Streaming 101

Streaming 101

1.Introduction to Streaming

Most have experienced this situation before: You just prepared your venue for tournament time, everyone is registered for the competition, and you’re about to begin your tournament until your state’s top-ranked player asks “are these matches going to be streamed”. You realize that you’ve forgotten about including a stream in your plans and don’t know where to start!

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In Streaming 101, we will be going over the absolute basics of setting up a stream such as what software to use, what hardware you’ll need to ensure stability, and much more!

Index

  • Mentality
  • Hiring someone or do it myself?
  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Commentators
  • Post Production
  • Conclusion
Yes No

1.1.Mentality

Most streamers in the gaming world have the intent of streaming with a purpose; you always have to have some sort of initiative/plan before even thinking of clicking that “Begin Stream” button. This ranges from calculating the materials you have to stream with, the goals you wish to achieve for that day/week/month/year, and what to expect vs. reality factor. 
In this section, we will guide you on how to develop your own aspect of streaming and how to develop goals for yourself.

Is what I have enough?

Before you go wild on buying new hardware on Newegg/Amazon or lengthening your Xsplit subscriptions for additional months, sit down for a moment and first think upon the materials/connections you have at your disposal now rather than what you will need to acquire. Contrary to popular belief, most stream rigs can be started with the most minimal amount of materials available.

Example: Jimmy wants to start his own local series with his college roommates and wants to run multiple games such as Tekken, Street Fighter, and BlazBlue. On his gaming laptop, he begins to buy parts for his brand new computer; mixer, microphone, capture card, and assorted materials without consulting his team. After finalizing his purchase, Jimmy realizes that he has gone over the budget his team agreed towards. They now don’t have money to afford consoles and monitors for players to use. Also, Jimmy realizes weeks later that his current laptop met the minimum requirements needed by OBS/Xsplit to use their streaming software and one of Jimmy’s teammates has an Elgato HD60S Capture Card collecting dust in his closet for months.

From the example below, we can conclude that Jimmy assumes he needed the hardware he purchased rather than observing the situation he was in for the best possible outcome(s). It is important as a streamer/TO to recognize social/financial situations on your plate and establishing appropriate routes for maximized gain. Don’t be like Jimmy!

Goals In Mind

Now that you have your streaming station set up and ready to go, where do you go from here? Anyone’s first thought would be to just turn on the stream and wing it from there. As much as that is the sensible option to do, you can go a step further and set goals for yourself as to increase your productivity levels and have something to look forward toward. Goals can include:
  • Achieving a certain amount of viewers of that day streamed
    • “I’m gonna strive to hit at least 10 viewers for my local today”
  • Be more active in your streams chat by conversing with viewers
    • “Hey brother/sister, welcome to the stream! Have you watched…”
  • Clip (if applicable) at least 1 – 2 hype combos/moments during your broadcast and advertise on social media.
    • “Hey everyone, check out this combo on our Twitter / YouTube / ….”

Expectations Vs. Reality 

So you’ve set up your stream, have your mental goals set, and finally click on the “Begin Stream” button. Everything is going well but at the conclusion of your event you realize “no one tuned into my stream today”. You put that behind you and think that it might be different the following weekend, however, history repeats itself over and over again. You eventually give up after the 3rd week of no viewers and decide to not stream since no one is tuning into your cast.
A common struggle that happens in the streaming community is the “why aren’t I getting what I believe I should be receiving” mentality. To be frank, when you begin streaming, you aren’t going to become the next VGBootCamp/Team Spooky/Ninja overnight. Unless you have some sort of prior overwhelming credibility in your community (sometimes, even this credential doesn’t help as much), it takes a lot of work and time to build up your social base. Instead of giving up halfway through streaming, formulate ways of increasing your streams face through various mediums. Examples include: 
  • Telling your friends to view your broadcast to get things started for viewership
  • Advertise your Twitch Page on Facebook Groups / Twitter Posts / Discord Servers
  • Stream various events rather than just your own to extend your viewership
  • Network with other local successful streamers and get advice on how to grow further
As a streamer, there is a long road you have to take in order to form your investment into a family of viewers. Do not give up and stay diligent on your quest!
Yes No

1.2.Hire someone or do it myself?

Some tournament organizers may be knowledgeable in setting up their streams + planning for hardware/software upgrades + networking with other local streamers. Others may have trouble starting out or just aren’t as technically savvy as the opposing side. 

In this section, we will be going over the pros and cons of hiring someone to run your tournaments stream versus managing a stream set up by yourself/with a team. 

Hiring Someone

    • Pros of Hiring Someone
      • Great Stream Quality
        • With hiring professional help, you will also be entitled to receiving the best possible quality stream for your viewers to enjoy.
      • Less Stress
        • When streaming problems may occur such as Dropped Frames, Power Outages, and more. This can be quite stressful and time-consuming, especially if you’re also in charge of running brackets!
      • Optimal Time Management
        • Have someone manage your stream allows for you to focus on other TO based objectives such as registration, player conflict, and increasing player relations.
    • Cons of Hiring Someone
      • Commission/Hourly Pay
        • Hiring someone else to manage your organization’s stream means that they will most likely acquire a cut of the profits you gain. This can limit your expenses on buying new setups/additions for the venue. 
      • 3rd Party Stream
        • Though this is very rare, some hired streamers may want your tournament to be shown on their own twitch profile rather than your organizations. The level of this being a problem varies from person to person, but it can be viewed negatively towards some.

Streaming by Yourself/with a Team

    • Pros of Streaming by Yourself/with a Team
      • Bonding between Teammates/Viewers
        • Since everything is being handled by your team/yourself, you can establish better relationships with your viewers while also elevating your teammate’s cooperation for bracket management in unison. 
      • Growing Your Live Stream Your Way
        • Nothing feels more rewarding than knowing the popularity you garnered was due to the amount of hours you put into establishing a premium stream. You are in total control of what is viewable/talked about when handling the live stream. 
    • Cons of Streaming by Yourself/with a Team
      • Time Management
        • Since you are running your stream, you might have to jump back and forth whenever there is a registration question/player conflict that pops up. 
      • More Stress
        • Due to the added responsibility of running your stream + running your brackets on time, you will acquire more stress as you know have to focus on two important aspects running as optimally as possible.
Yes No

2.Hardware: The Backbone


Now it’s time to get into the hardware streamers utilize and find out what each component does in relation to your stream! 
In this section, we will be going over a basic detailing of what each computer component does for your stream, a minimum recommended setup you can develop without breaking your wallet, and other various details as well!

Computer Components

So you’ve locked down your venue and are issued a budget for your new stream machine! You are on Amazon ready to purchase your pre-built desktop and/or laptop (or individual parts) but realize you don’t know what specific necessities you need to research in order to fulfill your software’s needs.

No need to look further as there are only 6 Prime Components to a computer that needs to be looked at before hitting the big red PAY button. These components include:

  • MOBO (Motherboard)
    • Description: A Motherboard is a printed circuit board containing the principal components of a computer or other devices. Think of the motherboard as the body of a computer.
    • Relation To Streaming: Though the motherboard has little to no effect as to the quality of your stream, it is the central hub your computer parts utilize in order to communicate with each other. Make sure to select the proper Motherboard for the appropriate CPU/GPU/RAM/HDD (Example: Core i7 8700k only works with Socket LGA1151 Motherboards)
  • CPU (Central Processing Unit)
    • Description: A CPU is essentially electronic circuitry within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program (i.e XSplit / OBS) by performing the basic arithmetic, logic, and controlling of input/output operations specified by the instructions. Think of the CPU as the brain of a computer.
    • Relation To Streaming: The CPU is one of the four most vital components in building/deciding on a streaming machine. The CPU essentially carries the weight of processing all (or most) of the audio/video that gets sent from your game. Be sure to pick a CPU with a high core count and good clock speeds as it will decrease the workload on your machine.
  • GPU (Graphical Processing Unit / Video Card)
    • Description: A GPU (or Video Card) is the device in a computer that outputs visual information to the monitor used.  
    • Relation To Streaming: The GPU is the second most vital component in building/deciding on a streaming machine. Most streamers tend to record and stream their tournaments in unison. In most cases, they dedicate the GPU as the recording device so that the CPU has less strain from doing it. 

Note: If you are on a budget, you may still be able to get away with a dedicated graphics card (graphics chip installed directly on your motherboard). Make sure to do proper research before resorting to this option!

  • RAM (Random Access Memory)
    • Description: RAM refers to an integrated circuited stick that store information for immediate use in a computer. This is not to be confused with HDD (Hard Drive)! Think of RAM as temporary storage for your program while Hard Drives are permanent storage for your programs/files/etc.
    • Relation To Streaming: RAM is the third most vital component in building/deciding on a streaming machine. Due to the heavy encoding and high quality streaming your program(s) output, RAM is needed is facilitate a home for this temporary data. Without a sufficient amount of RAM, you may experience dropped frame-rates! 

Note: In today’s day and age, the default amount of RAM a stream machine should utilize is 16GB. Though, if you want to future-proof your machine and eliminate any doubt, you could also upgrade towards 32GB as well!

  • SSD (Solid State Drive)
    • Description: A SSD is a storage device containing nonvolatile flash memory, used in place of a hard disk because of its much greater speed.
    • Relation To Streaming: An SSD is the fourth and final most vital component in building/deciding on a streaming machine. SSDs are very important to stream machines since they assure all your footage is safely stored. Also, due to the high read/write speeds of SSD’s, it prevents slowdowns and quality reduction from recording gameplay. SSD’s are also highly important when you are streaming games from your computer rather than from your console.

Note: If your budget cannot accommodate an SSD, you can also alternate towards buying a slower but reliable HDD (Hard Drive) or alternate between the two (1 SSD / 1 HDD configurations).

  • Monitors 
    • Description: A Computer Monitor is a device that displays the information produced by the GPU (Video Card). A monitor might be in the OLED, LCD, or CRT format.
    • Relation To Streaming: You’re gonna need a monitor to view your streaming software and chat. In terms of Monitors, any size you feel that is comfortable will work out. Also, it is highly recommended you utilize dual monitor setup as managing resources become easier!
Note: Make sure to check your Video Card’s maximum digital resolution output when deciding on using multiple monitors. This is to ensure your video can handle multiple monitors. For example: A GTX 1080 has a maximum digital resolution of 7680×4320; it can accommodate over 4x 1080p monitors simultaneously (To Calculate: 1920 * 4 = 7680 and 1080 * 4 = 4320). 

Minimum Computer Specifications

Now that you have an idea on what each of the vital components does in relation towards streaming, it time to start shopping. First, you must decide upon the budget you will maintaining yourself at as to not break your wallet. If you maintain this budget, you can probably afford additional stream necessities that can help you in the long run (stronger graphics card / microphones / etc). I recommend you start off with a budget of $600 – $700 and try to experiment with multiple build options around this price point.

Going through the shopping pages may seem daunting at first, so we compiled a list below of an example low budget streaming build that is based on XSplit’s / OBS minimum computer specifications and the budget we set ourself at earlier. We also listed some example Pre-Built systems for those who aren’t as technically savvy just in case:

Total Cost: $640 – $680 (Price Fluctuates depending on Price Changes / Availability)
Pre-built Streaming Desktop: HP Pavilion Desktop Computer
Pre-built Laptop: Dell Inspiron 15 5000

Laptop Vs. Desktop

While you are shopping for your new stream machine, you may wonder to yourself,  “Why don’t I just get a laptop so that I have a setup on-the-go rather than being held back by a desktops weight?” Though mobility is one of the positives of owning a Streaming Laptop Vs. Desktop, there are actually a few other thoughts to consider:

Laptop Pros
  • Mobility
    • The real benefit in dedicating towards a streaming laptop is the fact that you can maneuver to various events you are broadcasting with it. This can be incredibly time efficient when setting up for your event.
Laptop Cons
  • Performance
    • The big negative that Laptops carry with them is the possibility of sluggish performance when it is being used for numerous hours under a heavy workload. Since laptops are built more compact than that of desktops, overheating is far more likely to occur and can inflict damage on parts if not cooled after a period of time. Since streaming, on average, takes around 1-2 hours time depending on schedule, serious damage may be inflicted on your laptop due to the CPU/GPU throttle.
  • Multitasking
    • When using a laptop, you are only given one screen to use for layering your work/software. This can limit how much you can work in one sitting opposed to having a multiple monitor setup with a Desktop. Most laptops do have the option of utilizing a second screen, but that can hinder performance significantly; the GPU would have to work on maintaining the second screen and ensuring recording is optimally ran, which results in overheating becoming apparent.

Capture Cards

So you’ve finally purchased your stream machine and everything is going well. You were able to stream some games with your friends such as Fortnite and CS:GO and are looking forward to streaming some console games at your Smash Brothers tournament on Friday. Friday comes, you get everything set up, but then you realize something. 

How am I going to stream a console when there is no port to do so? When trying to stream games other than the ones installed on your PC, we enter the world of Capture Cards!

What is a Capture Card?

  • Capture cards are small electronic devices the help in capturing video signals from external devices via HDMI connection. You can think of a Capture Card as a helper elf in that it acts as a mini encoder that utilizes a special language (H.264) to help your CPU in processing data. 
Do I need one?
  • There are only two scenarios where you would need to utilize a capture card in your stream setup:
    • First Scenario: You are trying to stream video games from a video game console such as a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, or the Nintendo Switch (not to be confused with a virtual console [Dolphin]). 
    • Second Scenario: You are trying to capture various other HDMI signals such as ones from a high-end camera (SLR/DSLR/Camcorder) or any other miscellaneous HDMI device. 
How do I choose a Capture Card?
When choosing a capture card, there are 3 factors that come into play:
  • Cost
  • Video Quality
    • Frame Rate and Video Quality are highly important factors when trying to select your stream machines capture card. There are some capture cards that can do 1080p/60FPS while some can do 4k/30FPS. Make sure to do research on what resolution/frame rate your computer can handle to ensure proper stability! 
  • Console
    • You will need to figure out what console you will be streaming so that you can choose the proper capture card that supports the inputs the console requires. For example: If you wanted to stream a Melee tournament, you will need a capture card that supports either Component and/or Composite connections. If you are streaming a Tekken 7 tournament, you will need a capture card that supports an HDMI connection. 

Miscellaneous Additions: Microphones / Webcams / etc.

After weeks of research and buying hardware, you think you have reached the final destination…but the journey still goes on. You may have your streaming setup 100% operational and ready to stream, but what you don’t know is you can improve your stream even FURTHER by investing in some other future additions that can help along the way.

Microphones

What’s a stream without some commentary? Microphones help separate streams from being a regular bland gameplay feed to an intellectual streaming atmosphere where users can voice their opinions, share game knowledge, or start conversations with the streamer!

Types of Microphones include:

  • USB “Gamer” Microphones
  • Condenser Microphones
  • Dynamic Microphones
  • Stereo Microphones

Webcams / Cameras

In cohesion with Microphones, how are the viewers supposed to enjoy your stream when they can’t even see you or your commentator’s faces while they speak? Cameras are a great means of furthering viewer interactions and increasing relations with your base.

Types of Cameras include:

  • USB Webcams
  • DSLR or Mirrorless Cameras.
  • Camcorders
  • Action Cameras
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3.Software: The Infrastructure

Now that you have all your equipment ready to begin streaming, its time to decide upon the software you will be using to run this endeavor. Luckily, choosing a program isn’t that hard since it comes down to only a few factors.

In this section, we will be providing a basic approach to using these streaming programs. We will be going over the types of Streaming Programs, differences between Free and Premium Programs, understand Rates, and Basic Stream Settings to help you initiate your streaming adventure! With that said, let’s get started.  

Streaming Programs

In the world of broadcasting, there are 4 known rulers who have overtaken the hearts of many and have become the staple in the industry. These programs include:

  • XSplit Broadcaster
    • XSplit is a live streaming and video-mixing application developed and maintained by SplitmediaLabs. It is mostly used for capturing gameplay for live streaming or video recording purposes.
    • For more information, check out their website here: https://www.xsplit.com/
  • OBS Studio (Open Broadcaster Software)
    • OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) is a free and open-source streaming and recording program maintained by the OBS Project. 
    • For more information, check out their website here: https://obsproject.com/
  • vMix
    • vMix is a software vision mixer available for the Windows operating system. It allows users to control mixing, switching, recording and live streaming of cameras, videos files, audio, and more, in resolutions of up to 4K.
    • For more information, check out their website here: https://www.vmix.com/ 
  • Wirecast
    • Wirecast is a live video streaming production tool by Telestream. It allows users to create live or on-demand broadcasts for the web.
    • For more information, check out their website here: https://www.telestream.net/wirecast

Difference between Free and Premium

Now that we have listed the 4 Kings of the streaming world, we also must know the difference between Entirely-Free Streaming Programs and Premium Streaming Programs.

Note: Programs that are “30 day only” or any specified amount will not be listed as Entirely-Free since there are many features restricted unless a price is paid for a Final Build.

 

  • Entirely-Free Programs
    • OBS Studio (Open Broadcaster Software)
      • In terms of free to use, OBS Studio is the sole king of this category. Once downloaded, all of the programs streaming features and tools are available for use! However, don’t let the “free” tag dismay you from trying the program. OBS is regarded as one of the top programs to use for streaming in today’s world. From its sleek, low-resource user interface to its modular architecture, you are really getting an extraordinary product that is CPU friendly and has an assortment of mods for you to tinker with. 
  • Partially-Free Programs
    • XSplit
      • When one thinks of OBS Studio, they also think of its similar distant 2nd cousin 3 times removed…you get the gist. XSplit is also a program loved by many (including myself) when utilized in your streaming work-cycle. Though it can be resource intensive at times, it truly shines in its simplistic selection system and its feature presentation. XSplit, is in fact, free to use but there are limits to what you can do in this version compared to its premium counterpart: Content will be watermarked at 720p/30FPS or higher, content can’t be commercially used, presentations are limited and much more. 
      • For more information on the limitations, check out this page here: https://www.xsplit.com/broadcaster/faq/general/can-i-use-xsplit-broadcaster-for-free
    • Wirecast
      • Wirecast, just like its semi-similar counterpart vMix, is also a video switcher that is used by professional broadcasting productions at live events. Though it is a professional level broadcasting program, it can still be utilized for something as small as locals or small events. Wirecast is also a partially free program but has way more limitations than that of XSplit. This includes limited streaming with one live source and basic production capabilities.
  • Premium-Only Programs
    • vMix
      • Last but not least, we have the professional giant is production today called vMix. vMix is usually the staple in most professional level production setups. Geeky Goon Squad has been known to utilize this software in most of the top level major events. Though this program has a 30 day trial, its usage become restricted after the 30 day trial has concluded.

Understanding Rates

Before we delve further into setting up your programs Stream Settings, you must briefly learn about Upload Rates provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and how it affects your streams success greatly.

ISP’s and You

Internet Service Providers govern on whether or not you will be going live for that day. Simple concept: If there is no internet, there is no stream. With that said, it is the duty of the Venue Owner/Stream Manager to ensure that any and all connections will not be tampered with and formulate ways of stream recovery in the event that the internet connection goes down. 3 forms of backup in case of outages include Hotspots, Mesh Networks (from 3rd party Router), or Free WiFi (not recommended). Internet Security and Backup Plans will be discussed in future articles to come. With that said, here is an example list of notable ISP’s in the U.S as of 2018:

  • Verizon FIOS 
  • Comcast Xfinity
  • Google Fiber (applicable cities only)
  • AT&T

When choosing an ISP for your stream arrangement, you want to choose one that can provide consistently high upload rates with optimal customer service in the event of blackouts. The better your upload rate, the better the stability of your stream.

The Rates: Upload Rates / Frame Rates / Bit Rates / Resolution

Upload rates are highly important when deciding on the Resolution/Frame-rate/Bit-rate of your stream. We go more into depth on these subjects in the section below, but it’s good to know this ahead of time. Here are some definitions of what you will run into as you read below:

  • Upload Rate (Upload Speed): Upload Rate is the rate that data is transferred from the user’s computer to the Internet. (Example: My Internet package is 10 Download / 10 Upload)
  • Frame Rate: Frame rate (expressed in frames per second or fps) is the frequency (rate) at which consecutive images called frames appear on a display (Example: My stream runs at 720p 59.94 FPS)
  • Bit Rates: Bit Rate is the number of bits per second that can be transmitted along a digital network. In general terms, it is the quality of the video you’re encoding for your viewers (Example: My streams bit rate is 1800, a staple for 720p based streams)
    • Note: Keep in mind that the higher the bitrate you use, the further harm you will do to people with low internet speeds. Example: People who have a download speed of 2.5 MB/s will not be able to view a stream at 3000 (3 MB/s) bit-rate!
  • Resolution: Resolution is the number of pixels (individual points of color) contained on a display monitor, expressed in terms of the number of pixels on the horizontal axis and the number on the vertical axis. (Example: 1920×1080, 1280×720, 1024×768)

Rule Of Thumb: When determining the bit-rate for your stream, it is recommended you utilize no more than 50% of your available upload bandwidth capacity on a dedicated line. So If you have a maximum upload of 2 Mb/s (2000 KB/s), it isn’t recommended that you go over a bit rate of 1000 as your chances of dropped frames become highly probable.

As for determining the resolution and frame rate, they based what your bitrate is. With this, we can conclude that Upload Speed → Bitrate → Frame Rate & Resolution. YouTube provides a good example of how to determine your resolution and frame rate in order to stream on their platform here.

Stream Settings

Now that we have gone over a majority of the fundamental information regarding streaming, it’s time for the bread and butter details. Below, you will be provided with some test settings to tinker around with and see if its your particular spice.

Note: Bear in mind that I am using XSplit to share all this data. What is written below may look different in programs such as OBS, WireCast, vMix, or any other 3rd party program. 

720p Example Profile

Stream Settings

Video Encoding
Platform Broadcasting Towards: Twitch
  • Twitch Account: Test 1
  • Codec: x264
    • x264 is the codec used by many CPU’s for encoding video. I am basically telling my software that “my CPU is solely in charge of handling the streams video encoding”.
  • Bitrate: 1800 kb/s (1.8 mb/s)
  • Mode: CBR
    • For a detailed explanation on CBR/VBR, I recommend you check out this article here
  • Keyframes: 2
    • A keyframe is an entire and complete and total image, that is used as a reference for other frames (“images”) that the video generates. The shorter the keyframe, the better chance you have of video being of better quality. 
  • Video Size: 1280×720
  • Encoder Preset: Very Fast
    • These presets determine the change in your video quality and CPU usage accordingly.
  • Profile: Main
Audio Encoding
  • Codec: AAC LC
  • Bitrate: 160 kb/s
  • Format: Stereo

Recording Settings

Video Encoding
  • Codec: NVENC H.264
    • NVENC is the codec used by NVidia graphics cards for encoding video. I am basically telling my software that “my video card is solely in charge of handling recordings”. Alternatively, if I wanted my CPU to handle recording, I would issue x264 as the codec.
  • Quality: Ultra High
Audio Encoding
  • Codec: AAC LC
  • Bitrate: 192 kb/s
  • Format: Stereo
Output
  • File Type: mp4
  • Force Constant Frame-rate?: Yes
    • This is important since most post-production programs such as Vegas Pro and Adobe Premiere have troubles with processing Variable Bit Rates (audio desyncs are common). 
Playout
  • Projector: Set my “game only” scene to my 1st monitor and my overall scenes to a 2nd monitor.
    • Projector is another way of saying “where would I like what my viewers are seeing also displayed towards?
Settings – Audio
System Sound
  • Set this to whatever you’d like your stream audio to be forwarded towards (Speakers for example). So if you have a video playing in your program, they will be outputted to the speakers.
Microphone
  • Set this to whatever you’d like to input towards your stream. This can be a mixer, microphones, desktop audio, etc.
Settings – Advanced
Video Processing Mode
  • Prefer CPU for video processing.
  • I have it this way since, after numerous tests, it seems that I take less of a performance hit when my CPU takes control of video processing (not to be confused with recording!)
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4.Commentators: The Voices of your Brand

Were almost at the finish line guys! Now that you’ve got your Hardware and Software setup, you are now free to start your stream at any given moment. However, you realize that as your streaming and gaining viewers, most aren’t staying for as long as you had hoped. You start panicking and wonder if it’s the quality of your stream degrading or something is wrong with Twitch.

Though it is great to be cautionary, the primary reason for this occurrence is the lack of human interaction! The streaming community loves being able to talk/share their feelings with other people. If you provide someone who can keep them entertained or informed at what is going on in front of them, you are likely to maintain audiences numbers for hours (depending on the skill of the person talking). We have now reached our next step in building your stream: The Commentator Zone!

Local Commentators

Most of the time, it’s your closest friends or rivals from your nearby local who can satisfy the linguistic tastes of your chat. Local Commentators are the staple commentators for most start up tournaments organizations and is the starting place for most well-known commentators.

Since you are comfortable with your friends, you are able to speak about whatever you want without holding back due to lack of getting to know your said partner. Below is a good example of what a local commentary reel is like:

 

Professional/Experienced Commentators

For bigger events of sizable magnitude, you may want to step up your production a notch. Though Local Commentary can be beneficial for big events, it’s highly recommended that someone invest in seasoned well known Professional Commentators to take the reigns of your stream to the next level. With commentators such as this, your videos/stream viewership will rise due to a Professional Commentators clout and recognition among the community for their insightful observations and details.

Below is a good example of what a professional level commentary reel is like:

 

Dictating the Voice of your Steam

Before we conclude this section, there is one important aspect that must be addressed. Even if you have hired the best commentator in the entire cosmos, nothing will matter unless you dictate the Voice of your Stream.

To define this, take this example into thought: Say you invited two random people onto your commentary table since they seemed eager to commentate the whole day. The moment you give them the go to talk and a match begins, the two randoms instantly begin to use profanity and harass your viewership for tuning in. In response to this, you lose viewership due to the outburst caused by these people and lose opportunities for growth.

To avoid problems like this, all streamers must inform all new commentators about the Voice of their Stream. Before the two new commentators sat down to cause a ruckus, the streamers should of let them know that “there will be no profane words used on this stream. Other than that, have fun”. By issuing this, things could have been avoided swiftly and/or harsh action could have been made due to their action. Remember guys, you are the rule maker / judge / jury / and executioner in cases such as this! 

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5.Post Production: When The Cameras Are Off

You have reached the conclusion of your tournament and everyone has gone home due to late hours. You have turned your stream off and packing up to go home to sleep the day away. Suddenly, out of the darkness, the last tournament contender comes up to you and whispers in your ear, “when are VODS going to be uploaded? Also, when is the Top 8 Graphic going to be uploaded?” 

A streamers job never truly ends once the stream goes off. There are many additional duties to take care of once the cameras are off. These duties may or may not include VOD Production and Graphic Arts assignment. Let us delve into Post Production and what you might have to do in situations such as this!

VOD Production

A very common term used in the tournament scenes is Video On Demand (or VODS, for short). VODS are essentially the video(s) you recorded for the event that is edited and uploaded on Youtube. Competitors can then use these VODS to study for future match-ups or boast about tournament wins. There are essentially two methods of creating VODS in the streaming world:

  • Method 1: Record Entire VOD + Video Editing Software
    • The first method of creating VODS is by recording an entire day worth of video and then importing it into a 3rd party Video Editing Software for post-production work. This work can include Sound Correction, Color Configuring, Transcoding, or many other tasks depending on the program used. Examples of programs used for editing VODS are:
  • Method 2: Manual Split Recording
    • The second method of creating VODS is by selectively starting-ending recording at certain intervals during your stream so that you receive the output in segments rather than one entire video. This method is primarily practiced for Bigger Sized events due to the overbearing amount of footage that is recording during them. There are locals who also utilize this method to save time on uploads and supply videos the day of creation. 
      • Using this method also ensures faster uploads towards Youtube since the videos are supplied on the spot. 
      • Warning: Though this method is heavily time efficient, a streamer must ensure that all checks have been done (Sound Check/Video Check) as to avoid any problems when uploading VODS. 
Quick Note on VOD Thumbnails: Thumbnails are the book covers of the online video world. Though they aren’t necessary for most local-level tournaments, it can provide a level of professionalism to your YouTube videos. Competitors/Viewers also highly appreciate Thumbnails since they mask who the winner was/spoilers of tournament sets.

If you have the opportunity of including thumbnails in your video, it is highly recommended! Below is an example of videos with Thumbnails and without Thumbnails.

Graphic Arts

Though this job varies from organization to organization, streamers often have the responsibility of uploading graphics to their tournaments YouTube/social media pages. The reason why this is a common occurrence is due to streamers being the only team members who witness a stream matches outcome a majority of the time. Due to this, it only makes sense that they develop graphics that pertain to placements for a tournament. Graphics can include Thumbnail Creation, Top 8 Graphics, or anything in relation towards the two. 

In the future, we will be working on an informative guide on how to create Graphics and what to know when creating them!

Example of a Top 8 Graphic

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6.Conclusion

After a long run, we have reached the Finish Line! In this article, we went over a multitude of things all streamers should keep in mind such as Mindsets, Constructing your Hardware List, Setting the Proper Software Settings, Commentators, and Post Production Assignments.

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this article as much as I loved writing it. To conclude our journey, I would like to inform you of one last thing:

If your goal is to become a top streamer, never give up on it. Focus on your goals and never let anyone drag you down. It may be an arduous road, but one filled with great memories and lessons along the way. Keep growing and remember, have fun with it!

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