Going Pro Without Going Broke: 7 Suggestions for Creating High-Quality Live Video

The following is a guest contributed post by Fritz Brumder of Brandlive.

Today’s video-centric web puts a premium on experience. When brands record live, consumer-facing events or pre-recorded training videos, there are major demands in terms of keeping audience attention.

How do you earn the audience’s attention on the topic, while also keeping them engaged?

A big part of that equation is quality, and utilizing the proper equipment to capture the best video possible. Whether it’s a brand’s first video or its 50th, there’s always something new to learn about the latest recording tips, tricks and techniques to produce great video that engages an audience. But the reality is, everyone has a budget to maintain. So how do you produce  high-quality live video, without breaking the bank?

At Brandlive, we polled our team to uncover some favorite tools for producing great video content each and every day.

Keep it Steady with a Camera Tripod:

A fluid-head tripod is an important addition for your camera to provide a steady shot, and smooth panning and tilting. Manfrotto makes high quality, professional options for fluid-head tripods. For a tighter budget, try brands like Fancierstudio or Magnus. It’s important to also get a heavier tripod if you’re planning to shoot any live video outside. A slight wind gust on a lighter tripod could send your device flying (and end your live broadcast in a second).

Mounting your Mobile Device:

iOgrapher mounts can be a great solution for adding a tablet or phone camera into your live broadcasts. These mounts not only stabilize the devices for handheld camera work, but also provide mounting options for lights, microphones, and even different lenses.

Lighting the Scene:

Adequate lighting is essential to making your video look good. If you’re in a windowed room with lots of natural light, you might be able to avoid using additional lights. However, even natural light can be unpredictable from day to day, or even moment to moment. In a poorly-lit environment, you should consider a simple two-light setup to make your subject(s) stand out. Fotodiox makes great LED light panels in a range of price points that can be easily mounted on light stands. The ability to dim the lights and change the color temperature makes them perfect for video production in a variety of environments.

Capturing Perfect Audio with Microphones:

Good image quality is critical for live video, but sound is an important — and often overlooked — factor. Rode makes a variety of directional microphones which can mount on a camera for capturing audio in a controlled environment. If you’re looking for the professional quality and versatility of wireless microphones, Sennheiser is a great choice for wireless handheld and lavalier options which can easily be incorporated into your live broadcast setup.

Don’t Forget Power and Charged Batteries:

It’s obvious that you’ll need some power to make your live video magic happen. Be sure to situate yourself near an outlet and have a power strip available for plugging in multiple devices. If any of your devices require battery power (wireless microphones, etc.), come prepared with a full set of charged batteries, plus a few extras just in case.

Manage Multiple Sources with an A/V Mixer:

We’re big fans of the Roland VR-4HD, which provides an all-in-one solution for A/V mixing and production. It has four HDMI inputs for video, an integrated audio mixer, and many other features to simplify your setup — all while maintaining a compact size. It’s great for both streaming and recording, and best of all, it was designed for a single operator to handle (key for producing live videos on a budget).

Add Effects with Streaming Software:

A product like the Roland VR-4HD has you covered on the hardware side, but you’ll need some software to help encode the live video for broadcasting. Telestream’s Wirecast is a widely-used homebase for live streaming, letting you manage sources in real-time (essential for the nature of going live). Along with the basics, Wirecast makes it possible for the most  novice producers to add simple effects, transitions, titles, and other additions that will make your video shine.

At the end of the day, a little investment goes a long way with live video. In order for your audience to have a good experience, make sure it’s easy for them to hear, see and engage with your content. And once you have the video experience dialed in, the rest — think marketing your video, sharing across social channels, and saving the video for later — becomes easy and repeatable.