The lesson we learned during the pandemic is that fans are hungry and fans are everywhere, but we couldn’t hear them. More importantly, we wanted to hear them. Even when they couldn’t make it to the show they were hungry for live content. But live isn’t the same without feedback from the audience. So we found a solution that made sense. We wanted to keep in simple after trying dozens of other methods for our live version of CoolToys.TV
Fan2Stage brings real feedback from real fans to any size studio or live show. Have 50 fans in the audience and want to hear from 1000 more? Fan2Stage can make that happen. Fans can be anywhere they have internet access as long as you have a truly livestream show. We did find a few of the streams are monitored or delayed like Facebook live so while Garth and Trisha did a great job with their live shows there, we don’t recommend it for Fan2Stage.
We can bring the audience to you in realtime, you will need a live stream that brings you to the audience in real time. We are currently working with vendors to cut the latency delay of their livestreams. Some are recording them, others are monitoring them so there is a built in delay that can be up to 3 minutes. We don’t recommend Facebook live or YouTube Live unless you have the pro version on YouTube and even then performance at the time of writing is not as good as most performers would like. For now the best is a simple webcam. If you want to learn about different ways to set up your studio, check out this article.
Fan2Stage brings real fans to your shows virtually. There is nothing like the live feedback from live fans when you are on stage. We know because the founders of Fan2Stage have all worked in front of live audiences, on stage and in studio. There is no greater thrill than hearing back from your fans. Get Fan2Stage today.
If you are looking for new fans, remember, fans are everywhere ® and when they get the Fan2Stage app they can find new artists and shows like yours to follow and join the audience. Fan2Stage is about keeping us connected no matter where we are in the world. Doesn’t it make sense to connect to fans everywhere from anywhere? Don’t forget your swag too. There are versions of Fan2Stage for venues and performers of all kinds of show sizes.
If you are ready to hear from more of your fans, then it is time to start using Fan2Stage.
This test of OBS and Stream Deck is one of the series in which we test different live stream configurations. We test how well they work with Fan2Stage and the OnStage system for Live Streaming. If you want to start a live stream or live podcast check out all of our tests so you can decide which works for you. Most of our tests are done with YouTube Live Streaming at Ultra Low Latency unless otherwise noted in the show notes.
Test Rack – Macbook Air M1, 50″ HDTV screen, OBS, OBSbot Camera and Stream Deck with Thunderbolt Port Expander and external speakers.
Limitations – The primary limitation is the ports. The MacBook Air only has two USB-C ports so you need to have a port expander. The OBSbot camera has a USB-A cord but didn’t like sharing the USB port with other devices. We had to dedicate one USB port for the camera.
The Stream deck, Keyboard, Mouse and 50″ screen were all plugged into a Thunderbolt Port Expander. The Stream Deck lets you quickly insert graphics, change cameras and do all kinds of quick tricks when you are running your own show. We all want a team but they get expensive quick. The stream deck from elgato makes it a lot easier.
One key to success with the Stream Deck is that you need some pre-show time to set up all of the buttons. I have tried just doing “scene 1”, “PIP 1” and then use a script to know when to press the buttons. It is much easier to label a button “skateboard” for the skateboard insert.
With OBS the media doesn’t always autosize the way you want it to. You may need to size all of your extra media in advance as well. For instance in the season finale for CoolToys® TV season 4, we had some 4K video from NAMM. We needed to scale it to 1080p to fit the window, otherwise we had some very odd close up’s.
The Bottom Line
Overall OBS and Stream Deck is a great starter set up on a budget. It won’t keep up with dedicated hardware integrated systems like Black Magic, but it is only one tenth the cost. OBS is essentially free and the Stream Deck is under $150 for the small one. Most live streamers will do fine with just the small OBS unit. Having the big screen to run OBS and the small screen on the Mac as the screen for the “OnStage” web application worked great. I think a second screen is almost required to make this work right.
By using the external speakers the crowd input from the Fan2Stage Virtual Audience System was loud enough to be picked up by our microphones so the fans can hear it. There isn’t a way to loop the audio directly back into OBS that we could find. It might be possible to create and audio capture out of the browser window, but you might end up with a double pickup. Also you would have no control over the volume. A second microphone and a mixer could be a cool addition but we haven’t tested that yet.
Fan2Stage is a member of NAMM. Even though we started out trying to find a solution for comedians and talk shows, music is a big part of our lives. Music connects us across generations and magically erases our differences. The NAMM show is a place for everyone and anyone who loves music and we are proud to be part of the organization.
CoolToys TV® host Scott will be walking NAMM with Fan2Stage Pins and Stickers, find him and get free stuff. There will be a full update here after the show and maybe even a live spot on CoolToys TV.
While Cruising NAMM we found a lot of very CoolToys for podcasters and live streamers. One essential item was these LED Signs from American Recorder. Every podcaster and live streamer has someone that interrupts them and now you can turn on your cool sign and hopefully they can read or at least get a clue. These signs are low voltage LED and easy to install.
Beginning 1/25/24 reports have been coming in that users are getting a crash exception screen with logging in to the Fan side of the F2S.Live website. This is not affecting our servers or our events, and is currently unknown. We are working on it and as soon as we think it is fixed we will post more information here. Until then please download the app to your mobile device and use the mobile device version to let them know you are watching the show.
This error appears to only occur when using social media to log in online. If you log in with your registered email address, the error does not occur that we are aware of. The fan app is intended to be used on mobile devices for ease of use.
2/22/24 Update – We have updated the servers and this issue should be resolved.
This is a known bug because automatic time zone capture is not working at this time. This error normally happens when using social media to log in however the fix should be the same in all cases. Simply click on the humanoid icon bottom right, select “Edit Profile” on the next screen and enter your current time zone.
It is a two step process to allow you to set up your systems once the graph is on screen. Some performers may have the ability to display on larger screens or do picture in picture. This allows them to set everything on screen ready to go before making the show live. When you select start event, you are telling the system you are about to go live, We plan to make an option where you can put up a timer or other card on the screen as you get your set up ready to start the show.
At the end of January one of the biggest shows for the business side of the business is happening. Just across the street from Disneyland at the Anaheim convention center will be the NAMM show. We will be there, will you?
While we built Fan2Stage to work with just about any type of live streaming or podcasting setup, we’ve learned that some like Twitch have big delays that just don’t really work if you want a truly live response from your audience. We are going to NAMM to see if there is any new gear there and connect with the companies that make the gear we use in the Fan2Stage and CoolToys TV Studios.
While building the Fan2Stage system and the F2s.Live servers we want to be able to run the entire process on mobile devices, and the good news is you can. As with all things in the entertainment business there can also be a better way. Currently we use several systems in our studios because we are always testing. The minimum system for the OnStage performer we recommend is a good Android Tablet or iPad. From there, OBS, Black Magic, Roku, Stream Deck and Canon Cameras are all over our studios.
It’s about the Show
Everything we do at Fan2Stage is focused on making the show better. Just because fans have to stay home or you want to host a live show from the beach in Bali, it doesn’t mean you can’t connect. The whole idea of Fan2Stage is to keep the fans and performers connected. Without the human connection, what is the point. Aren’t you just talking to a camera? When the fans are more engaged you are more engaged.
Fan2Stage, a simple solution so that there is A Live Audience for Any Stage.
When we started trying to solve the problem of bringing a live audience to live streaming, we realized there is more. What we were really doing was building a pathway of Live Fans For Every Stage.
Performers need live fans
One of the great truths of human performance is that it is elevated by fan energy. It doesn’t matter if you are a comedian, musician or athlete. The roar of the crowd as Foreigner called it in their hit “Juke Box Hero” is something every performer dreams of. Now they can have it on every stage.
Late night talk show host Steven Colbert lamented how he “missed the laughter of the fans” during is lockdown at home shows. The interesting part is that the fans missed the laughter too. Laughing alone at home and not hearing others laugh isn’t nearly as fun or therapeutic. We all need a good therapeutic laugh, isn’t that why we watch comedy?
Live Fans Need Each Other
Sitting alone at home cheering on your favorite sports team isn’t as fun as cheering them on with friends. Fan2Stage lets you see and hear the reactions of other fans no matter where they are or where the game is. Just like live fans can elevate the performance of the show or the game, live fans also elevate each other.
With Fan2Stage you can watch an event on a train and cheer quietly without disturbing others or you can host a game party and everyone can cheer on the team.
Going To NAMM?
If you are going to be at NAMM this year, our founder will be wandering the aisles once again. For the first time he won’t be there working for another company. If you see him wearing a Fan2Stage Jacket, stop him and say hello. He’ll have free Fan2Stage Stickers to hand out and maybe some other goodies. NAMM runs Jan 25-28th 2024.
For the past 24 months we have been working hard on the latest version of Fan2Stage, Fan2Stage 2.0
What Does This Mean To You?
Fan2Stage 2.0 is a complete revamp of the main website and the user apps. As of now we only have an app for fans, LiveFan and it will be available on the app stores shortly. For everyone, logging into Fan2Stage.com will be the same.
Our new servers are faster which reduces latency delay for your shows. Less delay keeps the show more real and most importantly more live. One of the biggest challenges we had with our former servers was that the delay was up to 4 seconds, added to the delay of video streaming services and for comics and other non musical performers it was honestly buzzkill.
CMAF Was Step 1
As we noted last year, the introduction of CMAF was a huge step in live stream video. Since everyone agreed on a single streaming video solution, the delay times of streaming services dropped from a high of 90 seconds (Facebook) to almost zero on many services.
Last year we tested the speed of video services to see which service worked best for our artists and performers. We will be revisiting those tests in the coming weeks and creating a new list so you know how to keep your show truly live.
Account Transfer and Server Move.
Over the New Years Holiday weekend we are migrating to the new servers and on January 1st 2024 only the Fan2Stage Version 2.0 servers will be available. All existing artist accounts will be migrated over the weekend. New event registration will be unavailable during that time.
While you are waiting for the new live fan mobile app, all of the features of the new versions will be available on the web app starting January 1st 2024. The back end of Fan2Field is now also complete so look for that to launch in the spring just in time for your kids little league games.
We look forward to seeing you at the show with Fan2Stage 2.0.