Live streaming guide

streamIt may seem hard to set up a live stream from an event, but the entry level is actually low. What you need is a camera, a microphone, an internet connection and a platform for the live stream. They all have their pros and cons, so make sure to read about them if you want to learn which one that suits your organization.

By default, video is pretty bad for someone with impaired hearing or vision, but there are some tricks you can do to make your broadcast more accessible. If you broadcast through a video mixer, you can add a simultaneous interpreter that tells the story for viewers that appreciate the form of communication. A simultaneous interpreter will listen to what is said, and translate that into sign language. If you are broadcasting a talk, a great help is to deliver a transcript of it to the interpreter beforehand, so the person can prepare in a good way. For debates and discussions, these preparations can be hard to achieve, but make sure to keep an dialogue about the topic and go through the jargon.

Some companies also work with live closed captioning. Take a look at production company WeStreamU that conducted a project in 2010 together with the Swedish Disability Federation and the Swedish Post and Telecom Agencyhttp://westreamu.se/almedalen2010-en/

Also make sure to prioritize audio over the visuals. Most broadcasts from Almedalen contains people discussing different matter, and most often, you do not need to see what is actually happening. But you do need to hear it or read it. Make sure to invest in a good microphone and put some extra time in getting the audio right.

Below, we will list different methods for live streaming.

Live stream with your smart phone

Basically, this is all that is needed to live stream an event, nothing more. One easy way is to use the live stream platform Bambuser.com. Bambuser have apps for several different phone and tablet models, take a look at their list here.

You do need an account to use Bambuser, and the cheapest one costs 45 dollar per month. You can choose to sign up for only one month.

When the app is installed, simply enter you account credentials in the app, name the live stream and press on the broadcast button. The stream will be hosted on you page on bambuser.com in an instant.

Bambuser have a very large help section that gives out lots of information related to live streaming, take a look at it at their web page: http://bambuser.com/help

A service that has gotten a lot of attention during the spring of 2015 is Periscope. Periscope is a platform for live streaming from the social media network Twitter. The service is very easy to use and totally free. It has a tight integration with Twitter, and viewers with an Twitter account can watch and comment the broadcast. One downside with Periscope is that it is only possible to view the livestreams from the app. Therefore, you can not embed the stream on your own web page, viewers need to download Periscope and watch the stream from their phone.

Read more about Periscope here: https://www.periscope.tv/

Another service that can be used, and is also free, is Livestream.com. They offer streaming from an iOS or Android device.

http://livestream.com/producer/mobile

Using a laptop or webcam

If you can’t use a smart phone for filming, or rather want to use a computer, this can also be easily arranged. If you use Bambuser, as described above, you can log into your account, hover the mouse over your account name, press Channel and then press on the large, green button that says Go live with your webcam. This will bring out a seperate browser window that will act as a small production studio. Add a title to the broadcast and press the red button below the video window to start your stream.

Adding one microphone to your livestream

If you don’t have the possibility to be close to the person that speaks, it can be hard to get a good audio on your stream. A smart phone takes up audio approximately 1 – 2 meter away from the phone, but if you go further than that, audibility will not be very good. This is when you should use a microphone.

Using your phones headset

The cheapest microphone you can find is the headset that you received with your phone. This microphone does a great job picking up audio from close distance. Make sure to point the microphones top to the persons mouth.

Microphone for smart phones

There are several brands that create microphones specifically for smart phones, for example iRig or Røde. This microphones have the correct connection to the phones audio jack, and will work straight out of the box. The pro, compared to a headset, is that you get a microphone that looks a bit more professional, it’s easier to hold, and it might give you a bit better audio quality.

Professional microphones

If you want to use a microphone that is not made for a smart phone, you might get into trouble. Professional microphones often use a contact that is called XLR, and you cant plug that into a phone. Some microphones have a plug called Phone connector, that’s the plug you recognize from normal headphones. Phone connectors come in different sizes, microphones usually have a size of 6,3 mm, while smart phones have a connector suitable for 3,5 mm. However most often, you cant simply use an adapter to make the large plug into a small one, you need some devices to help you out. One great way is to use the Fostex AR101. It’s a small device with two removable microphones on top, a holder for a phone, and a hand grip that you can attach to a tripod. You can remove the microphones that are attached with the 3,5 mm phone plug, and add almost any microphone to it. Of course you need adapters to fit the hole in the Fostex AR101.

Another way to add one or two microphones to an smart phone is to use a Zoom device. Zoom are recording devices with integrated microphones. You can use these to record audio onto the SD card in the Zoom, but you can also use it as a transport for the audio from microphones to a phone. The great thing with some of the Zooms, are that they do have both XLR and phone connector inputs, so you can plug your microphone straight into the device. The Zoom can deliver phantom power, which means that you can use microphones that need power to work, so called Dynamic microphones. From the zoom, you can use a 3,5 mm phone plug that has four nodes on it to get the audio into your smart phones.

An Iphone headset connector with four nodes
An Iphone headset connector with four nodes

Adding more than two microphones to your livestream

If you are about to live stream an event with more than two people talking at the same time, you will need to step up your hardware a bit and add an audio mixer to your system. An audio mixer works just like the Zoom described above, but it can’t record audio by itself. There are several different mixers, but you should look for one that have more than four channels. Every channel on a mixer gives an audio input source, for example an microphone, but it could also be an device playing music.

If you are about to add a real audio mixer to your broadcast, you need a bit of technical knowledge to build your system. If you don’t have the knowledge, you could hire a sound engineer to help you with the broadcast.

The official web site for The Almedalen Week have a list with several companies that can help out with broadcasting and audio, take a look here: http://www.almedalsveckan.info/5281

Create a live stream with multiple cameras

If you want to use more than one camera in your live stream, you need to use a different method than described above. There are several ways to do this.

Using multiple phones and tablets

The service Switcher Studio let their users to add multiple sources of video streams into one device running their studio software. In the studio software, users can cut between different video sources, and broadcast an edited stream to the viewers.

Below is a video that shows the fundamental functions of Switcher Studio.

You can read more about Switcher Studio at their web page: http://switcherstudio.com/en/

Embedding live streams on your web page

You can embed a live stream on a different page than the live stream service offers. Almost all of the live streaming services have guides for embedding code on external web pages.

Bambuser – http://bambuser.com/api/embed_htmlplayer

YouTube – https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/171780?hl=en

Livestream.com – http://original.livestream.com/userguide/index.php?title=Main_Page&title=Embed_your_player