The world of livestreaming is filled with flashy lights and bright annoying marketing campaigns, advertising the latest energy drink, hardware and software. Once you enter this world there is no going back. It seems that the flashier your stream the better and faster your stream will grow. The same saying that people often use for PC builds “The more RGB, the better the PC’s performance” applies to streamers as well, “The more lights and RGB I have in my ground, the faster my stream will grow”. And while this statement is true to certain extent, we all like to look at pretty lights rather than old shoe racks in the background, it does not guarantee growth or success.
However there are certain upgrades that can directly impact your stream’s growth and when implemented smartly, will pay for themselves.
Treat your stream like a business
If you have stable financial income and streaming is your way of escaping the world and a pure hobby, please go ahead and spoil yourself with whatever you think will make the stream better or more enjoyable. You are working hard for your money, you earned it.
If streaming is your career, or side hustle, you need to treat it like a business. This being said when it comes to upgrades, these need to be carefully chosen. No matter what you are upgrading think to yourself “How will this upgrade improve my stream or viewer experience?”, “How is this upgrade going to pay off?”. If you spend $200 on upgrading your stream, will the viewer experience also go up by $200? Will this pay off itself in the long run? We often get lost and see the newest hardware and buy it. More often than not, the viewer will never be able to tell the difference in your stream, therefore the viewer experience did not go up.
As discussed in previous articles and well known by the streaming community, audio is everything. And while your face cam only takes up 15% of the screen, your voice takes up 100% of the stream’s audio. A clean and crisp sounding microphone should always be the first thing to upgrade. Are more expensive microphones better? Yes and no. To an extent the more expensive the microphone the better it is, but keep in mind, will the viewer actually be able to tell the difference? You do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on a professional studio microphone in order to have a good stream, but there are certain things you should be avoiding!
Using your webcam as your main microphone. Until recently I have never thought I would see a streamer actually using their Logitech C920 built in microphone as the main audio input, I was proven different. Using a webcam built in microphone should never be an option for your stream. These microphones pick all the noise around you and not even in a good way. The quality is low, it will make the viewer gringe when tuning in. At the very least a decent is required for streaming. If you do not have a good microphone on a microphone arm so you can position it wherever you need it, this should be your very first upgrade!
As mentioned above your face cam only takes up about 15% of your overall stream’s video. When shopping for a face cam should keep this in mind. A Logitech C920 is perfect when starting your streaming career. There are slightly different models and if you have the financial options I highly recommend you pick the model that is capable of streaming in 720p 60fps. There is nothing wrong with streaming in 30fps however, your viewer will be able to notice this upgrade and therefore it upgrades the viewer experience. I do not recommend buying a DSLR right out of the gate unless you are using it on multiple occatisations, for example to record YouTube content. If your audio is on point a decent webcam should be the second upgrade to your stream
Last on the list your backdrop and this is different for everyone! You can design and decorate your backdrop however you like. While it is pleasant for the viewer to look at pretty lights or fancy art, it does not directly improve your stream’s viewer experience. After you gathered a good microphone and a good webcam, it is now time to spend money on your backdrop and make it visually appealing for the viewer. It is important to note that you can buy cheap LEDs at your local warehouse store and achieve the same great RGB effect, that you would with professional “Streamer lights”.
This article does not mention investing or upgrading yourself in regards to editing software, recording or learning, since there are endless free options out there and you can achieve movies like highlight videos for YouTube with completely free editing software. However if you enjoy editing and making content, I would highly recommend investing into some software to get these two to three exclusive features!