How to start streaming
If you've never tried live streaming before but want to give it a try, here's our handy guide on getting started. From the software you'll need, to hardware and accessories. We have some great tips on improving your stream and really making it stand out.
- PC or laptop. You'll want to start with this! Your PC specs are quite important when it comes to live streaming, but this also depends on what you plan to stream. Most games these days require certain minimums when it comes to PC/laptop specs and when you add on the extras from your streaming software, older or very low end models may struggle. Twitch TV recommends having at least an Intel Core i5-4670 processor (or its AMD equivalent), 8GB of RAM and Windows 7 or newer. If you don't have these specs, give it a try anyway and see how you get on. Depending on your settings and what you're streaming, you may get on just fine.
- Internet connection. If possible, you'll want to avoid using WiFi to stream as much as possible and instead, connect to Ethernet. This will mean that your connection will be more stable and you can avoid disconnecting. Before you get started streaming, the most important thing is how fast your internet speed is. There are websites such as SpeedTest which tests how fast your download and upload speed is, your upload speed should be around 4MB per second or higher. If your internet is quite unstable you could experience buffering or disconnecting.
- Microphone or headset. Your viewers need to be able to hear you! Most people prefer to start with a gaming headset with a built in microphone, such as a Razer or SteelSeries. Over time though, you'll probably want to get a separate microphone for a better experience for your viewers. Sound quality is one of the most important things in building your stream, as most people won't stay and listen/watch streams where the audio is harsh or doesn't sound quite right. To ensure you get smooth, good sounding audio, you may consider one of the more professional microphones, many streamers seem to gravitate towards a Blue Yeti for clear audio.
- Webcam. Most people on live streaming websites use webcams, this makes it more of a personal experience for both streamer and viewer. This can be a bit daunting at first if you aren't used to being in front of a camera but we promise, it gets a lot easier as you get used to it! A great starter webcam which most live streamers will have at some point, is the Logitech C920. It's great quality to start with. Later on you may consider upgrading to something more professional, some people even use a DSLR camera as a webcam; there's lots of information online about how to do this.
- Streaming suite. You'll need one of the broadcasting suites to get started! These enable you to set up a streaming layout, play with all of your audio and visual settings; you can customise them to your personality and add a bunch of exciting widgets/extensions. We recommend Streamlabs OBS as this is the easiest to set up, most user friendly and most customisable streaming service. Here's a brilliant tutorial on getting started with Streamlabs OBS.
- Stream bot/chat bot. Eventually you may find that you want extra moderation in your stream, that's where stream bots and chat bots can come in handy! Most of these bots can control both stream settings and chat settings/moderation. With these bots you can set up minigames, giveaways, set up banned words or controlled timeouts/bans (if someone isn't playing nice in chat, you can make certain words instant time out or ban a person). There's a lot you can do with these bots. We recommend the new Streamlabs Chatbot, this has a lot of exciting things built into it and is very user friendly. It also links directly into Streamlabs OBS.
I've got all of the above, what's next?
Once you have all of the above set up, you're pretty much ready to go! If you followed the Streamlabs OBS tutorial you'll be able to add new sources such as your webcam, have a play around with your audio settings, make your layout and theme exactly how you want it and maybe start a test stream! Don't forget to make sure you have "alerts" set up in your sources, alerts pop up on the screen when someone follows/donates/subscribes etc. Streamlabs OBS has great support if you have any questions, head on over to their help centre.
You'll also want to customise your live streaming profile on Twitch/Mixer! Things like the panels below your stream with information on yourself and your fundraiser (when you sign up we'll send you graphics for this!). there are also a lot of built in moderation settings that you can look through on your live streaming profile; go through everything you can and edit anything you like. Your stream offline screen, stream title (you can do this in Streamlabs OBS too!) and more. There's also some brilliant extensions you can use. Here are the Twitch TV extensions.
Don't forget to set up your goal bar on your stream! Let your viewers see how far along you are with your fundraiser and remind them how they can get involved. For more information how to set up your goal bar and more, check out our let's get fundraising page.
Recommended tips & tricks
We've put together a list of tips and tricks when it comes to live streaming, things to remember and to watch out for.
- Be sure to keep talking as much as possible at the start. It may be awkward at first, as it is for every live streamer when they first begin their journey online. You may only have a couple of friends in chat or maybe no one for a little while, but as long as you're doing something you love and are passionate about, keep talking about what you're doing and you'll do great. Talk about what you're doing in the game or creatively, talk a bit about yourself, the fundraiser, anything you like. You never know when people may come in to say hello and it's hard to interact if the streamer isn't speaking.
- You're more likely to receive donations for your fundraiser if you talk about it. Inspire people, make them feel as passionate as you are about fundraising for the wildlife. A great tip is to read off some of the hard hitting facts on our Make a difference page or in your starter pack when you sign up.
- Set up goals and milestone rewards, make your viewers excited about the fundraiser, there's some amazing stream ideas in the starter pack we'll send you!
- Watch your streams back every now and then, this can be a great way to ensure that your quality is just how you'd like it. Check the audio and size of your layout, your internet settings and so on.
- If you're uncomfortable at first about live streaming, ask if a friend might moderate your stream for you. This means that your friend can timeout/ban people in your chat and can enforce rules. Twitch moderators have a badge next to their names so viewers know they mean business! Be sure that you and your moderators are on the same page about what you do or do not tolerate in your stream. For more information on moderating people, head on over here.