One of the challenges to any live stream show is the live stream service. The next biggest challenge is the studio setup. Currently we have reached out to all of the major live stream platforms and are working with a major production studio for live streaming.
After a full season of CoolToys.TV live, we learned a lot about how to use Fan2Stage, how to set up a studio and which live stream services were live and which ones where delayed by up to three minutes. We also found that conference systems were distracting and didn’t allow enough fans in.
First Your Studio
Before we talk about live stream services, let’s talk about your studio, home, or even a closet in your apartment that will become your stage. While we are a 100% Apple based company almost all of the gear works the same with a PC, so go with whichever you are more familiar with. You will need a Mac Mini or a PC with a good processor and graphics card to make this work. We recommend at least the minimum to run OBS.
Next you need a camera. Here at our studios, we use Canon XF series ENG cameras. They are simple to use, have an HDMI output and an XF-100 series can be purchased used at a very reasonable price. One thing to keep in mind is that 4K live streaming can slow down the process. We use 1080p currently in our studios.
You can also use a very high quality webcam, or stream from a sports action camera. Those too have live outputs.
While many DSLR cameras shoot great video, they tend to over heat in 30-60 minutes. We fried a couple of good ones before switching to the XF series. If you have the money for something like the Canon R5C which has a built in fan, then go for it.
For starting out a webcam might work just fine but… Webcams are for video chatting mostly. The fisheye lines take a very wide shot so you may have to be uncomfortably close to get the screen you want. There are a few more expensive Pan Tilt Zoom or PTZ cameras with USB ports but we don’t recommend it.
Networking Note: if at all possible, we recommend a wired Cat5e or better connection to your cable modem or router. WiFi works but has had issues with some of our test studios.
The Basic Setups
Phone + Tablet Only:
With the Phone + Tablet only setup, you literally set your phone in front of you and live stream from your phone. The Tablet runs the OnStage app so you can get audience feedback. If you don’t want to use speakers, you can use ear buds to hear the audience, but they won’t hear themselves. You show stays clean this way, and isn’t as much fun for the audience. Add some computer speakers with the headset jack on the tablet and viola, live sound for you and the audience.
Tech Notes: There are very cool auto face tracking mounts for phones if you are able to keep it this simple.
The most basic setup is a single camera with a USB connection to your Mac or PC. While this works well and has about the lowest delay, it is very limiting.
PC or Mac with OBS loaded
High Speed 40MbS or better internet access
Good Speakers or headphones to hear the audience.
Just like the Phone + Tablet setup, if you use headphones, the audience won’t hear themselves cheering.
The Mini Studio
This is how the CoolToys TV studio is set up. We have three Canon XF series cameras that connect to a Black Magic ATEM Mini. This set up requires an on site “producer”. Someone has to choose which camera to play. We also have high quality wireless microphones. This setup also has an HDMI out from the ATEM mini so we can see what the audience sees. It also can be remotely controlled by a laptop or if you have enough power the PC or Mac running the show.
Mac Mini M1 (Or PC meets OBS with a High speed USB port and network port available.)
1 to 4 Canon XF or similar video cameras with HDMI out
Black Magic ATEM mini
Wireless microphones as needed for performers and instruments.
The black magic software can control black magic cameras remotely. We chose Canon for budget and face tracking focus.
If you have a band in the studio we recommend an audio panel with output to the Black Magic ATEM so that you can control the input levels of each performer and instrument.
The Sports Field
Essentially this is a hybrid system that can be set up very easily. One livestream camera, a tablet and a PA system is all that is needed. We had one team that used a very inexpensive security camera for a while. The problem is they couldn’t allow enough fans to see the stream at the same time.
Live stream cameras have almost zero delay making this one of the best systems to use for outdoor events.
Tablet with Audio Connection to PA System
On Field PA system or portable speaker.
Tech Notes: The Live Camera can be a sports webcam or an ENG Camera like the XF-100 connected to a PC running OBS. Multi cam setups with OBS or The Black Magic ATEM series work great too.
The tablet runs the OnStage (Soon the OnField) app with the feedback audio going out to the PA system.
Live Stream Services:
Live Webcams – With most providers there is a .02-.2 second delay, almost un noticeable.
Vimeo Live – Requires Pro Account .5 – 1.0 second delay
YouTube Live – 2.0-12 second delay
YouTube Live Pro with reduced delay set – 1.0-4.0 second delay
Facebook Live – 30-90 second delay
Samsung Studio – 90-300 second delay
Other tests to follow.