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Despite all the technological advances that can be found in shiny new cameras the Canon 6D is still a great camera best 4k camera for live streaming, best microphone for streaming. And just because other cameras have advanced significantly since 2012 this does not automatically make the Canon 6D over the hill, past its sell by date, irrelevant or obsolete.
Video streaming is becoming an increasingly popular hobby, and so for some, occupation. Whether you’re streaming video games or live vlogging in general, a solid camera will be the 2nd star of the show — you being the obvious first. But how do you choose from the countless webcams out there that all promise the best picture quality? Not to worry, as we’re going to show you 5 of the best webcams for streaming on services like Twitch and Mixer below.
Logitech BRIO Amazon
If you’re looking to stream video in 4K, your options are limited, but if it has to be done, the Logitech Brio is the way to go. Logitech commands a hefty pricetag, but since there aren’t many (any) other options on the market available, or at least worthwhile, it can.
In addition to 4K (and HDR) streaming and recording, other features in the Brio include RoomLight3 light adjusting, USB 2.0 and 3.0 support (Types A & C), 5X HD zoom, and adjustable field of view from 65/78/90 degrees.
Razer Kiyo Streaming WebcamAmazon
If you’re not looking to spend a ton of money on multiple pieces of equipment for your stream, you can double up with some of them if you opt for the Razer Kiyo. This webcam can stream and record in 1080p at 30FPS or 720p at 60FPS, which should satisfy most people. It also comes with enhanced low-light capabilities and highly customizable effects, that’s to Razer’s software that you can adjust on your computer.
The Kiyo’s standout feature is the built-in ring light that surrounds the camera. It can even be adjusted by rotating the bezel. It’s Kelvin rating is 5600k, bringing you an even daylight-balanced brightness at all times.
To start, let’s break down what you’ll need to broadcast video. Setting up live streaming is pretty easy once you know the basics. There are four major parts in order to set up your live stream.
Video and Audio Source – This will be the cameras, computers, and any other image source we discuss in the post. Audio will be microphones, mixer feeds and other sounds to be played in your stream.
Video Encoder – This is a valuable piece of equipment we’ll dive into. It sends your video to the internet.
A Streaming Destination – This is the video streaming platform you will choose.
Internet Connection – A stable internet connection is a must when you decide you want to broadcast video.
Your streaming setup workflow comes down to setting up your audio hosting platform and video solution to your encoder, setting up the connections, planning your steam, and establishing a connection between the encoder and the live streaming software solution. Once you’ve connected everything together, you’ll be able to hit record and others will be able to watch your digital content right away.
Now that the basics are covered, let’s dive into each of these major parts in more detail.
Viewers look for high-quality streams, which happen through professional video cameras. It’s time to take your live stream to another level.
The first requirement for professional live broadcasting is a video camera. There are thousands of different live streaming cameras available. Like most types of gear, live streaming video cameras come with trade-offs.
Entry-level video cameras tend to be cheaper and lightweight. Video quality can be good, but only if lighting conditions are ideal. They lack manual controls and include only basic connectivity. These cameras range from $300 to $700.
Example: smartphone cameras, action cameras, entry-level camcorders
Our top pick: Panasonic HC-VX981K, $647.99
Prosumer video cameras are the mid-range option. Image quality improves at this level, making the picture excellent. Connectivity is decent but not professional-grade, with HDMI being a standard option. There may be a few manual controls, but without the ergonomics and customization of a fully pro-level camera. These cameras range from $800 to $3,000.
Example: DSLR and mirrorless cameras, prosumer camcorders, 4k cameras
Our top pick: Sony Alpha a7 III, $1,998
Professional video cameras include pro-connectors like XLR and SDI. They tend to have large, high-resolution sensors that provide excellent image quality, even in poor lighting conditions. Build-quality is higher, with manual controls, making they’re more durable. Some professional cameras will even allow the use of interchangeable lenses. These cameras range from $1,500 to $25,000 +.
Example: professional camcorders, EFT cameras, cinema cameras
Our top pick: Panasonic AG-CX350 4K, $3,695
Having proper microphones during a live stream will take you from beginner to professional.
Various studies have shown that audio quality is even more important to viewers than video streaming quality. If a live streaming video stutters, the user experience may be fine as long as the audio quality remains high. The lesson here is not to skimp on audio.
There are three basic tiers of audio live streaming equipment:
Low—Medium Quality: For example the built-in microphone on entry-level and prosumer cameras.
Medium-High Quality: USB and 3.5mm microphones, or built-in microphones on professional live video cameras.
Professional Quality: XLR microphones.
A basic wired 3.5mm lavalier mic can greatly improve your audio quality over the built-in microphones on entry-level video cameras or phones. Upgrading to a high-end 3.5mm microphone can deliver great quality as well. But if you want to maximize the quality of your audio streaming to the highest level, consider XLR microphones. This is the professional standard for quality and durability, and it’s been that way for decades.
Utilizing mixing equipment allows you to bring together multiple video and audio streams.
Mixing or switching live streaming equipment allows you to capture multiple video or audio sources, and switch between them during a live broadcast. This is optional, but if you’re doing a large multi-camera live streaming shoot, mixing is essential.
Hardware switchers are ideal when you have a lot of camera angles. These devices allow you to press a button and easily switch between cameras. One example of a professional live video switcher is the Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K Live Production Switcher, which costs $2,995. This device allows you to connect up to 4 HDMI cameras and 4 SDI cameras and has an 8-camera SDI version also available. You can then switch between them using software on a connected computer.
When looking for the right piece of video mixing equipment consider the following:
Input and outputs
Automation & connectivity
For a complex shoot, you’ll end up with multiple audio sources. This will require some sort of audio mixing. If you’re using live stream encoding software, you may be able to mix digitally on the computer. A more expandable option, however, is to use a separate audio mixer to capture the audio sources. You can then adjust levels and other qualities individually, and import a clean sound signal into your encoder.
When looking for the right piece of audio mixing equipment consider the following:
The number of input and output channels
Auxiliary and monitor buses and outputs
On/off or mute buttons
Control via a network app
The fourth key piece of live streaming equipment is encoders. Video encoding is compressing video files so they are not saved as individual images but as one fluid video. Engineers developed video encoding which provided a way to compress files without compromising the quality, which is extremely important for businesses.
There are a variety of reasons why you might want to encode a video:
Reduce file size
Reduce buffering for streaming video
Change resolution or aspect ratio
Change audio format or quality
Convert obsolete files to modern formats
Meet a certain target bit rate
Make a video compatible with a certain device (computer, tablet, smartphone, smartTV, legacy devices)
Make a video compatible with certain software or service
There are two main types of encoders: hardware and software.
Hardware encoders are dedicated processors that use a designed algorithm to encode video and data into streamable content. These encoders for live streaming come in smaller, portable boxes or larger permanent fixtures. They can support a wide range of sources, but often HDMI and SDI. They’re usually built to last and can support 24/7 video streaming without crashing, ideal for professional use. There are also some specialty hardware encoders on the market that use battery power and 5G LTE connections to stream live video from remote locations.
Software encoders are programs that run on a computing device, like a laptop or desktop computer. To capture video, they need to be paired with a capture card or other means of connecting your live streaming cameras to your computer. A few popular examples are:
vMix Video Streaming Software
Wirecast Live Production Solutions
OBS Studio Broadcasting Software
VidBlasterX Video Production Software
These software packages also integrate mixing and production tools. These encoders appeal to live streaming startups because of their low cost and customization features. However, software encoders do lack the overall latency speed that hardware encoders offer, which is something to consider when deciding on the right encoder for your live stream.
If you’re using an RTMP encoder for live streaming, you will need an RTMP (real-time messaging protocol) enabled hardware or software. When it comes to RTMP encoding, broadcasters can choose from a wide variety of software and hardware encoders. There are options for every need and budget. vMix, Wirecast, OBS Studio, and VidBlasterX all support RTMP encoding, and the most modern use for RTMP ingest technology is transmitting video content from the encoder to the video hosting platform.
Mobile Live Streaming Equipment
Mobile streaming equipment is essential to leverage your smartphone’s ability to broadcast while on the go from remote locations.
Mobile live streaming requires a different setup than what you’d need for streaming from the studio. While it is possible to live stream with a smartphone alone, especially if it is one with a high-quality camera like one of the new iPhone 13 Pro, there is a bit of equipment that you can invest in to improve the quality of your end result.
Here is the shortlist of the ideal kit and setup for mobile live streaming:
Handheld smartphone gimbal
A multifunctional octopus tripod with ball head
A compact on-camera microphone
Portable lighting gear
In addition to the physical list above, mobile broadcasting you should take advantage of 2 very important digital tools: a mobile streaming app and an RTMP-enabled video hosting and live streaming platform.
For more information on the ideal mobile setup, check out our tutorial on mobile live streaming equipment for broadcasting on the go.
Live Streaming Equipment for Churches and Houses of Worship
As opposed to mobile broadcasting, to stream your church services, you will need to invest in live streaming equipment and tools to make streaming easier and give your recordings a more polished, professional appearance.
While you could simply use someone’s smartphone and stream using a free platform such as Facebook Live or Youtube Live, there are limits to the quality and length of service you can stream with this method. To give your worshippers the feeling that they’re in a church with you, you’ll need to invest in some equipment, including:
Live streaming platform
There are wide ranges in price points and complexity for each of these items, so you could begin your live streaming journey with something less expensive. As you get more experienced and knowledgeable, spend a little more money to upgrade your equipment.
Whether you are a small community congregation or want to expand your reach online, live streaming your church services is a great opportunity to maintain the engagement of your current congregation, and be prepared for unforeseen circumstances that can interrupt in-person worship.
To give your worshippers a high-quality broadcasting experience, check out Dacast’s guide on church live streaming equipment and learn the tips and techniques needed to deliver your congregation the message you want them to hear whenever they are ready for it.
Video Streaming Accessories
Every video streaming setup is different and requires different accessories.
To tie together your production, you’ll need a variety of miscellaneous live streaming equipment. This will include cables, tripods, batteries, and random things like light stands.
These accessories will make your live streaming set up the best it can be for your business. Just as every business is different, the needs for accessories will be different too.
With every live streaming production, a tripod is the most important accessory. You don’t want a shaky video or your camera to fall off its make-shift tripod.
Continue to work on improving your setup by adding things that make your videos better.
Content Delivery Networks
The final critical element in live streaming equipment is a solution for content delivery. You need an effective, professional way to get your content to your audience.
We don’t recommend using consumer video platforms like YouTube. They have major downsides. For example, workplaces and universities often block these platforms and since they’re not white-label, the ability to scale isn’t accessible for all businesses.
The alternative is a professional video streaming platform. A quality OVP provides tools for video security, monetization, and customization. All this occurs in a white-label platform that can be customized for your branding, and embedded on your website.
An OVP uses a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to deliver content via the internet. This content can come in the form of text, images, video, and much more.
A content delivery network (CDN) is made up of a network of servers located in various locations around the world. This network exists to “cache” content. Using a CDN helps your business use a widely distributed network of live streaming servers for your content. When a viewer requests content from a CDN, they are routed to the closest server. This happens through the use of a viewer’s IP address. Distance between the server and the users adds potential video latency (lag time) to the internet connection.
By connecting to servers around the globe, live streaming CDNs are able to create the shortest route for video streams. Additionally, when a business uses a multi-CDN solution, it lets scalability become possible should viewership increase.
Here are some other benefits to using a CDN provider:
Speed – Content delivery networks deliver content at low latency. While a local network is lagging, a CDN is in the passing lane, bypassing the local network and speeding to get to the viewer on time.
Quality – High-quality video, with minimal lag time. Exactly what the viewer ones.
Flexible Pricing – These factors typically include the amount of bandwidth you need, required features, and the region where you will be streaming to.
Security – Businesses are full of confidential information. CDNs provide an extra layer of security because of that. Using a CDN will prevent security attacks that occur when a site or resource is flooded by attempts to breach it.
Putting it all Together
Plug in each piece of equipment, turn on the camera and you’re nearly ready to hit record.
Now that you know what live streaming equipment is needed for an ideal streaming setup, it’s time to piece everything together. During your buying process, ensure that each piece of individual equipment will work together. This should be able to be found on the feature page of each product.
Once you have ordered each piece of live streaming equipment, it’s time to actually put it all together. Create your ideal setup and place everything where you want it to go when you plan to hit “record.” Here are some things to consider before you begin live streaming:
Practice – Write a script and practice it. Practice recording videos to ensure that everything goes right when you stream to your audience for the right time.
Focus – Choose something to focus on for your video. Don’t just go live without knowing what you want to talk about. To keep viewers entertained, have a crystal clear focus.
Audience – Know who you’re recording your video for. Every streaming audience is different. The type of video content you create for customers will be different compared to the content you create for employees.
The equipment that you use for a live stream is extremely important. Without the right audio and video, viewers will not stick around.
For many, 90 seconds is the most a viewer will tolerate a spotty stream. That means you only have one and a half minutes to capture a viewer. That’s how crucial audio and video are.
Now that you read this article, you know what it takes. We went over what are the best cameras, microphones, encoders, mixing equipment, and CDNs you need to set up a killer live streaming set up. Consider each piece of equipment carefully and scale when appropriate.
If you’re not already using Dacast for your live streaming and video hosting needs, you can sign up today for our 30-day free trial. No credit card information is required! This will provide you with one month of our services to see if Dacast solves your content needs.