Live streaming is on the rise as restrictions on in-person social gatherings increase due to COVID-19. While in-person events are on pause right now, there is a massive uptick in internet usage these days. Many are turning towards virtual events and having to learn new audio-visual skills. According to StreamElements, along with its analytics partner, as of March 18th, that the use of the platform Twitch (originally popular for just streaming gaming) is up by a full 10% and live stream viewership (in terms of minutes watched) has grown more than 66% in Italy.

Setting up a successful live stream involves not only knowing which platforms to use but also having the correct equipment to execute properly. The idea of moving to virtual events may seem daunting but we are here to help! As part of our Spring Back Series, we are providing guidance on how to manage the bounce-back of your event despite challenges presented by the Coronavirus.

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Proper Equipment for a Live Stream

It is possible to host with just the built-in mic and webcam on your computer. However, investing in some gear can make a huge improvement in the quality of the stream. Simply purchasing an external webcam and microphone, even if it’s not the most expensive, can up your game tenfold. Even just plugging in headphones with a microphone can enhance the sound quality.

Also, be mindful of the background when setting up to go live. You do not have to purchase a green screen or a crazy amount of decor but be sure to at least make your bed. If possible, a blank wall is best if you do not have an aesthetically pleasing background. Feel free to show your personality! This is an opportunity to connect with your audience on a more personal level. Since you are inviting them into your home or office, this is a chance to show more of who you are. A few personal touches are a great way to break the ice and allow everyone to feel more connected.

Audience Involvement

If you are hosting a webinar or online conference, determining ways to get your audience involved can be tricky. Fortunately, many of the streaming or video conferencing platforms have tools that can allow you to easily interact and encourage participation. The key is to remember to include as many people as possible. It can be very easy to just sit down and talk for an hour without ever addressing the crowd. However, it is extra critical when virtual to make them feel apart of the event in order to maintain their attention. Simply asking them to “raise their hand”, encouraging them to answer questions in the chat, and bringing someone on the screen with you to share the “stage” are a few ways you can get viewers involved.

These may be distressing times in terms of live, in-person events but the one positive coming out of all of this is the innovation we are seeing. Event organizers are getting more creative as they turn to the internet to connect with their audience. With a little bit of equipment and audience participation, any virtual event can successfully utilize live stream effectively.