The List of 20 Streaming Essentials Every Aspiring Game Streamer NeedsWhether you are an experienced Twitch game streamer or a newcomer to a streaming world, there is always something to improve. You don’t always have to spend a lot of money on streaming equipment. If you are a game streamer, you have already had the most costly thing - a powerful computer. Additional streaming devices can be chosen for a moderate price. Here are 20 things to help make your stream look and sound more attractive:
#1. Good Internet ConnectionThe image quality of stream depends on your upload speed - the amount of data you send out. Twitch recommends having 3 -3,5 mbps upload speed. You can check the bandwidth of your Internet connection here. If you have less than 3 mbps upload, then your stream may experience blocking or stuttering. Improving the quality of Internet connection can become a crucial step in taking your live stream to the next level. Choose a wired LAN connection instead of WiFi: it provides faster and consistent local connection. It’s also good to have a backup plan - a secondary data connection.
#2. Audio EquipmentStreamer’s comments are the main thing why people usually watch the gameplay. If your sound is bad, viewers will unlikely stick around. You can save money on other devices, but be ready to invest in quality audio equipment. Avoid built-in mics on your camera, always choose external mic instead. There are plenty of mics to choose from. Thus, one of the best directional condenser microphones is Rode NTG4, which provides good broadcasting quality. The famous YouTube streamer PewDiePie recommends using the AKG Pro Audio Microphone. In case you are streaming from a noisy place or are moving a lot, search for something similar to Sennheiser ew 112-p G3. If you prefer using a dynamic microphone, you will need to boost the audio signal and control its volume and tone.
#3. MixerAs it goes from the name, a mixer is needed to mix different sounds. Any mixer has several inputs for different audio signals and allows you to set tracks individually depending on your need. A mixer is able to create a mixed signal that is transmitted to the PC. For the creative streamers, mixer is a must-have purchase. Here are some best options present on the market: Behringer Xenyx X1204USB Mixer (for streamers who want it all in one package), Behringer Q802USB Mixer (good quality for a reasonable price). They often need separate signals for different mics and instruments. For other streamers, an audio interface can be sufficient.
#4. Audio InterfaceThe mic, however good it may be, needs an audio interface. Most professional streaming mics don't plug into any PC or laptop. If you don’t want to bother yourself with complicated setups, choose a USB version of mic that is plug and play. But, if you are going to twist your fortune with streaming, it’s better choose a good audio interface that gives you access to a whole line of more professional microphones. Here are some options to choose from: Scarlett 2i2, Roland UA-4FX II Stream Station, Steinberg UR22 MKII USB Audio Interface. Audio interface is a worthy investment that doesn’t need to be upgraded unless you’re looking for more inputs.
#5. Pop Filter or Foam CoverThis simple and cheap thing enables you to pronounce words without hard “T”, “P”, “S” and “B” sounds and have a mic closer to your mouth. Both pop filter or foam cover help dissipate the air before it gets to the mic by cutting noise generated by wind blowing on the mic. They are similarly effective and make your sounding smoother and more pleasant.
#6. WebcamPeople want to see the person behind the voice. You don’t have to have a webcam, but having it will definitely add a lot of value to your production. Webcams help show facial expressions and reactions. That is why if you are an expressive person, a webcam will enrich experience for viewers. However, if you are boring, the webcam will depict the lack of emotions. Some streamers get success without a webcam, so it’s completely up to you. Logitech provides a wide choice of webcams to choose from. For instance, Logitech C922 is a relatively cheap and quality option with a built-in chromakey thing.
#7. LightingProper lighting is crucial if you are using a webcam. It makes you look more presentable. First of all, try to catch a natural light: ideally, you should sit in front of the window. If your room lacks natural lighting, consider using one of the following options. The Ikea Tertial or similar lamps are the cheapest and easiest way to add some light on your face. More professional lighting kits, such as Cowboy Studio Triple Lighting Kit and Fancierstudio Lighting and Green Screen Kit provide a full set of necessary things: a green screen, lighting and backdrop.
#8. Cotton Green ScreenIt’s not a necessary, but very effective thing that will give a professional feel to your stream. Green screens provide you with a little more screen space as well as the possibility to make fun green screen gimmicks if you know how. Green screen is good when you can’t control your background or it looks unprofessional (for example, if you have the shelves cluttered with boxes or roommates passing by). However, if you can create a clean attractive background, it will certainly look more appealing than any green screen cotton cover. A plenty of big streamers prefer not to use a green screen. On their backgrounds they have purposefully put the things that give a window into their personal interests and can drive chat discussion. For instance, chocoTaco has put Lego minifigures on the shelves in the background. LolRenaynay has a DSLR camera setup that adds bokeh to the background look. Be also aware that if you buy a green screen, you will need to hang it some way with a backdrop and think about good lighting.
#9. Reflection FilterA reflection filter helps reduce echo by absorbing sound behind your mic. It features a high density acoustic foam with a thick gooseneck. It is a perfect choice for musicians, streamers who work in tight spaces with many outdoor sounds. The Auray Reflection Filter is one of possible options.
#10. Microphone Shock MountIt is a cheaper option to reduce any vibration you microphone can pick up. A mic shock mount is usually made of solid metal and is suitable for most recording type of microphones. If you live close to the railway station, you will probably need one.
#11. Acoustic PanelsThis is more heavy, but very effective thing to help you reduce echo and make room sounds fuller. Acoustic panels are used for professional acoustic control, sound dampening, acoustic treatment and waves reduction in recording studios, offices home studios, home entertainment theatres, etc. Be ready to stick the panels to the wall somehow (a spray adhesive can be used for this purpose). 12 Pack- Acoustic Panels is one of possible options.
#12. Boom ArmA standard boom arm is attached to the top of the stand so the mic can move in the horizontal plane. It frees up a lot of spaces on your desk and make your voice sound more professional. With a boom arm, your viewers won’t be listening to constant keyboard and mouse vibrations. A mic boom arm enables you to set a perfect mic placement and choose better posture. Here are some options: Heil PL-2T, Rode PSA1, Blue Yeti, K&M 23860.
#13. Desktop Mic StandSince a mic boom arm can be a little out of your budget, one great alternative can be a tabletop mic stand. Mic stands usually cost less, but will give you the flexibility and better mic position. Hence the name, they are attached to the desk. Desktop mic stands are smaller than straight up stands and are usually used for podcast or radio shows. The Hamilton Nu-Era Tabletop Mic Stand is a good basic solution for those who just want to place their mic on the desk.
#14. CablesSometimes, your mic has to be moved around a lot of objects and its length cannot be enough. Or there can be times when you want to move the camera to a different perspective, out of a cable reach. The stock cables are usually too short, so cables are one of the most prosaic and necessary streaming essentials that will give you the flexibility to place the interface within your arms. Choose one of the basic USB extension cables to ensure your comfort work while you are on stream. Don’t forget to double check what kind of cables you need before your purchase.
#15. Video SwitcherA video switcher helps quickly switch between different video feeds and makes streaming more dynamic and professionally looking. It can be programmed, timed or manually set. In fact, having a video switcher is an attribute of a professional video production, rather than an amateur one. With a video switcher, you will be able to create a better perspective of event and liven up the recording. Video switchers are connected directly to the video equipment, so the hardware should be networked properly to work well. You need a video switcher, if you are a big streamer looking to enhance the value of your live stream by integrating different camera angles.
#16. Hardware or Software EncoderHardware encoders are needed to encode your live streaming video and your stream as it is being recorded on the device itself. Having a hardware encoder allows creating a better quality video that is easy to stream. A software encoder has similar functionality, but, in general, produces worse video quality. But, it has one evident advantage: it's usually cheap or even free. Thus, streaming software OBS is one of the popular options used by live streamers. It’s an open platform that is free to download. Be aware, that using OBS software requires a powerful computer and a fast video card.
#17. Good Gaming KeyboardSilent keyboards produce less audible clicking during gaming sessions. Search for any mechanical keyboard with speedsilver, red silent, or cherry red switches. They are quieter than an ordinary keyboard. Membrane keyboard is even quieter option, but it's less convenient for gaming. For instance, PewDiePie has Corsair Strafe Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - a fancy and very silent keyboard.
#18. Optical Gaming MouseOptical mouse is much better than laser one. To understand which optical mouse to choose, use the following website to see how much DPI (dots per inch) mouse you need. So, if you are a sensitive player, it’s better to choose a mouse that is very precise and doesn’t produce stuttering. If you are a low sensitivity gamer, than a mouse with a good control speed would be your choice. Here are some of best options to select from: Roccat Kone Optical, Minoix Naos 7000, CM Storm Spawn, Zowie FK. For instance, PewDiePie uses the BenQ ZOWIE FK1 E-Sports Ambidextrous Optical Gaming Mouse. Don’t also forget to buy a thick, comfortable and waterproof gaming mousepad.
#19. Adjustable Desk and Standing Desk MatIn case you are a full-time streamer who spend most time streaming, “standing-up desk” is what you need. There are a lot of options on the market. In order to try if it's comfortable for you, buy a cheap Ikea Bekant desk. Before purchase, make sure that the desk height will work for you with your arms in 90 degrees angle. Consider the height of your monitor, because looking too much down or up can strain your neck. If you have a green screen, consider its height as well: if it's too far back, you will have a little room to crop the webcam image without clipping your head. If you stand for a long period, think about buying a standing desk mat: it reduces discomfort in feet, legs, back and joints, allowing you to stand longer and feel more productive. Thus, a famous streamer PewDiePie uses Humanscale Float Table Base.
#20. Gaming ChairMany streamers are careful about how their desktops are set up for streaming and what chair to sit on. If you are spending plenty of time while sitting and having an intense gameplay, you should consider buying a professional gaming chair. Gaming chairs are certainly better than traditional office desk chairs. They also have a distinctive style and set of features that make them popular among streamers. You can choose good quality gaming chairs produced by the gaming companies as well as designed by famous brands. Look at the game-playing chair of PewDiePie Edition - a real king chair for gamer.
TakeawaysLive streaming isn’t easy and not all streamers are able to make money out of it. But, if you believe that you have a potential for it, use our streaming essentials to increase the quality of your stream and gain viewership. Remember, that it is not just the quality of your equipment that makes people to stick around. You can buy all listed things and still have 10 people watching your stream. What really matters is your personality.