Good video quality is integral to livestreaming. We’ve got gear recommendations from cameras and tripods to lighting, too.
A Reliable Camera
The most essential part of a livestreaming kit is a good webcam. But due to the high demand from those working at home during the global pandemic, they’re hard to come by right now. We like the Logitech C920X Pro and Razer Kiyo when they’re available, but you can also just use what you have on hand. We have a guide on using your smartphone as a webcam.
If you have a GoPro or other DSLR or mirrorless camera, you can also use it as a webcam replacement—just search online for instructions specific to your model.
A Sturdy Tripod
A small tripod that can hold your camera or smartphone can be an indispensable accessory because it lets you change up your setup if things are getting too crowded. There are many good ones for cheap, but this kit from SmilePowo ($19) should have everything you’ll need.
A Smartphone Mic
Whether shooting Instagram Live videos or the occasional review video for WIRED, I’ve been using and enjoying Shure’s microphone and tripod kit ($249). It captures much better audio quality than your smartphone’s built-in microphone and comes with a nifty tripod so you can plop it somewhere on your desk.
It’s worth noting that this only works with certain Android phones. I’ve haven’t had any trouble with my Google Pixel 4, but make sure to check it’s compatible before you pull the trigger. iPhones or iPads shouldn’t have any issues. This kit is also great for live podcasts or outdoor video streams.
A couple of LED lights can be the difference between a beautiful stream and an ugly one. Quality lights can be spendy, but this one from Viltrox ($50) comes recommended by WIRED deals contributor Brad Bourque.
If you’re looking at other light options, just make sure that it has a temperature and brightness adjustment, not just one or the other. If it includes diffusers (for spreading and shaping light), or batteries (for portable use), that’s a plus.
Everyone at WIRED (and nearly all fellow gear nerds we’ve met) are big fans of Moment’s phone cases and lenses. They’re not always cheap, but they can really take the images you’re getting on a smartphone to the next level. If you’re shooting a podcast with a static shot, or find yourself using an old phone as a camera, the wide-angle lens is a good way to get everything in the scene. They’re also helpful for on-the-go streams.
Moment lenses require a Moment case on your phone, but the company only supports the top brands like Apple, Google, OnePlus, and Samsung. Be sure to check if the company makes a case for your phone model.
Try These Apps and Tutorials
Gear isn’t the only thing you’ll need to get started podcasting or livestreaming. Check out these apps, and we’ve rounded up some of the best YouTube tutorials we could find to help.
Open Broadcaster Software for Streaming (Free): If you’re looking to stream to Twitch, YouTube, or nearly any other platform, free streaming software OBS is the industry standard. The open-source software is available for MacOS, Windows, and Linux, and is sponsored by Twitch, Facebook, and Nvidia, among other big-name brands.
Audacity (Free): From GarageBand to Pro Tools, there are many great Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) to record audio with. But the best free option for most beginner podcasters and streamers is Audacity. It’s got everything you’ll need to edit and upload audio, and an easy to use interface to boot.
YouTube is a great, free resource. We’ve handpicked a few places to get started, but feel free to search the platform yourself for videos that might help.
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