Want to create videos that generate massive views and subscribers? Aspiring to become the next Internet sensation? Want to monetize revenue from online advertising but unable to generate sufficient clicks? If you have said yes to any of these questions, rest assured that you are not alone. Producing great quality videos is an often overlooked criterion to garner more online traffic. Videos of remarkable quality boast good lighting and sound for online streaming, which leads us to the next question.
How to get good lighting and sound for streaming? It all boils down to having a live streaming studio with good natural lighting, creating good indoor lighting, identifying the best lights top YouTubers use, choosing the right camera for your live streaming studio and ascertaining the best audio equipment for your budget and streaming needs.
Read on to discover 5 tips on how to get perfect lighting and good audio for your YouTube video, Facebook webinar, podcast or other digital media platforms you wish to ace.
Optimize Your Space For Streaming
The space where you choose to stream will set the tone and delivery of either an awesome or appalling video. The perfect space is where you go live on each time you stream, giving your audience continuity and consistent branding in the crowded Internet ecosphere. The dedicated studio space need not be spacious. Simply transform a desk in a spare room into a news anchor desk, or lay out a zesty-colored mat in your living room as an interview space. You don’t have to break your bank account to set up a perfect studio set. Decide on the theme and personality you wish to conjure, and accessorize where need be. With 69.3 million subscribers, check out how top YouTuber PewDiePie converts a room within his house for shoot-and-audio work. You can also learn how renowned make-up influencer xThuyLe converts her tiny bedroom into her studio set.
Lights, Lights And All About Lights
Does good natural light infiltrate through you live streaming studio? Or are you shooting at a windowless basement?
Just like photography, do not be misled by the first question. Good lights that you can CONTROL are not only pertinent, but it will also make you look impeccable. Good lights are a prerequisite for high quality videos, even if you shooting on a budget. While working with natural light and the outdoors may seem like an ideal choice, the drawback is there is little that you can control as you are subject to the wimps of Mother Nature. In addition, even if your live streaming studio has lots of natural day light, you will need to enhance the lighting with some lighting gear. As such, the best shooting environment is one where you have control over every aspect, an especially its lighting.
To obtain the perfect lighting for video, set up 3 point lighting. The 3 point lighting is the most commonly used set up comprising of a key light, a fill light and a back light.
Of the three types of light, the key light should be the brightest and provides the bulk of light to your subject.
The fill light removes shadows caused by the key light. Ensure that your fill light is less intense than your key light, so while it still eliminates shadows, it does not make your shot look glaring due to the fill and key lights matching too closely.
The backlight creates a distinct separation of your subject from the background, thus creating depth and prevents flat-looking shots. Hard lights with no diffusion can be used as backlights, as it will not create visible shadows on the subject’s face.
The 3 point lighting system will serve you well in webinars, interview setups, promo videos and will help you avoid these common lighting issues.
These other tips below will set you up to look fantastic on video:-
- Adjust lighting based on indoor and outdoor environments
- Start by lighting up your room, then change the webcam or camera settings
- Ensure your camera lens is free of dust and always wiped clean
- Adjust these camera settings for optimum video quality
- Color intensity
- White balance
Choosing The Right Camera
With a plethora of cameras to choose from, scroll down below to find out the various types of cameras available based on your budget, and how to choose the right camera to achieve perfect lighting for your video.
For most first-time streamers, webcams are often the preferred choice as webcams are affordable and fuss-free to use. Perfect for live video chatting, video game streaming, webinars or any type of live stream that does not require you to move about, do make sure to get an external webcam and not rely on built-in cameras on your laptop mostly used for Skype purposes. A good external webcam needs to have a minimum resolution of 720p. You can connect the webcam directly to your computer, so you will not need a separate encoder to convert your video input into a digital format that is friendly on mobile devices or web players. On a contrary, with live streaming, you will need a video encoder to encode your live video up on the web to deliver streamable content.
One of the top video encoders is the Blackmagic Design Web Presenter. Compatible with almost all live streaming platforms including YouTube, Facebook and Twitch, this video encoder comes with HDMI and SDI video sources. As such, you can immediately stream your video content by plugging it into the Black Magic Web Presenter and your computer, to broadcast good quality live streams.
While webcams are the most basic and oldest form of live streaming, it does come with its own set of limitations. Webcams does not have its own IP address or internet connection and cannot work without a computer. While it rates high on convenience, its image and voice quality is mediocre. Nevertheless, you can bolster the voice and sound quality and enhance them with the use of an external microphone. In addition, webcams do not have the zoom-focus function, variable focus or image customization ability, leading us to our next recommendation.
DSLR or Mirrorless Cameras
Excellent video quality, superior photo resolution, and splendid low-light performance are just some of the perks of using DSLRs. If you wish to slash the bulk, go light and yet attain the DSLR-like imaging capabilities in a more compact package, then mirrorless cameras are the way to go. Bear in mind that when using a DSLR or mirrorless camera for live streaming, do ensure that your particular model allows longer recordings, and that it can deliver a clean HDMI output without displaying the view finder status and icons. Just like webcams, you will need to connect it to a video encoder to convert the video to HDMI output for online streaming platforms.
Looking to up your ante against the first 2 options above? Then consider a camcorder. Camcorders pack a punch as they are generally less expensive. Many models provide the option to shoot and record in high definition, making it a great option for multi-level camera live streaming. In addition, camcorders are easy to set up and ergonomically designed for comfortable hand held shooting. Another added benefit of shooting with camcorders is that most of them deliver 4 K resolutions, thus you can be assured of good video quality.
On the other hand, additional paraphernalia is required as camcorders must be used with switches and encoders as conversion to SDI may be required. Camcorders tend to have shorter cable lengths compared to SDIs, and the cables can get easily disconnected. Some camcorders come with built-in copy protection, and this may prevent signal transfer in several HDMI connections.
Action cameras top the charts for delivering the best and truly immersive videos for streaming. Do not be fooled by its diminutive size as action cameras are capable of capturing some the highest quality footage. As such, action cameras remain a staple choice by industry professionals, adventures and athletes for live streaming purposes.
Action cameras are normally equipped with a wide-angle lens that offers excellent first-person views, making it ideal for informal live streams. With a stock pile of action cameras in the market, choosing the right model depends on what you would like to use the action camera for. If you are an extreme sports enthusiast who wants to record your sky diving attempt, a bike ride or ski run, then features like loop-record and hands-free activation will be handy. For kayaking, white water rafting or other action scenes which puts the camera at risk of getting wet, consider a 30 meters waterproof action camera out-of-the-box.
One key feature to look out for when shopping for action cameras is the frames per second (FPS). The more frames per second, the smoother the results will be. On the contrary, the more FPS you stream with, the more resources you would be using. If you are working with a less powerful computer, streaming with 30 FPS will be a safer bet as oppose to streaming with 60 FPS, as more resources will be consumed with the latter.
Identify The Best Audio Equipment For Your Budget And Streaming Needs
Audio is king on video, and even if you have the most fantastic content, bad audio will ruin your hard work. So consider investing in good audio equipment that will make your live video look like a pro.
Short cuts and hacks may rank high on convenience. But in-built microphones are not recommended audio solutions for video. Recoding vides with the in-built microphone on your phone, tablet, GoPRo or DSLR may be quick and easy, but you will not be able to eliminate the background noise. For crisp clear, professional quality audio, recording needs to be done with a proper, external microphone. There are 2 better options for consideration namely the USB mic and the XLR mic.
A USB mic gives you effortless usage as it is plug-and-play. Simply plug the mic to your computer, download a driver, set the volume and it is ready for use. If simplicity is what you want, then we recommend investing in a USB microphone such as Blue Snowball USD Microphone. This go-to mic for most home studio owners and YouTubers allows direct integration with a desktop or laptop computer and delivers CD-quality recording.
If you wish to record straight into your phone or tablet, then the Apogee Mic 96K is a good option. Moreover, while most USB mics record digital audio at 16bit-44.1kHz, this Apogee Mic 96K records at a higher resolution of most pro-studios will use at 24-bit/96kH.
However, for more professional sounding audio recording, we would recommend using an XLR microphone. With an XLR mic, you can easily pin point a problem by changing its parts, cable, or interface. In the same vein of light, XLR microphones are easier to upgrade as you can change these various components to achieve the desired audio effect, rather than having to buy a new brand new mic.
Keep in mind others tips here to achieve good sound for streaming.
- Find a room that provides good audio acoustics. The rule of thumb is smaller rooms provide crisper sound. Larger rooms or loft may have elements of echo that dampens sound.
- Do not under estimate the importance of vocal projection. Not even the best microphone can guarantee superb audio if your voice is muffled, your pronunciation is unclear or if you speak in a soft voice. One way to amplify your audio quality is to boost the volume of your voice.
- If you have recorded outdoors for a travelogue, do voiceovers for better audio clarity.
Remember, even if your video is of high quality but your audio is poor, viewers will not get the takeaways and your streaming efforts will be futile.
Ensure Adequate Bandwidth
Adequate bandwidth contributes towards delivering good video footage for video streaming. Insufficient bandwidth may cause the streamed video to buffer continuously and longer load times, resulting in high viewer drop off. For live broadcasting, upload speed is an important factor for successful streaming. As a rule of thumb, strive to have at least twice the upload speed of the combined video and audio quality set. To exemplify, if the combined bitrate of video and audio quality set is of 2 mbps, then you should ideally have an upload speed of minimum 4 mbps to support the streaming.
Successful streaming is dependent on variables in which some are controllable, and some may not be. And just like Murphy’s Law, the adage “anything that can go wrong will go wrong” should be avoided at all cost. What is important in getting good streaming quality is to ensure that all elements that can be manipulated are made controllable, at best.
The lighting in my video footage is underexposed. What should I do to correct it?
All is not lost if you realized that your video footage is underexposed over overexposed after completing your shoot. There are several software programs that can help you achieve the correct balance of brightness and depth. Some of the popular and basic programs are iMovie Click, whereby the color correction button allows you to adjust the brightness and contrast. For ultimate editing control, the Adobe Premier Pro is the go-to. Do note that using this software requires more technical expertise as it Is less user friendly.
Having said that, fixing it post-recording is not as effective as getting the lighting right during recording. If you have been shooting using automatic mode all this while, then consider switching to shoot manually as adjusting the different settings on your device will yield better results. Use the aperture control, i-Shutter speed and ISO to properly expose your video footage. Do refer to the other tips on lighting under point 2 above, and check out the tips shared by Caleb Wojcik to help entrepreneurs make better videos.
How do I avoid background noise due to the microphone?
Abide by these tips for great audio:-
- Turn off nearby devices which might cause interference
- Switch off anything that emits noise like ceiling fans, televisions and so on
- Speak directly into the microphone
- Close doors and windows to avoid sounds of doors and windows banging
- Make sure that the mains electrical cables are not running across any audio cables like your headphone wires as the electromagnetic force which surrounds mains cabling can cause interference
- Use the right kind of microphone. XLR microphones are preferred in professional recordings as oppose to USB microphones. While the latter is easier to set up with built-in connection, it compromises the quality of audio. Similarly, a microphone built into your laptop will pick up a lot of unwanted noises.
- Use a mixing board or mixer that allows you finer control of your audio. With the mixer, you can adjust the equalization setting, monitor how loud your voice is without getting an echo or change the sensitivity setting so that you will not pick up extra background noise.