twitch app on ios

Thinking Through Streaming

Something to stream? Consider Mixer, Twitch and Capturing with OBS and others. Where do start our journey & push forward.

Having Something to share.

So there I was ready to click start streaming and I hesitated; having a moment of clairvoyance. “How is this different from last time?”  “What am I trying to do here?” “Should I bother?” Some close friends and us would do remote screen shares or watch parties where we would force one of us to play through a game to see how the other would react to it.  This is how I was introduced to “The Last of Us” and several other horror games. Thanks friends (you know who you are).

Clicking “Start Streaming” this time was different though.  It felt more substantive. I was inviting strangers to come and be entertained by my stories.  Whether the content streamed is just a play through of a game, me binding a coptic book, or presenting and running Dungeons & Dragons the performance is public.  So part creative and a portion of technical expertise we stumbled into the unknown to share our own story.

Something to Capture the Experience.

Depending on the experience or story that you are trying to capture will change.  Basically you will need a method of capturing a camera input, an audio feed, and a video feed.  We’ll touch on cameras and integration at another point but it suffices to say that if you have a smartphone you could stream with that alone.

Microphone in use while streaming
Hardware can vary but it will be your lifeblood.

Some software will be needed to help encode and send your stream to your target audience.  None of these broadcasting softwares are explicitly better than another but I would recommend checking out each to see what they can do.  Making the decision on which works best is inherently up to you and your needs.

  • OBS Studio | Open source and the base for many streaming platforms.  It has an expansive community that modifies and supports the project.
  • Streamlabs | A flavor of the OBS open source project.  This has tight tie-in to the Streamlabs platform for integration of their alerts, widgets, and other streaming tools.
  • Twitch Studio | This is Twitch’s official beta client for streaming to their platform.  Boasts a simplified approach to setup and is meant to be up and running in minutes.
  • XSplit | A paid option that offers a few additional streaming options like Simulcasting to multiple services.
  • Caffeine | Is a simplified streaming solution and platform that inserts an easy to use overlay. Very little setup is easy to use.

Someplace to Send it.

So now if we have a show then we want to have a place and audience to send it to.  For live streaming it’s tempting to think Twitch, owned by amazon, as a video game streaming site first.  When it’s actually anything but that. It was known as justin.tv which was full of everyone’s talk shows. It has many categories though that aren’t game focused and the Just Chatting channel has become a catch all for podcasting to running shows that don’t fit into any other space.  

Youtube, owned by google, has many video on demand features that benefit creators.  In brief their streaming side of business is very young. While robust it is much more complicated to initially setup and run live content here.  Best benefits come from an existing community of followers.

Facebook is attempting to step into the streaming space as well and offers an easy to set up platform to stream to as well as access to tapping into audiences based on interest much easier.  While this is still early they are poised to gain some ground with their existing audience quickly. Facebook’s Algorithm is the base drive of what will likely define what success you see here though. 

Mixer, a Microsoft owned service, is deeply tied into their xbox community but is also exposed to the have other content streamed to it from anywhere; similar to twitch.  Mixer controls a tiny portion of the watching eyes in the market though. They know this and have worked to quickly iterate and add new features to compete.

A Playstation Four controller set on a table.

No matter what though people will be watching on those and many other platforms.  Pick what fits; we’ll dive into these again more deeply as we explore each of these platforms.

Who will watch.

Where will people come from? Places. My recommendation when starting this is don’t worry about it.  Be aware that different people will have different needs for wanting to tune in and then stay in a stream.  Don’t stress visuals as clean audio will keep people there. But the end all for this is that you will figure out what your niche is.  The people that fit in that niche will find you as you work to progress yourself in streaming efforts. Creation can be paralyzing but there are ways to overcome that. It’s an exciting journey and remember to thank those that come along with you; they will be your strength.

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Joseph Peterson

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