Streaming online on platforms like Twitch and YouTube is a great way to express yourself, build an audience, and even make money. While streaming was originally mostly centered around video games, these days people do all kinds of things live on stream, from debating topical issues to creating artwork, and there are niche audiences for people with all kinds of interests and talents.
Gaming is also still a popular thing to stream, though these days to attract an audience in a competitive market you do need to do more than just stream your game while talking into a headset mic, for instance having a facecam, overlays for things like chat, and good quality audio. This means that even for gaming streamers, some equipment and tools are necessary to create a good experience for your viewers.
Here we look at what you need to get started:
Fast, Unlimited Internet
You need a robust and fast internet connection to stream, and this is the number one priority. While you can improve things like your microphone in time as you grow and become more experienced, you can’t really get started at all without an internet connection that can handle streaming. Find out how fast is my Internet with a speed test, and consider whether you may need to upgrade your current service.
You’ll need an account on your platform of choice to start streaming. If you already have a YouTube channel, you need to activate live streaming on it to stream on YouTube. Twitch is the other main platform, but you can also consider things like Facebook that offer live streaming.
While you can stream just from your webcam on some platforms like YouTube, allowing you to do things like stream ad hoc from your phone, for a professional stream setup, you’ll want some proper stream management software. A popular choice is Streamlabs OBS which is free. There are plenty of tutorials to help you do what you want to do with it, and you can connect it to your platform ready to go live.
You will need a decent microphone. At a professional level, people usually use XLR mics that require a preamp, but you can get away with using a good quality USB mic for most types of content to save money while you’re getting started. You’ll also need a good webcam and may also want to consider lighting – a ring light can make a lot of difference to how you appear on camera. If you don’t plan to appear on camera at all – for instance you want to use a VTuber avatar, you don’t need to be as particular about camera and lighting, but you will still need a webcam of some sort.
There are other things you may choose to get, such as overlay packs to give your stream a good look, or a stream deck to control your stream while live, but these are the essential things to enable you to get started.