How to Improve Live Stream Quality in 5 Easy Steps

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Whether you’re a content creator, business, or organization, live streaming is one of the most effective ways to connect with your online audience. In fact, according to the State of Streaming published by Conviva, live streams have 27% more watch time on average when compared to regular videos on demand. However, if issues such as glitchy audio, fuzzy video, or even buffering occurs during a live stream, it deters the viewers and could result in a bad impression of your brand overall. 

This guide is here to change that to make sure that your live stream is the best quality that it can be so you can get back to interacting with your audience again. Each section will be categorized into beginner, intermediate, and professional levels and we will give our insights for each category. 

 

Cameras 

camera with blue background

Upgrading your camera is one of the easiest ways to instantly upgrade your live stream’s quality. It’s also one of the most noticeable upgrades from the audience’s point of view as well. 

With cameras ranging in size, shape, features, and most importantly, price, it’s difficult for someone who’s not tech savvy to pick the right camera for them. Not to mention the type of camera is going to vary depending on what it’s going to be used for. 

Generally, we recommend those who are just getting started out in live streaming to simply stream using whatever camera they have available to them. This could be a laptop camera or a simple webcam. When testing the waters with live streaming, you don’t have to go out and buy an entirely new camera. 

For those that are more knowledgeable about live streaming and have been streaming for an extended period, we recommend getting a high-quality webcam or a prosumer camera. These cameras have more features and higher video quality compared to laptop cameras but are still somewhat affordable for those that want to create content online. 

Finally, if you are a business, enterprise, or organization, we recommend getting a professional video camera for your live streams. It’s best to get dedicated professional video cameras for your live streams because it allows you to be in complete control over the quality, resolution, framerate, etc., of your video feed. 

 

Audio 

microphone with yellow and orange background

Having proper audio is another key part of your live stream. Even if you have the most beautiful and highest quality video on your live stream, not having proper audio can deter many viewers from the live stream. That’s why it’s important to nail the correct audio setup for your live streaming needs since it can make or break a stream. 

Before we discuss which microphones you should consider using, the environment that you are live streaming in has a big effect on how you will sound. Please be sure to live stream from a quiet or appropriate environment for your live streaming needs. 

If you’re just testing the waters with live streaming, we recommend using earbuds or a headset for your live streaming needs. By using earbuds or a headset, you’re moving the microphone closer to your mouth which will sound a lot better to your audience compared to using a built-in laptop microphone.  

If you’re someone who’s experienced with live streaming and wants to upgrade their set up, we recommend getting a dedicated microphone for your live stream. Dedicated microphones are, by far, one of the biggest markets in the audio industry. When choosing a dedicated microphone, it’s important to factor in your budget, the microphone’s features, and the ease-of-use. Typically, these microphones will range between $50-$150 depending on the features available. 

Finally, if you’re a business, enterprise, or organization, it’s important to get professional-level microphones for your live streaming needs. By having a professional microphone, you’ll be able to dial in the precise tones, profiles, and volume that you’d like to have during the live stream. Not to mention, professional microphones could make your voice sound buttery smooth. 

 

Lighting

empty studio with multiple lights

Your live stream’s lighting, although not as important as audio or video, is still a major key in your live stream’s quality. Having proper lighting is not only going to help your viewer be able to see what’s going on in your live stream, but it can also help create specific moods and atmosphere that you might want to achieve.  

For beginners, it’s important to make sure that you are properly lit on stream and that your environment isn’t completely dark during the live stream. This could be as simple as turning on the room light or turning on a couple of extra lamps during your live stream. More light is generally going to help. 

For intermediate streamers, getting a dedicated key light is going to take your lighting to a new level. A key light is a bright light that shines on the subject during a video or live stream. This light will help the viewer focus on you during your live stream. Not to mention, some excellent key lights can be very affordable. 

For professional streamers or businesses, learning the fundamentals of lighting could prove to be a worthwhile investment. In lighting, it’s important to have three lights during your live stream. The first light is called the “key” light which will be a bright light pointing at your face at an angle. The second light is called the “fill” light which will be on the opposite side as the key light and will be a dimmer or just as bright light pointing at your face. The fill light will help neutralize any harsh shadows caused by the key light. Finally, there is the background light. This light helps light up your background and helps the audience see the setting around you.  

 

Connection 

internet router with wifi bars on top

Without a stable internet connection, your stream quality is heavily hindered. No matter how expensive and fancy your cameras are, how excellent your lighting is, or how perfect your audio is, if your internet connection is insufficient, then it would ultimately lead to a less than perfect live stream. 

However, as technology and internet speeds get better, faster, and cheaper, this is something that most people don’t have to worry about it. Nonetheless, internet connections and internet speeds should still be something that’s at the forefront of a live streamer’s mind. 

Below you can find the recommended speeds for your desired resolution and frame rate. 

Video Resolution 

Frame Rate  

Minimum Upload Speed 

720p 

30fps 

3.5Mbps 

720p 

60fps 

4.5Mbps 

1080p 

30fps 

5.0Mbps 

1080p 

60fps 

5.5Mbps 

 

Choosing the Right Streaming Platform 

generic social media background with finger pointing at like button

Choosing the right streaming platform can be one of, if not, the most difficult steps in the live streaming process. With so many options to choose out there, many people get lost in the choices. Having to decide which platforms offer which features and at what cost could take up hours of your time. That’s why the Zeacon Live Studio was created to be feature-rich, easy to use, and most importantly, free. 

We built the Zeacon Live Studio (ZLS) platform with creators, streamers, and businesses in mind. On ZLS, our users utilize the patent-pending technology and special interactivity features to connect with their audience on a whole new level.  

Features such as in-stream donations, drag and drop interactivity, and multistreaming, just to name a few, allow the creators on ZLS to gain a deeper connection with their viewers.  

With in-stream donations, viewers can donate to the host directly without ever having to leave the stream. In-stream donations are important because with every link or step those viewers have to go through in a typical donation process, nearly 30% of them stop entirely and won’t complete their donation. With an in-stream donation process, there are less steps for the viewer to go through and results in more donations overall. This, alongside our bank-level encryption methods, means that more of your supporters can help you as a creator or organization. 

Through utilizing drag and drop, audience members are able to talk to you face-to-face virtually. With the power to bring viewers on stream, control their audio levels, and control their video feed, creators can safely and effortlessly interact with their fans as if they were there in person. Many platforms try to accomplish this feat but it often requires multiple programs and results in a very complicated set up process. 

Lastly, multistreaming allows creators on our platform to stream to their different social media accounts. In order to multistream, the social media platforms must accept an RTMP source. Major platforms such as Facebook and YouTube allow for RTMP streaming for individual creators. 

 

Conclusion 

As a live streamer, achieving the highest quality live stream might be daunting but with the help of this blog, we hope you learned how you can improve your live stream and gained valuable information. 

If you have any more questions about live streaming, please visit the Zeacon Live Studio Knowledge Base in order to find more information on everything live streaming. 

On the Zeacon Live Studio platform, creators are at the forefront of our minds. Creating and engineering technology to intelligently connect communities online and all around the world is our mission.  

Sign up for a 100% free Zeacon Live Studio account today or email sales@zeacon.com in order to get in touch with a specialist at Zeacon to utilize some of the amazing features on the ZLS platform. 

 

About the Author:

David Vo is a Yale University graduate with a certificate in Digital Marketing and a Bellevue College graduate with a Bachelor's in Digital Marketing. He is a co-founder of Bellevue College's first gaming club and has previously worked in real estate, IT, and video production before coming to Zeacon as a marketing intern. David actively participates in Olympic-style weightlifting and provides coaching in powerlifting as well.