One of the most frequently asked questions about live video…What equipment do I need? What’s the best microphone? What’s the best lighting?
If you’ve been wanting to go live and have been putting it off because you’re not sure of the tech…I’ve got you covered! Once you go live, optimizing your lives is the next step.
In today's post, we’ll cover ALL the basics you need to get your biz live without tech overwhelm, and just as importantly, without budget overwhelm!
As a business owner, I understand the desire to present yourself in the most professional way possible. You want to build authority, be the person your audience looks to when they need answers. Here are a few ideas to get you talking.
Being professional doesn’t have to break the bank! It’s my belief, that you shouldn’t invest a lot of money into something new, especially when you’re not sure how you’ll use it or how it will work for your business.
1. Camera: Phone, tablet, laptop, desktop. You’re sure to have of these 😉 no need to buy a special (costly) streaming camera.
Pro Tip: Be sure to silence notifications on the device you’re streaming from. If you’re using your phone, set it to do not disturb, so you don’t get a call mid live!
2. Microphone: If you have one, great! If not, earbuds will work wonders over not using anything. Seriously, earbuds are better than using nothing, they put your voice front and center and help filter background noise.
3. Lighting! This one is tricky even for the pros! Which is why I don’t recommend you start off with costly lighting equipment. Natural lighting is great, if it’s not a cloudy day, you don’t lack windows, you’re not going live at night, or you don’t live in Alaska over the winter! As you can see, natural light isn’t always going to be possible or convenient!
So what’s an entrepreneur to do? Lamps! You probably already have some, if not, they’re pretty inexpensive to pick up.
The key with lamps…the light bulbs, look for “natural light”, “Daylight”, “sunlight” descriptions, avoid “soft” lights as they give off a yellow-ish light which is not optimal for video.
Use at least 2 lamps about 2/3 feet in front of you, one on each side, slightly off center . Use your camera phone and play around with the lighting to see what works best for you. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but avoid lighting behind you from say, a window, because it can put a glare on the camera and make you look like a shadow.
Lighting can be tricky, and even the pros spend lots of money and still are not happy with the lighting! Play around with what you have, test out different angles and locations until you find something acceptable.
Pro tip: If you wear glasses (like me😉) try elevating the lights a bit and move them a little more to the side, but still in front of you, to reduce the glare in your lens’s. As you move naturally while you’re talking, you may catch a reflection here and there…completely normal and not a big deal!
4. Tripod: If you’re using your phone, you can pick up a desktop/tabletop tripod in most tech departments for 15/20 dollars. If you’re struggling with the angle, try elevating the tripod on something firm and stable like a book. This also works for laptops😉 Play around with the angles, make sure you’re not too low on the screen with a lot of empty space above your head.
If you’re too low on the screen, comments can cover your face, which is awkward. If you’re using live video, you may also want to re-purpose them (YouTube), it looks much more professional if you’re more centered in the video frame.
Bonus Tech Tip: Your background matters, but you don’t have to build a fancy set. A plan wall, uncluttered bookcases, clear counter tops in the kitchen, these are all great natural backgrounds for your videos. I’m not judging your clutter, if you could see my kitchen counters :P Anyways…It’s about viewer attention, if there’s too much happening behind you, they’ll be looking around instead of focusing on you and what you’re saying! The fewer distractions, the better 😉
Another hot topic around live video is 3rd party apps. There are a few free ones…I’m not a fan. The main reason being that they are not very user friendly and require a lot of tech know how... NOT something I recommend for beginners, or anyone who values their time 😉
There are several user friendly paid options, and most offer free trials (I use BeLive). These are not a necessity when you are starting out. If you want to do interviews, or dual lives with biz buddies, that option is available native through Facebook. It’s not as fancy, but it works!
When you’re just starting out, it’s important to get experience with the process, as well as with your format. You’ll want to play around, test out a variety of things to see what works for you and your audience.
This process will help you decide where you need to invest your precious budget. Until then, practice, practice, practice 😊
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