These days, you don’t have to break the bank to create professional-looking productions. We chat with Chris Wissinger of Roland Professional A / V to learn more about his ideal gear for streaming.
A solid streaming setup would have one or two cameras, two computers, a microphone, a small vision switcher with built-in USB 3.0 streaming, and appropriate lighting. âIt may sound expensive and technically difficult,â Wissinger said. “I assure you it is not.”
[The Technology Manager’s Guide to Streaming]
Wissinger shares his advice:
You’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to use expensive video cameras to create a quality feed for your lessons. I have used HandyCams, Go Pros, and even smartphones, and they all worked really well. The main advantage of using two cameras is that you can change the view of your audience. People are used to watching television, which continuously switches from shot to shot. A typical scene would be to have a close-up (personal) camera, when speaking to your class, and a wider view (a little further away) so that the audience can see more of your surroundings. This is more important for some classes than for others.
Poor sound is probably the most common downfall for beginner streamers. A clear, easy-to-understand voice is essential to keeping your audience engaged. Personally, I prefer the lapel microphones because they are very good at cutting out room noise and they provide a consistent audio signal for your stream. They also allow you to move around without having to carry a microphone or set a mic on a stand.
You will need at least one computer to stream your content. You can use that same computer to share course content with your audience, but it’s often the weakest link in online performance. I prefer to have a dedicated streaming laptop and a second laptop with a PowerPoint presentation, titles / logos, videos and even music preloaded on it. This makes your presentation interesting and the transitions between the information scenes transparent.
The lighting in your space is important in setting the mood. This can be done with a simple ceiling light and a lamp or two. The key is to test a few things beforehand to get it right. If you need more light you can easily buy something suitable from the hardware store to get you started and then maybe consider other options further down.
A vision blender
Now is the time for things to get interesting! A small vision mixer makes the difference between an amateur-looking stream and a quality production. It’s like having a mini TV channel at your fingertips. With a vision mixer, you can connect multiple cameras, microphones, computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets and media players (depending on the number of inputs available). They also come with great features like picture in picture, split screen, smooth transitions and many other professional effects that will bring your presentation to life. Some vision mixers come with a USB 3.0 output, which really makes streaming easier. All you need to do is take the USB output of the vision mixer and plug it directly into the USB input of your laptop or computer. You then open the platform you want to stream to (Facebook, Zoom, etc.) and the Vision Mixer will appear as an optional camera source.