming an interrogation scene or a scene from horror movies, stay away from these creative lighting techniques.

Portable lighting

So, if you are spending a lot of time talking in front of a camera, good lighting is a must. It will instantly make you and your videos look better, giving you an extra boost of confidence. There are quite a few ring lights specifically designed to be snapped on a smartphone. Some of the best feedback comes about rings that cost less than $30 a piece.

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Sound

This is a tricky one, because while you can preview and adjust your lighting, there is really no good way to hear the sound of the video in the midst of it.

One trick you might want to employ is to record a 5-second video on your phone and listen it back prior to going live. This way, you’ll know whether you need to speak louder or quieter, and whether any background noise is too strong. It goes without saying that you should try to go live in quiet spaces where there is minimal background noise.

However, I realize, it is not always an option. Say, you’re broadcasting a speaker at a conference or an industry event you’re attending.  You absolutely have to keep in mind that if you’re too far from the stage, your potential viewers won’t hear a thing a speaker is saying, so your live stream is pretty confusing and pointless.

External microphone

Good sound quality is a major issue during a live broadcast. Don’t fret. An external mic for your smartphone costs $15-$20 and improves the quality of the sound tremendously.

Visuals

While we don’t expect a major production quality from live videos, it is very nice to appear professional and put together. If you’re planning a live video session in advance, spend some time crafting your background. It may be as simple as a painted wall or a backdrop behind you.

Or, if you’re feeling fancy, you might want to have some things in your background. Say, it’s your working station, a painting, a living room, or some plants. Keep in mind that the simpler the background, the better. If the painting hanging on the wall behind you is too elaborate or creative, viewers may be distracted by it. Same goes about public spaces; if you’re sitting at a coffee shop, a scene between two peopel might become much more intriguing than your talk.

Screenshare

If you’re doing a live presentation, props, slides, or examples might help you get your point across faster and more effectively.

Facebook is testing Live on desktops. Naturally, you might want to enlist a screenshare option.

This has been taken care of for you already! There are a few options for doing that. If you’re just starting out and not sure how far you will take live videos, try a free OBS Studio extension. If live streaming is something you plan on doing often, and you’re ready to invest in a piece of software for screen sharing, go for WireCast. It is a bit pricey, but arguably the best offer on the market. Huzza and Switcher Studio are other great options you might want to consider.

Test, evaluate, repeat

Live broadcasting doesn’t have to be daunting. Plus, you’ll get better with every next live video you’re streaming. After you’re done recording and you’re offline, go back and re-watch at least a part of the video. Note how lighting, sound, props, or your outfit could be better.

If you are going to be riding the new wave of live videos, better invest in equipment. There are so many options in the market, you can instantly improve the quality of your videos with minimal budgets. Besides, with popularity of Facebook Live and Instagram Live, the number and quality of offerings in the market will only increase, even as the price decreases.

If you are going to be riding the new wave of live videos, better invest in equipment.

With just a minimal amount spent, your videos will go from amateur to professional in no time. And, that will surely, impact your market positioning.

Have you experimented with live videos or any of the equipment mentioned above? Share in the comment section below or head over to Instagram @lesyaliu to continue the conversation.

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