Setting up a Multi-Camera Live Stream
Ready to stream your event, lesson, presentation, or performance? Multi-camera is the way to go. Think about it: over the last two years, we’ve all watched dozens, if not hundreds of live streams. Which ones stand out in your mind?
Static Live Streams vs. Dynamic Live Streams
It’s likely that the most memorable live streams you’ve watched this year have been dynamic streams. How does that differ from a static stream? Let’s break it down.
Static Live Streams
- Easy to set up
- Simple to operate
- Captures the big picture
A static live stream consists of a single, stationary camera. Think: Zoom meeting, or school play filmed from a tripod at the back of the auditorium.
Static streams are great because they’re easy to set up – all it requires is a camera and a place to put it. It’s also easy to be sure that you’ve captured the full width of a stage without having to adjust the camera or pay for a camera operator to follow subjects as they move in the frame.
Static streams are straightforward and require little expertise to set up, and for that reason, we tend to see a lot of them.
Dynamic Live Streams
- Captures the big picture and the details
- Often requires professional assistance to set up
- Increases viewership and can boost revenue
A dynamic live stream utilizes multiple cameras placed around a space. Each camera captures a different angle, and from a different distance. Your live stream then switches between cameras and angles, for a cinematic result.
Pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras bring action into the stream, moving side-to-side, up-and-down, and zooming in to capture the details of your subjects. PTZ cameras contain robotic components and can be remotely controlled by a professional videographer.
A dynamic stream ensures that no one gets cut out of the frame, and that everything is captured, from the big picture to the little details.
Why Use Multiple Cameras for Live Streams?
A multi-camera live stream is the best way to get a return on your investment in streaming. Because it’s not just about the live stream in the moment, but after it as well.
Dynamic streams are proven to increase viewership, viewing time, engagement, and revenue. A dynamic stream also makes an excellent archive piece, and can be used as on-demand content that viewers truly want to watch.
Dynamic live streams are perfect for:
- Corporate presentations
- Performing arts
- Unboxing and tutorial videos
- Church services
- Live music performances
- Workout and fitness videos
And so much more.
Choosing Your Cameras
The first step to setting up a multi-camera live stream is choosing your cameras. The perfect candidates are:
- Small and unobtrusive
- Optimized for live streaming
- Controllable remotely
We love PTZ cameras, because they check all of those boxes and more. They’re small, and can be mounted inconspicuously in corners. The PTZ cameras that we use at LiveControl are optimized for live streaming, meaning that they can be moved remotely in a wide range of motion, and can easily be linked with one another to create a cohesive, beautiful final product while capturing all of the important action.
Cinema cameras are also a good choice, although they’re much larger than PTZ cameras. Their excellent resolution makes them strong contenders.
Camera Placement for Engaging Live Streams
When it comes to where to place your cameras, there are a few shots that are wise to consider.
Wide shot. This shot will capture the entirety of the stage, presentation area, altar area, or other space. It’s the view from the back of the space, encompassing the full scene.
Wide shots are excellent for big dance numbers, large bands, church choirs, or group presentations. They’re also a great way to set context and scale for your at-home viewers.
Medium shot. This shot captures more detail, while still showing your subjects approximately from knee to top of head. It’s a great shot for speakers, pastors, or slide decks.
If you’re filming an unboxing or tutorial, it’s the perfect over-the-shoulder shot to show your full workstation.
Close-up. A close-up hones in on important details, such as a presenter’s face, a soloist’s instrument, or the hands of the newlyweds as they exchange rings.
A close-up shot is essential for making your viewers feel like they’re right there in the thick of the action. As you build your library of on-demand content, you can feel confident that emotional moments, beautiful moments, and major milestones are all captured in excellent resolution.
Other shots. Depending on your industry, more unconventional angles may be appropriate for you. These include:
- Bird’s eye view, which is great for unboxing and craft or cooking tutorials, showing your viewers what you’re doing from a unique perspective.
- Presenter view, which shows the in-person audience from the perspective of the presenter, performer, or speaker. This is a great way to make your live stream more immersive!
- Low angle, which lets viewers focus on your hands, tools, or presentation materials.
- Tracking shots, which have the camera following a moving subject – something PTZ cameras are excellent at.
You Have Your Cameras…Now What?
Once your cameras are set up, you’ll need a way to control them - typically large hardware devices called switchers and external boxes called encoders. These devices allow you to control and select cameras, convert video into proper formats, and upload the footage to the streaming platform(s) of your choice..
Switchers also allow you to control your cameras and audio sources, moving them, or switching between angles.
Encoders convert your audio and video in real time, optimizing it for the platform that you’re streaming on.
Purpose-built hardware switchers and encoders are expensive, but high-quality hardware yields a good product. If you choose to go the software route, there are several solid options on the market. Each one has different features, limitations, and pricing. Some of the most popular include:
- VidBlasterX ($999/year)
- Wirecast ($799/year)
- VMIX (up to $1200)
We offer the industry’s only hybrid switcher/encoder with specialized software to provide a dynamic multi-camera production in an affordable box.
Multi-camera live streams can be complicated and daunting to set up, which is why we’ve developed a proprietary and unique set of hardware and software that’s democratizing video production across industries.
Multi-camera live stream setups can benefit
And so, so much more. Ready to learn more? Let’s talk!