On the face of it streaming is pretty simple; sit down, turn your camera on and let the whole world watch on as you build a social media superpower. Unfortunately, it’s a little trickier than that, but we’ve got your back! Here is our complete list of streaming resources to get you up and running!
Educational Streaming Resources
Guides & Articles
Top 5 Support Channels
Chances are you will need some help at some point in your streaming adventure. Here are 5 support channels on YouTube that can help you solve your problems:
1. Alpha Gaming
Alpha focuses mostly on Twitch workaround and OBS tips. He also does product reviews on the latest streaming hardware and can help with picking the right cost-effective items!
Nutty is big on OBS plugins. If you want to make your streams stand out from the crowd then take some of Nutty’s plugin advice!
TVN is mostly all about the hardware. He makes fantastic budget item videos as well as setup tutorials and advanced settings help.
Are you making great content but not being found? VidIQ is all about optimizing your video visuals and SEO curtains to ensure you get found in the online streaming algorithm.
Specifically, YouTube focussed, TubeBuddy released a weekly podcast on all things YouTube creation, features that are coming soon and how you can take advantage of them as a creator.
Software & Hardware Streaming Resources
Popular Streamer Setups
Top 5 Streaming Platforms
Stepping into the world of streaming for the first time and trying to decide where to post your content can be confusing at the best of times. Here are our Top 5 picks for the Top Streaming Platforms in 2021:
Twitch is without a doubt the grand-daddy of game streaming. It controls a large percentage of the gaming market and has a fantastic user interface with extremely easy-to-use features.
In recent years, Twitch has been expanding into a variety of streaming including just chatting and hot tub streams.
One widespread criticism of Twitch is that it is extremely hard to grow without a pre-existing fan base. Because of this, you might want to consider growing on another platform and then making the move over to Twitch once you are established.
Often considered the founding father of live streaming, YouTube has been allowing users to live stream from their desktop PCs since 2010 and even expanded into mobile streaming in 2017.
Their YouTube Studio interface is pretty easy to get to grips with, however, in terms of viewer interaction it loses out to Twitch quite magnificently. YouTube has mentioned that this is something they want to develop further in the future.
Due to its close connection with Google, your streams can be found relatively easily through the search engine with the right choice of keywords and tags.
You’ve probably heard of MIxer as one of the all-time leading streaming platforms. In 2020, Mixer announced that they would be partnering with Facebook and redirecting all of their streams through to the social media site.
Facebook live streams consist mostly of gaming, with the category now having it’s very own tab on your Facebook home page.
Simple to use and relatively moderate growth possibilities make Facebook a solid choice for streaming.
TikTok is relatively new to the world in general, let alone the streaming world.
As a mobile application, it is only possible to stream in portrait mode. This means that it is VERY rarely used for gaming streams and is more popular for IRL (In Real Life) and Just Chatting streamers who want to grow their social media portfolio.
In a similar vein to TikTok, Instagram live streams are all about chatting and interaction with pre-existing followers. Its interface can be awkward to navigate but if you already have a large IG following, this could be your way forward.
Between the two platforms, TikTok and Instagram are the least popular on our list!
Top 4 Streaming Software
In order to distribute your streams to a platform, you’ll need to capture them using streaming software. This is usually a free downloadable program that will help you organize your video and audio sources before you send them to your chosen site.
Inside this software, you can also add overlays, background music, and many other features which help boost your stream interactivity with the viewer.
Here are our top 4 picks for streaming software:
1. Streamlabs OBS
Streamlabs OBS (or SLOBS) is one of the most user-friendly pieces of software we’ve ever used. It’s extremely easy to navigate and build your stream to your liking. The settings even have a ‘Simple’ auto setting to make sure you don’t get lost inside a maze of encoder and bitrate madness!
One small issue with Streamlabs is that it uses a lot of CPU. If you have a lower spec computer you might want to consider a different software.
It was released as a stripped-down and easier to use younger brother to OBS Studio and is a fantastic choice for new streamers looking to take their first steps into this type of software.
2. OBS Studio
As previously mentioned, OBS Studio is the precursor to SLOBS. When you open it up it immediately looks more complicated and can be very confusing at times.
There are however some incredible pros to using OBS Studio over SLOBS. OBS has API integration from back in its development days. This means that it supports plugins and opens the door to a whole myriad of different design opportunities. If you’re looking for a feature that’s not already integrated into the vanilla version of OBS, there’s a strong likelihood somebody has designed the perfect plug-in for you online.
Plug-ins are not supported in SLOBS which definitely gives OBS Studio one serious advantage! On top of that, OBS studio uses far less CPU than its younger brother and is a great alternative for those with budget PCs.
There’s no doubt that OBS and SLOBS are the people’s streaming software of choice. XSplit provides an alternative to SLOBS in terms of straightforward setup and use.
It does require a fair bit of tweaking to ensure your settings are correctly optimized and this can be confusing without professional help.
It does not support plugins but is a very useful and basic software for those who don’t require super flashy streams.
4. Twitch Studio
Twitch has recently released their very own stream software which, surprise surprise, can only stream to Twitch.
It’s very basic in what it offers but does provide extremely good connection and cooperation with the Twitch interface, chat, and settings.
One to watch for now and could be a top pick for those of you streaming on Twitch. Also, keep an eye on other streaming platforms also developing their own software. It won’t be long before they all have their own!
Top 5 Visual Editing Software
Short of paying somebody to do it all for you, you’re going to need some visual editing software to design your own overlays, transitions, and logos. Here are 5 of the top visual editing software available on the market for streamers today:
For image creation and editing, there is no better choice. Photoshop provides features that are unmatched by other programs. Whether you’re creating a logo from scratch or editing pre-existing images, Photoshop can do it all.
The downside to this is that there is absolutely no way Adobe would provide this for free! At the time of writing Photoshop is a stunning $20 per month … a pretty hefty monthly payment. You can combine it with other Adobe software and get a better deal but it’s still expensive.
GIMP has managed to do something that no other image editing software has done; provide a free and competitive alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
GIMP brags many of the same features as Photoshop and with a smaller library of total features but comes in a much smaller package. It’s much less demanding on your CPU and takes up far less memory.
Despite a smaller library of features than Photoshop, 90% of users will find everything they could ever need to produce vibrant and high-quality designs.
3. After Effects
When you see streamers with overlays or webcam frames that have animated borders, they were probably made inside Adobe After Effects. AE allows you to create keyframe animation which can be used to make stingers, transitions, and many more eye-popping effects for your stream.
Similar to Photoshop, it is available on a fairly expensive monthly subscription but unlike Photoshop it does not have any capable free alternatives. We think this is worth the monthly hit.
There is a large learning curve but once you get to grips with After Effects it will change your streaming possibilities for the better!
4. Premiere Pro
Sometimes you will want to edit down your stream highlights into clips or VODs. If you’re already paying for one Adobe product then you should pip for Premiere Pro as your video editor.
Simple to use and extremely efficient, Premiere allows you to clip, cut, and arrange your videos as well as add visual and audio effects.
5. Da Vinci Resolve
Known as the best free-to-use software out there, Da Vinci Resolve offers an extremely similar experience to Premiere Pro but with a slightly bigger learning curve. It’s less user-friendly and makes the assumption that you already know a bit about video editing. There are plenty of online tutorials to help you with this.
Once learned, Da Vinci is an invaluable streamer tool for video creation. We can quite confidently say that there are no free video alternatives out there as good as Resolve!
Top 9 Must Have Hardware
Without a setup, you’ll be very limited on what you can do from mobile! It’s important to have a good combination of equipment in order to produce the best content possible. Here’s our top 10 must-have stream hardware:
1. A Decent PC Build
Streaming takes a lot out of your PC, so it is vital to have a solid build. When putting together your PC pay close attention to your CPU processor, GPU, and amount of RAM. All of these three parts can have a huge impact on your PC’s ability to stream smoothly.
Many large electronics companies will try to sell you a pre-built system, but we would suggest doing a little bit of research and trying to build your own. It will be far more reliable and a percentage of the cost!
Of course, you’ll need to be able to see what you’re streaming in order to make sure everything is broadcasting as you wish. If you’re gaming, you’ll also need to make sure your monitor can handle the in-game FPS.
We’d recommend running a dual monitor setup. One monitor for your mainstreaming content and another for your stream platform so that you can read chat and continue your content at the same time, otherwise you’ll find yourself dropping in and out of your main content to check analytics and chat.
Not always a necessity, a webcam can add a little bit of personality and flavor to your streams. When choosing which camera to purchase, keep an eye on the resolution and fps rates. Try to pick a resolution above 720p and a frame rate above 30fps. These are industry standard minimums in 2021.
As much as video quality can be a make or break for your streams, it has actually been suggested that audio quality is more of a game-changer for viewers. Make sure to pick up a microphone without static background noise and to start with at least a USB connection for better quality.
Once you want to upgrade in the future, consider moving into XLR microphones with a mixer or audio processor to help with the overall sound of your mic.
Having problems with microphone settings? We’ve got your back right here!
The headset industry is extremely competitive these days and as such prices for decent headsets are becoming very affordable. For more information on Streaming Headsets, check out our dedicated headset article right here!
If you’re using a camera of any sort, you’re going to want to have your subject well lit and visible. Usually, your room light isn’t powerful enough to give equal lighting and a natural source like sunlight is very unreliable.
In most cases, a couple of USB ring lights will do the trick but for a more rounded and soft lighting effect, consider going for a couple of box lights. These lights absorb some of the harshest white light and emit a soft glow that is easy on the eyes.
When streaming you very regularly will want to switch between scenes and sources, showing your viewer’s different views, angles and content. Going to your streaming software every time to do this can be a pain, so grab yourself a Streamdeck to make the whole process easier.
Yes, Streamdecks are expensive. They have basically glorified num pads BUT they offer so much in terms of accessibility. On top of that, there are some very capable free mobile apps that can do the same job with limited features.
Ideas & Inspiration
Top 4 Streaming Categories
Platforms like to sort their streams into categories for viewers to be able to navigate more easily. This means that when you stream you will need to assign a category to the stream metrics. Here are the top 4 streaming categories across all platforms:
1. Just Chatting
Literally what it says on the tin. The streamer will sit and talk to their chat, interacting with them by doing Q&As, word games, or telling stories of how crazy their Monday has been.
Just chatting is not going to score you any growth but can be great once you are more established to help build a rapport with your loyal viewers.
Definitely the most saturated streaming market, gaming streams can be found all over the web nowadays. Gaming can be further categorized into game types like FPS, Survival, and Retro.
Be warned, there are tens of millions of gaming streamers out there these days … What do you have to bring to the party that makes your streams different? Solve that puzzle and you will rise to the top!
Streaming has given musicians a place to advertise their skills in a pandemic hit world. With theatres and concert halls closed, it has become commonplace to watch your favorite artist perform a full set online.
Combine original songs with viewer interaction and you could build your fan base using musical live streams!
People confuse IRL with Just Chatting but in reality, they are completely different. IRL streams are a new trend of people streaming their day-to-day lives or excursions. This could be anything from streaming yourself sleeping to streaming your day at the office.
Viewers seem to really enjoy this real-world live time access to people’s daily lives and there seems to be a genuine interest in learning ‘how the other half live’ so to say.
Of all the categories listed here, we expect IRL to be the next big thing!
More Streaming Resources
Top 5 Audio Distributors
Having a great microphone is just half of the audio that most streamers are concerned about. Most of the time you’ll want to have some background music to accompany your stream, intros, or other screens. Here are our top 5 non-copyright audio distributors:
1. YouTube Audio Library
If you don’t have an account on YouTube it might be worth making one just to get access to this fantastic library of copyright-free audio.
Filter through the genres, moods, and lengths of thousands of tracks and download the MP3 files directly to your pc. YouTube has done the copyright checks so you don’t have to!
There is also a small selection of sound effects and shorter stinger sounds which are perfect for video editing and transitions.
Epidemic recently took out a large advertising campaign through Google Ads and as such has caught the attention of larger streamers.
Their massive catalog of modern copyright-free songs is hard to beat but it comes at a cost. At the time of writing a subscription to Epidemic will set you back 10 euros a month but there is a 30-day free trial! Give it a go and see what you think of their selection.
A diamond in the rough, NCS builds playlists on Spotify which are completely copyright-free. Simply search NCS in the search bar and you will see Drum and Bass, Dubstep, and plenty of other NCS playlists available for use.
From time to time, copyright is added at a later date and can become a small issue. NCS works quickly to remove these songs as soon as they are aware of any clashes but in two years of our using NCS, it has not created any issues!
A direct competitor to Epidemic, artlist also brags a library of modern songs from multiple genres and charges a monthly subscription.
Every song has been copyright-checked and is ready to be used in your content creation. In addition, they have an entire library dedicated to sound effects only!
Soundcloud has been around for a long time as a platform where artists can upload and market their music for free. On the face of it there aren’t that many non-copyrighted songs on the platform but there ARE non-copyrighted dedicated playlists. Search ‘Royalty Free Music’ for an up-to-date list of stream-friendly tunes!
And there you have it, the complete streaming resources list to EVERYTHING you need to become a successful streamer. Team these items and software up with charisma, energy, or great gameplay and you will be sitting at the top of the trending charts in no time!