Entertainment

A Guitarist’s Guide to Live Streaming

A Guitarist’s Guide to Live Streaming

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By Doug Young

Live streaming—performing dwell by way of video over the web—has been rising in recognition for some time, however is surging with the present world well being disaster. With musicians locked down at dwelling together with everybody else, streaming is changing misplaced gigs, offering leisure, and permitting musicians to attach musically with others.

For viewers, streaming provides a number of the identical enchantment as dwell performances. Unlike movies posted to YouTube, which can be fastidiously edited and produced, streamed video is proven because it occurs. Although the result’s usually much less polished, there’s an plain attraction to seeing folks like Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, Steve Martin, and Mary Chapin Carpenter performing casually from their houses, usually utilizing nothing greater than their telephones.

The excellent news is that anybody can stream over the web, on equal footing with the larger title stars. If you’d like to leap in and begin streaming, this text will get you began. We’ll speak about the place to stream, the gear you want, and likewise get some suggestions from musicians who’ve been doing it.

Here’s a information with hyperlinks to the sections on this article:

Where the Streams Are

Where to put up your stream is dependent upon your targets in addition to your potential viewers. Facebook is likely one of the hottest choices, together with Instagram, Twitter, and different social media platforms. Although folks can watch the video dwell as you carry out, the ultimate consequence normally lives on as a video put up that folks can proceed to look at, share, and touch upon. YouTube additionally provides a dwell streaming possibility and there are dozens of different websites devoted to streaming, together with Vimeo and Twitch. There are even providers, like Restream or StreamYard, that let you concurrently stream to a number of locations directly. StageIt is one other standard platform that provides a ticketing system to let you simply cost in your performances. In a unique class, there are web-conferencing applications like Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, and even Facebook Messenger that assist real-time video streaming and interplay with a particular set of individuals.

The best option is dependent upon your targets and probably how related you might be on these platforms. For instance, in case you have a whole lot of Facebook pals, they are going to usually be notified as quickly as you begin a dwell stream, prompting them to affix you, and your video will seem in your feed. Facebook additionally provides teams—communities of people that share a standard curiosity—which you can stream to. For instance, Tommy Loose and Jon Hart, the creators of an 18,000-member Facebook group named “Fingerstyle Hub,” just lately organized an internet dwell music competition for his or her group. The occasion, which is predicted to repeat periodically, was marketed on the group web page. Individual performers streamed quick 15-minute dwell units at pre-scheduled occasions, making a sequence of dwell exhibits. Each musician introduced the subsequent act, who would then begin their stream. Jon Hart explains that the method helps “keep the momentum between performers” and retains listeners engaged.

YouTube create menu

YouTube is a considerably completely different surroundings. Unless you’ve got a YouTube channel with a whole lot of followers, persons are unlikely to only stumble in your dwell stream. As a consequence, YouTube in all probability works greatest if you wish to schedule an occasion for a particular time and market it your self. For instance, Grammy-award-winning guitarist Al Petteway just lately streamed a live performance along with the Keep Music Alive undertaking and Dream Guitars, each of Asheville, North Carolina, utilizing YouTube. Petteway and Dream Guitars promoted the occasion by way of Facebook and their very own e-mail lists, and used Eventbrite to handle attendance, offering the YouTube url to registrants.

YouTube streaming setup

Streaming isn’t nearly dwell efficiency. For instance, guitarist and creator Mark Hanson, who is very regarded for his in-person workshops, turned to Zoom as a strategy to proceed educating by means of the present restrictions. Zoom is extensively utilized in enterprise settings for video conferencing, and permits anybody to arrange a video assembly of usually as much as 100 members. Hanson advertises his workshops to potential college students by way of his mailing listing and web site, in addition to on Acoustic Guitar’s Livestream Events Calendar, and sells advance tickets utilizing Eventbrite.

Gear: What Do You Need?

Regardless of the place you select to share your dwell efficiency, the gear you have to is comparable. The easiest strategy to begin streaming is to make use of a smartphone or pill. Most comparatively current smartphones can produce spectacular video, and you’ll stream proper out of your system. Starting a streaming broadcast could be so simple as clicking a button within the corresponding app. Facebook, for instance, has a “Live” button proper under the standing replace part on the high of your feed. Similarly, You Tube’s Create button provides you a selection of importing a video or beginning a dwell stream. You can actually be streaming in seconds in case you have these apps in your cellphone or pill.

Facebook cellphone display shot

Another straightforward possibility is to make use of a pc geared up with a webcam. The course of is sort of related. Just discover the button to go dwell on the specified web site, and also you’ll be broadcasting in seconds.

Audio high quality could be a problem with each telephones and webcams. The built-in microphones are greater than sufficient for voice conversations or informal recording, and might even do a reputable job for music when positioned proper. However, you’ll in all probability find yourself with the digital camera far away with a view to body your self and your instrument within the image, which might result in a skinny, distant sound. Stevie Coyle, guitarist and proprietor of Mighty Fine Guitars, has been streaming exhibits from his retailer for years and recommends utilizing an exterior microphone, which he says “really cleans up the sound.” Most streaming platforms let you select a separate supply for the video and audio. Coyle makes use of a Blue Yeti USB mic, in addition to the Blue Raspberry, which helps a Lightning connector for iOS gadgets in addition to USB.

If you might be adventurous and need to attempt to produce a higher-quality stream, you’ve got many different choices, though issues can get sophisticated shortly. You can use audio from an audio interface, such because the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 ($159), on a pc with the intention to use larger high quality microphones. There are additionally audio interfaces that can be utilized with cellular gadgets, just like the Focusrite iTrack Solo ($129.99), IK Multimedia iRig Stream ($99), and Apogee Duet ($649). On the video facet, there are methods to make use of higher-quality cameras. Al Petteway plans to make use of a Magewell USB Capture HDMI field ($299) to attach a extra professional-quality digital camera for future exhibits. Keep in thoughts that web bandwidth and limitations of the streaming platform you utilize could not let you totally notice the advantages of higher-quality gear.


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Apogee Duet USB audio interface

Another superior possibility is to make use of software program on a pc that collects all of your audio and video sources and connects to the streaming platform. For his live performance, Petteway used OBS (Open Broadcaster Software), a free software program bundle that allows you to management and change between a number of cameras and audio inputs and stream to your vacation spot. Using OBS requires a extra advanced setup. For instance, on Facebook, as a substitute of choosing your webcam, you generate a “Stream Key” and a URL, which you should enter into OBS.

Facebook streaming key setup

Al Petteway’s dwell stream setup, which makes use of OBS to handle video from a webcam and audio from a mixer. Stereo microphones on his guitar by means of an SSL 2 audio interface, and a shotgun mic for his vocal. Streamed to YouTube at 720p HD video. Photo credit score: Greg Sipes

Tips and Techniques

Regardless of the gear you utilize, listed here are a number of suggestions for making your present go easily:

  • Prepare your “stage”and surroundings. Consider your environment and background—you hope
    watchers are listening to you and your music, and possibly don’t need
    them to be distracted by litter behind you. Joe Carpenter, a Nashville-based
    guitarist who just lately streamed for the primary time as a part of an internet open
    mic, reminds us to “mute your phone’s ringer and vibrate functions.”
  • Set up your lighting. Good
    lighting can’t solely make you look your greatest, it will probably have an effect on the standard of
    your stream. Phone cameras usually work greatest in stronger mild, and reveal
    their weaknesses in decrease mild. Webcams usually do an excellent job of adjusting to
    various lighting circumstances, however could scale back the body charge in decrease mild,
    producing blurry movement, and even dropped frames. Following the identical fundamental
    tips for lighting as you’ll for {a photograph} or video shoot will
    produce higher outcomes—there are lots of tutorials on lighting available
    on the web. Stevie Coyle advises to “get some backlight on you, should you
    can. Lots of people mild from the entrance, however a backlight units you off from
    the background.”
  • Frame your self within the image. Make positive you place your digital camera so that you look your
    greatest, utilizing an attachment to position the digital camera on a stand, if doable. The
    all-too-common method of laying your cellphone on the desk in entrance of you
    produces an unlucky up-your-nose look. Stevie Coyle feedback that
    “exactly no person appears good like that! Getting a pleasant flat angle will set you
    aside.”
  • Use the again digital camera on a cellphone. Many telephones now have front and back “selfie” cameras.
    The back-facing one is nearly all the time a higher-quality digital camera. In addition, the
    selfie digital camera usually flips the picture, in order that if you’re a right-handed
    guitarist, for instance, you’ll seem left-handed. Some telephones have a strategy to
    change that, however the best strategy to repair the issue is to make use of the again digital camera.
    In addition, think about using panorama mode in your stream. Not solely will it
    look extra like an expert video, however it’s simpler to suit a guitar into the
    body with out being too distant.
  • Turn off voice processing. Many webcams in addition to varied software program applications, such
    as Skype or Zoom embody compression and different computerized audio changes by
    default. These work nice for voice conversations, maintaining ranges even and
    bettering speech readability. But they wreak havoc on guitars or music on the whole.
    Check for settings, generally hidden behind “Advanced” choices, and switch these
    computerized options off.
  • Do a sound examine.
    Test your setup earlier than beginning your stream, simply as you’ll for a dwell present.
    While you are able to do some testing offline or can normally preview your video earlier than
    going dwell, it’s doable on some platforms to create an precise take a look at stream
    that’s seen solely to you. For these streaming on Facebook, Jon Hart suggests
    creating a personal group—it’s as straightforward as clicking on a button to create a brand new
    group and never inviting anybody else to affix. Then you possibly can stream to that group,
    and watch the video afterwards to see how you’ll look and sound. On YouTube,
    you possibly can create a personal stream that solely you possibly can see.
  • Enlist a helper. Although
    you possibly can definitely stream a present by your self, it’s additionally useful to have an
    assistant. On many platforms, watchers can remark, make requests, or ask
    questions in actual time, so having another person monitoring the feed could be
    useful. For his present, Petteway says, “we determined we wanted one other pc
    that may not be related to something we had been doing—not signed on to YouTube,
    and so, to see what another person would see. Because you don’t know for positive!” Be
    conscious that the stream proven on one other system could also be barely delayed, so it’s
    unlikely that you’d need to watch it your self throughout your efficiency.
  • Check your web connection. Streaming requires a whole lot of bandwidth and a dependable
    web connection. Streaming a 720p HD video requires not less than 5 megabits
    per second add pace—notice that you just’re sending video, so it’s the add pace that’s necessary! You can
    examine your web pace with quite a lot of on-line pace exams. Just google
    “speedtest” to search out some providers. Even in case your web service is quick, streaming
    over wi-fi could also be slower and fewer dependable, and utilizing mobile service on a
    cellphone could also be much more problematic.
  • Get the phrase out. You
    can create a stream at any time, and folks could uncover it, however you’ll
    in all probability attain extra folks with a little bit of planning and publicity. Most platforms
    let you create a scheduled occasion upfront, usually with the power to
    ship invites. If you’ve got a mailing listing, ship out a e-newsletter to let
    folks know when your present is scheduled. You can even leverage communities such
    as Facebook teams dedicated to music, however normally, you’re going to get extra viewers
    in case you have been energetic within the group beforehand, collaborating in
    conversations, commenting on different’s movies and so forth, reasonably than displaying up
    as a complete newcomer.
  • Consider a daily schedule. Some performers are treating streaming like recurring gigs. Laurence Juber has been doing a 15-minute mini-concert he’s titled “Tea Time with LJ” day-after-day at 1:30 Pacific time. Stevie Coyle has been streaming from his retailer each Friday afternoon for years. Facebook permits you to schedule repeating occasions, which permits potential watchers to enroll to be reminded of occasions.
  • Save your stream. On some platforms, like StageIt, as soon as the present is over, it’s gone. But on others, resembling Facebook or YouTube, the video stays simply as should you had posted a pre-recorded video, so individuals who could have missed the present can watch later. Even a video that attracts a small dwell viewers could attain many extra folks over time.
  • Engage along with your viewers. The distinction between a dwell stream and easily posting
    a pre-recorded video is that your viewers is there watching as you carry out, so
    it’s helpful to attempt to use that to your benefit. You can’t see the viewers,
    however you possibly can attempt to have interaction with them. Check the feedback feed, acknowledge
    folks, take into account taking requests, and so forth.
  • Keep viewer counts in perspective. Everyone is streaming and there’s a lot of
    competitors, so don’t be disenchanted in case your stream isn’t a viral sensation.
    As Tommy Loose observes, “We’re all type of numbers obsessed, however even when the
    numbers aren’t tens of millions of views, we’re bringing folks collectively.”
  • Adjust your efficiency mindset. For these used to performing dwell, performing by means of a
    digital camera to an unknown viewers generally is a completely different expertise. Hanson observes, “A
    performer places out a whole lot of vitality from the stage, and feeds off the viewers’s
    response. That’s extra problematic on-line.” At the identical time, it helps to
    acknowledge that the intimate and comparatively low price range aesthetic of a dwell
    stream has an enchantment to many watchers. Hart explains that “it’s not like being
    up on a stage. It’s fairly uncooked, and also you don’t get to see that a lot lately.”
    At the identical time, you might be giving a efficiency, so it helps to place your self in
    the mindset that you’re on stage. Recalling his first streaming expertise,
    Joe Carpenter noticed that “each performer within the group I used to be in began off
    their set with a clean five-to-ten-second stare on the lens and asking: “Am I
    on? Can you hear me? Let me know should you can hear me?” Every. Single. Performer.
    Don’t be that particular person!”

Income Opportunities

For many musicians, streaming is a strategy to join with others, share their music, and particularly in these difficult occasions, assist make folks really feel just a little higher. But with the coronavirus quickly ending all dwell efficiency alternatives, many working musicians want to exchange revenue from misplaced gigs. While dwell streaming generally is a promotional software, and maybe assist promote CDs, that solely goes up to now. Here are a number of approaches to generate revenue from streaming:

  • Ticketed platforms. A couple of platforms, most notably StageIt, straight assist ticket gross sales in addition to offering a digital tip jar for performers.
  • Sell advance tickets your self. If you stream your present to a personal location, you possibly can presell tickets after which inform your purchasers discover your scheduled stream. Mark Hanson makes use of Eventbrite for ticket gross sales to his workshops, however you would settle for cost by any mechanism (PayPal, for instance). This method works effectively with YouTube, the place you possibly can create an unlisted stream that’s seen solely to those that have the URL, or platforms like Zoom the place viewers should have an invite to affix.
  • Accept suggestions or donations throughout the present. Some performers show PayPal or Venmo addresses throughout their efficiency or in notes that accompany the stream, asking for donations. One good thing about this method is that folks could proceed to ship cash in the event that they watch the video later—another excuse to maintain the ensuing video out there after the dwell stream has ended.

Gently Down the Stream

Whether you need to stream for enjoyable or for revenue, it may be surprisingly straightforward to begin streaming your music and sharing it with the world. In this aggravating time, it’s a good way to attach with different musicians, attain your viewers, and brighten the day of people who find themselves unable to attend the sorts of dwell occasions they’ve loved.

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