How to Set Up a Live-Streaming Video Studio

May 23, 2019

Live-streaming video has grown more popular than ever. According to the most recent survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), 47% of global live streaming viewers were pulling down more live video than in the preceding year. A hefty 44% said they watch less live TV because of their use of streaming. Nearly one in four people say they watch live streaming video on a daily basis.

So there’s evidently a level of receptivity that wasn’t the case in the past. If you’ve got a small or medium-sized business, this represents an opportunity.

Live streaming video has gained some serious steam in the marketing industry in the last two to three years. Research shows that 47% of live streaming video viewers are streaming more live video today than they were a year ago. Even more impressive is the fact that 44% of people are watching less live TV as a result of live streaming. And with an estimated 23% of all US internet users watching live streaming video on a daily basis, it serves as the perfect complement to more traditional forms of content marketing and can help a brand engage customers on a more intimate level than in the past.

Take Kohl’s, for example, which partnered with Tone It Up! in 2016 to host an open workout that was streamed on Facebook live. Thousands of people “attended” and it provided an excellent opportunity for Kohl’s to engage customers without being in the same physical location. Or consider Royal Caribbean, which organized an “influencer takeover” where it allowed traveling live-streamers to take over its social channels and stream their adventures live.

The opportunity for engagement exists, but if you’re going to invest in live streaming video, you’ll need certain things … including a studio. Here are four essentials you should know about developing a live streaming studio:

Four Tips for the Perfect Live Streaming Studio

  1. Function Above All Else-- We’re going to discuss some of the aesthetic components of your studio, but it’s vital that you don’t allow yourself to get too caught up in what the set looks like. There will be time to figure all that out later. Right now, your primary emphasis should be on perfecting the functionality of the space. If the space doesn’t work in practical terms — meaning audio, visual, layout, etc. — none of the rest matters. You’ll become frustrated with the set and feel tempted to give up on it before you’ve had a chance to produce meaningful content.
  2. Lighting is Critically Important—Let’s talk lighting. This is probably one of the most difficult facets of the studio to get right. We’ve all seen videos in which the background is too bright and washes out the foreground, or there’s not enough light so that everything appears grainy and pixelated. These issues will ruin your video product and damage your brand’s reputation. Natural light is always the best choice. If you have a way to let in natural light and direct how it falls, with shades, window treatments, and bounce boards, that’s ideal. But in most cases, artificial light will be a necessary compromise. Start off with one key light and some fill. You can add more as you go. It’s also helpful to add ambient lighting, which is less functional and more useful for raising the visual appeal of the set. Depending on the character you’re going for, flameless candles work well. They put off a very soft, warm light that won’t create the frustrating glare we all hate. LED strip lighting attached underneath tables or behind shelves is also a smart choice.
  3. Consider Audio Options—Audio is another major factor. Not only do you need to focus on how you’ll be capturing the sound, but you also have to think about the reflective properties of the studio space and how audio waves will bounce in it. For starters, never depend on the in-built microphone that comes with your camera. The sound quality is not going to be adequate, and that can only cheapen the value of your video product. Purchase a quality external microphone instead. If you want the microphone to be invisible, feel free to position a boom mic off camera.
  4. Incorporate Strategic Branding—Always keep the underlying objective of your live video strategy in mind. As different as it appears from other mediums you’ll use, remember that you’re creating branded content. As with any investment of this type, you’ll want to establish a healthy connection between the content and your brand. Look for ways to incorporate strategic branding in your live studio backdrop. This could be as overt as a large banner with your company name on it, or as subtle as a simple logo in the corner of the screen.

Success is in the Details

One of the excellent features of live streaming video is the way in which it democratizes what was formerly a medium strictly reserved for giant media firms and a handful of select publications. Now anyone — including small brands — can create and stream video in real time.

But there’s a difference between just pushing out video content and actually doing it well. A lot goes into live video streaming, but your success will ultimately hinge on how you handle the details — such as studio design. We hope this article has provided some ammunition to address this component.

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