Techie Tip of the Month - The Livestream Process

If you had kept up with our Instagram, you would have seen these animated Techie Tips posts every Tuesday. Here, we either give some practical tech advice or give a basic rundown on some jargon you might have heard about before in the world of tech but might still not understand.

For this month's set of tips, we look into the Livestream Pipeline and what to consider when you want to set up your own live show. This came about while we were documenting our church livestream job process and we thought it would be a great guide for those who also want to get into livestreaming. We can split the process into three parts; Sources, Encoders and Destinations.

Sources in livestreaming refers to your cameras, mics, screen recordings and even graphics such as text on the screen. All this information on its own would already take a while to render as a pre-recorded video and most of the time, it would overwhelm the livestream platform's servers if directly uploaded in real time. Even if you use a direct livestreaming platform like Instagram Live, it's very limited on what you can add in (such as no extra graphics) in order to not burden the servers.

In order to upload your footage in real time, you would need to encode and compress all the data from the sources so it's easier to upload on your livestream platform's server. There are two main ways of doing this: software or hardware. Software encoders like OBS are cheaper than hardware encoders and can work directly from your computer but they do eat up your computer's processing power. Hardware encoders, meanwhile, connect externally so they don't leech off your computer's processing power yet they are more expensive. This would also be a good time to consider getting a switcher as an in-between that can switch between sources and even record the stream for later use.

Finally, once you encoded your livestream, you are free to upload it on any livestream platform you choose. You aren't limited on only one platform - most encoders can upload to multiple platforms - and you can choose between a few that matches more towards where your target audience use (Twitch for example is geared more towards gamers). It's also important to make sure your internet is strong and stable enough to stream - you wouldn't want to have your livestream suddenly drop.

Now that we've gone through all three steps of the livestream pipeline, hopefully it helped you plan out your next livestream show. If you want to check up more Techie Tips, stay tuned to our Instagram account where more Techie Tips would drop every Tuesday.

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